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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

Scope and Content Note

The New-York Historical Society Pictorial Archive (NYHS-RG 5) primarily includes images of N-YHS's buildings, galleries and other interior spaces, exhibitions, collection objects, programs, and people, such as trustees, officers, and staff. The bulk of the images date roughly from the early 1900s into the 1970s, though there are images from earlier and later periods. Most of the record group includes black and white photographic prints, but there are also negatives, color slides, and some color prints. There are also a relatively small number of non-photographic formats, including drawings, posters, and architectural plans for building renovations after 1965.

Many of the photographic prints found in the record group have a control number noted on the back; this number corresponds to negatives, many of which are still extant and found in Series XI. The envelopes holding the negatives often include descriptive information that goes beyond that found with the print.

There are many highlights in the record group. The Buildings series includes rich sets of photographs documenting the construction of the Central Park West building in the early 1900s and the major expansion of 1937-1938. There are many photographs of galleries, the library, and other spaces in both the Central Park West building and N-YHS's earlier home on 2nd Avenue and 11th Street. The Exhibitions series includes installation and related object and publicity photographs. Photographs for exhibitions and programs also include the opening receptions and other events held at N-YHS, such as the annual Strawberry and St. Nicholas festivals, Eleanor Roosevelt attending the 1952 Votes for Women exhibition, and noted clown Emmett Kelly attending the 1968 exhibition  Circus Posters from the Days of the Big Top. The Staff Events and Trustees, Officers and Staff series provide glimpses of some of the people from N-YHS over the years.

Arrangement Note

The New-York Historical Society Pictorial Archive is organized in the following series:

Series I: Buildings

Series II: Exhibitions

Series III: School Programs

Series IV: Public Programs

Series V: Events & Publicity

Series VI: Staff Events

Series VII: Trustees, Officers & Staff

Series VIII: (Series not used)

Series IX: Object Images

Series X: Architectural Plans and Drawings

Series XI: Negatives