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Hudson-Fulton Celebration Commission records

Call Number

MS 314


1905-1913 (Bulk 1909-1911), inclusive


Hudson-Fulton Celebration Commission


20 Linear feet in 42 boxes

Language of Materials

The documents in the collection are in English.


The Records of the Hudson-Fulton Celebration Commission focus on the commission's role in orchestrating the Hudson-Fulton Celebration of 1909. The collection contains correspondence, contracts, vouchers, cancelled checks, financial and legal documents, meeting minutes, clippings, and ephemera.

Historical Note

The Hudson-Fulton Celebration was held September 25 - October 11, 1909 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Henry Hudson discovering the Hudson River in 1609 and the 100th anniversary of the first commercial steamboat service, started by Robert Fulton in 1607. Communities along the River observed the celebration, with events occurring from Staten Island to Cohoes, New York.

In 1905, George B. McClellan, Mayor of New York City, and Francis W. Higgins, Governor of New York, appointed a committee of approximately 150 citizens to plan and implement a Hudson tercentennial celebration. The Mayor also formed a committee to plan a celebration honoring Fulton's contributions to the Hudson River region. In 1906, it was decided to merge the two committees and through the enactment of Chapter 325 of the Laws of 1906, the Hudson-Fulton Celebration Commission was formed on April 27, 1906.

The commission was divided into several working committees, the number increasing from 12 in the first year to 51 by the time the celebration commenced. Some of these committees were the Aquatic Sports Committee, Auditing Committee, Historical and Carnival Parades Committee, Invitations Committee, Medal Committee, Naval Parade Committee, Plan and Scope Committee, Reception Committee, and Religious Services Committee.

The New York State government appropriated about 48 percent of the funds required for the celebration, while the New York City government contributed about 24 percent of the funds. Since the federal government did not provide financial aid for the celebration, nor did any other state governments, the remaining 28 percent of required funds came from private donations made to a subscription fund set up by the commission.

The celebration was intended to not only commemorate two significant historical achievements, but also encourage "civic pride," start a "historical awakening," "assimilate" the immigrant population, and promote "international friendship" and world peace. Dignitaries from throughout the world were invited to participate, and visitors filled New York hotels beyond capacity. The celebration included banquets and receptions, various parades throughout the city, aquatic competitions, and naval parades among other festivities. Wilbur Wright was hired to perform several aerial demonstrations during the celebration, flying along the Hudson River from Governor's Island to Grant's Tomb. Upon its conclusion, the Hudson-Fulton Celebration was described as a "jubilee of happiness," whereby New York enjoyed two weeks of peace, patriotism, and prosperity.


The records are divided into 12 series:

Missing Title

  1. Series I: Correspondence
  2. Series II: Financial Documents
  3. Series III: Legal Documents
  4. Series IV: Organizational Materials
  5. Series V: Ephemera
  6. Series VI: Clippings
  7. Series VII: The Fourth Annual Report of the Hudson Fulton Celebration Commission
  8. Series VIII: Materials unrelated to the Hudson-Fulton Celebration

Scope and Content Note

The Hudson-Fulton Celebration Commission Records document the activities of the Commission from 1905 to 1913. The bulk of the material is from 1909 to 1911, the time in which most of the preparation and follow-up activities occurred. While the Invitation Replies subseries, as well as a few pieces of correspondence, do discuss the event's success, most of the collection focuses on preparation activites and the Commission's inner workings, rather than the celebration itself. However, The Fourth Annual Report of the Hudson Fulton Celebration Commission offer a detailed account of the Celebration, as well as insight on the event's successes.

The bulk of the collection is composed of correspondence and financial documents, particularly payment vouchers. The collection also contains legal documents, organizational materials, clippings, ephemera, and assorted materials unrelated to the Hudson-Fulton Celebration. There is very little visual material, as most of this is housed in the Print Room's collection (see Related Material).

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers. Please contact prior to your research visit to coordinate access. Keep in mind that it will take between two (2) and five (5) business days for collections to arrive, and you should plan your research accordingly.

Use Restrictions

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:

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as Hudson-Fulton Celebration Commission Records, MS 314, New-York Historical Society.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the Hudson-Fulton Celebration Commission, 1911.

Related Material at The New-York Historical Society

Hudson-Fulton Celebration Collection (PR-268)

The Fourth Annual Report of the Hudson Fulton Celebration Commission, 1909 (BobCat call number: F127.H82 H53 1910)

Collection processed by

Lara Chmela

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-21 15:46:49 -0400.
Language: Description is in English.

Edition of this Guide

This version was derivedfrom hudson_fulton.xml


New-York Historical Society
New-York Historical Society
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New York, NY 10024