Free Admission to Civics Exhibitions for College Students Through 2020
As election year 2020 begins, the New-York Historical Society is launching a series of special exhibitions that address the cornerstones of citizenship and American democracy. Starting on Presidents’ Day Weekend, visitors to Meet the Presidents will discover how the role of the president has evolved since George Washington with a re-creation of the White House Oval Office and a new gallery devoted to the powers of the presidency. Opening on the eve of Women’s History Month, Women March marks the centennial of the 19th Amendment with an immersive celebration of 200 years of women’s political and social activism. Colonists, Citizens, Constitutions: Creating the American Republic explores the important roles state constitutions have played in the history of our country, while The People Count: The Census in the Making of America documents the critical role played by the U.S. Census in the 19th century—just in time for the 2020 Census.
To encourage first-time voters to learn about our nation’s history and civic as they get ready to vote in the presidential election, New-York Historical Society offers free admission to the exhibitions above to college students with ID through 2020, an initiative supported, in part, by The History Channel. This special program allows college students to access New-York Historical’s roster of upcoming exhibitions that explore the pillars of American democracy as they prepare to vote, most of them for the first time.
“The year 2020 is a momentous time for both the past and future of American politics, as the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, coincides with both a presidential election and a census year,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of New-York Historical. “This suite of complementary exhibitions showcases the ideas and infrastructure behind our American institutions that establish and protect our fundamental rights to make our voices heard and opinions count. We hope that all visitors will come away with a wider understanding of the important role each citizen plays in our democracy.”
Meet the Presidents, February 14 – ongoing
Opening on Presidents’ Day Weekend, a special permanent gallery on New-York Historical’s fourth floor features a detailed re-creation of the White House Oval Office, where presidents have exercised their powers, duties, and responsibilities since 1909. Visitors to New-York Historical can explore the Oval Office, hear audio recordings of presidential musings, and even sit behind a version of the President’s Resolute Desk for a photo op.
Presidents can furnish the Oval Office to suit their own tastes, and this re-creation evokes the decor of President Ronald Reagan’s second term, widely considered a classic interpretation of Oval Office design. The Resolute Desk, which has been used by almost every president, was presented by Queen Victoria of England in friendship to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880. The original was made from timbers from the British Arctic explorer ship H.M.S. Resolute, which was trapped in the ice, recovered by an American whaling ship, and returned to England. Other elements reminiscent of the Reagan-era on view include a famous jar of jelly beans, an inspirational plaque reading “It can be done,” and artist Frederic Remington’s Bronco Buster bronze sculpture of a rugged cowboy fighting to stay on a rearing horse.
The Suzanne Peck and Brian Friedman Meet the Presidents Gallery traces, through artwork and objects, the evolution of the presidency and executive branch and how presidents have interpreted and fulfilled their leadership role. Highlights include the actual Bible used during George Washington’s inauguration in 1789 and a student scrapbook from 1962 chronicling JFK’s leadership during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Meet the Presidents is curated by Marci Reaven, vice president of history exhibits, and Lily Wong, assistant curator.
Women March, February 28 – August 30
For as long as there has been a United States, women have organized to shape the nation’s politics and secure their rights as citizens. Their collective action has taken many forms, from abolitionist petitions to industry-wide garment strikes to massive marches for an Equal Rights Amendment. Women March celebrates the centennial of the 19th Amendment—which granted women the right to vote in 1920—as it explores the efforts of a diverse array of women to expand American democracy in the centuries before and after the suffrage victory. On view in the Joyce B. Cowin Women’s History Gallery, Women March is curated by Valerie Paley, the director of the Center for Women’s History and New-York Historical senior vice president and chief historian, with the Center for Women’s History curatorial team. The immersive exhibition features imagery and video footage of women’s collective action over time, drawing visitors into a visceral engagement with the struggles that have endured into the 21st century.
In Profile: A Look at Silhouettes, Jan. 17 – April 5, 2020
Life Cut Short: Hamilton’s Hair and the Art of Mourning Jewelry, Dec. 20, 2019 – May 10, 2020
This winter, the New-York Historical Society presents an exhibition and a special installation that take a fresh look at traditions of remembrance. The exhibition In Profile: A Look at Silhouettes (January 17 – April 5, 2020) traces the development of the late 18th- and 19th-century art form and how artists are reinventing the silhouette today. The special installation Life Cut Short: Hamilton’s Hair and the Art of Mourning Jewelry (December 20, 2019 – May 10, 2020) displays jewelry featuring human hair that was used as tokens of affection or memorials to lost loved ones.
“New-York Historical is taking a deep dive into our expansive collection to explore 19th-century traditions of portraiture and remembrance,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. “The art of silhouettes has long been popular, and this exhibition traces both its history and how gifted, contemporary artists are currently revitalizing the art form. Mourning jewelry may have fallen out of fashion, but this installation showcases how it was once the height of elegance.”
In Profile: A Look at Silhouettes
The art of silhouettes—usually black cut-paper or painted profiles—emerged as a popular form of portraiture in 19th-century America when there were few trained portrait painters. Drawn mostly from New-York Historical’s significant collection by Curator of Drawings Dr. Roberta J.M. Olson, In Profile traces the development of this popular art form and explores its contemporary revival through over 150 silhouettes of both famous and everyday people—from a depiction of Alexander Hamilton to full-length silhouettes of the students in a Gramercy Park girls’ school.
The exhibition showcases works by professional practitioners, such as master of the genre Augustin Édouart and Charles Willson Peale (who employed, among others, Moses Williams, an enslaved man who earned his freedom and produced silhouettes at the Peale Museum in Philadelphia). Édouart’s 1846 Philip Milledoler Beekman (1845–1846), which captures a domestic scene of a toddler playing with a jack-in-the-box in a grand drawing room, was created in memory of a child who died when he was just 14 months old.
Also on display is work from self-trained artists like Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen, a gifted paper-cutting artist. Famous for his fairy tales, he also created imaginative, whimsical compositions like Acrobats (ca. 1835–60). Martha Anne Honeywell, a woman born without arms and only three toes, cut profiles for 60 years in America and Europe and managed her successful career. On view are two of her intricate cut-outs of the Lord’s Prayer, one featuring delicate needlework (1845).
Contemporary featured artists—who are expanding the size, subject matter, and media customarily associated with silhouettes—include Béatrice Coron, who captures the dynamic synergy of New York City; and Kara Walker, who harnesses the silhouette tradition to investigate the legacy of slavery. Coron’s Hi Five! Stories from the Five Boroughs (2019) are hand-cut, eight-foot-long panoramas that capture vignettes from the five boroughs. Walker’s maquette for The Katastwóf Karavan (2017), a public art project created in New Orleans, displays a calliope (steam organ) housed in a horse-drawn wagon, with laser-cut sides that recall cut-paper silhouettes and feature provocative imagery. Also on view is a wall piece by light sculptor Kumi Yamashita, who shapes colored origami papers to cast dramatic shadow portraits of specific individuals.
Visitors also have the opportunity to “silhouette themselves” as 19th-century practice meets 21st-century technology by projecting their profile onto a screen to create a silhouette that can then be captured by a cell phone camera.
New Fellows Welcomed for the 2019–2020 Academic Year
New-York Historical Society is now accepting applications for
its prestigious fellowship program for the 2020–2021 academic
year. Leveraging its rich collections that detail American
history through the lens of New York City, New-York Historical’s
fellowships are open to scholars at various times during their
academic careers and provides them with the resources and community
to develop new research and publications that illuminate complex
issues of the past. The available fellowships include:
W. Mellon Foundation Predoctoral Awards in Women’s History
two recipients of the Andrew
W. Mellon Foundation Predoctoral Awards in Women’s History should
have a strong interest in women’s and public history and the
applications of these fields outside the academy. Functioning as
research associates and providing programmatic support for New-York
Historical’s Center for Women’s History, pre-doctoral awardees
will assist in the development of content for the Women’s History
exhibitions, associated educational curriculum, and on-site
experiences for students, scholars, and visitors. They must be
currently enrolled students in good standing in a relevant Ph.D.
program in the humanities. The Predoctoral Awardees, whose work at
New-York Historical may not directly correspond with their
dissertation research, will be in residence part time at New-York
Historical for one academic year, between
September 9, 2020,
and will receive a stipend of $20,000 per year. This position is not
full time and will not receive full benefits.
and Robert Appel Fellowship in History and Technology
fellowship will be awarded to a candidate who has earned a Ph.D. no
later than 2019. Research projects should be based on New-York
Historical’s collections and explore the impact of technology on
history. The fellowship will carry a stipend of $60,000, plus
benefits. It begins September
and lasts through
June 30, 2021.
Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship
fellowship for the length of an academic year is supported by the
National Endowment for the Humanities for the sake of research at
New-York Historical. The fellowship is available to individuals who
have completed their formal professional training and have received
their final degree or certificate by 2019. They should have a strong
record of accomplishment within their field. There is no restriction
relating to age or academic status of applicants. Foreign nationals
are eligible to apply if they meet visa requirements for working in
the U.S. The 10-month residency will carry a stipend of $42,000, plus
benefits. This fellowship will begin September
9, 2020 and
will end June
David Lion Gardiner Foundation—Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
fellowship will be awarded to a candidate who has earned a Ph.D. no
later than 2019. Research projects should expand public understanding
of New York State and City history and include research based on the
collections and resources of New-York Historical. This 10-month
residency will carry a stipend of $60,000, plus benefits. It begins
and lasts through June
short term fellowships will be awarded to scholars at any academic
level working in the Library collections of New-York
Research is to be conducted for two to four weeks for a stipend of
between $2,000. The fellowship period will begin
July 1, 2020
and end June
at the New-York Historical Society are made possible through the
generous endowments of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Robert
David Lion Gardiner Foundation, and Helen and Robert Appel.
Major support for fellowships is provided by Bernard L. Schwartz
and the Lehrman Institute. All fellows receive research
stipends while in residency. Short term fellowships are made possible
by support from Helen Appel, Richard Brown and Mary Jo
Otsea, Causeries du Lundi, Patricia Klingenstein, Sid Lapidus,
Peck Stacpoole Foundation, Pine Tree Foundation of New York, Pam and
Scott Schafler, Society of Colonial Wars, and Society of
Daughters of Holland Dames.
instructions and application checklists for each fellowship. The
application deadline for all fellowships is
January 3, 2020.
Fellows at the New-York Historical Society
Historical is also pleased to announce fellows now in residence
during the 2019–2020 academic year. This year’s fellows are:
Nagaraja comes to New-York Historical from the Charles Warren
Center for American History at Harvard University. He is
working on a major book project, Soldiers of the American Dream:
War Work, Jim Crow and Freedom Movements in the Shadow of U. S.
Power. With a Ph.D. from NYU, Nagaraja will continue to work on
his project during his tenure at New-York Historical. Based on deep
archival research, oral histories, and interviews, Nagaraja’s
project documents the racism and discrimination that veterans and
others in the war industry faced after WW II. This is Nagaraja’s
“greatest generation,” disillusioned and angry black veterans who
turned their mounting discontent into the beginnings of the Civil
Rights movement of the 1950s. New York is the central node in
Nagaraja’s story, a hub of activists and activism, and while he is
here he will be using Library materials from the era to finish up his
Manevitz holds a Ph.D. from NYU, where he began work on
the project that brings him to New-York Historical: The Rise and
Fall of Seneca Village: Remaking Race and Space in 19th-Century New
York City. In the centuries old story of the manifold ways in
which New York City builds, demolishes, and rebuilds, Seneca Village
occupies a unique place. The compelling strength of Manevitz’s
project derives from its ability to recast the rise and fall of
Seneca Village in terms of gentrification projects today, projects
which have the effect of erasing neighborhoods and memories of those
neighborhoods. According to Manevitz, Seneca Village was a unique
experiment in which African Americans sought to build an experimental
community in the face of racism and class tensions. Looking at that
community provides a window onto African American attempts to create
their own brand of capitalism and urban planning.
Endowment for the Humanities Fellow
a Ph.D. from CUNY, Dr. Lauren Santangelo is an accomplished
scholar in the field of women’s studies. Her first book, Suffrage
and the City: New York Women Battle for the Ballot (Oxford), has
been recently published, and some of the research for that book was
done at New-York Historical, where Dr. Santangelo was a Schwartz
Fellow in 2013-14. Her current project, which will draw on
several recently acquired collections, focuses on Ladies Mile
and the gendered consumer culture it spawned. Ladies Mile flourished
during the Gilded Age, a time of retail innovation, electrification,
the introduction of elevators, etc.—all of which inflected the
experience of women as an important, new consumer class.
and Robert Appel Fellow in History and Technology Fellow
Kennedy comes out of the Harvard History of Science program,
where he worked with Professor Peter Galison. Kennedy’s area
of particular interest is the impact of technology on the operations
of Wall Street in the 1960s and ’70s. He sees Wall Street as a site
of continuous technological innovation and proposes to tell the story
of the machines, computer programs, cables, and satellites that
rewired Wall Street during that period. In particular, he will be
examining the partnership of the NYSE with the American
Stock Exchange to rewire lower Manhattan and the development by
the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) of an
automated quotation and dealer communication system called NASDAQ. He
will be making extensive use of New-York Historical’s important
oral history project, Remembering Wall Street, 1950-1980.
David Lion Gardiner Foundation—Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow
her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, Sarah
Miller-Davenport is a Permanent Lecturer in 20th century U. S.
history at the University of Sheffield in the UK. Her project
seeks to address a crucial conundrum in the history of New York City:
with city teetering on the brink of financial and social collapse in
the 1970s how and why did New York embark on an ambitious globalist
agenda symbolized by the building of the Twin Towers in 1973.
Moreover, why was it so successful in this most unlikely of
undertakings? Professor Miller-Davenport does not see
globalization as an inevitable force with its own dynamic. Rather,
the pursuit of global capital by the city was the result of conscious
decisions made by politicians, business men, bureaucrats, and
analysts. Her work will focus on the actors, their motives, their
successes, and failures. Finally she will look at the impact of
globalization on the fabric of the city, its diverse peoples, and its
W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Women’s History and Public History
K. Danziger Halperin completed her doctorate in history at
Columbia University in 2018, focusing on comparative social
policy, gender, and childhood. She has previously taught at Columbia
University and St. Joseph’s College, Brooklyn. Her
dissertation, “Education or Welfare? American and British
Child Care Policy, 1965-2004,” analyzed child care policies
in the turn to neoliberalism in both the U.S. and Britain. As the
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, she will be in residence full-time
at New-York Historical through 2021, assisting in the programs of the
Center for Women’s History.
W. Mellon Predoctoral Fellows in Women’s History and Public History
Walker is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at
Rutgers University. She specializes in African American
History and Women and Gender History. She received a B.A. in
History and Journalism from the University of Tennessee at
Knoxville and an M.A. in History from the University of
New Orleans. Pamela’s dissertation, “‘Everyone Must
Think We Really Need Freedom’: Black and White Mothers, The
Mississippi Box Project, and the Civil Rights Movement,”
examines the relationship between motherhood, the black freedom
struggle, white benevolence, and political consciousness during the
Wiesner is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History
at Rutgers University, specializing in the history of women,
gender, and sexuality in the 20th century United States. She earned
her Bachelor of the Arts with Distinguished Honors in
History and Women’s & Gender Studies from the College of
New Jersey in 2015. Her forthcoming dissertation, “Controlling
Rape: Black Women, the Feminist Movement Against Sexual Violence, and
the State, 1974-1994,” explores how black women’s anti-rape
activity in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Chicago evolved in
response to the state’s growing interest in punishing rape during
the War on Crime. In addition to the Mellon Fellowship at
New-York Historical, her research has been supported by the
Graduate School of New Brunswick, the Rutgers Center for
Historical Analysis, Rutgers Oral History Archives, Smith College
Libraries, and the P.E.O. International.
