Skip to main content Skip to main navigation

Bayrd Still Papers

Call Number



1926-1988, inclusive
; 1950-1980, bulk


Still, Bayrd


64.5 Linear Feet in 59 record cartons, 4 manuscript boxes, 4 oversize flat boxes, one square box, and 3 card boxes.

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.


From 1947 to 1987, Bayrd Still served New York University (NYU) as historian, archivist, teacher, and administrator. An authority on urban history and development, Still also studied landmark preservation in New York City. This collection documents Still's professional life at NYU. It also contains some personal materials.

Biographical Note

From 1947 to 1987, Dr. Bayrd Still served New York University (NYU) as historian, archivist, teacher, and administrator. An authority on urban history and urban development, Dr. Still's interests and commitments extended beyond his academic research and the university to involve landmark preservation in New York City.

Bayrd Still was born on July 7, 1906, in Woodstock, Illinois. He received bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in history from the University of Wisconsin. Before assuming his professorship at NYU, Still taught at Ohio Wesleyan University, the University of Wisconsin, and Duke University.

From 1947 to 1974 Dr. Still was a professor at NYU in the Department of History, for which he also served as chair from 1955-1970. In 1955 Still was appointed head of the undergraduate history department at University College as well as head of the graduate program of history. In 1957 he became head of the all-university Department of History and remained so until 1970. Additionally, he served as acting dean for both the undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School of Arts and Science from 1958-1959, and again from 1959 to 1960. Throughout his teaching career, Still taught at both the University Heights campus and the Washington Square campus.

President James M. Hester established the Office of the Archivist in 1967, appointing Thomas C. Pollock as University Archivist, and Bayrd Still as Chair of the Advisory Committee on the History of New York University. The committee helped to write the NYU history. When Pollock resigned in 1969, Still declined the position of University Archivist, continuing instead as chair of the Advisory Committee. He played a key role in the founding of the University Archives project until 1975, when he became University Archivist.

Still was an authority on United States urban development and westward expansion. Courses he taught included "The History of the American City since 1820" and "The History of New York City." His publications include: Urban America: A History with Documents, Milwaukee, The History of a City, Mirror for Gotham: New York as Seen by Contemporaries from Dutch Days to the Present, and The West: Contemporary Records of America's Expansion Across the Continent, 1609-1890.

In 1961 Still served as supervisor for New York University graduate fellowships with the New York Community Trust. In 1962 Mayor Robert F. Wagner appointed Still to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, a position he held until 1965. Still also served on the Mayor's Task Force on Municipal Archives in New York. In 1975 he became the Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Brooklyn Rediscovery Project. He was a member of the New-York Historical Society, the American Studies Association, and the Society of American Historians. In the 1980s Still organized and conducted walking tours of NYU and Greenwich Village. Dr. Still died in Woodstock, Illinois, on November 19, 1992.


New York Community Trust, "The Heritage of New York". (New York: Fordham University Press): xviiiKald, Milt "Meeting The Guardian of NYU's Past." Washington Square News. (September 29, 1980): 3 Bayrd Still: vita


Materials are largely in their original order. Most folders are arranged chronologically. Within the folders the material is arranged chronologically in descending order. Some arrangement was imposed by archivists when original order was not known, or materials had been separated from the rest of the collection, as in Series VI through VIII.

The collection is arranged in eight series: Series I: Subject, Historical Reference, and Personal Files

Series II: Research, Committees, Talks, Reviews, Still's Articles

Series III: NYC Research

Series IV: Speeches, Reviews, Doctoral Student Files, Mayoral Research, NYU Archives

Series V: Correspondence

Series VI: Landmarks

Series VII: Copper Photo Engravings

Series VIII: Books on New York City and Urban America

Scope and Contents

The bulk of this collection documents Dr. Bayrd Still's professional life and work as a historian of New York City and urban America, a professor of history at New York University, and as a New York University Archivist. The collection contains correspondence, published and unpublished articles and speeches, historical research materials, and information regarding Still's professional associations and early career. A series of copper engraving plates, prints from which were included in Still's book A Mirror for Gotham (New York University Press, 1956), and a series of books annotated by Still are also included in the collection.

Conditions Governing Access

Administrative records and unpublished reports of New York University are closed for a period of 20 years from the date of their creation. Access to files spanning multiple years will be opened to researchers based on the date of the most recent materials. Board of Trustees records are closed for 35 years from the date of creation. Materials related to personnel, grievances, job and fellowship searches and applications, and all files that fall under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) are permanently restricted. Additional restrictions may apply to other materials in this collection. For questions regarding specific restrictions, please contact the University Archives.

Conditions Governing Use

Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by the creator are maintained by New York University. Permission to publish or reproduce materials in this collection must be secured from New York University Archives

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date (if known); Bayrd Still Papers; MC 44; box number; folder number; New York University Archives, New York University Libraries.

Location of Materials

Most materials are stored offsite, and advance notice is required for use. Please request materials at least two business days prior to your research visit to coordinate access.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Given to University Archives by Bayrd Still in 1985. One student notebook in Series VIII was transferred to the University Archives in 1993 by Fred Schult, the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of History. It was added to Series I, Subseries D, of this collection in 2016. The accession number related to this collection is 85.033.

Separated Materials

Photographs have been removed from Series VI and integrated into the University Archives Photograph Collection. These include photographs of images of George Washington, John Adams, James Madison, Ulysses S. Grant, Chester A. Arthur, Theodore Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George Clinton, Daniel Tompkins, Schuyler Colfax, and Levi P. Morton.

Related Materials

Records of the Office of the President (James M. Hester) (RG 3.0.7)

Collection processed by

Marilyn Pettit, Courtney A. Smith and Maneesha Patel. Inventory prepared by Norma Chaires and Bernadette Siddiqi.

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-20 17:54:24 -0400.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: Finding aid written in English

Processing Information

The Bayrd Still Papers have undergone additional processing since they were opened to researchers. Added description reflects original file categories and titles that Still used in his inventory.

The Bayrd Still Papers and the Landmarks Collection were originally two discrete collections before they were merged in 2001. Materials from the Landmarks Collection are now in Series VI.

Series VII was added to the collection in 2011, and Series VIII in 2016. Boxes 64 and 65 were rehoused in manuscript boxes and integrated into the Bayrd Still Papers in May 2016.

Personal notebooks found in the repository were added to Series I as Subseries D: Personal notebooks in December 2018.

In 2019 materials were rehoused by Preservation and sent to offsite storage.

Revisions to this Guide

December 2018: Updated by Jacqueline Rider to include materials found in repository and for compliance with DACS and ACM Required Elements for Archival Description
June 2019: Updated by Jennifer E. Neal to incorporate materials being sent to offsite storage in 2019
July 2019: Updated by Jennifer E. Neal to incorporate materials being sent to offsite storage in 2019
October 2019: Conditions Governing Access note updated by John Zarrillo


New York University Archives
New York University Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012