The New International Encyclopædia/New York Historical Society
NEW YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY. A society formed for the collection and preservation of materials relating to the national, civic, or ecclesiastical history of the United States in general, and the State of New York in particular. The idea of such a society was first agitated in Massachusetts in 1789 by John Pintard, but it was not until November 20, 1804, that the New York Historical Society was organized by a number of leading citizens, among them De Witt Clinton, Anthony Bleecker, and Peter G. Stuyvesant. The history of the society since that time has been one of earnest effort in the formation of a library and museum, a gallery of paintings, a department of antiquities, and other features in which it has been eminently successful. The library has a choice and valuable collection of books, lithographs, maps, manuscripts, engravings, etc., besides a collection of works on heraldry. The picture gallery contains 889 paintings, of which about 200 are portraits, and 600 pieces of sculpture, mostly portrait busts and medallions. The collection includes the New York Gallery of Fine Arts, the works of the American Art Union, the Bryan Gallery of Old Masters, the Durr Collection, and the original water colors prepared by Audubon for his work on natural history. In the department of antiquities there is the Abbott collection of Egyptian antiquities, considered one of the greatest in the world. The society spent the first five years of its existence (1804-09) in old Federal Hall, on Wall Street. It occupied rooms in the Government House from 1809 to 1816; in the New York Institution from 1816 to 1832; in Remson's Building, Broadway, from 1832 to 1837; in the Stuyvesant Institute from 1837 to 1841; and in the New York University from 1841 to 1857. Since 1857 it has been installed in the building at 170 Second Avenue.