Behind The Scenes

Category Archives: Events

A Look at Harlem’s History of Protest

In today’s installment of our Black History Month celebration, we’ll be exploring Harlem. The first wave of African Americans landed in Harlem after World War I, when hundreds of thousands left the Jim Crow South in search of safety and opportunity. In 1914, only 50,000 blacks lived in Harlem, but by 1930, almost 205,000 had moved to […]


The Men Who Lost America

British-born Saunders Director of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello, Professor of History at the University of Virginia, and 2014 recipient of the New-York Historical American History Book Prize Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy fearlessly tackles centuries-old stereotypes surrounding the American Revolution in his upcoming talk at the New-York Historical Society on February 21. […]

Where Was New York International Airport?

On July 31, 1948, New York International Airport was dedicated. You may be wondering what that is, considering that none of the airports that serve the New York City metropolitan area are called that. Well, before it was called JFK, and even before it was called Idlewild, the airport was dedicated as the New York International […]

How New York Reacted To World War I

World War I began on July 28, 1914, almost exactly 100 years ago. The United States did not enter the war until 1917, but the horrors of the war were known, and America reacted in a number of different ways. First, there were those who supported the war and the troops, however they could. This […]

Ellis Island’s Busiest Day

On April 17, 1907, Ellis Island had its busiest day ever, processing 11,747 individuals who just arrived to America. An average day had them processing about 5,000, so this must have overloaded them! According to the Ellis Island Foundation, “During this historic month [April 1907] of American immigration, the Port of New York received 197 ships […]

Happy Thanksgivukkah!

Tomorrow is the 150th anniversary of Thanksgiving becoming a national holiday, thanks to Abraham Lincoln. But for the first time since 1888, the holiday will coincide with the first day of Hanukkah. So celebrate now, because this is not going to happen for another 70,000 years (give or take). The above Hanukkah lamp, or Hanukkiot, was […]

Grand Illusion Tackles Class Relations During WWI

On Friday, October 25, the New-York Historical Society will host a free showing of Grand Illusion, with opening remarks by David Denby and Kati Marton, as part of its WWI and Its Legacy Film series. Directed by Jean Renoir, the film follows French officers attempting to escape a German POW camp, but Renoir uses the POW structure to comment on class relationships, war, and Europe’s changing social order.

Some Lessons From Benjamin Franklin For 4th of July

Ben Franklin was known for many things, but one of his most enduring legacies is his Poor Richard’s Almanack.  Published under his pseudonym, Ben Franklin released a yearly almanac from 1732 to 1758, filled with calendars, poems, sayings, and weather and astrological information. It is from these almanacs that we get most of Ben Franklin’s […]

Mayor Ed Koch Speaks At WWII & NYC Opening Reception

On October 2, former NYC Mayor Edward I. Koch (now of bridge fame) spoke at the opening reception for WWII & NYC.  Having served in WWII, he recounted his memories of the war, and reminded the audience of the great, shared sacrifice thousands of Americans made. Below is his speech. I was 19 when I […]

Ken Follett Brings History Alive

The title of Ken Follett’s new book about life during World War II, Winter of the World, is quite literal. “The triumph of Stalin’s regime in the Soviet Union and Hitler’s regime in Central Europe was a bloody tragedy for the human race. The keynote of that whole period was the struggle against the worst […]