New-York Historical Society, one of America’s preeminent
cultural institutions, is dedicated to fostering research and
presenting history and art exhibitions and public programs that
reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of
today. Founded in 1804, New-York Historical has a mission to explore
the richly layered history of New York City and State and the
country, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of
issues surrounding the making and meaning of history. 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.
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. 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.
in Exile: The Visual Diary of Baroness Hyde de Neuville, November 1,
2019 – January 26, 2020
Artist in Exile: The Visual Diary of Baroness Hyde de Neuville sheds light on this fascinating artist, whose life reads like a compelling historical novel.
fall, the New-York
introduces visitors to a little-known artist whose work documented
the people and scenes of early America. Artist
in Exile: The Visual Diary of Baroness Hyde de Neuville,
on view November
1, 2019 – January 26, 2020
in the Joyce
B. Cowin Women’s History Gallery of the Center for Women’s
presents 114 watercolors and drawings by Anne
Marguérite Joséphine Henriette Rouillé de Marigny,
Hyde de Neuville (1771–1849).
Self-taught and ahead of her time, Neuville’s art celebrates the
young country’s history, culture, and diverse population, ranging
from Indigenous Americans to political leaders. Curated by Dr.
Roberta J.M. Olson,
curator of drawings at New-York Historical, this exhibition is the
first serious exploration of Neuville’s life and art—showcasing
many recently discovered works including rare depictions of European
scenes and people at work, a lifelong sociological interest—and is
accompanied by a scholarly catalogue.
Hyde de Neuville’s status as a woman, an outsider, and a refugee
shaped her view of America and Americans, making her a particularly
keen and sympathetic observer of individuals from a range of
socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds,”
said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical
could never have envisioned that her visual diary—created as a
personal record of her travels and observations of early
America—would become an invaluable historical document of the early
republic. Yet her drawings vividly evoke the national optimism and
rapid expansion of the young United States and capture the diversity
of its inhabitants.”
to an aristocratic family in Sancerre, France, Henriette married
ardent royalist Jean Guillaume Hyde de Neuville, who became
involved during the French Revolution in conspiracies to
reinstate the Bourbon monarchy and was accused of participating in a
plot to assassinate Napoleon. In an effort to disprove the charges
against her husband, the baroness took her cause directly to
Napoleon, who was impressed with her courage and allowed the couple
to go into exile. They arrived in New York in 1807 and stayed for
seven years. During their second American residency (1816–22), when
her husband served as French Minister Plenipotentiary in
Washington, D.C., Henriette became a celebrated hostess. John
Quincy Adams described her in his diary as “a woman of
excellent temper, amiable disposition… profuse charity, yet
judicious economy and sound discretion.” In 1818, she presciently
stated that she had but one wish “and that was to see an American
lady elected president.”
in Exile follows
Neuville’s life, reconstructing her artistic education and tracing
her artistic practice, which included portraiture, landscapes and
cityscapes, ethnographic studies, botanical art, and other genres.
Highlights of the exhibition include Neuville’s views of the Hudson
and Mohawk rivers, street scenes of her neighborhood (now known as
Tribeca), a watercolor documenting an “Indian War Dance”
performed for President
and portraits of subjects ranging from Indigenous Americans to
immigrant students at a Manhattan school founded by the Neuvilles.
The exhibition opens with Neuville’s miniature self-portrait (ca.
1800-1810) that was likely created for her husband to carry on his
travels. Pictured wearing a fashionable daytime empire-waist dress
over a chemisette, fingerless mitts, and hoop earrings, the baroness
looks away, not engaging the viewer as is customary with
self-portraits that are drawn using a mirror because she based it on
first reaching the United States, the Neuvilles journeyed up the
Hudson River and to Niagara Falls, where Henriette was one of the
first to record many early settlements, buildings, and rustic scenes.
In the watercolor Distant
View of Albany from the Hudson River, New York (1807),
she drew the panoramic view from the sloop Diana
it traveled downriver from Albany, chronicling the river long before
The atmospheric vista conveys the majestic sweep of the Hudson and
the reflections on its surface. In Break’s
Bridge, Palatine, New York(1808),
Neuville, who was intrigued by engineering and technology, depicts a
newly constructed Mohawk River bridge destroyed by rushing waters.
The couple in the foreground of the image is the Neuvilles, with
their pet spaniel, Volero.
also captured vivid views of New York City residents and
buildings—many of them long since demolished—bringing to life the
burgeoning urban center and its ethnically diverse population. Corner
of Greenwich Street (1810)
represents a scene at the intersection of Greenwich and Dey streets.
Near the cellar hatch of the brick house at the center stands an
Asian man, who may be the Chinese merchant Punqua Winchong, making
this work one of the earliest visual records of a Chinese person in
the United States.
Neuvilles contributed to the cultural life in New York as co-founders
of the École
School), incorporated in 1810 as the Society
of the Economical School of the City of New York.
Its mission was to educate the children of French émigrés and
fugitives from the French West Indies and to offer affordable
education to impoverished children. Henriette sketched the students
at the school, and many works from the “Economical School Series”
are on view in the exhibition, including the recently discovered life
size portrait, Pélagie
Drawing a Portrait(1808),
which demonstrates the school’s emphasis on drawing. Her series is
the only visual record of the school’s existence.
couple returned to France in 1814 after the fall of Napoleon and the
restoration of King Louis XVIII and the Bourbon monarchy. In
1816, Louis XVIII appointed the baron French Minister
Plenipotentiary, and the Neuvilles returned to the U.S., settling in
Washington, D.C. They became renowned for their lavish Saturday
evening parties and their friendships with President James Monroe
and James and Dolley Madison. Among the notable events the
Neuvilles attended was an “Indian War Dance,” performed by a
delegation of 16 leaders of the Plains Indian tribes in front of
President Monroe and 6,000 spectators at the White House on November
29, 1821. Neuville’s watercolor documenting the event includes
likenesses of half-chief Shaumonekusse (Prairie Wolf) and one of his
five wives, Hayne Hudjihini (Eagle of Delight). Later, the “War
Dance” was also performed at the Neuvilles’ house.
portraits of individuals celebrate the ethnic and cultural diversity
of the early American republic, and her portrayals are notable for
their ethnographic integrity and avoidance of stereotypes. In the
portrait of Peter
of Buffalo, Tonawanda, New York(1807),
the sitter has ear lobes pierced with earrings and bare feet,
traditional for Seneca tribesmen. Wearing an undershirt, a fur piece,
and leggings with garters, he carries a tomahawk, a knife, a powder
horn, and a string of wampum. In the portrait Martha
Church, Cook in “Ordinary” Costume(1808–10),
Neuville depicts a cook in her everyday attire, as part of the
artistic tradition of occupational portraits that originated in
Europe and appeared in New York in the early 19th century.
the exhibition is the scholarly publication Artist
in Exile: The Visual Diary of Baroness Hyde de Neuville,
published by GILES,
an imprint of D
Written by Dr. Roberta J.M. Olson with assistance by Alexandra
the publication also features an essay by Dr.
Charlene M. Boyer Lewis.
gallery tour of Artist
led by curator Roberta
takes place on January
In honor of the baroness’ heritage, several French movies will be
shown as part of New-York Historical’s Friday night Justice in Film
series: 1938’s The
Baker’s Wife on
and 1946’s Beauty
and the Beast on
On select weekends throughout the exhibition’s run, young visitors
can explore the baroness’ life and the art she created with touch
objects and Living Historians.
Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation
provided lead funding forArtist
in Exile: The Visual Diary of Baroness Hyde de Neuville,
with important support given by the
Wyeth Foundation for American Art.
Additional support provided by Furthermore,
a program of the J.M.
Hudson Heritage Network;
and Laura Grey;
and Adeline Hofer.
Midnight: Paul Revere On View Through January 12, 2020
fall, the New-York Historical Society explores the life and
accomplishments of Paul Revere (1735–1818), the
Revolutionary War patriot immortalized in Henry Wadsworth
Longfellow’s 1861 poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride.” On view now
through January 12, 2020, Beyond Midnight: Paul Revere
separates fact from fiction, revealing Revere as a complex,
multifaceted figure at the intersection of America’s social,
economic, artistic, and political life in Revolutionary War-era
Boston as it re-examines his life as an artisan, activist, and
entrepreneur. The exhibition, featuring more than 140 objects,
highlights aspects of Revere’s versatile career as an artisan,
including engravings, such as his well-known depiction of the Boston
Massacre; glimmering silver tea services made for prominent clients;
everyday objects such as thimbles, tankards, and teapots; and
important public commissions, such as a bronze courthouse bell.
Organized by the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts, and curated by Nan Wolverton and Lauren Hewes, Beyond Midnight debuts at New-York Historical before traveling to the Worcester Art Museum and the Concord Museum in Massachusetts for a two-venue display (February 13 – June 7, 2020) and to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas (July 4 – October 11, 2020). At New-York Historical, Beyond Midnight is coordinated by Debra Schmidt Bach, New-York Historical’s curator of decorative arts.
many of us think of Paul Revere, we instantly think of Longfellow’s
lines ‘One if by land, and two if by sea’, but there is much more
to Revere’s story,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO
of the New-York Historical Society. “This exhibition looks
beyond the myth of Paul Revere to better understand the man as a
revolutionary, an artisan, and an entrepreneur, who would go on to
become a legend. We are proud to partner with the American
Antiquarian Society to debut this exhibition in New York.”
arrival, visitors are welcomed by a nine-foot-tall re-creation of the
grand obelisk made for a 1766 Boston Common celebration of the
repeal of the Stamp Act, the first tax levied on the American
colonies by England. Originally made of wood and oiled paper, and
decorated with painted scenes, portraits, and text praising King
George while also mocking British legislators, the obelisk was
illuminated from inside and eventually consumed by flames at the
Boston event. The only remaining visual evidence is Revere’s 1766
engraving of the design, also on view.
Revolutionary activist, Paul Revere was a member of the Sons of
Liberty, a secret group opposed to British colonial policy
including taxation that kept track of British troop movements and war
ships in the harbor. The exhibition displays Revere’s 1770
engraving of the landing of British forces at Boston’s Long Wharf.
Four versions of Revere’s provocative engraving of the 1770
Boston Massacre are also reunited in the exhibition. The
engravings capture the moment when British soldiers fired upon a
crowd of unruly colonists in front of the Custom House. The print
inflamed anti-British sentiment, and different versions of it were
widely disseminated as Patriot propaganda. Revere also helped plan
and execute the Boston Tea Party in 1773, hurling tea into
Boston Harbor. When war erupted in 1775, he delivered messages from
the Continental Army to New York, Philadelphia, and Connecticut.
Revere was a master craftsman specializing in metalwork, including
copperplate engravings and fashionable and functional objects made
from silver, gold, brass, bronze, and copper. An innovative
businessman, Revere expanded his successful silver shop in the years
after the war to produce goods that took advantage of new machinery.
His fluted oval teapot, made from machine-rolled sheet silver, became
an icon of American Federal silver design. Among the silver objects
on view are two rare wine goblets possibly used as Kiddush cups made
by Revere for Moses Michael Hays—his only known Jewish
client—as well as grand tea services, teapots, tankards, teaspoons,
and toy whistles created in Revere’s shop. Also featured is a 1796
cast-bronze courthouse bell made for the Norfolk County Courthouse in
Dedham, Massachusetts. The exhibition also explores how Revere’s
trade networks reached well beyond Boston. He frequently bought and
sold raw and finished copper from New Yorker Harmon Hendricks and
supplied copper for Robert Fulton’s famous steamship.
son of a French Huguenot immigrant artisan, Revere belonged to an
economic class called “mechanics,” ranked below merchants,
lawyers, and clergymen. However, Revere was a savvy networker, and
what he lacked in social status, he made up for by cultivating
influential connections. Membership in the Sons of Liberty led to
commissions from fellow Patriots, but he also welcomed Loyalist
clients, setting aside politics for profit. On view are nine elements
from a grand, 45-piece beverage service that Revere created in 1773
for prominent Loyalist Dr. William Paine—the largest commission of
his career—just two months before the Boston Tea Party.
Revere died in 1818, but his fame endured, initially for his
metalwork and then for his patriotism. In the 1830s, Revere’s
engravings were rediscovered as Americans explored their
Revolutionary past, and his view of the Boston Massacre appeared in
children’s history books. In 1860, poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
was inspired to write “Paul Revere’s Ride,” romanticizing (and
somewhat embellishing) the story of Revere’s journey to Lexington.
The poem first appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in January
1861—an original copy of the magazine is on view in the exhibition.
