George Washington’s New York: Walking Tour of Lower Manhattan 1

Barnet Schecter
Sat, 10/01/2011 - 11:00
Sat, October 1st, 2011 | 12:00 pm

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The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States

Gordon S. Wood
Richard Brookhiser (moderator)
Tue, 11/29/2011 - 18:30
Tue, November 29th, 2011 | 6:30 pm

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Carl Menges

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More than almost any other nation in the world, the United States began as an idea. For this reason, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon S. Wood believes that the American Revolution is the most important event in our history. Professor Wood, in conversation with Richard Brookhiser, reflects on the birth of American nationhood and explains why the Revolution remains so essential.

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George Washington Night!

Joseph J. Ellis
David Hackett Fischer
Theodore J. Crackel
Stacy Schiff (moderator)
Tue, 11/15/2011 - 18:30
Tue, November 15th, 2011 | 6:30 pm

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There is no more iconic figure in American history than George Washington, our first president and most famous Founding Father. Come celebrate the grand reopening of the New-York Historical Society and its newly renovated theater at this in-depth discussion of Washington’s life with some of the nation’s most distinguished historians of the founding era.

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11th Pennsylvania Regiment (Continental)

History comes alive for the whole family! Please join us as re-enactment troops recreate the world of Revolutionary America.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 10:00
Sat, April 7th, 2012 | 11:00 am

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History comes alive for the whole family with Living History Days at the New-York Historical Society! Do you want to know what life was like in the 18th century? Please join us as re-enactment troops and Living History actors recreate the world of Revolutionary America. Living History Days will feature appearances by troops of the Colonial, Loyalist, British and Hessian armies and, on select days, actors portraying Revolutionary heroes, including George Washington, Benjamin and Deborah Franklin, and the Marquis de Lafayette.

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11th Pennsylvania Regiment (Continental)

 History comes alive for the whole family! Please join us as re-enactment troops recreate the world of Revolutionary America.

Sat, 01/14/2012 - 10:00
Sat, January 14th, 2012 | 10:00 am

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History comes alive for the whole family with Living History Days at the New-York Historical Society! Do you want to know what life was like in the 18th century? Please join us as re-enactment troops and Living History actors recreate the world of Revolutionary America.

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16th Queen's Light Dragoons (British)

History comes alive for the whole family! Please join us as re-enactment troops recreate the world of Revolutionary America.

Sat, 11/19/2011 - 10:00
Sat, November 19th, 2011 | 10:00 am

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History comes alive for the whole family with Living History Days at the New-York Historical Society! Do you want to know what life was like in the 18th century? Please join us as re-enactment troops and Living History actors recreate the world of Revolutionary America.

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New-York Historical Society Grand Re-opening Weekend Celebration (Saturday)

Celebrate the New-York Historical Society's Grand Reopening with George Washington, Benjamin and Deborah Franklin, the Marquis de Lafayette, the 1st Rhode Island Regiment, the 3rd New York Regiment of Long Island and Captain Mott's Artillery Company.

Sat, 11/12/2011 - 10:00
Sat, November 12th, 2011 | 10:00 am

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History comes alive for the whole family with Living History Days at the New-York Historical Society! Do you want to know what life was like in the 18th century?

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Tales from a 19th-Century Privy

Joan H. Geismar, Ph.D. Urban Archaeologist
Fri, 11/11/2011 - 11:30
Fri, November 11th, 2011 | 11:30 am

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Put on gloves, pick up a magnifying glass and sift through the stuff of life in 19th-century New York City. Join urban archaeologist Joan Geismar for a fascinating, hands-on look at the contents of the backyard privy pit of the early 19th-century James Brown Inn on Spring Street(now called the Ear Inn). Broken plates, cups and bottles, oyster shells and shoe leather are just some of the clues to how people lived in the past - what they ate, what they could buy and what they chose to buy, and what they threw away.

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George Washington’s New York: Walking Tour of Lower Manhattan

Barnet Schecter
Sun, 11/14/2010 - 11:00
Sun, November 14th, 2010 | 11:00 am

Among the maps that George Washington owned was British military engineer John Montresor's A Plan of the City of New-York, surveyed in 1766. The map provided Washington with detailed information about the streets and hills of Lower Manhattan as he fortified the city against a British assault in 1776. The map was also useful for planning Washington's triumphant entry into New York on November 25, 1783 as the British ended their 70- year occupation and evacuated the city.

