Guide to the Research Collections
The American History Division maintains 45 catalog trays indexing the pictures of historical interest in books and periodicals held by the library, in addition to an American Indian Design index. In the important Robert Dennis collection of international stereopticon views are many pictures of the United States. A large number of New York City views, the majority dating from the 1920s and 1930s, are held by the Local History and Genealogy Division.
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The Phelps Stokes collection of American historical prints in the Prints Division provides documentation from the earliest periods to the end of the nineteenth century. Among the many articles of United States historical interest is a large group of portraits of George Washington. In addition are political cartoons, including those of Thomas Nast, and drawings made during the Civil War by the artists of Leslie's Weekly.
Other pictures archives include the Archibald Robertson drawings of United States scenes during the Revolutionary period in the Spencer Collection, and drawings of American Indians by George Catlin and Francis B. Mayer in the Rare Book Division. The Manuscripts and Archives Division's strong holdings of diaries include many sketches and views; its Emmet and Myers collections contain much illustrative material from the period of the American Revolution.
Of great sociological interest are the more than 300,000 items from the Farm Security Administration Photographic Project made during the 1930s, with a particularly extensive file on the conditions of black Americans. These are held in the Picture Collection, a unit of the Branch Libraries.