Artist Grant Wood’s painting Midnight Ride of Paul Revere
(1931), also on display, depicts a dramatic scene of Revere riding
past Boston’s Old North Church. This is also an embellishment: In
reality, Revere was on foot until he crossed the Charles River to
Cambridge and then rode a borrowed horse to Lexington. He was also
one of three riders and was stopped briefly by British officers and
then released. A map of the actual ride is on display. These works
and others enshrined Paul Revere at the heart of the nation’s
founding story. By the turn of the 20th century, the tale of Paul
Revere and his midnight ride was firmly established in the nation’s
psyche as truth, not fiction, and Revere’s contributions as a
metalsmith and artisan were overshadowed.
on the American Antiquarian Society’s unparalleled collection of
prints and books, a catalogue accompanies the exhibition, Beyond
Midnight: Paul Revere, transforming readers’ understanding of
the iconic colonial patriot. Essays examine Revere as a patriot, a
manufacturer, a precious metalsmith, a printer, and an engraver. His
legacy as a polymath is documented in the book’s complete
illustrated checklist of the exhibition’s artifacts. The book is
available exclusively from the NYHistory Store.
robust line-up of engaging programs and family activities take place
throughout the exhibition’s run that delve into Revere and his
contemporaries. On October 17, historians Annette
Gordon-Reed and Philip Bobbitt discuss Thomas
Jefferson. On November 13, Nina Zannieri, Robert Shimp,
and Carol Berkin explore the truth behind Revere’s famous
ride. On December 12, George Washington is the topic of
conversation between scholars Denver Brunsman and Carol
Berkin. Also in the fall, architectural historian Barry Lewis
traces the history of the colonial and federal style on a date to be
weekends during Beyond Midnight: Paul Revere, Living
Historians are stationed at the Museum, bringing Paul Revere’s
world to life for young visitors. Kids can interact with skilled
tradespeople, like a milliner, apothecary, and bookbinder (October
5-6). Spies from the Continental Army’s intelligence system are
on hand to teach their secretive methods (November 2-3) while
hands-on explorations into historical tooth extraction, filings, and
tooth replacement may give visitors a new appreciation for their
dentists (November 23-24). On select Saturdays (October 19,
November 16, and December 7), families can discover the
history of colonial drinks, the global chocolate trade, and colonial
silver-smithing in a multi-sensory program supported by American
Heritage Chocolate. On October 20, aspiring young writers ages
12 and up can take part in a narrative poetry workshop with Writopia
Lab and develop original narrative poems that reveal inspiring
stories of key figures from the recent and distant past.
support for Beyond Midnight: Paul Revere was provided by the
Richard C. von Hess Foundation
and the Henry Luce Foundation. The exhibition at New-York
Historical is made possible by the May and Samuel Rudin Family
Foundation, Inc. Additional support provided by Richard Brown
and Mary Jo Otsea. Exhibitions at New-York Historical are made
possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust
for American History, the Seymour Neuman Endowed Fund, the New York
City Department of Cultural Affairs in
partnership with the City Council, and the New York
State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew
Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. WNET is the
in 1812 by Revolutionary War patriot and printer Isaiah Thomas,
the American Antiquarian Society (AAS) is both a national
learned society and a major independent research library located in
Worcester, Massachusetts. The AAS library today houses the largest
and most accessible collection of books, pamphlets, broadsides,
newspapers, periodicals, music, and graphic arts material printed
through 1876 in what is now the United States, as well as manuscripts
and a substantial collection of secondary texts, bibliographies, and
digital resources and reference works related to all aspects of
American history and culture before the 20th century. The Society
sponsors a broad range of programs—visiting research fellowships,
workshops, seminars, conferences, publications, lectures and
performances—for constituencies ranging from school children and
their teachers, through undergraduate and graduate students,
postdoctoral scholars, creative and performing artists and writers
and the general public. AAS was presented with the 2013 National
Humanities Medal by President Obama in a ceremony at the White
The New-York Historical Society, one of America’s preeminent cultural institutions, is dedicated to fostering research and presenting history and art exhibitions and public programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, New-York Historical has a mission to explore the richly layered history of New York City and State and the country, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history. New-York Historical is also home to the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library, one of the oldest, most distinguished libraries in the nation—and one of only 20 in the United States qualified to be a member of the Independent Research Libraries Association—which contains more than three million books, pamphlets, maps, newspapers, manuscripts, prints, photographs, and architectural drawings.
Express: All Aboard to Richard Scarry’s Busytown On View
November 1, 2019 – February 23, 2020
Celebrating Richard Scarry and Busytown with Special Guest, Huck Scarry, Saturday, December 14 and Sunday, December 15
A holiday favorite returns to the New-York Historical Society170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street), New York, NY 10024, Phone (212) 873-3400) this season—reimagined to celebrate the 100th birthday of Busytown series author and illustrator Richard Scarry. Holiday Express: All Aboard to Richard Scarry’s Busytown (November 1, 2019 – February 23, 2020) showcases artwork and graphics of Scarry’s characters like Huckle Cat and Lowly Worm from publisher Random House Children’s Books alongside more than 300 objects from the Jerni Collection’s antique toy trains, stations, and accessories. Using Busytown stories and characters, dynamic displays explore the workings of the railroad, the services it provides, and the jobs required to keep people and goods moving. An assortment of kid-friendly activities, story times, and crafts accompany the exhibition throughout its run, welcoming families into the world of classic toys and trains.
“Huck” Scarry Jr., the son of Richard Scarry, will make a
special appearance on December 14 and 15. Holiday
Express: All Aboard to Richard Scarry’s Busytown is
supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies*. Additional support
provided by Random House Children’s Books.
its acquisition by the New-York Historical Society in 2014, the Jerni
Collection has become a highlight of the Museum’s
holdings. Assembled over the course of five decades by U.S.
collectors Jerry and Nina Greene,
the Jerni Collection is considered one of the world’s leading
collections of antique model trains and toys and includes unique,
handcrafted, and hand-painted pieces dating from approximately 1850
to 1940, and features prime examples by the leading manufacturers
that set the standard for the Golden Age of Toy Trains, including the
German firms of Märklin and Bing,
as well as the American firms Lionel
(* Bloomberg Philanthropies has sponsored the annual Holiday
Express exhibition at the New-York Historical Society since 2014.)
Richard Scarry is one of the world’s most beloved children’s authors. In his extraordinary career, Scarry illustrated over 150 books, many of which have never been out of print. His books have sold over 100 million copies around the world and are currently published in over 20 languages.
like his father, Huck Scarry was always drawing and would often
assist his dad in coloring his drawings. After his father’s passing
in 1994, Huck took up the mantle of creating new books about Richard
Scarry’s charming and funny characters. “My father would be so
thrilled with the Holiday Express exhibition at the New-York
Historical Society,” said Huck Scarry. “We would often
visit New York City, and when we did, we always took the train. So
much to see and do! Like our many Busytown friends, we enjoyed our
trip because a train ride is always a bit of an adventure!”
delighted to celebrate Richard Scarry’s centennial by bringing
Busytown to life at the New-York Historical Society this holiday
season,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of New-York
Historical. “Pairing iconic characters like Huckle Cat with
historic toys and trains from our incomparable Jerni Collection is
the perfect way for visitors of all ages to explore the history of
transportation in a whimsical way.”
is the inspiration for a special installation that uses three Scarry
stories and objects from the Jerni Collection to illustrate
rail travel in 1919, the year of Scarry’s birth. In Waiting
at the Station, characters Huckle Cat and Sally Cat eagerly
await the arrival of a train, as miniature figures of porters and
other workers bustle around the station. In Betsy Bear’s
Letter to Grandma, toy trains demonstrate how post offices
and railroads worked together to keep people in touch. And in Coal
Makes Electricity Work for Us, a miniature underground mine,
elevators, and hoppers show how coal was turned into power.
than two dozen never-before-displayed objects from the Jerni
Collection are on view for the first time this year, including
Märklin’s rare “Garden Station,” manufactured in 1900.
Other highlights include a toy textile factory from 1910 by Ernst
Planck and Gebrüder Bing’s English market “Charles
Dickens” locomotive with tender and coaches, produced in 1905.
Also on view: a Bing Steam Toy Train from 1912, which was once
powered by a real, working steam engine, making it an exceedingly
risky plaything in its day. To top it all off, eight sets of running
trains encircle the displays overhead and are sure to delight
children (and adults!) of all ages.
cutouts of Scarry’s iconic characters are displayed throughout the
museum, and interactive elements, including a crawl-through space
leading to a pop-up observation bubble, allow children to get an
up-close view of the displays, harking back to the feel of early 20th
century toy departments.
Express: All Aboard to Richard Scarry’s Busytown Family
train-related activities for kids of all ages take place through the
with Museum Admission.
Richard Scarry and Busytown!
Saturday, December 14 and Sunday,
December 15; 1–3 pm
this year with a special new addition—scenes from Richard
On this weekend, families will join Huck Scarry in a draw-along of
beloved Busytown characters and chat about his father. Children will
decorate their own Busytown vehicles, create finger puppets, listen
to Busytown tales, and go on a pretend train journey with our
favorite Conductor Abe!
School Vacation Week, Thursday, December 26 – Wednesday, January
by New-York Historical during our annual, train-filled Vacation Week.
Take part in an “I Spy” scavenger hunt, play at our train table,
listen to a classic train story, and make a rail-themed craft to take
Express “I Spy” Scavenger Hunt, All day (Recommended
for ages 4 and up) I
SPY, WITH MY LITTLE EYE, A DOG, A SHIP, AND EVEN A FLYING MACHINE!
up an “I Spy” scavenger hunt and get the whole family involved on
an adventure through Holiday
Kids and adults alike will delight in discovering surprises among all
the toys and trains.
Tales and Crafts, Daily, 2 pm, All Ages COME
FOR THE CLASSIC TRAIN STORY AND STAY FOR THE CRAFTS! Rail-themed
books for December School Vacation Week include The
Little Engine That Could by
Watty Piper; Steam
Train, Dream Train written
by Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld; Shark
vs. Train written
by Chris Barton and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld; and more.
Express: All Aboard to Richard Scarry’s Busytown is curated
by Mike Thornton, associate curator of material culture at the
New-York Historical Society. The original Holiday Express display was
designed by Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership
(LHSA+DP), an integrated architecture and exhibit design firm
that also designed New-York Historical’s DiMenna
Children’s History Museum. Other consultants for Holiday
Express include T W TrainWorx, a nationally recognized model
train specialist and designer of custom toy train layouts; and
exhibition media producers Batwin + Robin, renowned “media
storytellers” with more than 20 years of experience in the theater,
museums, and other venues.
Exhibitions at New-York Historical are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, the Seymour Neuman Endowed Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. WNET is the media sponsor.
Mark Twain and the Holy Land On View October 25, 2019 – February 2, 2020
Historical Society celebrates
the 150th anniversary of one of the best-selling travelogues of all
time with Mark Twain and the Holy Land, on view October
25, 2019 – February 2, 2020. This new exhibition traces the
legendary American humorist’s 1867 voyage to the Mediterranean and
his subsequent 1869 book—The Innocents Abroad, or The New
Pilgrims’ Progress—through original documents, photographs,
artwork, and costumes, as well as an interactive media experience.
Organized by New-York Historical in partnership with the Shapell
Manuscript Foundation, it is curated by Michael Ryan, vice
president and director of the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library,
and Cristian Petru Panaite, associate curator of exhibitions.
sail from New York for a great adventure abroad, Mark Twain captured
the feelings and reactions of many Americans exploring beyond their
borders, inspiring generations of travelers to document their
voyages,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of
the New-York Historical Society. “We are pleased to partner with
the Shapell Manuscript Foundation to present the history behind this
influential book by Twain, a uniquely American writer whose work
helped to define American culture in the postbellum era.”
1867, Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910)—known
professionally as Mark Twain—departed New York harbor on the
steamship Quaker City for a five-and-a-half-month excursion, with
stops in Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Holy Land. Known at that
point for his biting satire and humorous short pieces on California
and the West, Clemens had serendipitously discovered a “pleasure
cruise” to Europe and the Near East, and successfully inveigled his
way onto the journey with an assignment from the San Francisco
newspaper Alta California. Twain was to supply the paper with
weekly columns about the trip and his fellow passengers. When he
returned to New York and then to Washington, D.C., he began reshaping
those columns and other notes made during the trip into a book, The
Innocents Abroad (1869). It was this work that catapulted Twain
to national fame, selling more copies during his lifetime than any
other book he ever wrote.
about the voyage in a passage later published in Innocents Abroad,
Twain so aptly noted: ‘Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and
narrow-mindedness,’” said Benjamin Shapell, President
of the Shapell Manuscript Foundation. “That his travelogue
espoused such a liberal sentiment while at the very same time also
exposing the deep closed-mindedness of his fellow shipmates is the
very reason why Twain’s biting perspective comes across as so fresh
to us even today. We are pleased that the New-York Historical Society
has brought together these rare manuscripts and artifacts, bringing
Twain’s lively, influential, and singular experience to life.”
Protestants approached the Holy Land in awe and reverence, their
visions of it having been shaped by romantic travel literature that
described Palestine as majestic and grand. Examples of this
literature are on display along with contemporary illustrations of
the Holy Land, such as Hubert Sattler’s View of Jerusalem
from the Mount of Olives (1847), on loan from the Dahesh
Museum of Art. In reality, the Holy Land in the 19th century was
a remote and neglected outpost of the Ottoman Empire.
Quaker City cruise was the first organized tourism trip in American
history; the steamship was opulently outfitted with a library,
printing press, piano, and pipe organ. A Quaker City passenger list,
receipt for voyage, and an oil painting of the steamship are on
display, as well as a journal entry from April 1867, in which Twain
announces his plan to embark on the voyage. Photographer William
E. James was also on board and documented many of the sights in
stereoscopic images; James’ camera and a selection of seemingly
three-dimensional stereoscopic images are on view on an interactive
stops in Europe, the travelers were greeted in Beirut by a grand
caravan of horses and mules for a journey of 155 miles to “Baalbec,
Damascus, the Sea of Tiberias, and thence southward by the way of the
scene of Jacob’s Dream and other notable Bible localities to
Jerusalem.” But the pomp was in glaring contrast to the reality
of a small, barren land, which was not the vast and monumental
landscape suggested by the Bible. Twain was disappointed that “a
fast walker could go outside the walls of Jerusalem and walk entirely
around the city in an hour,” and a manuscript leaf on view
features Twain’s withering satirical soliloquy about the Tomb of
Adam at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre: “The tomb of Adam!
How touching it was here in a land of strangers, far away from home,
and friends, and all who cared for me, thus to discover the grave of
a blood relation.”
caustic view of the Holy Land, with its nomads, beggars, and ruins
was the author’s way of proclaiming the arrival of the new American
traveler, someone who saw the world for what it was, without the
distorting lenses of tradition and received authority. Twain had
sampled the guides and travel volumes and found them all without
voyage of the Quaker City was well documented, and the exhibit
presents not only the photographs by James, but manuscripts and
letters by Twain, a Dragoman costume, and Turkish slippers worn by
Twain’s future bride, Olivia Langdon.
took Twain and his publisher a good two years to bring Innocents
to fruition in 1869, but once in print, its success was immediate.
Twain’s scabrous humor found an eager and receptive audience, well
documented in contemporary reviews on display in the show. Innocents
undoubtedly contributed to the vogue for traveling to the Holy Land,
and the exhibit features letters by such notables as President
Ulysses Grant, Gen. William T. Sherman, and Theodore
Roosevelt, each of whom journeyed to Palestine.
Twain and the Holy Land introduces visitors both to a young Mark
Twain on the eve of celebrity and to Palestine in the 19th century,
captured by artists, writers, and photographers.
October 24, Jonathan D. Sarna, University Professor and the
Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History
at Brandeis University, and Gil Troy, Professor of History at
McGill University, will discuss Mark Twain and the Holy Land: A
at New-York Historical are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and
Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, the
Seymour Neuman Endowed Fund, the New York City Department of
Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the
New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor
Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. WNET is
the media sponsor.
New Fellows Welcomed for the 2018-2019 Academic Year
The New-York Historical Society is now accepting applications for its prestigious fellowship program for the 2019–2020 academic year. Leveraging its rich collections of documents, artifacts, and works of art detailing American history from the perspective of New York City, New-York Historical’s fellowships—open to scholars at various times during their academic careers—provide scholars with material resources and an intellectual community to develop new research and publications that illuminate complex issues of the past.
New-York Historical Society logo
The available fellowships include:
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Predoctoral Fellowships in Women’s History
The two recipients of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship in Women’s History should have a strong interest in the fields of women’s and public history. This unusual part-time fellowship introduces young scholars to work outside the academy in public history and may not directly correspond with their dissertation research. They must be currently enrolled students in good standing in a relevant Ph.D. program in the humanities. The Predoctoral Fellows will be in residence part-time at the New-York Historical Society for one academic year, between September 5, 2019, and June 29, 2020, with a stipend of $15,000 per year. This position is not full time and will not receive full benefits.
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship
One fellowship for the length of a single academic year is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The fellowship is available to individuals who have completed their formal professional training and have a strong record of accomplishment within their field. There is no restriction relating to age or academic status of applicants. Foreign nationals are eligible to apply if they have lived in the United States for at least three years immediately preceding the application deadline. The ten-month residency will carry a stipend of $42,000, plus benefits. This fellowship will begin September 5, 2019, and will end June 29, 2020.