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American Revolution Guide


The holdings of the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library are especially strong for the Colonial and Revolutionary War periods. This guide covers the years 1775 to 1783, with the inevitable steps forward and backward. The geographic scope reflects the library collections for this time period: all 13 colonies and the contiguous territories. The points of view of all participants, including foreign governments and other allies, are represented.

The purpose of this guide is to introduce the researcher to the kinds of resources—reference books, manuscripts, newspapers, broadsides, pamphlets, maps, prints, and current historical journals—available at the Library, and to outline the ways in which these materials can be identified and used.

Please keep in mind that the collections are divided into three main
areas—general printed collections; manuscripts; and prints, 
photographs and architectural drawings—and that the librarians and curators in each of those areas are the best guides to the collections. This guide is meant as a complement to the assistance provided by those librarians and curators, so please be sure to approach them with any specific questions you may have.

Because so many of the collections from this time period are rare, and 
often fragile, researchers will be brought surrogate
formats—microfilm, microfiche, photostatic copies and Readex
cards—when available. Original materials are reserved for exhibitions, photography and digitization. Photographic reproductions of most materials may be ordered through the Department of Rights and Reproductions. For more information about this service, please ask at the Library's main reference desk or call (212) 485-9282.

In order to help preserve the Library's collections for future generations, please handle all collections with care, and abide by the Library's general guidelines as well as the guidelines for using individual collections.

Getting Started: The American Revolution in Context

** Note on Reference Books: While most of the holdings of the Library are housed in closed stacks, many reference books are available on shelves in the reading room. These are indicated in this guide with the words "Reading Room Reference." For all other books, please fill out call slips and submit them at the main reference desk.

The following sources, about United States and New York City history, contain a significant amount of information about the Colonial and Revolutionary War periods and are recommended for those just beginning their research.

U.S. History

  • Carruth, Gorton, ed. The Encyclopedia of American Facts and Dates. 7th ed. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1979. [Ask at Reference Desk]. Day-by-day chronological charts are divided into four categories of description: politics and government, literature and the arts, science and social sciences, and popular culture and pastimes.
  • Foner, Eric and John A. Garraty, eds. The Reader's Companion to American History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1991. [Reading Room Reference]. The entries in this volume, of varied lengths, include numerous cross-references and the citation of at least one source for further reading.
  • Ketz, Louise Bilebof, ed. Dictionary of American History. 8 vols. New York: Scribner's, 1976. [Reading Room Reference]. Short and medium-length entries are listed alphabetically in this eight volume set; the index is in the last volume.
  • Zinn, Howard. A People's History of the United States. New York: Harper and Row, 1980. [Call No. E169.1 Z53]. See especially the chapters "Tyranny is Tyranny" and "A Kind of Revolution," which offer a class-based interpretation of the fight for independence.

New York City History

  • Burrows, Edwin G. and Mike Wallace. Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. [Reading Room Reference]. Tracing New York City history from its known beginnings until 1898, this volume incorporates much modern scholarship and social history into a thorough, readable narrative. Its well-organized chapters are excellent starting points for delving into specific topics; the work is marred only by poor endnotes.
  • Jackson, Kenneth T., ed. Encyclopedia of New York City. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1995. [Reading Room Reference]. Chronologically comprehensive, this source offers short, medium and long entries about all aspects of the city's history. An index supplements the alphabetical access; bibliographies are included for most entries.
  • Stokes, I.N. Phelps. The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1919. 6 vols. New York: Arno Press, 1915. [Reading Room Reference]. This unique source, which chronicles Manhattan history from 1498 to 1919, includes numerous illustrations and maps. It's best to begin by looking at the index (volume 6) or the day-by-day chronology (volume 4), which is useful as an end in itself and also in its listing of contemporary sources. A librarian can assist you with the use of its complex arrangement.

