New-York Historical Society@nyhistory

Founded in 1804, we are NYC's oldest museum. Join us to explore the past—#becausehistorymatters.

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New-York Historical Society

Are you opting for handwritten or digital holiday cards this year?📮💻 It’s widely accepted that the first #Christmascard was printed in London in 1843, when Sir Henry Cole hired artist John Calcott Horsley to design a holiday card he could send to friends. 📝 But it was lithographer and publisher Louis Prang—known for his early adoption of the chromolithographic color printing process—who brought the tradition to the United States, first printing Christmas cards for the American market in 1875. (By 1881, he was reportedly printing five million Christmas cards a year!) ✉️ Because his company was first to make commercially printed holiday greeting cards available to the public, Prang is often considered the founder of the American greeting card industry—and is even referred to as the Father of the American Christmas Card.
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👉 These are just a sampling of some holiday- or winter-themed cards in our collection. (Louis Prang designed the fourth one!) Which one is your favorite?


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New-York Historical Society

#TBT to last year's holiday window at @bergdorfs designed by @mark_gagnon featuring yours truly! 🏛🐗🐻✨ An abbreviated version of this masterpiece is on view at the Museum through February.


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New-York Historical Society

Now on @netflix! 🇺🇸📽 This powerful new 35-minute documentary explores the stories of five immigrants who have two things in common—they all want to become U.S. citizens and are all students in our @citizenshipprojectnyhs classes. ❤️ We are deeply honored and proud to see our program featured in this film and encourage you to watch and explore the journeys of some of our country’s newest citizens. 👉 Tap the link in bio to get straight to the film in your Netflix app. #OutofManyOne #CitizenshipProject #RuthBaderGinsburg #RBG


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New-York Historical Society

They say a little goes a long way, but we like to operate under "the more, the merrier," especially when it comes to hot chocolate. ☕🍫#NationalCocoaDay
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Dutch chemist Coenraad Johannes Van Houten revolutionized the chocolate industry in 1828 when he invented a new hydraulic cocoa pressing method and received a patent from King William I. The separation of cocoa solids from cocoa butter created a light, fluffy powder that was soluble in water or milk. Still in operation today, Van Houten cocoa has garnered fans worldwide.
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Advertisement for Van Houten’s Cocoa on small fold-out board game. n.d. Bella C. Landauer Collection, PR 031. New-York Historical Society. #chocolate #cocoa #hotdrink #yum #winter


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New-York Historical Society

Recognize it from the recent film of the same name? 🚗 🗺 Published annually from 1936 to 1966 by Harlem residents Victor and Alma Green, the Negro Traveler's #GreenBook series offered critical information to black tourists on how to travel safely and comfortably during segregation in the #JimCrow era. A New York City postal worker, Green printed 15,000 copies per year of his motorists' guide. But perhaps because of the semi-ephemeral nature of the publication, this 1959 edition of the Green Book in our collection needed a bit of TLC. 👉 Learn how Museum staff conserved it at the link in bio.
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📸 The Negro Travelers’ Green Book, 1959 edition, cover. New-York Historical Society. #nyhscollection #BlackCitizenship


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New-York Historical Society

Aw, shucks, we're fresh out of time-turners! ⏱⚡️🎁 But we've got the next best thing—shop all things #HarryPotter + history for this holiday season at the #NYHistoryStore. Order by December 19 for arrival on Christmas! 👉 Tap the link in bio to explore all our magical gifts from the Wizarding World. #HarryPotterNYHS


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New-York Historical Society

On December 9, 1678, French explorer René Robert Cavelier and his expedition—after previously hearing the rumble of water and seeing the mist—found Niagara Falls and watched in amazement for the whole afternoon. Catholic priest Father Louis Hennepin, a talented illustrator, sketched the scene and recorded their experience, writing about the falls as 600 feet high—they are actually 170! 💦 This marked the first documented case of a European actually visiting the falls. The following year, Cavelier began building Fort Conti, the early ancestor of Fort Niagara.
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📸 J.S. Johnston. American Falls, Niagara Falls, N.Y., undated. (ca. 1890-1899). New-York Historical Society. #niagarafalls #otd #onthisday


