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New-York Historical graphic arts collection

Call Number

PR 22


circa1700- circa 1950, inclusive



7.5 Linear feet in 7 boxes and 45 flat file folders

Language of Materials

The documents in the collection are primarily in English, but also include fraktur forms, French, and perhaps other languages.


The Graphic Arts Collection primarily contains samples of commercial and experimental printing produced in the United States and Europe.


Materials are filed chronologically within series. The collection is divided into two series:

Series I. American Graphic Arts

Series II. European Graphic Arts

Scope and Content Note

The Graphic Arts Collection (known as the Graphic Arts File prior to 2020) spans the period from ca. 1700 to ca. 1950 and primarily contains samples of commercial and experimental printing produced in the United States and Europe. The collection is divided into two series: American Graphic Arts; and European Graphic Arts. In 1937, The New-York Historical Society bought the entirety of Elie Nadelman's Folk Art Museum; therefore many items in the Graphic Arts Collection, especially in the European Graphic Arts series, comprise that acquisition. It has not been possible to totally recreate the Nadelman collection as items have been dispersed throughout this and other PPACrint room collections. Most Nadelman materials are stamped on the back with the Nadelman name. When possible, items with this provenance will be identified below.

Series I. American Graphic Arts is organized by genre or object type, these are listed chronologically. Miscellaneous materials are filed at the end, and include etchings and engravings.

Series II. European Graphic Arts is divided by format, which are listed chronologically. This series includes a lot of material from the Nadelman Collection of Folk Art.

Access Restrictions

Available by advance appointment only. To schedule an appointment, contact the Print Room Librarian at

Some of the documents are fragile and access to them will be mediated with the assistance of the reference librarian.

Use Restrictions

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to 20 exposures of stable, unbound material per day. 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 Graphic Arts Collection, PR 22, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, New-York Historical Society.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection has been assembled from multiple gifts and purchases.

Separated Material

The Graphic Arts File was originally conceived as an umbrella category for printed material and ephemera. In 2001-2002, many categories of material were removed from the Graphic Arts Collection based on their shared provenance or special format. These are now the:

List of collections formerly in the Graphic Arts Collection:

  1. American Art-Union Print Collection (PR 159)
  2. James Carroll Beckwith Artist File (PR 158)
  3. Bryan Gallery of Christian Art Print Collection (PR 143)
  4. Clipper Ship Card Collection (PR 116)
  5. Issacher Cozzens Print Collection (PR 145)
  6. Louis Durr Print Collection (PR 142)
  7. European Print File (PR 151)
  8. William Rickarby Miller Artist File (PR 152)
  9. Paper Doll Collection (PR 161)
  10. Patriotic Envelope Collection (PR 117)
  11. Pictorial Calendar Collection (PR 146)
  12. Pictorial Lettersheet Collection (PR 144)
  13. Playing Card and Game Collection (PR 115)
  14. Luman Reed Print Collection (PR 141)
  15. Society of Iconophiles Print Collection (PR 160)
  16. Vache Family Embroidery Pattern Collection (PR 163)
  17. George Henry Yewell Print Collection (PR 153)

Related Material at The New-York Historical Society

The Bella C. Landauer Collection of Business and Advertising Ephemera (PR 031) contains similar ephemera utilizing many of the printing techniques shown in this collection. The New-York Historical Society's Museum holds hand-drawn frakturs, as well as the bulk of the Nadelman Collection of Folk Art.


The collection is open for additional accessions. The most recent accession was 2019, which was added to the finding aid in 2020.

Collection processed by

Jenny Gotwals

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-21 15:48:35 -0400.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: The finding aid is written in English

Processing Information

The collection was processed circa 2002 by Jenny Gotwals. The collection was then referred to as the Graphic Arts File; in 2020 the title was changed to Graphic Arts Collection. Also in 2020, the format of the finding aid was revised by Larry Weimer to resolve distortions that had developed in it due to various system migrations over time.


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