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Complete Archive


Between 1939 and 1941, the Works Progress Administration, in conjunction with the New York City Department of Taxation, organized teams of photographers to photograph every building in the five boroughs of New York City. The photographs were taken to improve the process of determining and recording property value assessments.

1940s Tax Department photographs

From 1982 to 1987 the Department of Finance used 35mm film to comprehensively document city property for a second time.

1980s Tax Department photographs

The records of the Almshouse ledgers represent the activities of the institutions under the purview of various city departments on Blackwell’s Island. Records date from 1758 to 1952, with the bulk of the records falling between 1832 and 1925. These records document the social service, cultural, medical, and corrections histories of New York City. This collection was processed by the Municipal Archives in 2016 under a grant funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Almshouse ledgers collection

Established in 1898 as the Art Commission, New York City’s design review agency was renamed the Design Commission in July 2008 to better reflect its mission. The Design Commission reviews permanent works of art, architecture and landscape architecture proposed on or over City-owned property. Projects include construction, renovation or restoration of buildings, such as museums and libraries; creation or rehabilitation of parks and playgrounds; installation of lighting and other streetscape elements; and design, installation and conservation of artwork.

Art Commission photographs

Board of Education records consist of over 50,000 images documenting school buildings, staff, educational activities, and special events in the school system.

Board of Education records and photographs

Fernando Ferrer served as Bronx Borough President from 1987 to 2001. His responsibilities included collaboration with the Mayor’s Office and City Council on budgetary matters, review of land use, economic development, and monitoring and modifying delivery of city services.

Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer photographs

The Brooklyn Borough President’s office collaborates with the Mayor’s Office and City Council on budgetary matters, review of land use, economic development and monitoring, and modifying delivery of city services.

Brooklyn Borough President photographs

This collection consists of bound volumes recording burial transit permits form 1859-1894. These records were maintained by various iterations of New York City’s Health Department. In 1859, the position of Registrar of Records was created within the City Inspector’s Department and they were to head the Bureau of Records and Statistics. Reports contemporary to the time suggest that the recording of the transportation of bodies in, out and through Manhattan between 1859 and 1894 was mandated by this new department. As concern grew over how health and sanitary matters were addressed in a rapidly growing city, the value of vital statistics, especially regarding death, took on new importance. Between 1859 and 1894, jurisdiction over the city’s health matters changed hands from the City Inspector’s Department to the Metropolitan Board of Health in 1866 to the Department of Health in 1870.

Burial Transit registers (Bodies in Transit)

The Court of General Sessions heard criminal cases brought by the District Attorney through Grand Jury indictments. This accession consists of cases, arranged in chronological order, usually containing a complaint form Police Court, a Grand Jury indictment, and related attachments. These attachments can include a coroner’s inquiry, witness testimony, subpoenas, inquisitions, affidavits, news clippings, correspondence, business cards, and vital statistical certificates. Evidence, such as forged checks, currency, and photographs, is often attached.

Court of General Sessions indictments

This series of glass lantern slides date from the late nineteenth-century and depict Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, High Bridge, Statue of Liberty, the Post Office formerly located in City Hall Park, and Grant’s Tomb. The collection probably originated with the New York Camera Club; all known photographers were members of the club and W. T. Colborn was a founder. It was acquired through a private donation from Mr. & Mrs. Felice DeGregario.

DeGregario family collection of photographs

The collection is comprised of photographs and graphics created by City Planning, many of which relate to loft law regulations.

Department of City Planning

The Department of Parks drawings and plans is a collection of graphic material pertaining to the planning, design, construction, renovation, and preservation of New York City’s park system between 1855 and 1962. A large part of this collection documents the planning, design, construction, maintenance, renovation, and restoration of Central Park. The collection includes preliminary sketches, final plans, artists’ and architectural renderings, lists of specifications and materials, planting plans, maps, surveys, graphs and cross sections, a small amount of correspondence, and architectural and engineering drawings.

Department of Parks and Recreation drawings and plans

The Department of Parks and Recreation photographs date from circa 1900-1960s.

Department of Parks and Recreation photographs

The Department of Ports and Trade, 1986-1991, was preceded by various agencies including Department of Ports and Terminals and Department of Ports, International Trade, and Commerce. Images reflect New York harbor, docks, ferries, and piers.

Department of Ports and Trade photographs

Established in 1939, the Department of Public Works assumed the functions of the former Department of Plant & Structures and took over the responsibility for the maintenance of public buildings from the borough presidents. The 64 Kodachrome transparencies dating between 1939 and 1940 are some of the earliest color images in the Archives. They document all the major bridges and public buildings overseen by the DPW.

Department of Public Works photographs

The Department of Sanitation photograph collections include equipment, facilities, projects, promotional campaigns, events, and Sanitation personnel and include a series of lantern slides from the Department of Street Cleaning, the predecessor agency.

Department of Sanitation photographs

Departments of Bridges and Plants and Structures, 1901-1939. With consolidation of the Greater City of New York in 1898, all bridges over waterways were placed under jurisdiction of the newly-formed Department of Bridges. In 1916, Bridges merged with Public Works and became the Department of Plant & Structures with responsibility for streetcar lines, ferryboats, sewers, waste disposal facilities, homeless shelters, and bridges. The photographs are numbered in three series: General Series, Series III (Manhattan Bridge) and Series IV (Queensboro Bridge). The General Series includes construction of the Municipal Building, as well as images of ferry boats, trackless trolleys, buses, street scenes, construction laborers, office workers, and panoramas. From 1906 to 1934, the Department employed a single photographer, Eugene de Salignac.

Departments of Bridges and Plants and Structures photographs

The Departments of Public Charities and Hospitals, ca. 1890 to 1960, comprises photographs and renderings of interior and exterior buildings and grounds throughout the city. The images document staff and patients, equipment and emergency vehicles, as well as public health campaigns and events.

Departments of Public Charities and Hospitals photographs

This collection consists of an incomplete collection of materials produced by the Office of the Mayor of New York City between 1826 and 1897.

Early Mayors records

The collection is comprised of photographic negatives, prints and documents chronicling the Department’s history, programs and events from 1961 through 1989.

Housing Preservation and Development photographs

On February 21, 1965, Malcolm X was shot and killed as he was about to address a rally of the Organization of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights. This collection contains the New York District Attorney’s investigation files into his assassination, trial transcripts, and records related to appeals following the conviction of three men who were charged with murder.

Malcolm X assassination closed case files

On March 23, 1896, during the 119th session of the New York State Legislature, the “Liquor Tax Law,” was passed, establishing a new taxation policy for the trafficking of intoxicating liquors. Liquor licenses set to expire after the law went into effect on April 30, 1896 were eligible for a refund upon surrendering the license.

Manhattan and Brooklyn liquor licenses

The Office of the Borough President was created in 1898 to compensate the formerly independent communities in the four counties of New York, Kings, Queens and Richmond for the loss of governmental power to the consolidated Greater City of New York. They operated as "local mayors," with substantial control over construction and maintenance of streets, sidewalks, highways, sewers and public buildings. The Manhattan photographs document construction of the West Side (Express) elevated highway, East River Drive, Riverside Drive extension in Upper Manhattan, Sixth Avenue extension, removal of the elevated trains, street-widenings and sidewalk improvements. These large-format photographs provide detailed street scenes showing shopfronts, pedestrians, automobiles, private homes, billboards, gas stations, etc. Approximately 16,000 negatives and silver-gelatin prints, mostly taken by Savastano Studio.

Manhattan Borough President photographs

Maritime birth, death, and marriage records

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