Carolyn Cassady Kent papers
Language of Materials
The collection includes Carolyn Cassady Kent's files, dating from about 1984-2009, concerning her activism in historic preservation in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York City. Among the many preservation projects represented in the collection are those concerning the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, the neighborhood surrounding Columbia University, the Hamilton Grange, Hamilton Vaudeville Palace (Hamilton Theater), 440 Riverside Drive (Kent's residence), and others.
Biographical / Historical
Carolyn Cassady Kent (1935-2009) was, in the context of this collection, a historic preservationist active principally in matters concerning her New York City neighborbood of Morningside Heights in Manhattan.
Born in Rochester, NY, Kent moved in 1966 to 440 Riverside Drive in Morningside Heights where she lived with her husband, Edward. She became active in preservation efforts initially in response to proposed alterations to the apartment building (the "Paterno") in which she lived. She became a member of Community Board 9 and established its committee on landmarks and preservation. In 1996, Kent co-founded the Morningside Heights Historic District Committee.
Kent was involved in several preservation actions, many successful, others not. Among these were her opposition to residence towers at Columbia University's Teachers College and on the grounds of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and support for landmarking the Hamilton Theater, the Croton Aqueduct, the West 119th Street Gatehouse, and others. In 1991-92, Kent was also a co-curator of a photograph exhibition, "Heritage on the Heights," at the Surrogate's Court Building.
(The above note was derived from Carolyn Kent's biographical sketch on the website of The New York Preservation Archive Project: https://www.nypap.org/).
The collection has not been physically processed and so remains as received by N-YHS. Consequently, there is no particular overall order to the material. Nonetheless, the material is generally well-foldered and labeled within the boxes and is accessible.
Scope and Contents
The collection includes Carolyn Cassady Kent's files concerning her activism in historic preservation in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York City. Particularly well-represented are Kent's involvement in opposition to the proposal for the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York to finance the construction of a high-rise student life residence facility for Columbia University's Teachers College on West 121st and 122nd streets; opposition to the proposal for real estate developer AvalonBay Communities Inc. to build rental apartment buildings on the Close of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine; proposed relocation of the Alexander Hamilton House (the "Hamilton Grange") from 287 Convent Avenue to St. Nicholas Park; and preservation of her apartment building, 440 Riverside Drive (the "Paterno"), and 435 Riverside (the "Colosseum"), among other projects.
The files include Kent's copies of agendas, minutes, notes, and other documents from her membership on Community Board 9, CB9's Committee on Landmarks and Historic Preservation, Morningside Heights Historic District Committee, and other organizations. These files include documentation of many proposals concerning preservation beyond those noted above. There are some files related to Kent's involvement with the "Heritage on the Heights" photograph exhibition.
Overall, the files include correspondence, legal opinions and filings, print-outs of emails, research reference material/print matter, fliers, copies of petitions, and photographs. The photographs are typically color snapshots of individual buildings or building details.
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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, firstname.lastname@example.org. 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: https://www.nyhistory.org/about/rights-reproductions
The collection should be cited as: Carolyn Cassady Kent papers, MS 2920, New-York Historical Society.
Location of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Hannah Kent, Carolyn Kent's daughter, in 2011-12.
About this Guide
The collection has not been physically processed and remains in original folders as received by N-YHS. A finding aid describing the overall content of the collection to the box level was prepared by archivist Larry Weimer in August 2021. The box level descriptions, including date ranges, were based on skims of the material and are rough and approximate.