Collecting at the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library, New-York Historical Society

The collections of the New-York Historical Society’s Patricia D. Klingenstein Library include printed works, manuscripts and archives, and visual materials. The Library’s collections of primary sources are particularly strong in the formats and subject areas listed below, and curators actively add to these collections through purchases and gifts.

If you wish to make a gift, please contact the appropriate curator in advance to discuss it.  We strongly discourage unsolicited gifts of books and other materials.

Collecting into the 21st Century: Printed Collections

The printed collections include books, pamphlets, newspapers, maps, broadsides, and other ephemera such as dining menus, ranging in date from the late 16th century to the present. The Library continues to fill in gaps in specific areas of the printed collections while seeking to expand and strengthen collections in other areas, specifically New York City from the late 19th century to the present.

Please contact us if you are interested in donating the following:

  • Books, pamphlets, maps, and broadsides, and dining menus relating to United States history, printed between 1700 and 1830
  • Books, pamphlets, newspapers, maps, broadsides,  and dining menus, relating to United States and New York history, printed between 1830 and 1945
  • Books, pamphlets, newspapers, maps, broadsides, dining menus, relating to New York City specifically, printed between 1945 and the present

The Library is especially interested in printed documentation of the following subject areas as they relate specifically to New York City, 1945 to the present:

  • Architecture and real estate
  • Business and commerce
  • City planning and land use, neighborhoods and parks
  • Clubs and societies, community groups
  • Cultural and social trends
  • Dining, restaurants, provision of food
  • Immigrant groups and culture
  • Infrastructure, transportation, and the built environment
  • Politics and government
  • Popular amusements and entertainment
  • Public aspects of medicine
  • Race, ethnicity, and gender
  • Social and public welfare, social reform

The Library adds secondary sources infrequently, and only in cases where

  • The book provides information not available elsewhere at the time of the donation; and
  • Relates to New York City; and
  • Relates to one of the subject areas listed above

Contact for Printed Collections:
Nina Nazionale
Director of Library Operations and Curator of Printed Collections
(212) 485-9272

Manuscript Collections

The manuscript collections document the history of European settlement in North America, with particular strength in the 18th and 19th centuries across a core group of subject areas, including: the founding of the nation; the economic history of New York and the nation; the three major wars fought on American soil; the institution of slavery both locally and nationally; the history of children’s welfare in New York; and the city’s developing social and cultural landscape.

Collecting now focuses primarily on New York City and vicinity while attempting to complement existing strengths, fill significant gaps, and document the defining realities of contemporary New York. Priorities include the following:

  • Charitable history, particularly children’s welfare, as well as new types of outreach, encompassing both historic and contemporary initiatives
  • Gaps in collections on the history of women
  • Records and documentation of religious, educational and related entities without an affiliated repository
  • The domestic naval and military experience of New Yorkers and New Yorkers’ service abroad
  • Records of locally-based organizations and groups in politics, business, and social and cultural ventures that strongly reflect New York’s character
  • Historic preservation, the built environment, and development in NYC

Contact for Manuscript Collections:
Edward O’Reilly
Head of the Manuscript Department
(212) 485-9246

Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections

The Library’s collection of prints includes landscapes, cityscapes, Currier & Ives prints, caricatures, early 20th-century New York, posters from the Civil War, World War I, and World War II, advertising and circus posters, and vast collections of printed ephemera. The photography collections are particularly strong in the Civil War, vernacular photographs of New York City from the late 19th century to the 1950s, and photograph albums documenting American culture from the 19th century to the present. The Library also holds one of the most important collections of architectural works (drawings, blueprints, and photographs) in New York City.

Current collecting of prints, photographs, and architectural materials focuses on the following but does not exclude other relevant materials:


  • New York City WPA prints
  • Early 20th-century prints of New York
  • Prints by fine artists with a connection to New York
  • Posters of contemporary and older films
  • Posters of contemporary events, including politics, in New York City
  • Advertising documents and ephemera


  • Photographs of New York City post-1950
  • Contemporary photographic portraits of New Yorkers
  • Relevant photograph albums
  • Photographs of immigrants and New York City
  • Archives of photographers who worked for major publications
  • Photographic morgues of appropriate newspapers
  • Documentary photography


  • Records of architects working on significant plans of New York City projects
  • Archives of mid-level architects working on New York City projects

Contact for Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections
Marilyn Kushner
Curator and Head of the Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections
(212) 485-9249

Creative: Tronvig Group