The American Revolution

  • Bailyn, Bernard. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Enl. Ed. Cambridge, MA: Belknap & Harvard, 1992. [JA84.U5 B3 1992]. The politics of the Revolution as revealed through the writing of the time, especially pamphlets. Contains outstanding footnotes.
  • Raphael, Ray. A People's History of the American Revolution. New York: The New Press, 2001. [E275.A2 R37 2001]. The American Revolution as experienced by different groups of people-"rank and file rebels," "fighting men and boys," women, loyalists and pacifists-is conveyed through excerpts from letters, diaries and newspapers of the time. Excellent footnotes.
  • Rhodehamel, John, ed. The American Revolution: Writings from the War of Independence. New York: Library of America, 2001. [E203.A579 2001]. Over a hundred writings by famous and lesser known figures in the Revolution, with substantial notes, biographical profiles, chronology of events and index.
  • Ward, Harry. The American Revolution: Nationhood Achieved, 1763-1788. New York: St. Martin's, 1995. [E208.W275 1995]. Issues and controversies contributing to the Revolutionary movements are explored, as are key campaigns and battles, how Americans were affected by the creation of state and national governments. Includes a substantial bibliography.
  • Wood, Gordon S. The Radicalism of the American Revolution. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992. [E209.W65 1992]. Tenets of monarchy, republicanism and democracy are explored as the author argues that the American Revolution radically transformed society rather than preserved the existing social structures.

Encyclopedias, Atlases & Almanacs

  • Barnes, Ian. The Historical Atlas of the American Revolution. New York: Routledge, 2000. [E208.B36 2000]. Includes two indexes-general and map name; a chronology, biographical notes and bibliography.
  • Boatner III, Mark Mayo. Encyclopedia of the American Revolution. New York: David McKay Company, Inc., 1976. [Ask at Reference Desk]. Narrative entries vary in length; those about battles include maps, statistics, and descriptions of troop movements and engagements.
  • Cappon, Lester J., editor. Atlas of Early American History: The Revolutionary Era, 1760-1790. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976. [Reading Room Reference]. Map technology of the twentieth century is used to present details of the Revolutionary Era: boundaries; Indian settlements; population according to race, ethnicity and religion; types and locations of commerce and industry; battles and campaigns.
  • Faracher, John Mack, ed. Encyclopedia of Colonial and Revolutionary America. New York: Facts on File, 1990. [Reading Room Reference]. Alphabetically listed medium-length entries describe people, places and terms; an index supplements the alphabetical access.
  • Nebenzahl, Kenneth and Don Higginbotham. Atlas of the American Revolution. Chicago: Rand McNally & Company, 1974. [Reading Room Reference]. This chronological narrative features reproductions of numerous maps and other illustrations. In addition to a general index, there is a list of participants which identifies key people by allegiance and profession, e.g. soldier, diplomat, lawyer.
  • Purvis, Thomas L. Revolutionary America, 1763-1800. New York: Facts on File, 1995. [Reading Room Reference]. This source presents basic data about the period-chronologies, demographic and economic statistics, election data, state profiles, biographical notes-in a single volume, complete with index and black & white illustrations.

Biographical Dictionaries

  • Garraty, John A. & Mark C. Carnes, eds. American National Biography. 24 vols., New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. [Reading Room Reference]. The medium-length entries in this source are especially thorough and include bibliographies and indications of archival repositories. Because this is not a comprehensive source, it's important to look in other dictionaries of American biography, located adjacent to ANB, including its predecessor:
  • Johnson, Allen, ed. Dictionary of American Biography. 29 vols. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1928-1937. [Reading Room Reference]


  • Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume 1607-1896. Chicago, IL: A.N. Marquis Co., 1963. [Reading Room Reference]
  • Palmer, Gregory. Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution. London: Meckler Publishing, 1984. [Reading Room Reference]. Entries include varying degrees of biographical information-geographical background, actions taken during the Revolution, and legal claims. The introduction offers background concerning Loyalist research and its historiography, as well as statistics and charts. Loyalist regiments, with organization and disbandment dates, are also listed.
  • Purcell, L. Edward. Who Was Who in the American Revolution. New York: Facts on File, 1993. [E206.P87 1993]. Those profiled include political figures, soldiers, British leaders, French allies, diplomats and spies.
  • White, J. Todd, and Lesser, Charles H., ed. Fighters for Independence: A Guide to Sources of Biographical Information on Soldiers and Sailors of the American Revolution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977. [Call No.: Z1238.W45]. Refers researchers to reference and manuscript sources, including documents in The New-York Historical Society library collections.

