Behind The Scenes

Category Archives: Manuscripts

Unpublished Jupiter Hammon Poem Discovered at N-YHS

April is National Poetry Month, so what better time to share our exciting news! Independent Scholar Claire Bellerjeau made a miraculous discovery in the New-York Historical Society’s collections; she uncovered an unpublished poem likely written by Jupiter Hammon, the first published African American author in America. Hammon, who lived his entire life as an enslaved […]


Lincoln and the Jews: An Interview with Dr. Jonathan Sarna

Did you know that more than twice as many books have been written about Abraham Lincoln than weeks have passed since his death almost 150 years ago? With Passover beginning at sundown, we’re honoring Lincoln’s legacy by exploring an untold aspect of his personal life and political career: his friendships with Jews. During his tenure […]

N-YHS Acquires Jacob Riis’s Copy of ‘How the Other Half Lives,’ With Author’s Annotations

The New-York Historical Society has acquired a first edition of Jacob Riis’s How the Other Half Lives, heavily annotated by the author with pages scrawled with moral indignation towards slumlords, asides about tenement residents, and copyedits. It was donated by Ted Gup, who recently wrote a New York Times op-ed on his purchase of the volume and the […]

Happy Birthday, John Jay!

Today in 1745, founding father John Jay was born in New York City. He was a lawyer, a diplomat, the president of the Continental Congress, second Governor of New York, and the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. He was also the author of five of the Federalist Papers, which were written […]

Interview With Maurita Baldock, Curator of Manuscripts

Earlier this week, the New York Times took a look at the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York, a group of young archivists, librarians, and historians who meet up and network around the city. One member featured was our very own Curator of Manuscripts, Maurita Baldock! But what exactly does that job entail? We sat […]

Here Comes Santa Claus

By Timothy Wroten The modern red-suited, pot-bellied image of Santa Claus is the imaginative descendant of the historical fourth-century bishop St. Nicolas of Myra. Santa’s appearance and many surrounding holiday traditions owe much to the creative influence of some famous nineteenth-century New Yorkers, including Clement Clarke Moore, the author of “A Visit from St. Nicolas.”   […]

The Day Thanksgiving Was Born

  Thanksgiving may have been celebrated by Pilgirms and Native Americans in New England with feasts of corn and eel (yes, eel), but it wasn’t until 1863 that it became a truly American holiday. Sarah Joseph Hale was the first to suggest that Thanksgiving should be celebrated nationwide, and after a 20 year campaign President […]

Genealogy for Beginners: Five Steps to Tracing Your Family’s History at the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library

Most people in America can trace their family back to some sort of immigration wave, whether their ancestors came over on the Mayflower or flew into JFK airport. And withNew York being large point of entry, many families of immigrants either settled here or spent time here before moving on.  With our large collection of […]