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Historic Photographs and Drawings Collection

Call Number



1800-1980, inclusive


New York University Archives (Role: Collector)


261 objects

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.


This collection contains photographs, drawings, glass plate negatives, and other documentary materials depicting student life and activities, campus architecture, city maps, faculty portraits, and other aspects of NYU culture from 1800-1980.

Historical Note

Included in this collection is a group of 161 glass plate negatives representing a period of NYU history from approximately 1890-1910. These glass plates were transferred to the University Archives, presumably from the historic collection at the former University Heights campus. This collection was maintained by Dr. Theodore Francis Jones, who published a centennial history of the University in 1933. The University Heights campus was opened by NYU in the Bronx in 1894 and was sold in 1973. It is now the campus of the Bronx Community College. Many of the glass plate negatives are images of the University Heights campus and some of its well-known architecture, including the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, which was built in 1900.

Some of the glass plate negatives include the signature "Sabin 08." This may be the signature of Raymond E. Sabin, a student at the University Heights campus who graduated in 1908 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Pure Science. Sabin was a member of the Camera Club at the Heights, Delta Phi fraternity, and the varsity football squad. He lived in Flushing, Queens.


This collection is arranged into two series, Series I: Oversized Photos and Drawings and Series II: Glass Plate Negatives.

Series I is arranged by topic. Series II has been kept in its original order.


  1. Series I: Oversized Photos and Drawings
  2. Series II: Glass Plate Negatives

Scope and Contents

The Historic Photographs and Drawings Collection is a compilation of multiple formats of materials depicting all aspects of NYU from campus architecture to student life and activities. The bulk of the collection is from the early to mid-20th century, with some materials dating back to the 19th century. The two series that make up this collection were originally individual collections that have been brought together by virtue of their physical formats and the focus of their content.

The oversized materials in the collection contain portraits of faculty members, maps of the University Heights campus as well as the Washington Square campus, group photographs of athletic teams, and photographs of events such as commencement and class reunions. Also included in the oversized materials are several reproductions of documents such as George Washington's Inaugural Address, the Mayflower Contract, the United States Constitution, and the First Patent of America.

The glass plate negatives in the collection focus primarily on the University Heights campus, its buildings, and student life and activities including sporting events and in class lectures. The glass plate negatives are extremely fragile, and despite their high quality and good condition, several of them are slightly cracked or damaged.

Conditions Governing Use

Open for use without restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Historic Photographs and Drawings Collection; Photo.002; box number; folder number; New York University Archives

Collection processed by

Keara Duggan and Kerry Heimer.

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2024-02-06 14:26:33 -0500.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: Description is written in: English, Latin script.

Processing information

For the glass plates in Series II, the titles were derived from notations along the edge or margin of each plate. Where a specific date is provided, the item notation included a specific date. Where a date range is provided, the item did not include a specific date.


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