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Guide to the New-York Historical Society Collection of Caricatures and Cartoons
1643, 1756-1943, 1977
 PR 10

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

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Alison Barr and Larry Weimer

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on September 14, 2022
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

For more information on making arrangements to consult the collection, please visit

Conditions Governing Use

Taking images of documents from the library collections for reference purposes by using hand-held cameras and in accordance with the library's photography guidelines is encouraged. As an alternative, patrons may request up to 20 images per day from staff.

Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to: Department of Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194, Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282.

Copyrights and other proprietary rights may subsist in individuals and entities other than the New-York Historical Society, in which case the patron is responsible for securing permission from those parties. For fuller information about rights and reproductions from N-YHS visit:

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as the New-York Historical Society Collection of Caricatures and Cartoons, PR 10, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, New-York Historical Society.

Related Materials

The Subject File collection (PR 68) also holds prints that overlap to some degree with the subject content of the caricature collection. See especially the U.S. History folders in that collection.

Separated Materials

Three sets of caricatures, formerly in the collection, were removed and cataloged separately:

* "Album californiano [picture] : colleción de tipos" (call phrase Print Room Rare F865.F37 1850 Oversize)

* Homer Davenport drawings (PR 125)

* King Features Syndicate drawings (PR 446)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was compiled by New-York Historical Society from various gifts and purchases. When the collection was inventoried in 2019-2022 for this finding aid, any acquisition information noted on the document itself was included in the item level note here. Additional information from the accession ledgers may be added over time.

Processing Information

At some point in the mid-late twentieth century, the collection was compiled by N-YHS library staff and physically organized and foldered in flat files in a chronological order based on the known or estimated date of the object. Likely at the same time, each item was given a unique identifier composed of the object's year and sequence number (e.g., 1848-1, 1848-2, etc.). That number is written on the back of the item. Each item was documented in a card catalog, which remains available in the N-YHS Reading Room. Some items, perhaps added to the collection at a later time, do not have a unique identifier, though these typically do have a catalog card entry. These unique identifiers and the overall filing scheme remain in place and were used as the foundation of this finding aid's inventory.

By 1994, it appears that at least some of the caricatures had been inventoried in a "Print Room Database." A print-out of the items from that database is also available in the Reading Room, but it only includes items to 1845. A new identifier was assigned to the items in this database, but that identifier seems to be unused outside of this one incomplete print-out and so was not used in this finding aid.

Beginning in 2019 and, after interruption by the Covid-19 pandemic, concluding in 2022, volunteer Alison Barr prepared the item level inventory for this finding aid. The primary source for the item descriptions here is the card catalog, from which Barr transcribed key fields (e.g., title, creator, medium). Barr also referred to the 1994 database print-out for items to 1845 and she added any key descriptive data points (such as accession dates) she observed on the item itself that was not recorded on the card catalog. This approach yielded a reconciliation between the card catalog and the items in the folder; consequently some items in the card catalog were identified as missing from the folders (and are noted as such in the finding aid) and some items were found in the folders that were not card cataloged. In the interest of time, not all annotations on a document or data on the catalog card were transcribed for this finding aid; such exclusions included references to research sources, N-YHS photo ID numbers, and other data points considered to be secondary. Barr's work was reviewed by archivist Larry Weimer, who added some bracketed subject terms at points as well as the notes and overall structuring of the finding aid.