Bernard and Irene Schwartz Fellowships
Offered jointly with the Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts at the New School, two Bernard and Irene Schwartz Fellowships are open to scholars who will have completed their Ph.D. in History or American Studies before the end of the 2017-2018 academic year. Fellows will teach one course per semester at Eugene Lang College in addition to conducting focused research in residence at the New-York Historical Society. These fellows carry a stipend of $60,000, plus benefits. The fellowship will begin September 5, 2019, and will end June 29, 2020.
Helen and Robert Appel Fellowship in History and Technology
The fellowship will be awarded to a candidate who has earned their Ph.D. within the last three to five years. Research projects should be based on the collections of New-York Historical and explore the impact of technology on history. The fellowship will carry a stipend of $60,000, plus benefits; it begins September 5, 2019, and lasts through June 29, 2020.
Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation / Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship
This fellowship will be awarded to a candidate who has earned their Ph.D. within the last three to five years. Research projects should expand public understanding of New York State history and should include research based on the collections and resources of New-York Historical. This ten-month residency will carry a stipend of $60,000, plus benefits; it begins September 5, 2019, and lasts through June 29, 2020.
A variety of Short-Term Fellowships will be awarded to scholars at any academic level. Fellows will conduct research in the library collections of the New-York Historical Society for two to four weeks at a time and will receive a stipend of $2,000. These fellowships will begin and end between July 1, 2019, and June 29, 2020.
Fellowship positions at the New-York Historical Society are made possible by an endowment established by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Generous support for fellowships is provided by Bernard Schwartz, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Helen and Robert Appel, the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, Sid Lapidus, Michael Weisberg, the Lehrman Institute, and Patricia and John Klingenstein. All fellows receive research stipends while in residency, and the Bernard & Irene Schwartz Fellows each teach two courses at Eugene Lang College at the New School for Liberal Arts during their year as resident scholars. Visit nyhistory.org/library/fellowships for instructions and application checklists for each fellowship. The application deadline for all fellowships is December 31, 2018.Continue reading →
Annual Luncheon Benefits Educational Programs for NYC School Children
Iconic designer Stuart Weitzman will be honored at New-York Historical Society’s 2018 Strawberry Festival benefit luncheon, an annual event that dates back to 1856. The luncheon will take place on April 25 at the New-York Historical Society (170 Central Park West at 77th Street) and feature Mr. Weitzman in conversation with Vanessa Friedman, fashion director and chief fashion critic for the New York Times. Event check-in begins at 11:30 am. The Strawberry Festival coincides with Walk This Way: Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes, on view at New-York Historical April 20 – October 8, 2018.
New-York Historical Society logo
“We are delighted to recognize Stuart Weitzman’s outstanding work in fashion and philanthropy with our Distinguished Service Medal at this year’s Strawberry Festival,” said Pam Schafler, chair of the New-York Historical Society’s Board of Trustees. “Mr. Weitzman has devoted his career to designing fashionable footwear that takes into account women’s lifestyles today. His philanthropy covers a broad range of interests including education for young people—a mission of paramount importance at New-York Historical. Mr. Weitzman’s remarkable collection of historic footwear, on view in our Joyce B. Cowin Women’s History Gallery at the time of the celebration, provides the perfect backdrop as we honor him and commemorate the first anniversary of our Center for Women’s History.”
Mr. Weitzman joins a remarkable list of people celebrated at the Strawberry Festival in prior years. Past honorees include Loretta Lynch, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Mika Brzezinski, Hillary Clinton, Kirsten Gillibrand, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Michelle Obama, Anna Quindlen, Christine Quinn, Cokie Roberts, Lesley Stahl, Pat Klingenstein, and Sue Ann Weinberg.
New-York Historical Society’s Strawberry Festival has long recognized honorees’ contributions to public life since its first gathering in 1856 when guests enjoyed a stimulating lecture and a strawberry feast in Washington Square Park. Funds raised from this event support crucial educational programs for New York City children and youth, as part of New-York Historical’s DiMenna Children’s History Museum and Barbara K. Lipman Children’s History Library. In addition to offering critical initiatives in history education for 200,000 New York City public school students annually, DCHM and Lipman Library have become magnets for underserved children and families, with scholarships offered for weekend and holiday family programs and summertime history camps.
New-York Historical’s Center for Women’s History—the first of its kind in the nation within the walls of a major museum—features the little and often unknown stories of women who have shaped and continue to shape the American experience. As a hub for scholarship and education, the Center demonstrates how women across the spectrum of race, class, and culture have exercised power and effected change long before the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, which made women full American citizens with the right to vote. Guided by a committee of distinguished historians and informed by the latest research, the Center features permanent installations, temporary exhibitions, and a vibrant array of talks and programs, enriching the cultural landscape of New York City and ushering in a new era of historical discovery.
Stuart Weitzman’s passion for designing women’s shoes has been a lifelong pursuit. He began working at his father’s Massachusetts shoe factory while still in college. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Mr. Weitzman applied himself to the industry with laser-like focus, eventually building the globally renowned company that bears his name. Today, his shoes dominate red carpet events and are worn by loyal celebrity fans such as Angelina Jolie, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, and Gigi Hadid—and by millions of women from more than 75 countries around the world. Mr. Weitzman approaches his other endeavors with equal commitment: He shares his free time with his wife Jane and their two daughters, aiding a number of philanthropic causes close to their hearts—including mentoring students on their budding entrepreneurial aspirations at his alma mater and other institutions—and participating in sports, including ping-pong.
On view in the Joyce B. Cowin Women’s History Gallery at New-York Historical’s Center for Women’s History, Walk This Way: Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes explores how shoes have transcended their utilitarian purpose to become representations of culture—coveted as objects of desire, designed with artistic consideration, and expressing complicated meanings of femininity, power, and aspiration for women and men alike. The exhibition features 130 pairs of shoes from the iconic designer’s extensive private collection, assembled over three decades with his wife Jane Gershon Weitzman, along with examples drawn from New-York Historical’s own collection. The exhibition catalog, Walk this Way: Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection, published by D Giles Limited, is available from the NYHistory Store and other retailers.
Ticket prices for the 2018 Strawberry Festival begin at $500, and table prices begin at $5,000.
Ground-Breaking British Library Exhibition Comes to New York Showcasing the History of Magic as Featured in Harry Potter
Exhibition Marks the 20th Anniversary of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Publication in the U.S. by Scholastic
TheNew-York Historical Societyannounced that tickets for Harry Potter: A History of Magic, a British Library exhibition, will go on sale to the general public on April 26. The exhibition—the most successful showcase of all time at the British Library in London—will be on view at New-York Historical October 5, 2018–January 27, 2019. Tickets can be purchased at www.harrypotter.nyhistory.org beginning at 12 pm EDT on April 26.
Capturing the traditions of folklore and magic at the heart of the Harry Potter stories, Harry Potter: A History of Magic combines century-old treasures including rare books, manuscripts, and magical objects from the collections of the British Library and New-York Historical Society, with original material from Harry Potter publisher Scholastic and J.K. Rowling’s own archives. From medieval descriptions of dragons and griffins, to the origins of the sorcerer’s stone, visitors can explore the subjects studied at Hogwarts and see original drafts and drawings by J.K. Rowling as well as Harry Potter illustrator Jim Kay.
September 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the U.S. publication of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Scholastic kicked off its year-long celebration in January 2018. The Wizarding World will have one of its busiest years ever in the U.S., with the opening of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway in April; the British Library’s exhibition Harry Potter: A History of Magic, opening at the New York Historical Society in October; and the second Fantastic Beasts movie, The Crimes of Grindelwald, opening in cinemas in November. The Harry Potter books have sold more than 160 million copies in the U.S. alone and more than 500 million copies worldwide. The books are published in more than 200 territories in 80 languages.
In celebration, New-York Historical will display illustrator Brian Selznick’s artwork that will appear on the covers of the Harry Potter series to be published by Scholastic later this year. Also on view to the public for the first time will be Mary GrandPré’s illustrations created for Scholastic’s original editions of the novels. Costumes and set models from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which opens on Broadway in April, will be showcased in the exhibition.
New-York Historical Society exterior, 170 Central Park West. Photo credit: Jon Wallen.
Complementing the exhibition throughout its run will be a host of engaging and interactive activities sure to delight Harry Potter fans of all ages. Tickets for monthly fun trivia nights, which will put fans’ knowledge of the Wizarding World to the test, will be on sale on April 26 as well. Additional family and adult programs will be unveiled in the coming months.Continue reading →
“Feathers: Fashion and the Fight for Wildlife” On View April 6 – July 15, 2018
Unidentified maker. Accessory set, including muff and tippet, 1880–99, United States Herring Gulls, feathers, silk. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection, 2009.300.2050a-c. This unusual muff and tippet, made with four adult Herring Gulls harvested during breeding season, demonstrates how accessory manufacturers exploited these birds. Gulls are and were great scavengers, and continue to be instrumental in cleaning our shorelines. The 19th-century fashion for their feathers and bodies, however, nearly drove them into extinction.
The New-York Historical Society presents a special exhibition that melds fashion, activism, and the history of the groundbreaking Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Feathers: Fashion and the Fight for Wildlife, on view April 6–July 15, 2018, examines the circumstances that inspired early environmental activists—many of them women and New Yorkers—to champion the protection of endangered birds. The exhibition showcases bird- and plumage-embellished clothing and accessories. It also features original watercolors by John James Audubon of birds endangered before the passage of the statute, models for The Birds of America, from the Museum’s renowned collection. The exhibition is part of the Year of the Bird, a centennial celebration of the Act organized by National Geographic, the National Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and BirdLife International. Recordings of bird songs from The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology—together with objects on loan from other institutions, books, ephemera, and photographs—animate the narrative.
John James Audubon (1785–1851), Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus), Study for Havell pl. 411, 1838. Watercolor, graphite, oil, black ink, black chalk, and white gouache? with touches of pastel and glazing on paper, laid on card. Purchased for the New-York Historical Society by public subscription from Mrs. John J. Audubon, 1863.17.411Swans’ down, the soft, fine, under-feathers, of swans were used for trimming clothes—as in the evening dress on display—and for cosmetic powder puffs. Tundra Swans once nested over most of North America but disappeared rapidly as civilization advanced westward. By the 1930s, fewer than 100 remained south of Canada. With protection from hunting and the disturbance of plumers, northwestern populations have rebounded. Today, their population is stable enough to sustain a limited hunting season in some areas.
Administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 was one of the first federal laws to address the environment, prohibiting the hunting, killing, trading, and shipping of migratory birds. It also regulated the nation’s commercial plume trade, which had decimated many American bird species to the point of near extinction.
“Feathers: Fashion and the Fight for Wildlife commemorate the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by delving into history and examining the economic and social circumstances that inspired the early environmentalists and activists who lobbied for this consequential legislation,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president, and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. “As New York was the center of the nation’s feather trade, the exhibition also investigates how the act impacted the city’s feather importers, hat manufacturers, retailers, and fashion consumers—as well as how New York women played an important role in pushing for the legislation.”
John James Audubon (1785–1851) with Maria Martin (1796–1863), Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus), Study for Havell pl. 379, 1836–37. Watercolor, graphite, black ink, and gouache with touches of pastel and selective glazing on paper laid on card. Purchased for the New-York Historical Society by public subscription from Mrs. John J. Audubon, 1863.17.379. Audubon painted three species of North American hummingbirds. He never saw the western Rufous Hummingbird alive, but painted it from specimens sent to him by the naturalist Thomas Nuttall. While naturalists always admired the hummingbirds they studied, the larger public’s appreciation of these sensationally beautiful creatures resulted from exposure in public arenas. Many pieces of hummingbird jewelry, like the Red-legged Honeycreeper earrings seen in the exhibition, were produced in England by Harry Emanuel, who in 1865 patented a process for insetting the heads in silver and gold mounts.
John James Audubon (1785–1851), Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja), Study for Havell pl. 321, ca. 1831–32; 1836. Watercolor, graphite, gouache, and black ink with touches of glazing on paper laid on Japanese paper. Purchased for the New-York Historical Society by public subscription from Mrs. John J. Audubon, 1863.17.321. Audubon admired these prehistoric-looking, wading birds, the largest North American member of the ibis family. The beauty of their feathers brought the species to the brink of extinction by 1920. Plume hunters invaded colonies to slaughter the birds for fans sold in the tourist trade. They survived after the Audubon Society dispatched wardens to protect them and urged the passage of strict conservation laws. Today, the Roseate Spoonbill is one of the great success stories of the conservation movement.
The first gallery of the exhibition, “A Fancy for Feathers,” presents examples of the late 19th- and early 20th-century fashion including feathered hats, boas, fans, aigrettes, jewelry, and clothing. Highlights include a gold and diamond aigrette hair ornament (1894) featuring the wispy feathers of a Snowy or Great Egret, which were scornfully called the “white badge of cruelty” by activists; a muff and tippet accessory set (1880–99) composed of four adult Herring Gulls created during a craze for gulls that nearly drove the sea birds to extinction; a folding brisé fan of swirling white feathers (1910–29); and a pair of earrings inset with hummingbird heads (ca. 1865). Painted miniatures on view from the late 19th and early 20th centuries portray women adorned with bird plumes, such as one professed bird lover, wearing a hat decorated with dyed ostrich feathers while holding an American robin and surrounded by caged birds. Feathers also adorned men’s regalia and hats.
Unidentified maker. Red-Legged Honeycreeper hummingbird earrings, ca. 1865 Probably London, England Preserved bird, gold, metal. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Alfred Z. Solomon and Janet A. Sloane Endowment Fund, 2013, 2013.143a, b. Animal parts and insects decorated late 19thcentury jewelry. In 1865, London jeweler Harry Emanuel patented a method to inset hummingbird heads, skins, and feathers into gold and silver mounts. As objects of beauty as well as scientific fascination, the dazzling birds’ heads and feathers were prized as earrings, necklaces, brooches, and fans.
George Bird Grinnell (1849–1938) From Nathaniel Pitt Langford, Diary of the Washburn Expedition to the Yellowstone and Firehole Rivers in the year 1870, n.p. St. Paul, MN: Yellowstone National Park, 1905 New-York Historical Society Library. Born in Brooklyn, Grinnell played a seminal role in American conservation. He lived as a youth in Audubon Park in upper Manhattan, previously the estate of the legendary naturalist-artist John James Audubon. There Grinnell was tutored by Lucy Bakewell Audubon, who encouraged his lifelong passion for wildlife and the natural world. After a later expedition to Yellowstone, his report included what may be the first official statement in opposition to the excessive killing of big game. In 1886, Grinnell founded the Audubon Society of New York, the forerunner of the National Audubon Society (1905). He launched it from its publication Audubon Magazine as “an association for the protection of wild birds and their eggs.”
“Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms” On View May 25 – September 2, 2018
A new major exhibition exploring the evolution of Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms from a series of illustrations into a national movement debuts at the New-York Historical Society this spring as part of an international seven-city tour.
Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms, on view at New-York Historical May 25 – September 2, 2018, showcases Rockwell’s depictions of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Fear, and Freedom from Want. Organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA—where the tour culminates in 2020 after traveling to five additional U.S. venues as well as Normandy, France—the exhibition illuminates the historical context for these now-iconic images and examines how Rockwell’s 1943 paintings united the public behind Roosevelt’s call for the defense of universal rights.
