The New-York Historical Society was founded in 1804. It holds a distinguished collection of books, manuscripts, graphic materials, decorative objects, historical artifacts, and works of art. The Patricia D. Klingenstein Library at the New-York Historical Society is home to over 350,000 books, nearly 20,000 linear feet of manuscripts and archives, and distinctive collections of maps, photographs, and prints, as well as ephemera and family papers documenting the history of the United States from a distinctly New York perspective. The Library’s collections are particularly rich in material pertaining to the American Revolution and the early Republic, the Civil War, and the Gilded Age.
Significant holdings relate to Robert Livingston and the Livingston family, Rufus King, Horatio Gates, Albert Gallatin, Cadwallader Colden, Robert Fulton, Richard Varick, and many other notable individuals. Also well documented within the Library’s collections are major social movements in American history, especially abolitionism, temperance, and social welfare. In 2015, the Library acquired the vast archive of Time Inc. and its large publishing and broadcasting empire. The Library’s visual archives... include some of the earliest photographs of New York; a significant collection of Civil War images; and the archives of major architectural firms of the later 19th century. Among the more than 1.6 million works that comprise the museum’s art collections are all 435 preparatory watercolors for John James Audubon’s Birds of America; a preeminent collection of Hudson River School landscapes; and an exceptional collection of decorative and fine arts spanning four centuries.
The New-York Historical Society provides a rich research environment that promotes an active intellectual community. Fellows are encouraged to explore the collections and to take advantage of the full scope of the Library and Museum’s resources and to share their research during their tenure through informal talks and blog posts. Educational outreach and public programs further support New-York Historical’s intellectual mission to explore the richly layered political, cultural, and social history of New York and the nation, as well as the making and the meaning of history.