Military Personnel: Muster Rolls, Registers & Indexes
These lists identify personnel and also provide insight into the structure and economics of the military for this time period. In addition to the sources listed here, the library also holds lists of military personnel for each of the colonies. Search the card and online catalogs under United States-History-Revolution-Registers, lists, etc. to identify and call for these. Please see also A Guide to Military History Guides.

  • Muster and Pay Rolls of the War of the Revolution, 1775-1783. 2 vols. New York: The New-York Historical Society, 1914-1915. [Reading Room Reference]. These volumes present Revolutionary War muster and pay rolls from the library's collections, listed according to state with a name index at the end of the second volume. There are also indications of illness, desertion and discharges for some military personnel.
  • D.A.R. Patriot Index. Washington, DC: National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution Centennial Administration, 1990. [Reading Room Reference]. Lists place and date of birth and death, marriage information, and rank of this group's Patriot ancestors. Not all entries are complete.
  • Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register of the Officers of the Continental Army During the War of the Revolution, April, 1775 to December, 1783. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1973. [Reading Room Reference]. The heart of the text is an alphabetical list of Continental Army officers that includes state or country of origin, rank, years of service, and casualties (if applicable). The book also includes entries for regiments and their officers and charts pertaining to other services performed by Continental officers (for example, a list of aides-de-camp and secretaries to General Washington).
  • White, Virgil D., transcriber. Index to Revolutionary War Service Records. Waynesboro, TN: The National Historical Publishing Company, 1995. [Reading Room Reference]. Index to nearly 400,000 military service records of Revolutionary War Army and Navy personnel, located at the National Archives, as well as some civilians who performed service during the war. Content of each entry may vary, but generally includes branch, unit, rank and state for which service was performed.


  • Bunnell, Paul J. The New Loyalist Index. Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, Inc., 1989. [Reading Room Reference]. Lists birth, marriage and death dates, original residence, place of relocation during or after Revolution, occupation, claim and regiment. Not all entries are complete. According to the introduction, it is the author's attempt to list the known facts of Loyalists who migrated during the Revolution, including records from New Brunswick, Canada, the Bahamas and the American seaboard.
  • Ford, Washington Chauncey, comp. British Officers Serving in the American Revolution, 1774-1783. Brooklyn, NY: Historical Printing Club, 1897. [Reading Room Reference]. Lists rank, regiment and date of commission of British Officers.
  • A List of the General and Field-Officers, As They Rank in the Army; of the Officers in the Several Regiments of Horse, Dragoons, and Foot on the British and Irish Establishments. London: Admiralty Office, Whitehall, published annually. [Ask at Reference Desk]. This source is commonly referred to as the "Army List." Volumes from the Revolutionary period contain an alphabetical index.
  • Peterson, Clarence Stewart, comp. Known Military Dead During the Revolutionary War, 1775-1783. Baltimore, MD: Peterson, 1952. [Ask at Reference Desk]. This alphabetical list of military dead includes name, rank, regiment, and date of death. It also distinguishes between combat and disease related deaths.

New York City

  • New York in the Revolution as Colony and State: A Compilation of Documents and Records. Albany: J.B. Lyon and Co., 1904. [Reading Room Reference]. This source includes lists of soldiers in New York regiments of the Continental Army and militias.
  • Ranlet, Philip. The New York Loyalists. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 1986. [E277.R25 1986]. A valuable modern history of the activities and sentiments of the white population that remained loyal to the British crown before, during, and after the Revolutionary War. The study suggests that loyalists were less numerous and united in the colony and state of New York than commonly asserted.
  • Tiedemann, Joseph S. Reluctant Revolutionaries: New York City and the Road to Independence. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997. [F128.4.T54 1997]. This history carefully documents the events in New York City leading up to the Declaration of Independence and continually addresses the question of why New Yorkers were reluctant to rebel. The author emphasizes the heterogeneity of the city's population and interests and demonstrates the political skill acquired by activists who brought about a final consensus for independence.

