Behind The Scenes

Category Archives: General

Interview With Photographer Stephen Somerstein

On January 16, the New-York Historical Society will open The 1965 March: Stephen Somerstein Photographs Freedom’s Journey from Selma to Montgomery. This exhibit features the stunning and historic photographs of Stephen Somerstein, documenting the Selma-to-Montgomery Civil Rights March in January 1965. We spoke to Mr. Somerstein about traveling to the march, the art of photography, and […]

How Did FDR Serve Four Terms As President?

On November 7, 1944, Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to an unprecedented fourth term as President. Now we know that Presidents may not seek more than two terms, so what let FDR serve for thirteen years before he died in office in 1945? President George Washington famously refused to seek a third term in office. […]

Check Out These Spooky Halloween Costumes From 1916

I appreciate a good, scary Halloween costume. These days it’s all too easy to go as a celebrity, some sort of pun, or something like Superman, but I’m all for bringing Halloween back to it’s terrifying roots. When else do you have free reign to cover yourself in fake blood and gross makeup and really […]

When America Opened Its Doors Again: The Immigration Act of 1965

Our new exhibition Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion focuses much on the question of immigration in America: who is allowed, who isn’t, how many people should come, and why. These issues are extremely apparent in the passing of the Chinese Exclusion act of 1882, which barred Chinese immigration into America, and required that all Chinese entering or […]

Enjoy Tiffany Lamps? Thank Thomas Edison

  Tiffany Studio’s stained glass lamps are among the most gorgeous decorative objects ever created and represent an incredible historical moment of American art joining the world stage. While numerous countries are filled with beautiful painting, sculpture and architecture, American stained glass of the late-19th and early-20th century outshines the competition. Tiffany lamps not only […]

William Woolley’s “Patent Improved Bedstead for Invalids” and Other Antebellum Inventions for Disability

This post is brought to us by Laurel Daen, a 2014 Patricia D. and John Klingenstein Fellow. For more information on our fellowship programs, click here.   In 1836, William Woolley, a cabinetmaker from New York City, won a Silver Medal from the American Institute for his “bedstead for invalids.” As the editors of the […]

The Speech That Won Lincoln New York

On February 27, 1860, Abraham Lincoln stood before a crowd at Cooper Union on 8th Street in New York City, attempting to convince a strongly Democratic city that he, a Republican, deserved the presidency. Until then he was thought of mostly as a country lawyer, but his speech at Cooper Union let New York Republicans […]

Happy 132nd Birthday, Franklin Delano Roosevelt

America’s 32nd President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was born in Hyde Park, NY this day in 1882. Roosevelt  is greatly remembered for leading the US through a depression and WWII, and his wife Eleanor’s humanitarian efforts. However, he is also known as our only physically disabled president, and founder of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (now […]

Colonel Blimp: How A British Cartoon Become A Beloved Movie Figure

This Friday, the New-York Historical Society will present a free screening of The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, the 1943 classic that follows the life of the titular character through the Second Boer War, WWI and the beginning of WWII. However, Colonel Blimp actually began life as a cartoon character. Created by cartoonist David […]

When New York Wanted To Secede

Most people think of New York as the center of all that is liberal and progressive in America, with strong, Dutch-instilled values of tolerance permeating the culture. However, New York is also a place of business, and before the Civil War that meant it dealt heavily with the business of slavery. In December 1860, South […]