Print / View Finding Aid as Single Page

New-York Historical Society logo

Guide to the Oversize Manuscripts Collection

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

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Catherine Newton and Audrey Belanger, with ongoing additions by others.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on April 12, 2021
Finding Aid is written in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Scope and Contents

This collection is an "artificial collection", meaning that it contains a variety of unrelated materials that have been grouped together according to size in order to facilitate storage and access. The collection includes a wide variety of formats and topics. It holds items of unrelated provenance that include: correspondence, official documents (deeds, wills, bonds, etc.), certificates, maps, drawings, blueprints, and photostats. While the majority of the materials are from New York state, there are also many documents originating in other areas of the United States. Because the dates of the materials in the collection range from 1648-1998, the collection encompasses a particularly large span of American history.

Many of the folders in the collection relate to important historical figures, including former presidents of the United States, military leaders, and influential New York families. Documents signed by the following presidents can be found in the collection: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, Martin VanBuren, James K. Polk, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Rutherford Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinely, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calivin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and Grover Cleveland. The collection also contains signatures of other influential historical figures, most notably those of Admiral Nelson, Napolean Bonaparte, Alexander Hamilton, and John Hancock.

Highlights from the collection include: documents relating to the Revolutionary War, documents relating to the Civil War, Society of Cincinnati certificates, the New York Loyalists' Address and the Loyalist Declaration of Dependence, Authorization for the Sale of Louisiana, Robert Fulton's steam engine drawings and ship drawings, Audubon bird descriptions and list, preliminary agreement and final contract between P.T. Barnum and Jenny Lind, signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, Kosciuszko drawings, and an execution warrant signed by George Washington.


The Oversize Manuscripts Collection is organized into two Series: "Individual Oversize Manuscripts" and "Oversize Manuscripts From Other Collections". The materials located in Series I were donated or aquired individually and are organized into chronological order according to date. The materials described in Series II belong to other archival collections, but must be stored seperately due to their large size. These items are organized alphabetically by the name of the originating collection.

"Small" oversize folders are arranged in boxes, while "medium" and "large" oversize folders are stored in cabinet drawers.