Guide to the Research Collections



Card Files

International Biographical Index to Scientists and Aviators

Before 1967 this card index, arranged alphabetically by name, was maintained in the Science and Technology Division (inactive, 58 card drawers; 70,000 references). Entries refer generally to biographical sketches and obituary notices, and similar short pieces on scientists and aviators in periodicals and publications of learned societies shelved in the Research Libraries.

Coat of Arms Index

This alphabetical index arranged by surnames refers to coats of arms in books located, for the most part, in the Local History and Genealogy Division; one tray indexes the public arms of nations, royal families, educational institutions, and other organizations (21 card drawers).

Index to Probate Notices

This file provides information on the dates of death and the probate notices of New Yorkers (Dea-Z only), primarily drawn from newspaper accounts ca. 1916-27 (inactive, 8 card drawers).

New York City Views

Arranged by subject groups (such as hotels, museums, parks, theatres), this index refers for the most part to books in the Local History and Genealogy Division (10 card drawers).

"Let's Exchange" File

This file provides information on genealogies in preparation by users of the Local History and Genealogy Division, and permits users to exchange information with other family historians (500 cards).

Vertical Files

Genealogy Vertical File

This file, arranged by family name, has uncataloged family genealogical data and other ephemera in the form of letters and jottings; most of the material refers to American families (10 file trays).

New York City Views

A file of mounted photographs of views of the five boroughs of New York City since the late nineteenth century, but taken for the most part in the 1920s and 1930s (49 file trays). Many of the photographs were taken by Percy L. Sperr. On the reverse of each photograph is an identification of the view, the date it was taken (when known), the name of the photographer, and sometimes a notation to indicate whether reproduction is permitted. The file is arranged alphabetically by street or place name or numerically by street and avenue; there is a card index arranged alphabetically by name of building and subject.

A separate file contains 443 photographs taken by Lewis Wickes Hine documenting social conditions primarily in New York City from 1905 to 1939. A calendar of the file is held at the desk. The Eugene L. Armbruster collection of 14,000 photographs, purchased in 1934, records buildings and their surroundings in Long Island during the period 1890-1930. An equally exceptional collection of about 300 photographs of Long Island taken by Dr. Daniel Berry Austin depicts Dutch Colonial homesteads and other historic sites from about 1899 to 1913. Flatbush, New Utrecht, and Port Washington are particularly well represented in this photographic record of structures which have almost all disappeared. Included with the collection are photographs of Austin's trip to the far West. Thousands of contemporary postcard views of New York City are arranged by subject.

New York City Vertical File

A mounted clipping file of articles from newspapers and magazines arranged by subject (apartment houses, parks, population, etc.) (18 file boxes).

Public Symbols and Personal Arms File

The file consists of 26 file boxes containing pictorial representations of public symbols of the world, including flags, coats-of-arms, and other emblems that symbolize a geographic location, city, state, or county; the material is arranged in alphabetical order by location. An additional 21 file boxes contain representations of personal arms in folders arranged by surname (47 file boxes).

In addition to special indexes and files, the Local History and Genealogy Division has 61 scrapbooks, of which 3 volumes relate to families, 1 to flags, 1 to royalty, and 56 to views of New York City and other localities in the United States.