Material Culture

  • Calver, William Louis, and Reginald Pelham Bolton. History Written with Pick and Shovel: Military Buttons, Belt-Plates, Badges, and other Relics Excavated from Colonial, Revolutionary, and War of 1812 Camp Sites by the Field Exploration Committee of the New-York Historical Society. New York: The New-Historical Society, 1950. [Reading Room Reference]. Organized on both a site-by-site basis and an analysis of various period objects. Please Note: Calver and Bolton's field exploration records are available in the Manuscript Department; Photographs from this field exploration are available in the Department of Print, Photograph and Architectural Collections.
  • Coggins, Jack. Ships and Seamen of the American Revolution: Vessels, Crews, Weapons, Gear, Naval Tactics, and Actions of the War for Independence. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1969. [Call No.: XN E271.C63]. A guide to naval warfare in the Revolution including charts, illustrations, statistics and a chronology of naval engagements.
  • Lefferts, Lt. Charles M. Uniforms of the British, French, and German Armies in the War of the American Revolution, 1775-1783. New York: The New-York Historical Society, 1926. [Reading Room Reference]. This text includes descriptions of military uniforms, with illustrations and accounts from contemporary newspapers. Entries are on a regimental basis, and include lists of references. The author describes appearances, fabrics, origins of styles, and utilitarian variations frequently adopted by soldiers in the field. Images from the text are also available online at

Manuscripts, Newspapers, Broadsides, Maps & Periodicals

The Manuscript Department's holdings generated by, and relating to, the American Revolution are extensive, both in breadth and depth. They document the waging of this war from numerous perspectives at many levels of the struggle, from the elite (e.g., letters and general orders of George Washington and of his various aides-de-camp and generals) to the ordinary (muster rolls, ordnance reports, descriptions of guard duty, soldiers' letters and diaries), including one of the largest Collections of Revolutionary War orderly books.

The manuscript collections are being systematically cataloged online. A large and growing percentage of catalog records for manuscripts may be accessed through NYU's BobCat system. Researchers in the reading room should be sure to check both the online and card catalogs for the manuscript department. See the Using the Catalogs section of this guide for more information on BobCat. The manuscript department's online catalog records employ the same call phrases as the card catalog.


The New-York Historical Society's collection of Revolutionary War-era newspapers is one of the largest in the nation. Virtually every newspaper published in the colonies is represented, and many are in near-complete runs. They tell the story from the press's vociferous and imaginative protests against the Stamp Act in 1765 to the unusual banner headlines that announced the victory at Yorktown in 1781.

While American newspapers published during the Revolution are valuable historical tools, they do present unique problems as primary sources. The very number of 18th-century newspapers is limited as they were generally published weekly and in only one or two cities in each colony. Wartime pressures, scarcity of paper and the British occupation of Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Charleston at various times during the conflict severely disrupted their publication. Some patriot newspapers summarily ceased publishing as the British army approached their city, while others resumed, at best, an irregular printing schedule in exile in outlying areas. Once the fighting began, newspapers that were even mildly Loyalist in orientation rarely survived mob pressure in American cities without the protection of the British army. Hence it is unlikely that researchers will find a Tory and patriot viewpoint simultaneously expressed in newspapers in any given city after 1775, and there were even short periods when major American cities had no newspaper at all.

Because of these unusual publication conditions, it is recommended that researchers consult secondary sources before beginning their newspaper research. The following titles are especially useful:

  • Lathem, Edward Connery, comp. Chronological Tables of American Newspapers 1690-1820. Barre, MA: American Antiquarian Society & Barre Publishers, 1972. [Ask at Reference Desk]. This work gives a precise delineation of the very complicated publication history of newspapers by indicating-in chart form-which newspapers were published when in each city.
  • Mott, Frank Luther. American Journalism. rev. ed. New York: Macmillan, 1950. [Ask at Reference Desk]. The chapters "Patriots and Loyalists" and "Covering the Revolution" of this history of American newspapers are helpful in putting newspapers in historical context. From Mott, the reader can get a sense of which newspapers were patriot or Loyalist and to what degree, and how much influence and respect each carried.


