Dear Friends,

This holiday season, N-YHS Library Director and Executive Vice President Jean Ashton and Chief Curator Stephen Edidin have installed some fascinating written and visual documentation of December's favorite protagonist in our Great Hall.  The installation explains how the modern image of Santa Claus, the red-suited, pot-bellied descendant of the medieval bishop St. Nicolas of Myra, emerged only decades after the first Congress met in 1788 in Federal Hall in New York, as part of an effort to make Christmas a domestic and cheerful celebration–an alternative to the street violence and riots that often broke out among urban dwellers during the winter holidays. Santa Claus's appearance and many of the holiday traditions that surround him owe much to the imaginative work of three New Yorkers: Clement Clarke Moore, the author of "A Visit from Saint Nicolas," Washington Irving, the creator of Knickerbocker's History of New York, and Thomas Nast, an artist whose drawings of Santa were reproduced all over the country in the years following the Civil War.  Our own New-York Historical Society founder, John Pintard, took an active role in promoting Christmas as a family holiday. In 1810, the Society met in Federal Hall to toast "Sancte Claus," a giver of presents to good children, and to declare the traditional feast day of December 6th, the date of their annual meeting.  So as you begin your celebrations, be sure to stop by to see our newest installation on "The Invention of Santa Claus." I know you'll find the 19th–century materials on display fascinating–even a bit controversial, as in this memorable description from a George Webster poem:

     He is large round the waist, but what care we for that
     'Tis the good-natured people who always get fat.

And during your visit, don't forget to also stop by our renowned Museum Store, with its fabulous selection of gifts for people who love history as much as we do!

With best wishes for a wonderful winter holiday season,

Louise Mirrer
President and CEO

Visit Dr. Mirrer's blog on Huffington Post

Museum and Store Hours
Tuesday-Saturday, 10AM-6PM
Sunday, 11AM-5:45PM
Pay-As-You-Wish Fridays, 6-8 PM
Cafe open daily from 11AM - 5PM

Library Hours
Tuesday-Friday, 10AM-5PM


Thursday, December 24:
The library will be closed. N-YHS galleries will close at 3:00 PM.

Friday, December 25:
We will be closed to the public.

Thursday, December 31:
The library will be closed. N-YHS galleries will close at 3:00 PM.

Members: Free
Adults: $12.00
Seniors and Educators: $9.00
Students: $7.00
Children 12 and under w/ adult: Free

The New-York Historical Society is located at: 170 Central Park West at 77th Street.
Subway: B or C Train to 81st Street

Bus: M10 to 77th Street; M79 to 81st and CPW

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West at 77th Street

Click here for free daily tour schedule

TTY 212-873-7489


Credits: Abraham Lincoln art by La Placa Cohen, U.S. Department of the Treasury; Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1933, ( New-York Historical Society); John Brown (1800-1859), wood engraving, (New-York Historical Society); Thomas Cole (1801-1848) The Course of Empire: The Consummation of Empire, Oil on canvas, Gift of the New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts, 1858.3 (New-York Historical Society); John Watson (1685-1768), Captain and Mrs. Johannes Schulyer, ca. 1725-35, Oil on canvas, 1915.8 (New-York Historical Society); Wall hanging (kalmkari), ca. 1610-1620, painted resist and mordants, dyed cotton, (Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum); Don Pollard (Don Pollard). | News | Exhibitions | Membership | Programs | Store

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Lincoln and New York
Through March 25, 2010
New York City played a surprisingly central role in the career of the sixteenth President—and Lincoln, in turn, had an impact on New York that was vast, and remains vastly underappreciated.

Click here to read a review

More exhibition information below.

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Roosevelt's Advisors
Wednesday, December 2,
6:30 pm

Featuring Alan Brinkley, Adam Cohen, and Julie M. Fenster



Right Time, Right Place
Tuesday, December 8,
6:30 pm

Featuring Richard Brookhiser and Rich Lowry

Click here to purchase tickets.

