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Guide to the New-York Historical Society Pictorial Archive
1804-2009 (bulk 1900s-1970s)
 NYHS-RG 5

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Maurita Baldock (2005), with revisions and additions by Celia Hartmann (2007) and Larry Weimer (2015)

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on October 27, 2020
Finding aid is written in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Container List

Series I: Buildings, 1804-2009. 5.16 Linear feet

Scope and Content

This series primarily includes photographs of N-YHS's building on Central Park West (1909-present) and, to a lesser extent, its earlier home on 2nd Avenue (1857-1909). There are photographs of the Central Park West building from both before and after the major expansion and renovation of the building in 1937-1938. Both the early twentieth century and 1930s construction projects at Central Park West are documented. The series includes both interior and exterior views.

The series also includes a small number of images of N-YHS's various homes from 1804 to 1857. And the series includes images of Richard Morris Hunt's proposals of the 1860s for a building in Central Park for N-YHS and of the summer museum N-YHS maintained at the Thompson homestead on Long Island from 1942-1946.

Arrangement

This series is arranged chronologically. This translates roughly into an arrangement by building, then topically within building.

Related Archival Materials Note

Textual documents and architectural plans and drawings related to the construction of the 2nd Avenue and Central Park West buildings are found in the New-York Historical Society original buildings planning & construction records (NYHS-RG 3). A small number of photographs are also found in that record group.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Early N-YHS Homes

Scope and Contents Note

Includes photographs of prints and drawings of N-YHS's first several homes and of Richard M. Hunt's drawings for a building in Central Park for N-YHS (1860s).

[1804-1866]
Drawer: 12A-B10 Folder : 2 New York University, Washington Square

Scope and Contents Note

Includes an oversize photograph of NYU's building, demolished in 1894, that was N-YHS's home from 1841-1857.

circa 1890?
Drawer: 12A-B10 Folder : 9 Richard Morris Hunt. Three Designs for Proposed Historical Museum

Scope and Contents Note

Includes three photoreproductions of Hunt's proposals to the N-YHS Building Committee for the design of a building in Central Park.

circa 1866
Box: 1 Folder : 2 170 Second Ave. Exterior
1862-1908
Box: 1 Folder : 3 170 Second Ave. Interior (1 of 2)
Late 1800s?-1908
Box: 1 Folder : 4 170 Second Ave. Interior (2 of 2)
Late 1800s?-1908
Drawer: 12A-B10 Folder : 12 170 Second Avenue. Exterior & Interior, Oversize
Late 1800s?-circa 1908?
Box: 1 Folder : 5 170 Central Park West. View of Future N-YHS Site
1887?
Drawer: 12A-B10 Folder : 5 170 Central Park West. York and Sawyer, architects, at future site
1902 September 10
Box: 1 Folder : 6 170 Central Park West. Construction. Central Portion (1 of 5)

Scope and Contents Note

Includes cornerstone ceremony (1903) and photograph of Robert Kelby, Henry Dexter, and Samuel Hoffman (1905).

1903-1906
Box: 1 Folder : 7 170 Central Park West. Construction. Central Portion (2 of 5)
1903-1905
Box: 1 Folder : 8 170 Central Park West. Construction. Central Portion (3 of 5)

Scope and Contents Note

Includes photographs taken on a monthly basis from March 1905 to November 1906 showing construction progress on the exterior. These correspond to the photos in the following scrapbook.

1905-1906
Box: 1 Folder : 9 170 Central Park West. Construction. Central Portion (4 of 5). Scrapbook
1905-1906
Box: 2 Folder : 1 170 Central Park West. Construction. Central Portion (5 of 5)
1905-1906
Drawer: 12A-B10 Folder : 11 170 Central Park West. Construction. Central Portion. Cornerstone Laying

Scope and Contents Note

Includes oversize photographs of event.

1903
Box: 2 Folder : 2 170 Central Park West. Exterior
ca. 1908-1937
Drawer: 12A-B10 Folder : 10 170 Central Park West. Exterior, Oversize
circa 1910-1936
Box: 2 Folder : 3 170 Central Park West. Interior
ca. 1908-1937
Box: 71 Folder : 1 170 Central Park West. Interior. Mounted Oversize Prints of Reading Room and Galleries
circa 1910-1936
Box: 2 Folder : 4 170 Central Park West. Annexes 1 and 2 (Townhouses)

Scope and Contents Note

Includes exterior photographs of the townhouses at 5 West 76th Street (former Oscar Strauss residence) and 4 West 77th Street (former Louis Fleischmann residence), known as Annex 1 and Annex 2 respectively, and the Marine History gallery in Annex 2. See also the folders of pre-1937 Central Park West exterior and 1937 wing construction photographs as they also include some views of the townhouses. The folder also includes photos of #7, 9, 11, 13 W. 76th street, which were purchased during construction, and some views of their demolition for the garden.

1932-1938
Box: 2 Folder : 5 170 Central Park West. Construction. New Wings (1 of 6)

Scope and Contents Note

This folder and the following three include photographic prints documenting the 1937-38 expansion. The photographs are sequentially numbered, in chronological order, beginning with a prefix of "BU." This first folder holds the prints of negatives BU1 to BU48, with some gaps.

1937 January-March
Box: 2 Folder : 6 170 Central Park West. Construction. New Wings (2 of 6)

Scope and Contents Note

Includes prints of negatives BU49 to BU95.

1937 April-June
Box: 2 Folder : 7 170 Central Park West. Construction. New Wings (3 of 6)

Scope and Contents Note

Includes prints of negatives BU96 to BU134, with gaps.