The Norman Rockwell Museum is dedicated to education and art appreciation inspired by the legacy of Norman Rockwell. The Museum holds the world’s largest and most significant collection of art and archival materials relating to Rockwell’s life and work, while also preserving, interpreting, and exhibiting a growing collection of art by other American illustrators throughout history. The Museum engages diverse audiences through onsite and traveling exhibitions, as well as publications, arts and humanities programs, and comprehensive online resources.
“Norman Rockwell’s iconic images remind us of the significant role his work played in inspiring Americans to embrace Roosevelt’s call to protect freedom around the world,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. “At the same time, Rockwell’s art underscores the enduring importance of Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech. What Rockwell and Roosevelt identified as central to human dignity in the era of World War II is equally valid today. We are honored to convey this message to our visitors, and to be the first venue on the Norman Rockwell Museum’s illustrious tour.”
“The Norman Rockwell Museum conceived of Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms both to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Freedoms and to tell the story of how Norman Rockwell’s paintings came to be among the most enduring images in the history of American art,” said Norman Rockwell Museum Director Laurie Norton Moffatt. “The exhibition provides a rare opportunity to view the Four Freedoms together, outside their permanent home in Stockbridge. As the steward of Rockwell’s legacy, we are thrilled to launch the exhibition at the New-York Historical Society, whose remarkable work explores the relevance of historic events to our lives today.”
Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms, which is organized into five thematic sections, features paintings, drawings, and other original artworks by Rockwell and his contemporaries, as well as historical documents, photographs, videos, artifacts, interactive digital displays, and immersive settings, some with virtual reality elements.Continue reading →
Audubon’s Watercolors for The Birds of America and the Corresponding Plates to Rotate Monthly
This fall, the New-York Historical Society will welcome visitors to Audubon’s Birds of America Gallery, an intimate new gallery celebrating the Museum’s holdings of work by legendary artist John James Audubon, the world’s largest collection of Auduboniana. Each month a different watercolor model for The Birds of America will be displayed, paired with its corresponding plate from the double-elephant-folio series engraved by Robert Havell Jr. On November 10, just in time for Thanksgiving, the Wild Turkey will inaugurate the space. It will be the first time since 1827 that Audubon’s watercolor model, the engraved copper plate, and a print of plate 1 from The Birds of America will be reunited. The gallery—offering the only opportunity to see Audubon’s original watercolors with their related prints—is curated by Dr. Roberta J.M. Olson, curator of drawings.
John James Audubon (1785–1851), Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), Study for Havell pl. 1, ca. 1825. Watercolor, black ink, graphite, pastel, collage, and gouache with touches of metallic pigment and selective glazing on paper, laid on card; 39 7/16 x 26 3/8 in. (100.2 x 67 cm). Purchased for the New-York Historical Society by public subscription from Mrs. John J. Audubon, 1863.17.1
“In a stroke of marketing genius,” Olson noted, “Audubon organized his magnum opus not by taxonomy, which was traditional, but according to his aesthetic judgment and which watercolors were ready for engraving. He believed this organic order resembled that of nature. It was also far more interesting for his subscribers, who received their prints in fascicles (groups) of five prints each—usually one large, one medium, and three small, all on double-elephant-folio paper.”
William H. Lizars (1788–1859), retouched by Robert Havell Jr. (1793–1878), after John James Audubon (1785–1851). Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), engraved copper plate for plate 1 of The Birds of America. Copper. Copper; 39 3/8 x 26 3/8 in. (100 x 67 cm). American Museum of Natural History Library, New York, Gift of Cleveland E. Dodge
The inaugural centerpiece will be the season-appropriate Wild Turkey: Audubon’s watercolor, together with the engraving and the copper plate on loan from the American Museum of Natural History. Audubon, who agreed with Benjamin Franklin that the turkey should have been selected as America’s national symbol, assigned it the place of honor as the first plate of The Birds of America. “The Gobbler” became his most famous image, and he used it for his visiting card and his seal—engraved with the motto “AMERICA MY COUNTRY.” For the initial exhibition, Audubon’s watercolor of the female turkey with her poults (chicks) joins the flock. Following the Wild Turkey, visitors can expect to see Audubon’s birds in the order that they were engraved, starting with the Yellow-billed Cuckoo.Continue reading →
The Vietnam War: 1945–1975, On View October 4, 2017 – April 22, 2018
One of the major turning points of the 20th century, the Vietnam War will be the subject of an unprecedented exhibition presented by the New-York Historical Society from October 4, 2017 – April 22, 2018. Bringing the hotly contested history of this struggle into the realm of public display as never before, the exhibition will offer a chronological and thematic narrative of the conflict from 1945 through 1975 as told through more than 300 artifacts, photographs, artworks, documents, and interactive digital media.
American infantrymen crowd into a mud-filled bomb crater and look up at tall jungle trees seeking out Viet Cong snipers firing at them during a battle in Phuoc Vinh, north-northeast of Saigon in Vietnam’s War Zone D, June 15, 1967. Henri Huet / Associated Press
Objects on display will range from a Jeep used at Tan Son Nhut Air Base to a copy of the Pentagon Papers; from posters and bumper stickers both opposing and supporting the U.S. war effort to personal items left at theVietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC; from indelible news photographs (such asEddie Adams’ Execution) to specially commissioned murals by contemporary artist Matt Huynh. While no gallery exhibition can provide a comprehensive, global perspective on this vast subject, the materials brought together inThe Vietnam War: 1945–1975 will comprise a sweeping and immersive narrative, exploring, from a primarily American viewpoint, how this pivotal struggle was experienced both on the war front and on the home front. The Vietnam War: 1945–1975 was curated by Marci Reaven, New-York Historical Society vice president for history exhibitions.
Interior of the USNS General Nelson M. Walker. Courtesy of Art and Lee Beltrone, Vietnam Graffiti Project, Keswick, VA. American servicemen initially traveled to Vietnam aboard WWII-era troop ships like the General Nelson M. Walker. Nearly 5,000 Marines and G.I.s crowded the Walker on each three-week voyage from Oakland, California to Danang or Qui Nhon, South Vietnam.
“The Vietnam War: 1945–1975 signals a new ambition for the New-York Historical Society, which is to include in our exhibition program histories that are not only difficult but also as yet unresolved,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president, and CEO of New-York Historical. “This monumental exhibit challenges received wisdom about the origins and consequences of the War, relying on sources only recently made available to scholars as well as first person accounts of those who fought. As the exhibition shows, the War continues to provoke debate and discussion today and to dominate much of our thinking about military conduct and policy. The Vietnam War was the longest armed conflict of the 20th century, and today—more than 40 years after it ended―it continues to influence both public policy and personal convictions. We are grateful for the opportunity to offer the public a chance to better understand events and protagonists of the 20th century that reverberate well into the 21st.”
The Vietnam War: 1945–1975 sets the scene for the coming conflict through a display in an introductory gallery, where texts and materials about the onset of the Cold War document how the U.S. and its allies began to maneuver against theCommunist bloc in regional confrontations after World War II while avoiding head-on engagement between the nuclear powers. Objects on view include a series of oil paintings by Chesley Bonestellimagining the destruction of New York City by Soviet atomic bombs and a newsreel from 1950 making the case for U.S. military action in Korea.
Men of the 173rd Airborne Brigade on a search and destroy patrol after receiving supplies, 1966. National Archives at College Park, MD. The primary mission of U.S. forces was to destroy the enemy and their logistical network. American ground troops operated throughout South Vietnam, supported by naval and air campaigns. They defended the DMZ, pursued units in the hills along the Central Coast, combed through Viet Cong base areas in the Iron Triangle, and ranged across the upper Mekong Delta as part of an Army-Navy mobile riverine force.
The exhibition then takes up the story of Vietnam by recalling the successful struggle of the Communist-nationalist coalition Viet Minh to force France to abandon its claim to Vietnam, then part of the French colony known as Indochina. Archival footage from a CBS News broadcast illustrates the “domino theory” put forward by the Eisenhower administration in support of its desire to halt the spread of Communism in Asia, a mindset which contributed to the partitioning of Vietnam into North and South. Among the objects representing the experiences of the North Vietnamese and southern insurgents are a 1962 painting by the Hanoi-based artist Tran Huu Chat and a bicycle of the sort used by North Vietnamese forces for transport of arms along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Also on view is a scale model of the USS Maddox, one of the destroyers involved in the Gulf of Tonkin encounter with North Vietnamese forces in August 1964, which gave the Johnson Administration grounds for seeking Congressional authorization to increase U.S. military operations without a declaration of war.
On July 28, 1965, President Johnson spoke to the nation on TV to explain that it was up to America to protect South Vietnam and fight communism in Asia and that to be driven from the field would imperil U.S. power, security, and credibility. He also announced a dramatic escalation in the military draft.
Draft card. Courtesy of Joseph Corrigan, C Troop, 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, Dak To, Vietnam 1967–68. President Johnson’s order to send more troops to Vietnam affected all men between the ages of 18 and 26. Registration for military service was compulsory. The Selective Service called up only the men needed while excusing the rest through deferments. Twenty-seven million American men were of draft age during the war. Forty percent served in the military, and about 2.5 million went to Vietnam.
Objects on view, like an original draft card, and displays will address various responses to the draft, which affected all men between the ages of 18 and 26. Archival footage of Johnson’s address announcing the doubling of the draft will be shown. Artifacts, such as graffiti created by soldiers on their canvas berths, from the troopship General Walker, which ferried draftees during the three-week voyage to Vietnam, will demonstrate the personal side of soldiers as they headed toward war.
Detail. Tran Huu Chat, Spring in Tay Nguyen, 1962 and 2016. Lacquer engraving. New-York Historical Society. Hanoi art student Tran Huu Chat received high marks in 1962 for his lacquer engraving that depicted Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh organizing among the people to depose the French colonialists. Fellow Vietnamese would have understood that the artist was using the heroism of the Viet Minh to symbolically refer to the National Liberation Front, organized in 1960 to oppose the Diem regime and its U.S. backers. The original artwork hangs in Hanoi’s Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts. The 84-year-old Tran Huu Chat made an exact reproduction for this exhibition.
With this escalation of U.S. military involvement, the exhibition moves into a section that examines the conduct of the war and its repercussions both in the field and among American civilians. Two large, illustrated murals by noted artist and illustrator Matt Huynh, titled War Front and Home Front, depict key aspects of the years 1966 and 1967. War Front depicts the four combat zones in South Vietnam to show differing types of combat and highlight significant moments and battlegrounds. Home Front illustrates activity in the United States, including the Spring Mobilization, the largest antiwar demonstration to that date in American history, in which hundreds of thousands marched through midtown Manhattan on April 15, 1967.
71st Evacuation Hospital patch belonging to Barbara Chiminello (left) and 57th Medical Detachment patch belonging to Thomas Chiminello (right). Courtesy of Barbara, Philip, and Eugene Chiminello. Siblings Thomas and Barbara Chiminello served alongside one another in Vietnam—Tommy as a Medevac helicopter pilot and Barbara as a nurse. These are their unit patches. In October 1967, Barbara received devastating news. Tommy and his crew had all been killed while responding to an urgent evacuation request.
The mural also shows a pro-war demonstration from May 1967 and other scenes of the war’s impact on national life. Interactive kiosks placed next to both murals bring them to life, allowing visitors to explore the events depicted through videos and photographs. Notable objects displayed in this section include a poster of a woman fighter in support of the southern insurgents, recreated by Tran Thi Van; helmets worn by U.S. and South Vietnamese government soldiers, dog tags, military patches, and field implements; letters from soldiers to their loved ones back home; a condolence letter on the death of a son; period magazines; posters and buttons both demanding an end to the war and urging support for the military effort; and a recording of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s April 1967 speech against the war.Continue reading →
The British Library Is Bringing A Major Exhibition To The U.S. For The First Time
Harry Potter: A History Of MagicWill Be On View At The British Library In London, October 20, 2017 – February 28, 2018
The British Library and the New-York Historical Society are delighted to announce that Harry Potter: A History of Magic will open at the New-York Historical Society in October 2018, following its run at the British Library in London from October 20, 2017 – February 28, 2018.
The British Library Exhibition, Harry Potter: A History of Magic, to open at the New-York Historical Society in October 2018
The exhibition’s New York opening marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the U.S. by Scholastic, following the 20th-anniversary celebrations of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the U.K. in 2017.
The first book in the series ofHarry Potternovels, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was originally published by Bloomsbury in 1997. Since then Bloomsbury has published all seven of the Harry Potter novels in children’s and adult editions, three charity books―Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quidditch Through the Ages and The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and the ILLUSTRATED EDITION of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Bloomsbury is also the publishers for the physical audiobooks of the entire series.
The exhibition unveils rare books, manuscripts, and magical objects from the British Library’s collection, capturing the traditions of folklore and magic at the heart of the Harry Potter stories. Exploring the subjects studied at Hogwarts, the exhibition includes original drafts and drawings by J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter illustrator Jim Kay, going on display for the first time.
As it travels from London to New York, the exhibition will evolve to include U.S.-specific artifacts from New-York Historical’s collection and items from U.S.Harry Potter publisher Scholastic’s collection.
The British Libraryis the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world’s greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research, and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library’s collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilization and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website―www.bl.UK―every year where they can view up to 4 million digitized collection items and over 40 million pages. (See more at: www.bl.uk.) Continue reading →
Holiday Express: Trains and Toys from the Jerni Collection On View Through February 26, 2017
Holiday Express: Trains and Toys from the Jerni Collection returns to the New-York Historical Society this holiday season to delight and inspire children of all ages. On view now through February 26, 2017, this vibrant and sweeping display of spectacular antique toy trains, toys, and scenic elements celebrates the beauty and allure of toys from a bygone era. Holiday Express: Trains and Toys from the Jerni Collection is sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
A 360‐degree mountainous landscape showcases toy trains, miniature figures, and model buildings evoking the 1890s. The Jerni Collection, New‐York Historical Society
Holiday Express: Trains and Toys from the Jerni Collection is curated by Mike Thornton, associate curator of material culture at the New-York Historical Society. The display was designed by Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership (LHSA+DP), an integrated architecture and exhibit design firm that also designed New-York Historical’s DiMenna Children’s History Museum. Other consultants for Holiday Express include T W TrainWorx, a nationally recognized model train specialist and designer of custom toy train layouts; and exhibition media producers Batwin + Robin, renowned “media storytellers” with more than 20 years of experience in the theater, museums, and other venues.
