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Washington Square Park Redevelopment collection

Call Number

MS 678


1952-1966, inclusive



0.63 Linear feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials

The documents in the collection are in English.


This is a collection of records of various community organizations fighting the redevelopment of Washington Square Park and the surrounding area. Their efforts included closing the park to traffic, fighting the construction of NYU's library and university housing, and the creation of more parkland. The collection contains letters and statements of opposition from local community groups and individuals. Also included are government documents and New York University publications relating to the potential redevelopment.

Historical Note

Missing Title

1952 New York University announces plans to redevelop Washington Square Park Southeast area.
1954 Washington Square Park Committee announces its plan to fight the project.
1958 Washington Square Park converts from being open to all traffic to only being open to bus traffic.
1959 Washington Square Park completely closed to traffic.
1964 New York University reveals design of library on Washington Square South.
1965 New York University asks the City Planning Commission to review proposal of campus expansion, including the library.
1966 Community Planning Commission holds public hearing on the project.
1973 New York University's Bobst Library completed.


Most of the collection is arranged by organization. The letters from individuals and to Shirley Hayes are arranged chronologically. The papers are arranged into the following series:

Series I: Community Organizations

Series II: New York University Publications

Series III: Government Documents

Series IV: Letters and Statements of Opposition

Series V: Other Material

Scope and Content Note

This collection is comprised of materials relating to Washington Square Park's history from 1952 to 1966. The issues that these papers cover are the traffic through the square, New York University's new library and housing project, parkland and park use. The collection consists of letters and statements of opposition, community organizations' records opposing the redevelopment, government documents and New York University publications. Also included are letters to Shirley Hayes, a local community leader who was instrumental in getting the park closed to traffic.

Access Restrictions

Materials in this collection may be stored offsite. For more information on making arrangements to consult them, please visit

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 the Washington Square Park Redevelopment Collection, MS 678, New-York Historical Society.

Location of Materials

Materials in this collection may be stored offsite. For more information on making arrangements to consult them, please visit

Related Material at The New-York Historical Society

Further material on Washington Square Park can be found in the Records of the Washington Arch and in the Shirley Hayes Papers.

Collection processed by

Tiffany Schureman

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-21 15:50:14 -0400.
Language: Description is in English.

Processing Information

Processed by Tiffany Schureman, before 2011.


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