Museum Closure

The New-York Historical Society will be closed Tuesday, January 27 and will reopen Wednesday, January 28. For details, please visit our calendar.

Bill Cunningham: Facades

Mar 14 2014 - Jun 15 2014

In 1968, photographer Bill Cunningham embarked on an eight-year project to document the architectural riches and fashion history of New York City. Scouring the city’s thrift stores, auction houses, and street fairs for vintage clothing, and scouting sites on his bicycle, Cunningham generated a photographic essay entitled Facades, which paired models—in particular his muse, fellow photographer Editta Sherman—in period costumes with historic settings.  

Unknown artist. Bill Cunningham Photographing Models, New York County Court House, ca.1975. Gelatin silver photograph 11x14 in. Gift of Bill Cunningham, New-York Historical Society Library

Although by turns whimsical and bold, Cunningham’s project also was part of the larger cultural zeitgeist in New York City, during an era in which issues surrounding both the preservation and the problems of the urban landscape loomed large.

Macy's Sunday Story Time: Architectural Appreciation

Sun, April 14th, 2013 | 11:30 am

Recommended for children ages 4–7.

The great thing about architecture is that it is everywhere, so you can appreciate it anywhere—even in a classic story like The Three Little Pigs! Which type of house will the big, bad wolf be able to blow down: the house made of scraps, glass, or stone and concrete? You might be surprised!

The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale by Steven Guarnaccia

Support for the Macy's Sunday Story Hour provided by the Macy's Foundation.

Eastside vs. Westside

Barry Lewis
Thu, April 18th, 2013 | 6:30 pm

Note: This event is sold out



By the end of the nineteenth century, Central Park West had become a bastion of middle class life and Fifth Avenue the boulevard of the very wealthy. Today the east side chateaux have almost all disappeared, but the middle class apartment buildings of the west side remain a vital part of the New York skyline. Join us for a colorful evening with Barry Lewis, whose Eastside vs. Westside lecture returns by popular demand.

Homes of Early New York: Birth of an American Style

Barry Lewis
Thu, January 26th, 2012 | 6:30 pm

Event details

New York and its environs have a surprising collection of houses from the Colonial period through the era of the early Republic. Looking at houses as diverse as the Dutch and Georgian Wyckoff in Brooklyn and the Greek Revival Bartow-Pell in the Bronx, we will see both the evolution of early American home design and why these earlier eras, in their Yankee simplicity, served as template for the modernisms of our own time.

New York on the Cusp: The City When Carnegie Hall Debuted

Barry Lewis
Thu, November 10th, 2011 | 6:30 pm

Event details

When Carnegie Hall opened in 1891, New York was still an intensely Victorian commercial city, and rock-hewn neo-Romanesque and arts and crafts Queen Anne were the predominant styles. Elevators were sending buildings to unprecedented heights and middle class people were gingerly trying the brand-new idea of apartment house living. But McKim, Mead & White’s recently completed Villard Houses and their fantastic Madison Square Garden announced to New York that things were about to change.

N-YHS Institutional Archive


The institutional archive includes records relating to the history of the New-York Historical Society from its beginnings in 1804 up until the present day. The materials include minutes, correspondence, architectural plans, photographs, and exhibition records. Many photographs from the New-York Historical Society have been digitized and can be located here.


Thou wondrous dizzy pile! Selections from the Cass Gilbert Collection

Sep 27 2005 - Dec 30 2005

Cass Gilbert is perhaps best remembered as the architect of the Woolworth Building, for years the tallest building in the world. Yet his work also included such monumental public buildings as the U.S. Custom House in Lower Manhattan and many state capitols. He created ornate Classical buildings but was also a pioneer of the modern skyscraper. This small exhibition in the library showcases material from the Cass Gilbert Collection from New-York Historical's Library collection. It features early 20th century photographs, drawings, letters, brochures and ephemera from Gilbert's extensive collection of personal and professional papers.

The Landmarks of New York

Dec 14 2012 - Feb 18 2013

The Landmarks of New York is an exhibition which explores the history of New York as revealed by its historical structures. The exhibition’s ninety photographs of New York landmarks, including thirty newly donated by former New York City Landmarks Commissioner Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, are critical documents that chronicle the city’s past from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries. As the city grew, single family houses were replaced by apartment buildings and then skyscrapers; agriculture replaced manufacturing, which was supplanted by commerce and the movement of goods and services. All of these structures tell the story of New York’s journey from a small colonized village to a world class city.

William Field and Son (firm active late-19th century), New York and Long Island Coignet Stone Company Building, 1872–1873. 360 Third Avenue, Brooklyn. From the book: The Landmarks of New York : an Illustrated Record of the City’s Historic Buildings, by Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel. Photographer: Luca Vignelli

The city’s landmarks embrace New York’s history as told not only through documents such as those in the collections of the New-York Historical Society but also through the buildings where its citizens have lived, worked, and worshipped; through the parks which have provided respite from the city streets; through public monuments which adorn neighborhoods; and even the cemeteries which tell stories of those buried there.

Marion Mahony Griffin's The Magic of America


Typescript of over 1,400 pages with approximately 650 accompanying illustrations written and compiled by Marion Mahony Griffin (1871–1961), architect, designer, delineator and artist, with her husband Walter Burley Griffin (1876–1937), architect, landscape designer and city planner. Their architectural practice spanned almost four decades on three continents. The Magic of America: Electronic Edition collates in a digital format all the texts and illustrations from the three known copies of the work, including the New-York Historical Society's copy. The electronic edition thus represents the most complete and accessible version currently available of this important architectural document.
Click here to view the full collection.


Architectural Collections


The Society's architectural collections include drawings, blueprints, renderings, photographs, correspondence, and business records. Most significant are its large holdings for individual architects or firms, including (in chronological order) John McComb, Jr.; Calvin Pollard; Alexander J. Davis; John B. Snook; George B. Post; McKim, Mead & White; and Cass Gilbert. These architects were all active in Manhattan and New York City buildings predominate, but their work includes many structures outside the city. More than 150 other locally and nationally prominent architects and engineers are also represented, generally by 10 or fewer drawings.

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