A crawl‐through space leading to a popup semisphere allows children to get an up‐close‐and‐personal view of the display, suggesting an early 20th century toy department. The Jerni Collection, New‐York Historical Society
R. Bliss Co. U.S. Cruiser, 1906. The Jerni Collection, New‐York Historical Society
Holiday Express unfolds over a broad swath of New-York Historical’s first floor, featuring 300 pieces from the Jerni Collection that transform the space into a magical wonderland. Theatrical lighting, an ambient audio “soundscape,” and other visual effects immerse visitors in an enchanting holiday experience. The exhibition begins at the West 77th Street entrance, where trains appear to roar through the Museum with the help of four large-scale multimedia screens. A 360-degree mountainous landscape, on view in the Judith and Howard Berkowitz Sculpture Court, showcases toy trains, miniature figures, and model buildings evoking the 1890s.Continue reading →
Exhibit Includes Recently Recovered Manuscripts Relating to Mexican Inquisition Victim Luis de Carvajal to be on Public Display for the First Time
The First Jewish Americans: Freedom and Culture in the New World, On View October 28, 2016 – February 26, 2017
This fall, a path-breaking exhibition at the New-York Historical Society(170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street), New York, NY 10024. Phone (212) 873-3400. TTY (212) 873-7489) will examine the story of newcomers to the New World, both Jewish and of Jewish ancestry, who made their way to colonial America and engaged fully in the cultural, social, and political life of the young nation. On view now through to February 26, 2017, The First Jewish Americans: Freedom and Culture in the New World will feature more than 170 objects, including rare early portraits, drawings, maps, books, documents, and ritual objects primarily drawn from the Princeton University Jewish American Collection, gift of Mr. Leonard L. Milberg, Class of 1953; and Mr. Leonard L. Milberg’s personal collection.
Luis de Carvajal the Younger (ca. 1567-1596) Memorias autobiographical manuscripts , ca. 1595, with devotional manuscripts Manuscript leaves, 3 volumes, each stitched into plain wrappers. Courtesy of the Government of Mexico.
In addition to objects from the New-York Historical Society, the exhibition will showcase loans from museums nationwide and abroad. Highlights include two landscape paintings by Sephardic Jew Camille Pissarro, on loan from the National Gallery of Art, depicting St. Thomas—the Caribbean island where the artist was born in 1830—and an important group of six portraits depicting members of the Levy-Franks family, prominent figures in New York City’s 18th-century Jewish community, from the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
Establishing vibrant communities in American port cities including New York, Philadelphia, Newport, Savannah, and Charleston, early Jewish settlers adopted American ideals while remaining a distinctive and socially cohesive group, giving birth to a new Jewish American tradition with the stamp of both cultures. This groundbreaking exhibition reveals the extraordinary contributions of 18th- and 19th-century Jewish artists, writers, activists, and others to the development of American culture and politics.
Suriname map, 1718. Nieuwe Kaart van Suriname vertonende de stromen en land-streken van Suriname, Comowini, Cottica, en Marawini, Amsterdam, 1718. Collection of Leonard L. Milberg.
“The First Jewish Americans explores the paths taken by Jews who for centuries fled persecution in Europe—beginning with the little-known but remarkable stories of their experience in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Brazil during the colonial period, and following their journey toward finding freedom and tolerance in the early American Republic,” said Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. “We are grateful for the extraordinary collections of Leonard L. Milberg and the partnership of the Princeton University Library, which will allow us to convey to the New York public the fundamental importance of the Jewish people to early American history. We are deeply grateful to Mr. Milberg for his tenacity and hard work in securing the loan of recently recovered Jewish writings from Spanish Colonial Mexico, the earliest extant Jewish manuscripts from that time period.”
The First Jewish Americans will showcase, for the first time on public display, the manuscripts relating to Mexican Inquisition victim Luis de Carvajal—considered the earliest extant Jewish books in the New World. These exceptional documents and other materials in the exhibition underscore the long reach of the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions, which followed settlers of Jewish ancestry into the New World, forcing confessions and burning suspected “Judaizers” at the stake in horrific autos-de-fé.
(The New-York Historical Society is grateful to the Government of Mexico, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, and the Consulate General of Mexico in New York, for the loan of Luis de Carvajal‘s manuscripts.)
The First Jewish Americans will explore the origins of the Jewish diaspora and paths to the New World, Jewish life in American port cities, and the birth of American Judaism in the 18th and early 19th centuries, as well as profile prominent Jewish Americans who made an impact on early American life.
Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Locket with photo. The Historic New Orleans Collection.
European Jews fleeing persecution and seeking ports of refuge were propelled westward to the distant shores of New World colonies, which offered hope for a new beginning until the infamous Holy Inquisition followed them across the ocean. The exhibition powerfully illustrates this experience through the 1595 autobiography of Luis de Carvajal, a “converso” Jew in Mexico and the nephew of a prominent governor, who was tried by the Inquisition and denounced more than 120 other secretly practicing Jews before he was burned at the stake in 1596.
Isaac N. Cardozo (1792–1855), A Discourse, Delivered in Charleston, (S.C.) on the 21st of Nov. 1827, before the Reformed Society of Israelites, for Promoting True Principles of Judaism according to Its Purity and Spirit, on Their Third Anniversary. Charleston, 1827. Princeton University Library. Gift of Leonard L. Milberg, Class of 1953, in honor of his grandchildren: Beverly Allison Milberg, Ava Miriam Milberg, Emmett Nathaniel Milberg, William Nathan Milberg, Charles Bennett Milberg, Samantha Eve Shapiro, and Nathan Busky Shapiro.
The recently rediscovered documents, which had gone missing from the National Archives of Mexico more than 75 years ago, will be on view at New-York Historical by special arrangement with the Mexican government before returning to Mexico.Continue reading →
This fall, to commemorate the 240th Anniversary of the largest single battle of the American Revolution, the New-York Historical Society will present The Battle of Brooklyn, on view from September 23, 2016 to January 8, 2017. A story of American defeat in the first major armed campaign after the Declaration of Independence, the Battle of Brooklyn took place in August 1776, but does not occupy the same place in history as the more victorious engagements at Bunker Hill or Yorktown. Also known as the Battle of Long Island, the event is seen by some as the biggest missed opportunity for Britain to end the American rebellion and marks a pivotal moment when the fight for American independence teetered on the edge of failure.
John Trumbull (1756–1843) George Washington (1732–1799), 1780 Metropolitan Museum of Art Bequest of Charles Allen Munn, 1924
“The Battle of Brooklyn was a major part of American history that happened right here in our backyards but is often overlooked in stories of the founding of our nation,” said Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. “On the surface it could be seen as a moment of defeat, but this exhibition will show the resilience and strength of New Yorkers, who fought bravely and endured occupation of their city before finally becoming independent and free citizens.”
Bernard Ratzer (active 1756–1776), engraved by Thomas Kitchin (1718–1784), Plan of the City of New York, 1770 New-York Historical Society Library
The Battle of Brooklyn will capture the volatile time when the Continental Congress and the American colonists turned ideas into action and broke their ties with Britain. The year 1776 opened with the publication of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, sparking the call for separation across the colonies; it closed with the publication of his American Crisis, marking the sense of despair among supporters of independence. With more than 100 objects documenting major political and military figures, the dynamic debates over independence, and the artifacts of combat and British occupation, the exhibition will convey the atmosphere of New York City as it faced invasion by a British force that exceeded its own population.
Thomas Paine (1737–1809) Common Sense, 1776 New-York Historical Society Library
Focusing on the year 1776, The Battle of Brooklyn will be organized chronologically to explore the political and ideological context leading up to the battle, the timeline of the battle itself, and the consequences of its immediate aftermath. The exhibition will open with large portraits of iconic figures George Washington and King George III, followed by profiles of American and British politicians and thinkers on both sides of the conflict. A copy of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, published in early 1776, which drew many to the revolutionary cause, will illustrate the arguments made for separation.
The first section of the exhibition will also examine why the British targeted New York, the second largest colonial city at the time. Maps by John Montresor and Bernard Ratzer will show the city’s geographical advantages, including a deep water port that provided the British navy access to the city and lush farms on Staten Island and Long Island that could keep an army fed. As John Adams explains in his January 1776 letter to George Washington that will be on view, “New York is…a kind of key” that would allow the British to divide the colonies by taking control of the Hudson River.
United States Continental Congress In Congress, July 4, 1776. A declaration by the representatives of the United States of America, in general Congress assembled. [Declaration of Independence] New York: Printed by Hugh Gaine New-York Historical Society Library
Tensions rose as American forces poured into the city in spring 1776. Documents on view relating to this time will include Washington’s broadside warning residents to evacuate, Solomon Nash’s manuscript diary noting a plot to kill General Washington, and Hugh Gaine’s printing of the Declaration of Independence, all illustrating the mood and consciousness of what was at stake. While some New Yorkers cheered independence, others predicted years of turmoil, shown through drawings, broadsides, almanacs, and orderly books that provide a fuller picture of how the city was affected.
United States Continental Congress In Congress, July 4, 1776. A declaration by the representatives of the United States of America, in general Congress assembled. [Declaration of Independence] New York: Printed by Hugh Gaine New-York Historical Society Library
Camp Bed, 1777–1785. Gift of Ernest Livingston McCrackan. New-York Historical Society
Ridgeway after Alonzo Chappel Lord Stirling at the Battle of Long Island, c.1858 New-York Historical Society Library
The second section of the exhibition will center on the week of the battle itself. An animated media piece on a projection table will dynamically show the order of events, depicting troop movements, the passage of time, and the skillful British maneuver that upended the American defenses and could have finished them for good. A custom-built model of the Vechte farmhouse (today’s Old Stone House in Gowanus) hidden within the projection table will illustrate one of the battle’s most dramatic moments: the outnumbered Maryland regiment fighting on to allow their fellow soldiers time to retreat across Gowanus Creek.
Hunting shirt, ca. 1776. Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site. New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
An American encampment scene filled with weapons, uniforms, and accessories will feature George Washington’s camp cot, a bass drum, and a rare hunting shirt worn by the Pennsylvania riflemen, a style which later became a de facto uniform. A loyalist coat, a British Grenadier’s cap, and a Hessian helmet provide examples of what residents of Staten Island might have seen as the island’s population of approximately 2,000 exploded with the arrival of 34,000 British soldiers and sailors. Maps will also be on view, as topography influenced military strategy tremendously during the battle.Continue reading →
Campaigning for the Presidency, 1960-1972: Selections from the Museum of Democracy On View Through November 27, 2016
Coinciding with the 2016 presidential election, the New-York Historical Society will explore campaign memorabilia and the ephemera of American politics through the shifting styles, rhetoric, and aesthetics of four presidential elections and other political contests in the 1960s and early 1970s. On view August 26 – November 27, 2016, Campaigning for the Presidency, 1960-1972: Selections from the Museum of Democracy will showcase more than 120 objects from the planned Museum of Democracy/Wright Family Collection, considered one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive collections of political campaign memorabilia.
Sven Walnum Photograph Collection JFK Campaigning, 1960 John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
“With this year’s presidential election reaching a crescendo, we aim to remind New Yorkers what elections looked like before 24/7 news coverage and social media,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. “As [the late] New York Mayor Ed Koch said, campaign memorabilia is ‘the sparkle and glitter of which our campaigns are made’ and that certainly comes through in this exhibition, which illustrates the integral role that ephemera had in American politics. We are pleased to share the Wright Family Collection with our visitors and give a taste of what’s to come in the planned Museum of Democracy.”
Kennedy-Johnson Campaign Vest and Hat, 1960 The Museum of Democracy/Wright Family Collection
Curated by New-York Historical Society Research Associate Cristian Panaite, the exhibition will feature objects from the presidential campaigns of John F. Kennedy vs. Richard Nixon (1960); Lyndon B. Johnson vs. Barry Goldwater (1964); the three-way contest between Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, and George Wallace (1968); and Richard Nixon vs. George McGovern (1972), tracing changes in tone and style of the 1960s and early 1970s and reflecting contemporary developments in campaign strategy.
Spiro Agnew / Nixon VIP Theater Wind-Up Dancing Doll, ca 1970 The Museum of Democracy/Wright Family Collection
Highlights will include bold posters, paper dresses, dolls and board games, t-shirts, paper and vinyl stickers, lapel pins, buttons, and other ephemera that range in tone from idealistic, to humorous, to scathingly critical. The exhibition will also feature some iconic television commercials from this era when the medium transformed politics, such as the controversial “Peace Little Girl (Daisy)” from 1964, which Johnson’s campaign created to demonstrate the danger of putting Goldwater in charge of the nuclear button. Memorabilia created for other prominent primary candidates of this era, such as Robert F. Kennedy and Nelson Rockefeller, will also be on view.
LBJ Stetson-Style Plastic Cowboy Hat, ca. 1964 The Museum of Democracy/Wright Family Collection
Focusing on four major presidential campaigns, the exhibition will begin with the 1960 John F. Kennedy vs. Richard Nixon contest, when Kennedy famously beat a sweaty and nervous-looking Nixon in the first live televised debate. Among the objects on view from this campaign will be a vest and hat featuring the slogan “Kennedy is the Remedy,” worn by an usher at the Democratic convention, and an elephant-shaped bobble-head doll wearing a “Nixon for President” sash.
Barry Goldwater Aftershave, 1964 The Museum of Democracy/Wright Family Collection
The 1964 Lyndon B. Johnson vs. Barry Goldwater campaign proved to be a gold mine for memorabilia. Goldwater’s campaign team seized on “gold” as a theme of many campaign products, producing quirky items such as Gold Water aftershave, “An After Shave for Americans.” Not only was it a play on the candidate’s name, but connecting Goldwater to cleanliness might have been a conservative reaction to “dirty hippies.” Lyndon B. Johnson’s campaign made an effort to promote his all-American, Western rancher image through a hay bale that reads “Johnson Grass Hay From One Good Democrat to Another.”Continue reading →
Renowned Collection of Tiffany Lamps to be Displayed in a Dazzling Glass Gallery Center for the Study of Women’s History is First of Its Kind for a U.S. Museum Permanent Collection Displays to Reimagine Historical Artifacts in Bold New Ways
The New-York Historical Society today shared plans for the transformation of the Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture on the fourth floor of its home on Central Park West, which will be redesigned to feature highlights from its outstanding collection as never before, as well as a groundbreaking new center for scholarship focused on women’s history. The centerpiece of the re-imagined fourth floor will be New-York Historical’s preeminent collection of Tiffany lamps, displayed in a sparkling glass gallery designed by architect Eva Jiřičná. The new Center for the Study of Women’s History will be a permanent space devoted to women’s history exhibitions and scholarship—the first of its kind in a U.S. museum. A re-imagined display of the permanent collection will increase public access and engagement with New-York Historical’s holdings and bring new artifacts to light. Renovation of the fourth floor has begun and the space is scheduled to open to the public in early 2017.
“The new fourth floor was inspired in part by New-York Historical’s discovery of the secret history of Clara Driscoll and the ‘Tiffany Girls,’ who designed and created many iconic Tiffany lampshades, and whose overlooked contributions offer a window into the history of American women, labor and a changing New York in the late 19thand early 20thcenturies, stories that New-York Historical is uniquely capable of sharing with the world and that will come together in this exciting new space,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society.
“The renovated, refurbished, and re-imagined fourth floor will be a transformative next chapter in the extraordinary and ever-expanding story of the New-York Historical Society, New York’s first museum,” said Pam B. Schafler, Chairman of the Board of the New-York Historical Society.
Tiffany Gallery The Tiffany Gallery will be a sparkling glass showcase for the Museum’s renowned collection of lamps by Tiffany Studios, which is among the world’s best in range and quality. Designed by architect Eva Jiřičná in her first major New York project, the 3,000-square-foot, two-story space will feature a dramatic glass staircase. One hundred Tiffany lamps will be on display in the darkened gallery, dramatically lit to allow visitors to experience the glowing lamps as they were intended.
