$7.5 Million Will Help Fund A New Underground Compact Storage Facility for New-York Historical’s Priceless Collections and Create New Above-Ground Gallery Space

New York, NY—September 17, 2020—The New-York Historical Society is pleased to announce a gift of $7.5 million from longtime Trustee Patricia D. Klingenstein and her family to build underground compact storage for New-York Historical’s renowned Patricia D. Klingenstein Library, one of the oldest independent research libraries in the United States. The Klingenstein Library’s extensive collections, which span the 17th century to the present, provide unique insights into the history of New York and the nation. The new facility will provide essential housing and preservation for rare and special materials, serving thousands of students, educators, researchers, and members of the public each year. A new gallery will be constructed above the storage facility.

The rare collections of the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library include many unique items available at no other library in the world, among them rare copies of our nation’s foundational documents. The library’s two original stacks storage, dating from 1904 and 1937 respectively, are inadequate for the safeguarding of priceless materials. The majority of the collection has already been moved offsite as a precaution; the remainder will be moved offsite over the coming year. Construction of new, state-of-the-art compact storage will allow for the rehousing of a substantial part of the collection at New-York Historical’s Central Park West home, making materials readily accessible and available to library users. The new storage facility will deploy high-density compact shelving, state-of-the-art environmental controls, optimal security, and first-rate measures to guard against natural and non-natural disasters. A timeline for construction will be announced in the future, following necessary City approvals.

“We are extremely grateful to Patricia D. Klingenstein, our longest-serving trustee, for her generosity as well as her concern for the future of our priceless collections,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of New-York Historical. “For many years we have hoped to be able to construct state-of-the-art storage adequate to the irreplaceable materials in our Library collections. Mrs. Klingenstein’s gift will allow us to do so, with immeasurable benefits for our staff as well as the public they serve. As tribute to this extraordinary gift, we look forward to naming a new gallery space above the storage facility in Mrs. Klingenstein’s honor.”

“I am very proud to continue my support of the New-York Historical Society,” said Patricia D. Klingenstein, who has served on its board of trustees since 1989. “Ensuring that the Library’s resources continue to be easily accessible and carefully preserved for future generations is paramount to its mission of research and historical scholarship.”   

One of only 20 members of the prestigious Independent Research Libraries Association, the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library’s rich and diverse holdings date from the Dutch colonial era. Treasures among the more than 10 million manuscripts, documents, photographs, books, newspapers, diaries, and myriad other materials include:

• rare examples of 17th century Dutch mapmaking;

• Hugh Gaine’s New York printing of the Declaration of Independence;

• manuscript survey maps made for General George Washington;

• John Jay’s draft of Federalist No. 64 from the Federalist Papers;

• a document signed by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1803 authorizing the sale of the Louisiana Territory;

• the archives of the New-York African Free-School dating from 1816–1832;

Freedom’s Journal, the first newspaper published by African Americans from 1827–1829;

• some of the earliest extant photographs of New York City, Victor Prevost’s calotypes;

• the architectural collections of Cass Gilbert and McKim, Mead & White;

• the Time Inc. archive, which provides a detailed perspective of 20th-century history and Time Inc.’s media empire;

• archival materials from social justice pioneer and sports icon Billie Jean King; and

• the Papers of Robert A. Caro, the complete archive of the author whose works on Robert Moses and Lyndon Johnson are regarded as masterpieces of modern biography and history.

Each year thousands of researchers—from students to educators, journalists to genealogists, novelists to filmmakers—enjoy free access to the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library, receiving research assistance and using the collections on site and remotely. The work of acclaimed historians including Ron Chernow, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and David McCullough, to name a few, has been informed by their findings and research in the Library’s collections.

Patricia D. Klingenstein, currently the longest serving New-York Historical trustee, also serves on the board of the New York Public Library and is a member of the Visiting Committee of the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and of the Council of Rockefeller University. She has served previously on the board of the Vail Valley Institute, New York State Museum in Albany, and the Junior League of Greenwich, Connecticut. Mrs. Klingenstein is a graduate of Philadelphia’s Shipley School and Smith College. The Library at New-York Historical was renamed in her honor in 2011, following extensive renovations of its building on Central Park West.

About the New-York Historical Society
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 only 20 members of the Independent Research Libraries Association and  one of the oldest, most distinguished libraries in the nation, containing more than 10 million manuscripts, books, maps, atlases, newspapers, broadsides, music sheets, prints, photographs, and architectural drawings. Visit and follow New-York Historical on social media at @nyhistory on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and Tumblr.

Press Contacts
Ines Aslan                                                               Marybeth Ihle                       

Image credit: The Reading Room of the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library. Photo courtesy of New-Yo

Thursday, September 17, 2020
Creative: Tronvig Group