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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

Descriptive Summary

Creator: New-York Historical Society
Title: New-York Historical Society collection of caricatures and cartoons
Dates [inclusive]: 1643, 1756-1943, 1977
Abstract: The collection holds about 1600 prints (mostly engravings and lithographs) and pen and ink drawings of humorous and caustic pictorial commentary on political events and social customs. The caricatures range from the late colonial period in British North America to the mid-twentieth century, with just a few outliers from before and after that range. The bulk of the collection, with about 1300 items, dates from the Jacksonian era beginning in 1828 to the close of the 19th century. Political matters are especially well-represented in the collection, especially in connection with the electoral politics of Presidential campaigns. Economic policies (e.g., banking, currency, financial speculation, tariff reform, growth of industrial power, etc.) is a major theme. African-Americans appear frequently in the images, either as principal subjects or in the background as a subtext to the often layered caricatures of the 19th century. Slavery, abolition and the perceived ability (or inability) of emancipated African-Americans to participate as equals in American society are common subjects in this regard. Other subjects that run through the collection are political corruption (especially in relation to Tammany), America's relation with the rest of the world, social issues, and America at war.
Quantity: 56 Linear feet in 155 flat file folders and 2 flat boxes (approximately 1600 items)
Location: For more information on making arrangements to consult the collection, please visit
Language: The bulk of the documents are in English, with several instances of French, Dutch, and German.
Call Phrase: PR 10