The Diamonstein-Spielvogel Institute

A new collecting and programmatic initiative within New-York Historical

The Diamonstein-Spielvogel Institute for New York City History, Politics, and Community Activism is a new collecting and programmatic initiative within the New-York Historical Society. Created and supported by the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Foundation, the Institute will spearhead a diverse new historical archive, which includes materials from New York City’s marginalized communities and voices. Renowned author, historian, and journalist Russell Shorto was recently appointed the Institute’s founding Executive Director. Mr. Shorto, whose many books include Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America will lead an advisory board whose members include Joy Bivins, Carroll Bogert, Douglas Brinkley, Pamela Rubin Carter, Thomas Dyja, Adam Gopnik, Adam Hochschild, Agnes Hsu-Tang, Michael Keogh, Tarky Lombardi, Kica Matos, Robert Odawi Porter, Lucy Santé, Stacy Schiff, and Brent Staples.

An important component of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Institute’s mission is to provide a repository for materials that relate to 20th- and 21st-century local history, including the civil rights movement, women’s rights, climate concerns, the drive for LBGTQ+ rights, and the historic preservation movement. The archive will reflect significant political, social, and cultural moments from the mid-1900s to the present; it will also offer scholarly programs, a resident fellowship, and short-term fellowships. Among its first archival acquisitions are Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel’s papers and the High Line archives, along with the addition of several collections currently housed at the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library, including materials relating to the Occupy Wall Street movement.

A substantial outreach program will be undertaken to invite individuals and institutions to submit archival materials representing a range of voices to be preserved for future generations. Attention will be also paid to topics such as public health, municipal infrastructure, housing, and the relationship between the development of grassroots movements and the individuals whose work have impacted the city’s history.

Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel (center) and the NYC Landmarks50+ Alliance, April 13, 2015

Diamonstein-Spielvogel Institute Programs

Virtual Event
Jacques d'Amboise
Cultural Medallion Dedication
LIVE ON ZOOM: Monday, May 16 | 3–4 pm ET | Free

Please join Historic Landmarks Preservation Center Founder and Chair Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel and a panel of notable cultural icons as they dedicate a prestigious Cultural Medallion in honor of Jacques d'Amboise.

Additional panelists will include: Kay Gayner, Artistic Director, National Dance Institute; Jennifer Homans, Founding Director, NYU Center for Ballet & the Arts, prize-winning author, whose forthcoming biography of Balanchine, Mr. B, will be published November 2022; Allegra Kent, Principal dancer, New York City Ballet & Author of Once a Dancer...; Donald Newhouse, long-term friend of Jacques & Carrie d'Amboise; Edward Villella, Principal dancer, New York City Ballet & Founding Director, Miami City Ballet; Damian Woetzel, President, Juilliard Music School & former principal dancer, New York City Ballet


Virtual Program
NYC Landmarks50+ Alliance | Spring Convening
LIVE ON ZOOM: Thursday, May 19, 2022 | 12–2 pm ET | Free

Featuring: Frances Bronet, Justin Davidson, Susan Meiselas, Bénédicte de Montlaur, Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel (moderator)

In 2012, Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel—chair and founder of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Institute for New York City History, Politics, and Community Activism at the New-York Historical Society—established the NYC Landmarks50+ Alliance to commemorate the landmarks of New York and significant anniversaries of the NYC Landmarks Preservation law. As part of the Institute’s initiatives, the Alliance presents a series of special virtual discussions featuring knowledgeable speakers on the past, present, and future of New York City.

The spring 2022 convening will feature Frances Bronet, architect, engineer, and the 12th president of Pratt Institute; Justin Davidson, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic, award-winning composer, and architecture and music critic at New York Magazine; Susan Meiselas, award-winning, internationally admired photographer and president of the Magnum Foundation; and Bénédicte de Montlaur, CEO of the World Monument Fund. The discussion will be moderated by Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel.


Virtual Event
Zora Neale Hurston
Cultural Medallion Dedication
LIVE ON ZOOM: Tuesday, June 14, 2022 | 3–4 pm ET | Free
Please join Historic Landmarks Preservation Center Founder and Chair Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel and a panel of notable cultural icons as they dedicate a prestigious Cultural Medallion in honor of Zora Neale Hurston.

Additional panelists will include: Shelly Eversley, Professor of English & Interim Chair of Black and Latinx Studies, Baruch College; Joy Bivins, Director, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; Carl Hancock Rux, Poet, Playwright, Novelist, Essayist & Recording Artist; and Monica Miller, Professor of English & Africana Studies, Barnard College.


Archival Resources

Duke University Finding Aids

Additional materials related to Dr. Diamonstein-Spielvogel's life and contributions:

David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Collection at Duke University

Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel Video Archive

Video Archive

“Honor our Past, Imagine our Future” Banner Flown over all five boroughs on April 15, 2015, to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the NYC Landmarks Law

About the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Foundation

The Diamonstein-Spielvogel Foundation was founded by Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel and Ambassador Carl Spielvogel to continue and extend their long-term commitment to the common good and the public interest. With this focus, deeply rooted in inclusiveness, social equity, and community service, the Foundation creates and supports original projects based on results-driven and innovative strategies. The Foundation funds projects which demonstrate creative promise in four priority areas: projects focused on civic leadership, public affairs, and diplomacy; projects of cultural merit; original educational initiatives; and initiatives in support of the advancement of biomedical sciences. Learn more at