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New-York Historical Society

Legend has it that after the Portuguese recaptured Brazil from the Dutch and demanded that all inhabitants convert to Catholicism, every Dutchman refused to convert, causing 16 ships of exiled families to flee from Brazil back toward Holland. But the last ship to leave port was seized by a Spaniard, and the frightened Jewish refugees on board were taken as hostages with uncertain fates.
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Not long after, the refugees' ship was captured yet again, this time by the generous captain of a French Man of War. The French captain asked the Jewish passengers on the ship where they were headed. Meaning well, he misinterpreted their intended destination—Holland—and thought that they were bound for *New* Holland. As a result, he delivered the refugees to the New World, rather than Europe, making these 23 Jewish companions the first Jewish settlers in North America.
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In 1654 these men and women founded Shearith Israel, the first Jewish congregation in North America, now located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where their descendants still worship today.
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📸 Robert L. Bracklow, Shearith Israel Portuguese synagogue, Central Park West and W. 70th Street, New York City, 1899. PR-008, Box 10, Folder 42, New-York Historical Society.


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New-York Historical Society

Today is National #PearlHarbor Remembrance Day, marking the 77th anniversary of the surprise attack by Japanese forces on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. More than 2,400 people were killed in the attack, leading the United States to enter World War II. Just over a month later on January 9, 1942, ship workers at the #BrooklynNavyYard gathered together to volunteer to transfer to Pearl Harbor. 👆 See more photos of the attack on Pearl Harbor in our Story. #neverforget
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📸 New York Navy Yard, parade of ship workers who have volunteered for transfer to Pearl Harbor. Jan 9, 1942. World War II Photograph Collection. New-York Historical Society. #nationalpearlharborremembranceday #wwii


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New-York Historical Society

On December 6, 1865, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, permanently abolishing slavery in the United States. 💥
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In 1865, African Americans numbered four and a half million, most newly free. All now laid claim to the American promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They sought the right to control their own lives and pursued the basic freedoms that white Americans took for granted—the freedom to travel, the freedom to marry, the freedom to rest, among many others.
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One profound freedom was the ability to reunite with family members sold away by slave masters. "Thank God that now we are not sold and torn away from each other as we used to be," one wrote. Another freedman walked more than 600 miles in search of his wife and children. Others chose to rid themselves of their masters’ surnames, choosing new ones like Deliverance, Lincoln, or Freeman.
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📸 (1) Dreaming of the Future. New-York Historical Society Library (3) African Americans in Richmond after surrender, ca. 1865. New-York Historical Society Library. (4) Marriage certificate, 1874. Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Louis Moran and Douglas Van Dine. #BlackCitizenship #otd #onthisday


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New-York Historical Society

"Our hearts were dragging the depths of despair. We are economically destitute and socially bereft of the things that make for a full American life."
—Mary McLeod Bethune

On December 5, 1935, Mary McLeod Bethune created the National Council of Negro Women. Bethune—the chairperson of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s so-called "Negro Cabinet" during the New Deal—envisioned a unified force of black women's groups fighting to improve racial conditions nationally and internationally. She used her influence in government to bring the NCNW into the political conversation, most notably starting with the 1938 White House Conference on Governmental Cooperation in the Approach to the Problems of Negro Women and Children. After this, representatives of the NCNW regularly visited the White House to call for more black female administrators in upper-level government positions. Bethune went on to establish the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Girls—later renamed after her as Bethune-Bookman College.
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👉 Learn more about Bethune and other black leaders during the early 20th century in our exhibition "Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow." #BlackCitizenship
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📸 Mary McLeod Bethune, Daytona Beach, Florida. ca 1915. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. #otd #marymcleodbethune #nationalcouncilofnegrowomen


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New-York Historical Society

Cheers!🍻On December 5, 1933, after 13 years, #Prohibition in the United States officially ended after Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment, overturning the 18th Amendment. Despite the change in federal law, some states continued to uphold temperance laws of their own. Mississippi became the last state to repeal Prohibition in 1966.
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Though evidence widely indicated that Prohibition had caused more harm than good, particularly in creating massive systems of organized crime, President Franklin D. Roosevelt implored the American people to enjoy the new legislation responsibly, saying in 1933, "This return of individual freedom shall not be accompanied by the repugnant conditions that obtained prior to the adoption of the 18th Amendment and those that have existed since its adoption."
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📷"Help End Prohibition," stamp sheet. Bella C. Landauer Collection of Business and Advertising Ephemera, PR 031. New-York Historical Society. 86242d. #nyhscollection #FDR


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