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Subject File

Call Number

PR 68


circa 1600-1976 (bulk 1800-1950), inclusive


New-York Historical Society


18 Linear feet

Language of Materials

The documents in the collection are in English.


The collection, compiled by New-York Historical from various donations and purchases, consists of prints and photographs filed by subject.


The collection is organized into three series:

Series I. Boxed Files

Series II. Flat Files

Series III. Oversize Files

Scope and Content Note

The Subject File spans the period from ca. 1600 to ca. 1976 and primarily contains images of American history and life. The collection is divided into three series by size: Boxed Files holds material smaller than 9 by 14 inches, Flat Files holds items between 9 by 14 and 24 by 40 inches, and Oversize Files holds material larger than 24 by 40 inches. All series include an immense range of printed material and photographs; snapshots, cyanotypes, news release photos, etchings, engravings, photogravures, lithographs and chromolithographs, albumen prints, silver gelatin prints, cabinet cards, book plates, and second generation copy photography are represented throughout the Subject File.

The hierarchy is the same throughout the collection, although all categories do not appear in each series. Cross-references are made within the container list when appropriate. Where possible, Library of Congress subject headings and organizational terms have been used. This file is meant to be an open and active file, and will most likely see many new additions. The following description is current only as of December 2002.

The amount and disparate types of material in this collection preclude an itemized discussion of each subject covered. Below are descriptions of some of the collection's highlights. Most of the notable material in this collection can be found in the PEOPLE subseries, in both Series I and II. Subseries level categories (the "subjects" covered in the collection) are rendered in all capital letters in the text. Further divisions of those categories or folder titles are found in quotes. Due to the complicated structure of the collection, only the subseries level categories are listed here. Researchers are encouraged to consult the box and folder list, which is held at the Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, as well as the text below, for more detailed information about the Subject File.

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 Subject File, PR 068, Department of Prints, Photographs and Architectural Collections, The 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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection is made up of multiple purchases and gifts. Large gifts include those from donors Henry O. Havemeyer and George T. Bagoe.

Separated Material

Several portfolios of prints were removed from the Subject File and are now cataloged as books in the Print Room's collection.

Related Material at the Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections

The Subject File was originally conceived as an umbrella category for materials that were best organized by subject. In 2000-2002, many categories of material were removed from the Subject File based on their shared provenance or special format. These are now the:

Civil War Photography Collection (PR 164)

Edouart Silhouette Photograph Collection (PR 101)

Good Will Delegation Photograph Collection (PR 124)

Charles M. Lefferts Military Uniforms Print Collection (PR 99)

Maritime History Collection (PR 100)

Alfred E. Olcott Hudson River Steamboat Collection (PR 98)

William F. Reeves Elevated Railroad Photograph Collection (PR 154)

World War II Photograph Collection (PR 76)

Consolidated Edison Collection (PR 204)

Collection processed by

Emily Wolff and Jenny Gotwals, with ongoing additions

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-21 15:46:29 -0400.
Language: Description is in English


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