1937 July-September 15
Box: 2 Folder : 8 170 Central Park West. Construction. New Wings (4 of 6)

Scope and Contents Note

Includes prints of negatives BU135 to BU173, with gaps.

1937 September 22-1938 March
Box: 2 Folder : 9 170 Central Park West. Construction. New Wings (5 of 6)

Scope and Contents Note

This folder includes photographic prints documenting the 1937-38 expansion as it impacted the existing interior spaces in mid-1937. The photographs are sequentially numbered, in chronological order, beginning with a prefix of "IN." The prints are numbered BU1 to BU48, with some gaps.

1937-1939
Box: 4 Folder : 7 170 Central Park West. Construction. New Wings (6 of 6)

Scope and Contents Note

The bulk of the acetate negatives for the photographs in the above five folders were in a deteriorated condition and all but about 24 were discarded in 2016. Prior to discard, all the negatives were scanned. This folder includes the inventory of the digitized negatives and the related filename for the images. There were negatives for which there is no print in the above folders and only the digital image remains. Some of the negatives having a prefix of BU were enclosed in envelopes that had descriptive captions recorded on them; this folder also includes those envelopes. Envelopes with no captions or other information were discarded.

1937-1938
Box: 2 Folder : 10 170 Central Park West. Construction. Lighting

Scope and Contents Note

Includes mostly snapshots of published images of museum and library spaces (not N-YHS) with captions on reverse referring to the lighting. A few snapshots of an N-YHS gallery under construction, and a photograph of George Zabriskie in England dated August 1937, suggest that these might be images compiled by Alexander Wall and Zabriskie during their summer 1937 inquiry into state of the art lighting practices for museums.

1937
Box: 3 Folder : 1 170 Central Park West. Construction. New York Building Congress

Scope and Contents Note

Includes a photograph of the award ceremony honoring the craftsmen who worked on the expansion.

1938 April 19
Box: 3 Folder : 2 170 Central Park West. World War II Response

Scope and Contents Note

Includes photographs of the Red Cross staff and surgical dressings unit at N-YHS, and the top floor gallery with precautions taken against incendiary bombs.

1942-1944
Box: 3 Folder : 3 Thompson Homestead Memorial, East Hampton, Long Island

Scope and Contents Note

Includes photographs of the summer museum maintained by N-YHS from 1942-1945, including images of the 1942 dedication and reception, exterior views, and interior exhibitions.

1942-1945
Box: 3 Folder : 4 170 Central Park West. Exterior (1 of 2)

Scope and Contents Note

Includes photographs of the full-length exterior of the building, some taken from within Central Park. Photographs from 1999 include a contact sheet with related negatives.

circa 1939-1999
Box: 3 Folder : 5 170 Central Park West. Exterior (2 of 2)

Scope and Contents Note

Includes exterior details, including the garden, doors, bus stop, skylights, and views of Central Park from the roof. The folder includes a contact sheet with related negatives.

circa 1939-1999
Box: 3 Folder : 6 170 Central Park West. Exterior. Water Main Repair

Scope and Contents Note

Includes photographs of the repair work beneath the sidewalk at N-YHS's front entrance. See also Series II. Exhibitions: New York, The New Empire: John Pintard and his Society; that folder includes contact sheets and negatives that hold images for both the water main break and the exhibition.

1975 February
Box: 3 Folder : 7 170 Central Park West. Interior/Exterior Photographed by Anne Day
1984-1986
Box: 3 Folder : 8 170 Central Park West. Interior. Library (1 of 2)
ca. 1930s-1982
Box: 3 Folder : 9 170 Central Park West. Interior. Library (2 of 2)
circa 2000s
Box: 3 Folder : 10 170 Central Park West. Interior. Galleries and Installations (1 of 3)
1930s-1980s?
Box: 3 Folder : 11 170 Central Park West. Interior. Galleries and Installations (2 of 3)
1930s-1980s?
Box: 3 Folder : 12 170 Central Park West. Interior. Galleries and Installations (3 of 3)
1930s-1980s?
Box: 4 Folder : 1 170 Central Park West. Interior. Beekman Rooms
1940-1947, 1964
Box: 4 Folder : 2 170 Central Park West. Interior. Port of New York Gallery (1 of 2)
circa 1957
Box: 70 Folder : 4 170 Central Park West. Interior. Port of New York Gallery (2 of 2). Oversize

Scope and Contents Note

Includes pencil drawings of the gallery by Edward Caswell.

1948
Box: 4 Folder : 3 170 Central Park West. Interior. Auditorium
1937-circa 2000?
Box: 4 Folder : 4 170 Central Park West. Interior. Work Areas

Scope and Contents Note

Includes photographs of the bindery, conservation, Print Room (one with Bella Landauer), object storage areas, book stacks, carpentry shop, and other work areas, some with staff.

1930s-1989
Box: 4 Folder : 5 170 Central Park West. Interior. Construction of Period Rooms
1950 December
Box: 4 Folder : 6 170 Central Park West. Interior. General
1986-1988, 2009
Box: 70 Folder : 2 170 Central Park West. Drawings and Etchings

Scope and Contents Note

Includes copies of an etching by E. Roth (1940) and a ink drawing by Roxie Munro (1980s?) of the building exterior.

circa 1940, circa 1980s?
Drawer: 12A-B10 Folder : 15 170 Central Park West. Drawing by Paul Chiasson

Scope and Contents Note

Includes a drawing by Chiasson of the building's front elevation

1983
Box: 70 Folder : 3 170 Central Park West. Interior. Floor and Room Plans

Scope and Contents Note

Includes a drawing of floor plans for visitors to the building, comparative 1860 and 1942 schematic floor plans, and drawings by F&H of furniture and furniture placement for the Trustee's Room.

Undated

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