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Oversize manuscripts collection

Call Number



1648-2018, inclusive



4.2 Linear feet

Language of Materials

Materials in this collection are generally in English with a few documents in Latin.


This collection is an "artificial collection'' of unrelated materials that are stored together due to their large size. The collection is organized into two series. Series I consists of oversize items that were donated or acquired individually, and are not part of a larger collection. This series is arranged by date. Series II is composed of oversize items that were accessioned as part of larger manuscript collections, but are physically located in oversize storage. These items are organized alphabetically by the name of the originating collection.


The Oversize Manuscripts Collection is organized into two Series: "Individual Oversize Manuscripts" and "Oversize Manuscripts From Other Collections". The materials located in Series I were donated or aquired individually and are organized into chronological order according to date. The materials described in Series II belong to other archival collections, but must be stored seperately due to their large size. These items are organized alphabetically by the name of the originating collection.

"Small" oversize folders are arranged in boxes, while "medium" and "large" oversize folders are stored in cabinet drawers.

Scope and Contents

This collection is an "artificial collection", meaning that it contains a variety of unrelated materials that have been grouped together according to size in order to facilitate storage and access. The collection includes a wide variety of formats and topics. It holds items of unrelated provenance that include: correspondence, official documents (deeds, wills, bonds, etc.), certificates, maps, drawings, blueprints, and photostats. While the majority of the materials are from New York state, there are also many documents originating in other areas of the United States. Because the dates of the materials in the collection range from 1648-1998, the collection encompasses a particularly large span of American history.

Many of the folders in the collection relate to important historical figures, including former presidents of the United States, military leaders, and influential New York families. Documents signed by the following presidents can be found in the collection: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, Martin VanBuren, James K. Polk, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Rutherford Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinely, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calivin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and Grover Cleveland. The collection also contains signatures of other influential historical figures, most notably those of Admiral Nelson, Napolean Bonaparte, Alexander Hamilton, and John Hancock.

Highlights from the collection include: documents relating to the Revolutionary War, documents relating to the Civil War, Society of Cincinnati certificates, the New York Loyalists' Address and the Loyalist Declaration of Dependence, Authorization for the Sale of Louisiana, Robert Fulton's steam engine drawings and ship drawings, Audubon bird descriptions and list, preliminary agreement and final contract between P.T. Barnum and Jenny Lind, signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, Kosciuszko drawings, and an execution warrant signed by George Washington.


Conditions Governing Access

Taking images of documents from the library collections for reference purposes by using hand-held cameras and in accordance with the library's photography guidelines is encouraged. As an alternative, patrons may request up to 20 images per day from staff.

Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to: Department of Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194, Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282.

Copyrights and other proprietary rights may subsist in individuals and entities other than the New-York Historical Society, in which case the patron is responsible for securing permission from those parties. For fuller information about rights and reproductions from N-YHS visit:

Conditions Governing Use

Open to qualified researchers.

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as: Oversize Manuscripts Collection, MS OS, New-York Historical Society

Related Materials at the New-York Historical Society

The documents in Series II were accessioned as part of larger manuscript collections. Some of these manuscript collections are described in online finding aids. All manuscript collections have records in our online catalog.

Some of the documents in Series I are also related by subject matter (and possibly provenance) to other archival material at the New-York Historical Society. Folders in Series I that contain material relating to other collections have "See Also" notes next to them in the folder list.

Accruals Note

Items continue to be added to this collection.

Collection processed by

Catherine Newton and Audrey Belanger, with ongoing additions by others.

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-12-12 16:20:27 -0500.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: Finding Aid is written in English.

Processing Information

Initially processed by Audrey Belanger and Catherine Newton., Finding Aid by Catherine Newton. Additional items continue to be added and the finding aid updated.


New-York Historical Society
New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024