Curated by Margaret K. Hofer, Vice President and Museum Director of the New-York Historical Society, highlights on view will include a Wisteria lamp (ca. 1901), made with nearly 2,000 pieces of glass to portray the cascading blooms; a Magnolia shade (ca. 1910–13), with “drapery” glass that was folded while still molten to capture the fleshy texture of the blossoms; a Cobweb shade on a Narcissus mosaic base (ca. 1902), designed during a period of transition from fuel to electricity and depicting spider webs among the branches of an apple blossom tree; and a Dragonfly shade (ca. 1900–06), one of Tiffany Studios’ most popular designs, featuring dragonflies with brass filigree wings and gleaming glass, jewel eyes.
Special attention will be given to the recently discovered role of Clara Driscoll and her Women’s Glasscutting Department, the actual designers and creators of many popular Tiffany shades, including the Wisteria and Dragonfly. Honoring Driscoll and her team of “Tiffany Girls,” who remained hidden in Louis Tiffany’s shadow until the discovery of Driscoll’s correspondence in 2005, the exhibition will provide a powerful connection to the Center for the Study of Women’s History, also on the fourth floor. The installation will also explore the history of Tiffany Studios, their marketing of luxury goods, the various styles of lighting produced by the firm, and the significant impact of the advent of electricity on the lives of Americans at the turn of the century.
The mezzanine level of the Tiffany Gallery will delve deeper into the making of Tiffany lampshades, from preliminary sketches and design cartoons, to the selection and cutting of glass. The “Design-a-Lamp” interactive will allow visitors to select glass for a Dragonfly shade and see the immediate results on a three-dimensional illuminated model. Visitors will also learn about trademark details that distinguish original Tiffany creations from contemporary Tiffany-style lamps.
Center for the Study of Women’s History The Center for the Study of Women’s History will be the first of its kind in a U.S. museum to focus on women’s history on a permanent basis, presenting special exhibitions, public and scholarly programs, and an immersive multimedia film. Organized and curated by Valerie Paley, Vice President and Chief Historian of the New-York Historical Society, the Center will feature two to three exhibitions annually in the Joyce B. Cowin Women’s History Gallery, alternating between historical and art-focused installations. Planned exhibitions include an inaugural show on 18thcentury American women’s role in helping to create the first modern democracy, and an exhibition that focuses on women and the 19thcentury Progressive movement. A digital interactive wall, Women’s Voices, will explore and contemplate women’s words and actions, and invite visitors to participate in the dialogue by sharing their own stories.Continue reading →
Superheroes in Gotham, On View October 9, 2015 – February 21, 2016
COMIC BOOK SUPERHEROES ARE A PART OF OUR DAILY LIVES. They engage our imaginations on the pages of comic books, television and movie screens, as well as the Broadway stage and in the virtual world of gaming. Contemporary literature and art reference them; adults and children alike delight in donning superhero t-shirts, caps, and sneakers.
Since their introduction in the late 1930s, superheroes have been powerful role models, inspirational and enviable. Based on mythological archetypes, they reflect, respond to, and offer ways to navigate the twists and turns of modern life. Comic books are a great American art form, a cultural phenomenon born in New York City that now extends around the globe.
This fall, the New-York Historical Society will share the untold history of comic books in Superheroes in Gotham.Superheroes in Gotham will tell the story of the birth of comic book superheroes in New York City; the leap of comic book superheroes from the page into radio, television, and film; the role of fandom, including the yearly mega event known as New York Comic Con; and the ways in which comic book superheroes, created in the late 1930s through the 1960s, have inspired and influenced the work of contemporary comic book artists, cartoonists, and painters in New York City. On view October 9, 2015 through February 21, 2016, Superheroes in Gothamwill focus on our culture’s most legendary superheroes – Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Spider-Man and Iron Man – as well as more recent characters inspired by the contemporary city. Beyond the characters, Superheroes in Gothamwill consider the importance of New York as a creative force behind a uniquely American mythology.
The exhibition is curated by the New-York Historical Society’s Debra Schmidt Bach, Associate Curator of Decorative Arts, and Nina Nazionale, Director of Library Operations. Support for Superheroes in Gotham is provided by The Private Client Reserve of U.S. Bank and The William T. Morris Foundation.
Among the range of material on display will be: a rare comic book featuring Superman’s first appearance (Action Comics No. 1, June 1938), clips from early radio and film adaptations, Philip Pearlstein’s Superman painting (1952), original drawings by Steve Ditko of Spider-Man’s first appearance in Amazing Fantasy (No. 15, 1962), a Batmobile made for the Batman television series (1966), a costume from Broadway’s Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark (2011), hip-hip pioneer Darryl McDaniels’DMC comic book (2014), and his signature fedora.
“Comics are a huge cultural force, but few remember their New York roots,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. “Superheroes in Gotham will immerse visitors in the early days of comics and their evolution, so they can learn more about the genesis of their favorite characters, encounter new voices that continue the creative tradition today, and perhaps see aspects of their own neighborhoods imaginatively captured on the page.”
Image Credits (left to right): Jerry Siegel (writer) and Joe Shuster (artist), Action Comics (No. 1, June 1938). Published by Detective Comics, Inc., New York. Courtesy of Metropoliscomics.com; Andrew Herman (Federal Art Project), Bowery Restaurant, 1940. The Museum of the City of New York; H.G. Peter, Drawing of Wonder Woman in Costume, ca. 1941. Courtesy of Metropoliscomics.com
Upon entering the New-York Historical Society’s Central Park West entrance, visitors will be greeted by an original working Batmobile (1966), one of three cars created for the 1966-68 Batmantelevision series.
The first gallery will trace each character’s origins within the context of their creators and period events. A range of first-issue comic books will be displayed, including Superman’s Action Comics No. 1 and Batman (No. 1, Spring 1940). During World War II, many superhero stories channeled American concerns about the conflict. In addition, several of their creators also enlisted. Wartime issues of Captain America (1942) and an original drawing (ca. 2000) by Joe Simon—who served in the U.S. Coast Guard— will present Captain America as the ultimate patriotic warrior. Superman was also enlisted, and lent his support in a range of U.S. Army and Navy training materials (ca. 1942-43). A drawing of Wonder Woman in an early version of her patriotic costume by H.G. Peter (ca. 1941) will be shown alongside a “Wonder Woman for President” issue (No. 7, Winter 1943).
Two of Steve Ditko’s original drawings of Spider-Man’s first appearance in Amazing Fantasy (No. 15, September 1962) will be displayed alongside a copy of the published issue. Considered Spider-Man’s “birth certificate”, these drawings will be on public view for the first time outside of the Library of Congress. Other Cold War-era artifacts include original cover art for The Invincible Iron Man (No. 1, 1968).
The second gallery will explore how superheroes flew from page to screen decades before they became blockbuster movie franchises. Scripts, audio recordings, animation cels, and cartoon clips will illuminate Superman’s multimedia adaptation less than two years after his comic book debut. One particular clip from the Superman cartoon (1941) will depict the character flying for the first time, rather than leaping as he did in print. After appearing in two film serials in the 1940s, Batman was re–imagined in a popular television series (1966-68) and full length film (released in 1966). In addition to an original Batmobile (1966), the exhibition will feature three Batman set paintings by art director Leslie Thomas (ca. 1966-68) and a Catwoman costume (ca. 1966). Clips from the Wonder Woman television series (1975-79), as well as a copy of Ms. magazine’s first issue depicting her at the helm (1972), illuminate Wonder Woman’s development as a second-wave feminist icon.
The third and final gallery will examine the enduring influence of superheroes on a wide range of New York-based artists, cartoonists, contemporary comic book creators, and fans. Known today for his hyperreal nude portraits, the exhibition will feature Philip Pearlstein’s Superman (1952), a proto-pop art painting from his early career. Also featured will be cartoonist Mort Gerberg’s original illustration art for The New Yorker (“Do you have any references besides Batman?”, July 1997) alongside Batman drawings he doodled inside a childhood Hebrew School book (circa 1940). A costume from Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark(2011), the most-expensive production in Broadway history, will also be exhibited.
Superheroes in Gothamwill also explore contemporary New York- based superhero comics. A copy of DMC (2014)—which follows the comic book alter-ego of musician Darryl McDaniels in 1980s New York—will be displayed alongside the hip-hop pioneer’s trademark fedora, glasses and Adidas sneakers (worn by the fictional superhero DMC as well) . Also on view will be art from Dean Haspiel’s independent web-based comic books, including the Brooklyn-based Red Hook and a comic book set, in part, during the 2003 blackout. The exhibition will conclude with ephemera from the United States’ first comic convention, which took place in New York in 1964, as well as photographs and posters from recent years.
Public and Family Programs
To celebrate the exhibition’s opening on October 9, the New-York Historical Society will host a special superhero edition of The Big Quiz Thing trivia game show, as well as special family activities. On October 16, New-York Historical will screen both classic versions of “The Mark of Zorro,” starring Tyrone Power (1940) and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. (1920, silent), as part of their “Justice in Film” series. On October 31, all ages will be invited to channel their own superpowers at a Family Halloween Party, featuring a supervillain trivia contest, fortune-telling, crafts, scavenger hunts, and trick-or-treating. Farther ahead, Jill Lepore— winner of the New-York Historical Society’s 2015 American History Book Prize—will explore The Secret History of Wonder Woman on January 14, 2016.
The New-York Historical Society, one of America’s pre-eminent culturalinstitutions, is dedicated to fostering research and presenting history and art exhibitions and public programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, the museum has a mission to explore the richly layered history of New York City and State and the country, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history.
Samuel Alschuler, a Jewish photographer lent Lincoln his own velvet-trimmed coat for this photo taken in Urbana, Illinois, on April 25, 1858, just as Lincoln would begin his Senate campaign against Stephen Douglas. Lincoln would again sit for Alschuler two years later, after he was elected president.
Marking the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, the New-York Historical Society will present the exhibition Lincoln and the Jews, on view March 20 through June 7, 2015. Through several never-before-exhibited original writings by Lincoln and his Jewish contemporaries, the exhibition will bring to light Lincoln’s little-known relationship with the Jewish community and its lasting implications for Lincoln, for America, and for Jews. The exhibition is inspired by the publication ofLincoln and the Jews: A History(Thomas Dunne Books, March 2015), by Jonathan D. Sarna, Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University, and Benjamin Shapell, founder of The Shapell Manuscript Foundation.
Lincoln’s close friend, Abraham Jonas, was a Jewish lawyer in Quincy, Illinois whom Lincoln first met in 1843. Jonas was a staunch supporter of Lincoln throughout their more than two decades of friendship. The correspondence between the two men demonstrates their personal, professional, and political closeness, and in 1860 Lincoln said of Jonas that he was “one of my most valued friends.”
Abraham Jonas, a close friend of Lincoln’s (a Jewish lawyer from Illinois), warns Lincoln of a plot to assassinate him before Inauguration Day. Jonas had sons living in the South, and he received word from them of the rumors to kill Lincoln. The warnings did not go unheeded: Lincoln was smuggled into Washington, arriving in the dead of night ten days before the Inauguration.
Presented in collaboration with the Shapell Manuscript Foundation, the exhibition will premiere at the New-York Historical Society before traveling to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, Illinois. The exhibition is guest curated by Dr. Ann Meyerson, independent museum curator, under the leadership of Benjamin Shapell. Harold Holzer, the Roger Hertog Fellow at the New-York Historical Society and chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation, serves as Chief Historical Advisor.
Lincoln and the Jews will illustrate how America changed as its Jewish population surged from 3,000 to 150,000, and how Abraham Lincoln, more than any of his predecessors, changed America in order to accelerate acceptance of Jews as part of the mosaic of American life. Showcasing more than 80 artifacts documenting the connection between Lincoln and Jews – including letters, official appointments, pardons, and personal notes, as well as Bibles, paintings and Judaica – Lincoln and the Jews will trace the events in Lincoln’s life through the lens of his Jewish friends, such as his fellow lawyer and politician Abraham Jonas and his enigmatic chiropodist (podiatrist) and confidant Issachar Zacharie, as well as Lincoln’s profound interest in and connection to the Old Testament. The exhibition will paint a portrait of a politician and president who worked for the inclusion of Jews as equals in America – a leader truly committed to “malice toward none.”
Painting titled: The Last Hours of Abraham Lincoln, by Alonzo Chappel, 1868. Oil on canvas.This painting depicts President Lincoln on his deathbed surrounded by a large group of people including Robert Todd Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln, Clara Harris, Henry Rathbone, Edwin Stanton, and Andrew Johnson. Artist and engraver John B. Bachelder of Washington, D.C., arranged for everyone who visited the dying president to have their photographs taken at Mathew Brady’s studio. From those images, Bachelder created a design for a monumental painting and hired Alonzo Chappel to complete the canvas: A Jewish doctor at Lincoln’s deathbed: Alonzo Chappel’s famous 1867 painting depicts the ten-by-fifteen-foot room in which Lincoln lay dying as large enough to be filled with almost as many doctors who later claimed to be there. Of the nine actually in attendance, Dr. Charles Liebermann, a Russian-born Jewish ophthalmologist and a leading Washington physician, is prominently featured here, gazing intently at the president. Lierbermann had attended at Lincoln’s deathbed throughout the nine-hour coma.
The exhibition is designed to move visitors chronologically through Lincoln’s life, beginning with items and documents from before his presidential inauguration and ending with his untimely death in 1865. Lincoln’s relationship with Abraham Jonas, a Jewish member of the Illinois State Legislature whom Lincoln called “one of my most valued friends,” will be explored in the show, with an 1860 letter on view from Jonas that warns of an assassination plot before Lincoln’s first inauguration, rumors of which Jonas learned from his extended family in the South. Also on display is the illustration of a Hebrew flag that Abraham Kohn, a leader of the Jewish community in Chicago, bestowed upon then-president-elect Lincoln shortly before his departure from Springfield for his inauguration in Washington. Quoting the Book of Joshua, it urged Lincoln to “Be strong and of a good courage… Be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
Lincoln often took unpopular stands in defense of Jews and Judaism, and the exhibition explores Lincoln’s two most important wartime interactions with the Jewish community. One was his role in amending the chaplaincy law so that Jews and other non-Christians might serve as chaplains; he also appointed the first-ever Jewish military chaplains in the United States. The other was his countermanding of General Ulysses S. Grant’s notorious General Orders No. 11 that expelled “Jews as a class” from the territory then under his command. Lincoln had the order revoked as soon as he learned of it, explaining that he did “not like to hear a class or nationality condemned on account of a few sinners.” Lincoln also supported the promotion and decoration of Jewish Civil War soldiers. On view in the exhibition will be dueling pistols presented to the Civil War hero Edward S. Salomon by the Citizens of Cook County, Illinois in 1867. Salomon led the so-called “Jewish Company” from Illinois and was commended for his battlefield bravery, exhibited at the Battle of Gettysburg and beyond.
Carte-de-visite of Issachar Zacharie. The Shapell Manuscript Collection
Issachar Zacharie came highly recommended to treat Lincoln’s feet after shrewdly amassing a host of testimonials, mostly from leading politicians and generals. Yet Zacharie was not shy about requesting and accumulating more, even from the president, who, in the historic week that followed Antietam, the single bloodiest day in American history, and the week in which Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet, wrote no less than three testimonials for the Jewish chiropodist. Lincoln attested to Zacharie’s skill in treating his feet, and in one, refers to “what plain people called backache,” alluding to his own humble origins and years of hard labor. Within months, Zacharie would become emissary to the Jewish community in Union-occupied New Orleans.