  • Brigham, Clarence S. History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820. 2 vols. Worcester, MA: American Antiquarian Society, 1947. [Reading Room Reference]. This is the standard bibliography of American newspapers published before 1820. It provides a detailed publication history of each paper with emphasis on the identity of the editor (editors and publishers were generally one and the same), along with a meticulous documentation of title changes. Brigham also provides a precise list of the repositories that hold original copies of the issues. While this information is still remarkably accurate for original issues, it is superseded in the respect that reproductions through microformats have since been made available in many additional locations.
  • Jodziewicz, Thomas W. Birth of America: The Year in Review 1763–1783. Glen Rock, NJ: Microfilming Corporation of America, 1976. [Call No.: E187.J63]. This work serves as an index to representative American newspapers for the major events of the Revolution, which are described and listed chronologically. A second index includes noteworthy ancillary topics. The book accompanies a microfilm set of the newspapers that the library does not own, but many of the newspapers themselves are available in the library collections.

Access to the newspaper collection is through the newspaper card catalog available on-site only. For a description of how to use the newspaper catalog, please refer to the research guide entitled A Guide to Newspaper Research at The New-York Historical Society Library.

Researchers must view newspapers in surrogate formats, when available. For more information about the preservation of library collections, please see the Introduction to this guide.

The New-York Historical Society has an extensive collection of broadsides that document the American Revolution and the tumultuous events leading up to it. Broadsides, the technical term for any document, large or small, printed on one side of a single sheet of paper, served as posters, handbills, official proclamations, advertisements, and conveyors of ballads and poetry. They were plastered on walls, distributed by hand or read out loud and are especially important for the study of the Revolutionary period. At a time when newspapers were published one or two times a week, broadsides served as the immediate vehicle for late-breaking news: One can find in The New-York Historical Society's collection the first news of the repeal of the Stamp Act and the arrival of a tea ship at Sandy Hook. They report the latest news brought by Paul Revere from Boston and record how news of the events at Lexington and Concord reached New York. Other examples in the collection include a Boston account of the Battle of Bunker Hill told from the British perspective and an appeal, in their own language, to the Pennsylvania Germans to resist the British army as it approaches Philadelphia in December 1776.

Because broadsides bring a sense of immediacy to very specific long-ago events, they can be a challenge to interpret. Well-documented published histories of the Revolution can thus be very helpful; historians have indeed mined this material, and a surprising number of these broadsides are "explained" within the text or in the footnotes of modern histories. For New York City broadsides, The Iconography of Manhattan Island by I. N. Phelps Stokes is very useful. See the Getting Started section of this guide for more information. Records for all broadsides are available through the Library's online catalog
Researchers should use photostatic copies and other surrogate formats to view broadsides, if available. For more information about the preservation of the library collections, please see the Introduction to this guide.

Pamphlets, like newspapers and broadsides, were a fundamental means of communication during the Revolutionary era. They were cheap, sewn or stapled together, and usually not more than a few pages in length, factors that contributed to an ease of circulation and accessibility. Sermons, legal tracts, poetry, rules and orders, and almanacs were all published in pamphlet form. As disputes increased in the years leading up to the Revolutionary War, pamphlets became a way to document significant events as they happened and also set forth personal polemics.

Thomas Paine's Common Sense, many editions of which are held by the Library, is one of the best-known examples of a personal polemic. This pamphlet was printed in various cities including Philadelphia, New York, Newburyport, Massachusetts and London. Often additions or slight changes were made at the time of a new printing, as was the case with the Philadelphia printing by R. Bell of Third Street, "To which is added an appendix to Common sense: together with an address to the people called Quakers." A rebuttal to Paine, by Charles Inglis, The deceiver unmasked; or, Loyalty and interest united : in answer to a pamphlet entitled Common sense / by a loyal American, is also held by the library.

Pamphlets also documented major events of the time as they were unfolding, as is the case with the pamphlet entitled The votes and proceedings of the freeholders and other inhabitants of the town of Boston, in town meeting assembled, according to law, the 5th and 18th days of November, 1773, which was published in Boston, shortly before the Boston Tea Party.

