Samuel Hollyer's Old New York Views
Language of Materials
Samuel Hollyer's Old New York views were created at the turn of the twentieth century to recall sites and scenes in the city and the Hudson River Valley that had largely disappeared in the previous three centuries. The images are of historically important sites, houses, taverns, churches, forts, theaters, and public buildings.
Samuel Hollyer (1826-1919) was born in London, England, where he was trained as an engraver by the brothers Edward and William Finden. He came to the United States in 1851, and worked for various New York book publishers until 1860 when he returned to England to live.
Six years later, Hollyer came back to America, settling in Hudson Heights, near Guttenberg, New Jersey, a small community across the Hudson River from Manhattan. He commuted daily to his studio in New York, where he created line and stipple engravings, mezzotints, and etchings for various publications and print collectors. Bookplates were one of his specialties, as were portraits of literary celebrities.
Samuel Hollyer died in New York in December 1919, at the age of 93. His obituary in the New York Times described him as "one of the last, if not the very last, of the old school of line engravers."
The collection is divided into three series, one each for the bound volumes described above. Thereunder, prints in each volume are arranged in an alphabetical order.
- Series I. Old New York, Volume I
- Series II. Old New York, Volume II
- Series III. Old New York, Volume III
Scope and Content Note
Samuel Hollyer's Old New York views were created at the turn of the twentieth century to recall sites and scenes in the city and the Hudson River Valley that had largely disappeared in the previous three centuries. It is unknown by what system and in what quantity Hollyer issued his prints, but they were collected by antiquarians and prominent New Yorkers including J. Clarence Davies, who owned 141 Old New York prints bound into three volumes with letterpress printed title and text pages. The Davies volumes are in the collection of the Museum of the City of New York (Acc. No. 29.100.302 A-C, each with a Davies bookplate by Hollyer), and it is that set that was used to assign the numbers used to arrange the prints in PR 086. The New-York Historical Society prints are disbound and have only the set of title and text pages from volume I (prints 1 through 65). The N-YHS Volume I originals and photocopies, made from the Davies volumes, of the texts in Volumes II and III are filed before the corresponding prints.
The collection is divided into three series, one each for the bound volumes described above. Thereunder, prints in each volume are arranged in an alphabetical order and numbered according to that order. The numbering system continues throughout the three volumes, but each volume is individually alphabetically arranged.
The prints are titled in Hollyer's hand in the margin, and are numbered according to the text pages, which give a paragraph-long description of the location and importance of each site. Many prints have a number written in a different hand in pencil in the lower right corner; this number does not always correspond to the number assigned to the print in the text. Another hand has annotated some of the titles and dates given as that contemporary to the view. These annotations appear in the container list in brackets. Titles in the container list are taken from the published text.
Duplicate prints exist for about twenty percent of the prints, and are housed in a folder at the end of the numerical run of prints.
Open to qualified researchers.
Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to thirty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. See guidelines in Print Room for details.
Permission to reproduce any Print Room holdings through publication must be obtained from:
Rights and Reproductions
The New-York Historical Society
Two West 77th Street
New York, NY 10024Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282Fax: (212) 579-8794
The copyright law of the United States governs the making of photocopies and protects unpublished materials as well as published materials. Unpublished materials created before January 1, 1978 cannot be quoted in publication without permission of the copyright holder.
This collection should be cited as Samuel Hollyer's Old New York Views, PR 086, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, The New-York Historical Society.
The collection has been compiled from gifts from various donors.