In 1862, just as he was preparing to deliver the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet, Lincoln was treated by podiatrist Issachar Zacharie, who soon became a close confidant. Lincoln entrusted Zacharie with several secret missions, even sending him to New Orleans to promote pro-Union sentiments among his Jewish “countrymen.” Zacharie also worked to win Jewish voters to Lincoln’s side in the 1864 election. In return, when Savannah was restored to the Union, he sought Lincoln’s permission to visit his family there. In a remarkable 1865 letter bluntly titled “About Jews,” which is on view in the exhibition, Lincoln instructed Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to grant passage for Zacharie. He also ordered a hearing for a dismissed Jewish provost marshall (head of the military police) whom, he wrote, “has suffered for us & served us well.” In an era when anti-Semitism was commonplace, Lincoln openly sided with these Jews, against the advice of his Secretary of War. Continue reading →
Iconic Photographs by Stephen Somerstein Capture the Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement
Early next year, the New-York Historical Society will showcase a powerful selection of photographs by Stephen Somerstein that chronicle the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery Civil Rights March, honoring the 50th anniversary of the protest that changed the course of civil rights in America. On view from January 16 through April 19, 2015, the exhibitionFreedom Journey 1965: Photographs of the Selma to Montgomery March by Stephen Somerstein will feature the work of the 24-year-old City College student, who felt he had to document “what was going to be a historic event.” He accompanied the marchers, gaining unfettered access to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, James Baldwin, Joan Baez, and Bayard Rustin.
Stephen Somerstein, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking to 25,000 civil rights marchers in Montgomery, 1965. Courtesy of the photographer
Through 55 black and white and color photographs, Freedom Journey 1965 will document the quest for equality and social justice over the five-day march. Then the managing editor and picture editor of the City College newspaper, Stephen Somerstein recalls “When Dr. King called on Americans to join him in a massive protest march to Montgomery, I knew that important, nation-changing history was unfolding and I wanted to capture its power and meaning with my camera.”
The Selma-to-Montgomery March marked a peak of the American civil rights movement. From March 21 to March 25, 1965, hundreds of people marched from Selma to the State Capitol Building in Montgomery, Alabama to protest against the resistance that the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and other groups had encountered in their mission to register black voters. By March 25, the group had grown to 25,000 people, which Dr. King addressed from the steps of the Montgomery State Capitol. Three months later, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Stephen Somerstein, Folk singer Joan Baez in Montgomery, 1965. Courtesy of the photographer
Stephen Somerstein, Two mothers with children watching marchers on porch, 1965. Courtesy of the photographer
Somerstein took approximately 400 photographs over the five-day, 54 mile march. Exhibition highlights include images of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. addressing the crowd of 25,000 civil rights marchers in Montgomery; folk singer Joan Baez, standing before a line of state troopers blocking the entrance to the State Capitol; white hecklers yelling and gesturing at marchers; families watching the march from their porches; and images of young and old alike participating in the demonstration.
Somerstein pursued a career in physics, building space satellites at the Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and Lockheed Martin Co. Upon retiring, Somerstein revisited the Selma photographs. Though he had sold a few of them, the majority were not showcased until he participated in a civil rights exhibition at the San Francisco Art Exchange in 2010. “I realized that I had numerous iconic and historic photographs that I wanted to share with the public,” says Somerstein.
Stephen Somerstein, Hecklers yelling and gesturing at marchers, 1965. Courtesy of the photographer
Stephen Somerstein, Marchers on the way to Montgomery as families watch from their porches, 1965. Courtesy of the photographer
Stephen Somerstein, Man with American flag and marchers walking past federal troops guarding crossroads, 1965. Courtesy of the photographer
On February 11, 2015, Randall Kennedy will examine the origins, designs, and consequences of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. How does this landmark act continue to resonate a half-century later, especially in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling? Kennedy is a former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Michael R. Klein Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and the author of For Discrimination: Race, Affirmative Action, and the Law.
The New-York Historical Society will be transformed this holiday season with a vibrant and sweeping display of spectacular antique toy trains, toys and scenic elements. On view now through February 22, 2015 (Presidents’ Day), Holiday Express: Trains and Toys from the Jerni Collection is a dynamic exhibition that appeals to all ages, showcasing the beauty and allure of toys from a bygone era. The Holiday Express exhibition is sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Stated Dr. Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society: “This collection will provide a wonderful new way for young visitors to understand how railroads supplanted canals as the favored mode of transport; how dozens of lines competed to funnel the raw produce of the American heartland to New York’s factories, shipyards, and piers; how the United States rail system experienced phenomenal growth not only upon the completion of the first transcontinental railroad, but also with the development of elevated railways in American cities; why, in 1865, New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley famously took up the longstanding appeal for the poor and unemployed of New York City to ‘go west and grow up with the country.’”
Lutz Toy Company Floor toy train set, 1884. New-York Historical Society, The Jerni Collection.
The New-York Historical Society, one of America’s pre-eminent cultural institutions, is dedicated to fostering research, presenting history and art exhibitions, and public programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, New-York Historical is the oldest museum in New York City and has a mission to explore the richly layered political, cultural and social history of New York City and State and the nation, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history.
Detail of Lutz Toy Company Floor toy train set, 1884. NewYork Historical Society, The Jerni Collection.
Brianne Train Station, ca. 1900. New-York Historical Society, The Jerni Collection
A highlight of New-York Historical Society’s holdings, the Jerni Collection was assembled over fifty years by U.S. collectors Jerry and Nina Greene and is considered one of the world’s leading collections of antique trains and toys. It includes unique, hand-crafted and hand-painted pieces dating from approximately 1850 to 1940, featuring prime examples by the leading manufacturers that set the standard for the Golden Age of European toys, including the German firms of Märklin, Bing, Ernst Plank and Carette, as well as the American firm Lionel.
Märklin 5-gauge locomotive, 1905. New-York Historical Society, The Jerni Collection.
Detail of Ferris Wheels. New-York Historical Society, The Jerni Collection.
Holiday Express unfolds over a broad swath of New-York Historical’s first floor and the DiMenna Children’s History Museum on the lower level, featuring more than 300 pieces from the museum’s Jerni Collection that transform the space into a magical wonderland. Holiday Express displays designed by Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership, Batwin + Robin Productions and Big Show Construction Management, Inc. feature theatrical lighting, an ambient audio “soundscape” and other effects to engage visitors in an immersive experience. Antique trains move along more than 400 linear feet of railroad tracks that twist and turn overhead, winding throughout the first floor.
Märklin Post Office, 1895, with other toys. New-York Historical Society, The Jerni Collection.
Märklin Post Office, 1895. New-York Historical Society, The Jerni Collection.
The exhibition begins at New-York Historical’s West 77th Street entrance, where movement and sound from four large-scale multimedia screens will make it seem as though trains are roaring through the rotunda. This space also features a circular display case with the Boucher “Blue Comet,” a rare toy train from the 1920s-30s that mimics the real Blue Comet, which ran from the New York metropolitan area to Atlantic City during the Great Depression. Other highlights in this case are a one-of-a-kind Märklin Post Office (1895), a large Doll & Co. Ferris wheel (1904), a Gebrüder Bing carousel (1880-1890), and aircraft flying overhead.
A 360-degree mountainous landscape on view in the Judith and Howard Berkowitz Sculpture Court features artifacts grouped into ten scenes, including a tunnel, train station arrival structure, fairground, harbor with a lighthouse, and an airplane fly-by.
Toy Airship, 1920-1930. New-York Historical Society, The Jerni Collection.
An expansive display in the Robert H. and Clarice Smith New York Gallery of American History features a variety of trains, stations and other buildings, aircraft, and ships and boats of all shapes and sizes, including the largest example of Gebrüder Bing’s Leviathan toy ocean liner (1920). The display in the Leah and Michael Weisberg Monumental Treasures Wall Case is highlighted by a subtle palette of lighting effects to evoke a time-lapse transformation from dawn to dusk.
Several illuminated cases in New-York Historical’s hallways feature thematic displays from the collection. A dramatically lit display along the Central Park West corridor showcases large-scale American pieces, including moving trains within an abstract landscape, as well as interactive elements like a crawl-through space and a pop-up semi-sphere, so kids can get an up-close view of the display.
The exhibition was curated by Mike Thornton, Assistant Curator for Material Culture at the New-York Historical Society. Consultants on Holiday Express: Trains and Toys from the Jerni Collection include:
• Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership (LHSA+DP), an integrated architecture and exhibit design firm located in New York City responsible for the overall Concept and Design for Holiday Express; LHSA+DP is the designer of the New-York Historical Society’s highly popular, DiMenna Children’s History Museum.
• Batwin + Robin, renowned “media storytellers” with over twenty years of experience in the theater, museums and other venues, were the media producers for the exhibition.
• Big Show Construction Management, Inc., a company that bridges the entertainment and construction industries, provided the comprehensive project management services.
George Peter Alexander Healy (American, 1813 –1894), Emma Cecilia Thursby (1845-1931), 1879. Oil on canvas, Overall: 68 x 43 in. ( 172.7 x 109.2 cm )frame: 93 x 64 in. ( 236.2 x 162.6 cm ), Gift of the Estate of Ina Love Thursby
Beauty’s Legacy: Gilded Age Portraits in America, a new exhibition on view at the New-York Historical Society from September 27, 2013 through March 9, 2014, will explore the critical and popular resurgence of portraiture in the United States in the period bounded by the close of the Civil War and the beginning of World War I. Known as the Gilded Age, the era was marked by unprecedented industrial expansion yielding vast personal fortunes. Today, the Gilded Age conjures visions of material opulence and personal excess, yet it also inspired a fascinating chapter in American cultural and social history. With the amassing of great fortunes came the drive to document the wealthy in portraiture, echoing a cultural pattern reaching back to colonial times. A brilliant generation of American and European artists rose to meet that demand.
Henry Augustus Loop (American, 1831 –1895), Fannie Fredericka Dyckman and Mary Alice Dyckman, 1876. Oil on canvas, Overall: 52 1/4 x 40 1/4 in. ( 132.7 x 102.2 cm )frame: 72 x 59 in. ( 182.9 x 149.9 cm ), Bequest of Fannie Fredericka Dyckman
Organized for the New-York Historical Society by guest curator Dr. Barbara Dayer Gallati, the exhibition will feature sixty-five portraits selected from New-York Historical’s outstanding holdings. The sitters—ranging from famous society beauties to powerful titans of business and industry—left lasting legacies that contributed to the cultural and economic growth of the nation. Beauty’s Legacy also takes its cue from a series of three important portrait loan exhibitions mounted in New York in the 1890s that were organized for charitable purposes by the city’s social elite. A number of paintings in Beauty’s Legacy were featured in those historic displays and will be installed to evoke the late-nineteenth-century viewing experience. Continue reading →
Images provided by The New-York Historical Society
The early history of the AIDS epidemic in New York City—from the first rumors in 1981 of a “gay plague” through the ensuing period of intense activism (ACT-UP), clinical research, and political struggle—will be the subject of a major new exhibition at the New-York Historical Society (170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024), AIDS in New York: The First Five Years, on view from June 7 through September 15, 2013.
At the beginning of the 1980s, various reports began to emerge in California and New York of a small number of men who had been diagnosed with rare forms of cancer and/or pneumonia. The cancer, Kaposi’s Sarcoma, normally only affected elderly men of Mediterranean or Jewish heritage and young adult African men. The pneumonia, Pneumocystis Pneumonia Carinii (PCP), is generally only found in individuals with seriously compromised immune systems. However, the men were young and had previously been in relatively good health. The only other characteristic that connected them was that they were all gay.
It now seems clear (and has been proven) that HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus itself, has been around for decades, conceivably even for centuries. We may also never know when HIV first crossed over from its original animal hosts. But when one is thinking of “AIDS” — Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome — as a medical construct, a classification created by medical and public health authorities, it becomes easy to pinpoint the specific day on which AIDS first came into view: June 5, 1981.
On that day, of course, no one had ever heard of HIV or of AIDS (which was first known by several other names particularly GRID – Gay-Related Immune Deficiency). Previously, throughout the 1970s, small numbers of people had been dying from HIV-related causes, one at a time, here and there. But such deaths were rare enough and random enough for no real pattern to emerge. And so, it was not until mid-1981 that the epidemic first reached proportions large enough for it to be picked up by the public health monitoring and surveillance system.
It thus came to be that on June 5, 1981 the Center for Disease Control and Protection publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) included a nondescript article entitled simply “Pneumocystis Pneumonia — Los Angeles.” Based on cases from Drs. Michael Gottlieb and Joel Weisman, this is the so-called “Document Zero” of the AIDS epidemic, the one from which all others proceed.
“In the period October 1980-May 1981, 5 young men, all active homosexuals, were treated for biopsy-confirmed Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) at 3 different hospitals in Los Angeles,” began the article.
“Pneumocystis pneumonia in the United States is almost exclusively limited to severely immunosuppressed patients,” continued the article, in the first signal of things to come. “The fact that these patients were all homosexuals suggests an association between some aspect of a homosexual lifestyle or disease acquired through sexual contact and Pneumocystis pneumonia in this population . . . . [raising] the possibility of a cellular-immune dysfunction related to a common exposure that predisposes individuals to opportunistic infections.”
The article then went on to recount the five case histories, which encapsulate an early history of the sudden, ferocious impact of AIDS. A “previously healthy 33-year old man” developed PCP and oral candidiasis, dying May 3, 1981. Another 30-year-old man was diagnosed with PCP after “a 5-month history of fever each day and of elevated liver function tests“; yet another had esophageal and oral candidiasis. And a 29-year-old man, who three years earlier had battled Hodgkin’s disease, died in March 1981. The last, at age 36, had cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection and a “4-month history of fever, dyspnea, and cough.”
What might have been seen as an obscure, easily forgotten medical footnote became more troubling a month later when the July 3, 1981 issue of MMWR reported yet another trend: “During the past 30 months, Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS), an uncommonly reported malignancy in the United States, has been diagnosed in 26 homosexual men.” The article also indicated the diagnosis of 10 additional cases of pneumonia among gay men in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. And so it noted, dryly, that “physicians should be alert for Kaposi’s sarcoma, PC pneumonia, and other opportunistic infections associated with immunosuppression in homosexual men.”
A group advocating AIDS research marches down Fifth Avenue during the 14th annual Lesbian and Gay Pride parade in New York, June 27, 1983. Mario Suriani/Associated Press
The issue burst into the forefront of the new when The New York TImes, on July 3, 1981, published the first report of the illness in an article entititled “RARE CANCER SEEN IN 41 HOMOSEXUALS“, written by Dr. Lawrence K. Altman, which opened with “Doctors in New York and California have diagnosed among homosexual men 41 cases of a rare and often rapidly fatal form of cancer. Eight of the victims died less than 24 months after the diagnosis was made.” Buried on the inside of the first section of The Times on page A20, the article none the same, was the shot heard around the world and the opening of what has become one of the more storied medical fights in the annals of medical history. Continue reading →