Events were also documented after-the-fact, often with a clear political agenda, as is the case with An oration, delivered March 5, 1774 : at the request of the inhabitants of the town of Boston : to commemorate the bloody tragedy of the fifth of March 1770, by the honorable John Hancock, Esq.

The following books and articles are recommended for further reading about pamphlets:

  • Adams, Thomas R. "The British Pamphlet Press and the American Controversy, 1764- 1783." Reprinted from the Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 89 (April 1979): 33-88. [Call No.: E209.A32 1979]
  • Adams, Thomas R. "American Independence: The Growth of an Idea; a bibliographic study of the American political pamphlets printed between 1764 and 1776 dealing with the dispute between Great Britain and her colonies." In Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts: Transactions 1956-1963. Boston, MA: The Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 1966. [Call No.: F61.C71 v.43]
  • Bailyn, Bernard, ed. Pamphlets of the American Revolution, 1750-1776. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1965. [Call No.: E203.B25]
  • Calkin, Homer J. "Pamphlets and Public Opinion During the American Revolution." The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 64 (1940): 22-42.
  • Jensen, Merrill, comp. Tracts of the American Revolution. Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs & Merrill, 1967. [Call No.: E203.J4]

Researchers must view these and other pamphlets in surrogate formats, if available. For more information about the preservation of the library collections, please see the Introduction to this guide.

For the period of the American Revolution, the New-York Historical Society holds a significant number of maps. Chief among them is the series of field sketches and finished maps of projected battle sites in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania begun by Robert Erskine, geographer and surveyor-general to the Continental Army, and completed by his successor, Simeon De Witt. The Erskine- De Witt series culminates with the detailed Winter-Cantonment of the American Army and it's [sic] Vicinity for 1783, which shows the final encampment of the Continental forces at New Windsor, New York, during the winter of 1782–83.

An example of a British map of the period is The Theatre of War in North America, with the Roads and a Table of Distances, published by Robert Sayer and John Bennett in London in March 1776, which served to educate the average British subject about the rebellious American colonies in gazetteer fashion by providing "a compendious account" of statistical and geographical information.

Records for the majority of the New-York Historical Society's manuscript maps, including roughly three-quarters of the manuscript maps covering the Revolutionary War, can be found through the online catalog. These maps are classified by Library of Congress subject headings. While one may search online for maps by author (i.e. maker) or title, Revolutionary War maps are easiest to find by doing a subject search. Printed maps in the collection can be identified using an online map database [].

To pinpoint place names that are unfamiliar or have fallen from current use, consult a gazetteer such as The Columbia Lippincott Gazetteer of the World, listed at the end of this section.

Many Revolutionary War maps have been printed in books or as illustrations to articles in journals and other periodicals. To find these, consult David Sanders Clark's Index to Maps of the American Revolution in Books and Periodicals, listed below, which is arranged geographically by state, with a subject and name index providing additional access points. Please consult the library's online catalog for holdings.

The following titles are merely a sampling of useful works about Revolutionary War maps and their makers. J. B. Harley's Mapping the American Revolutionary War surveys mapping projects during the Revolution and includes a study on the availability and use of maps during the War. Peter J. Guthorn's American Maps and Map Makers of the Revolution is essential to understanding the extensive Erskine-DeWitt series; the library's reference copy has been annotated to reflect its holdings. Guthorn includes biographical sketches of the mapmakers he discusses, but other accounts may be found listed in the card and online catalogs under their surnames, e.g. "Romans, Bernard."

  • Adams, Randolph G. British Headquarters Maps and Sketches Used by Sir Henry Clinton While in Command of the British Forces Operating in North America During the War for Independence, 1775-1782. Ann Arbor, MI: The William L. Clements Library, 1928. [Call No.: E267.C65]
  • Bedini, Silvio A. "Simeon DeWitt." American National Biography. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. [Reading Room Reference]
  • Clark, David Sanders. Index to Maps of the American Revolution in Books and Periodicals Illustrating the Revolutionary War and Other Events of the Period 1763-1789. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1974. [Reading Room Reference]
  • Guthorn, Peter J. American Maps and Map Makers of the Revolution. Monmouth Beach, NJ: Philip Freneau Press, 1966. [Reading Room Reference]
  • Guthorn, Peter J. British Maps of the American Revolution. Monmouth Beach, NJ: Philip Freneau Press, 1972. [Reading Room Reference]
  • Harley, J. B., et al. Mapping the American Revolutionary War. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1978. [Reading Room Reference]
  • Heusser, Albert H. George Washington's Map Maker: A Biography of Robert Erskine. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1966. [Call No.: CT.E736H42]
  • Marshall, Douglas W. and Howard H. Peckham. Campaigns of the American Revolution: An Atlas of Manuscript Maps. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press, 1976. [Call No.: *E230.M36]
  • Nebenzahl, Kenneth. A Bibliography of Printed Battle Plans of the American Revolution 1775-1795. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1975. [Call No.: Z6026.H6N33]
  • Seltzer, Leon E., editor. The Columbia Lippincott Gazetteer of the World. New York: Columbia University Press, 1962. [Reading Room Reference]
  • Sullivan, Larry E. "The Cartographic Treasures of the New-York Historical Society." Map Collector 34 (March 1986): 28-34. [Call No.: GA300.M29 no.34]
  • Stevens, B. F. B. F. Stevens's Facsimile of the Unpublished British Head Quarters Coloured Manuscript Map of New York & Environs [1782] Reproduced from the Original Drawing in the War Office, London. London, 1900. [Ask at Reference Desk]

Researchers should study maps reprinted in books or surrogate formats such as photostatic copies, when available. For more information about the preservation of the library collections, please see the Introduction to this guide.

Current Periodicals
The library subscribes to a number of current periodicals that contain articles about the American Revolution and other American history topics. These include:

    •    American Heritage
    •    American Historical Review
    •    American History
    •    Journal of American History
    •    New York History
    •    Public Historian

Use the card and online catalogs to find other magazines and journals and their call numbers.

America: History and Life, a multi-volume index available in the hall behind the reading room, lists citations to articles according to author's name and subject and, in the case of book reviews, author of the book being reviewed and reviewer's name. All of the periodicals listed above are indexed through America, as are hundreds of others.

If you are interested in a periodical that the library does not hold, ask a librarian where you can find that title.

Prints & Photographs
Eighteenth century American prints are rare now because they were produced infrequently in the Colonies and their perceived coarseness did not endear them to collectors. However, the events transpiring on this side of the Atlantic were of great concern to European nations; thus there are British and Dutch prints depicting persons and incidents relevant to the American Revolution. There are also 19th century representations of momentous events, the Centennial in 1876 being the impetus of many. The negatives and photoprints of Calver and Bolton's Field Exploration Committee are unique.

Following is a list of the types of prints held by the Department of Print, Photograph and Architectural Collections for this period:

  • Portraits: Military heroes in uniform, clergy, lawyers and governors. Arranged alphabetically by last name.
  • American history and life: Costumes; battle scenes-including Paul Revere's Boston Massacre and the Nathan Hale, Benedict Arnold and Major André affairs; everyday life, allegories, the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Arranged chronologically according to date of event illustrated.
  • Geographic depictions: Views of the original thirteen colonies, especially New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. New York City-Evacuation Day; fictitious views of troops; incidents imagined by European print publishers; and, landings. Arranged geographically according to subject.
  • Caricatures: English, Dutch and a few extremely rare American caricatures from 1760s–80s. Arranged chronologically.

For an in-depth analysis of caricatures of this period, see Shadwell, Wendy. "Britannia in Distress," American Book Collector 7 (Jan. & March 1986): 3-12; 11-22. [Call No.: Z990.A52]

Olds Collection: British and American naval prints from the Revolutionary War, especially dramatic battles made famous in slogans, such as "I have not yet begun to fight" (J.P. Jones) and portraits of those captains. Arranged chronologically according to date of event illustrated.

The New-York Historical Society Field Exploration Committee: Photographs of sites and finds from archeological excavations in New York City, conducted in the early 20th century. For further information about this project, see History Written with Pick and Shovel, listed in the Getting Started section of this guide, under Material Culture.



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