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  It Happened Here: The Invention of Santa Claus
Through January 10
Though legend has it that Santa Claus hails from the North Pole, he was actually a New Yorker who came into the world on West 23rd Street in what is now the trendy Chelsea neighborhood. To celebrate the winter season, the New-York Historical Society is presenting an installation tracing the modern image of Santa Claus.
  FDR's Brain Trust and the Beginning of the New Deal
Through March 25, 2010
Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Brain Trust—a group of academic advisers, largely from Columbia University, that FDR gathered to assist him during the 1932 presidential campaign—is a great New York story. This exhibition focuses on key members of the Brain Trust and, later, New Deal cabinet members. Using contemporary photographs, cartoons, broadsides, articles and newsreels, this exhibition will be supplemented by audio reminisces from the collection of the Columbia University Oral History Research Office.

John Brown: The Abolitionist and His Legacy
Through March 25, 2010
Planned by the Gilder Lehrman Institute in collaboration with N-YHS

This exhibition explores Brown's beliefs and activities at a critical juncture in American history and invites us to ponder the struggle for civil rights down to the present.

Click here to read a review

  Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School at N-YHS
Through March 25, 2010
The New-York Historical Society continues to showcase famous paintings by artists of the Hudson River School, including Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, John F. Kensett, Jasper F. Cropsey and Albert Bierstadt, in a series of exhibitions drawn from the Society’s extraordinary American art collection.  

New York Painting Begins: 18th Century Portraits
Through March 25, 2010

This exhibition provides twenty-first century viewers with ways of understanding these early works of American art, while documenting the beginnings of New York's primacy as a cultural center.

Michael Kingsford, Chrysler Building, 1928-30, New-York Historical Society   Dutch New York Between East and West: The World of Margarita Van Varick
Through January 3, 2010
Presented at the Bard Graduate Center, 18 West 86th Street.

The groundbreaking research for this exhibition, drawing on the rich and deep collections of the Society and with selected loans from other museums in the U.S. and abroad, and its accompanying catalogue makes an original contribution to the histories of New York City, Dutch colonial and commercial networks, lives of women in the Dutch overseas colonies, and material culture of New York under Dutch and English rule.

Admission is free with N-YHS membership card
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Living History Days
Experience the Civil War through reenactors on Saturdays

Click here for more information

December 5: 119th New York Infantry
December 12: 6th Regiment U.S. Colored Troops
December 19: 3rd U.S. Colored Infantry

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Sounds of the City Friday Concert Series
Join us for extraordinary performances by musicians from Mannes College of Music at 6:30 on Fridays.

December 4
Ewazen: Ballade, Pastorale and Dance for flute, horn and piano
Mendelssohn: String Quartet in E minor, op. 44 no. 2

December 11
Featuring faculty member Todd Phillips, violinist with the Orion String Quartet
Beethoven: Violin Sonata, "Eroica," op. 30 no. 2
Beethoven: Violin Sonata, "Kreutzer," op. 47

December 18
Featuring faculty members Miranda Cuckson, violin and Thomas Bagwell, piano
Bach: Violin Sonata in A major, BWV 1015
Beethoven: Violin Sonata, "Spring," op. 24
Finney: Fiddle-doodle-ad: Eight American Folk Tunes

Free Films with Admission

Saturday, December 5
2PM – 3PM
Documentary Film
Thomas Edison

Tuesday, December 8
1:30PM – 4PM
Documentary Film
John Brown

Wednesday, December 9
2:00PM – 3:00PM
Documentary Film
Chrysler Building

Wednesday, December 16
2:00PM – 3:00PM
Documentary Film
Empire State Building

History Book Club
The History Book Club will not meet in December. Join us on January 7, 2010, from 6:00 to 7:30 as we read:
Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron Chernow
"...etched with uncommon objectivity and literary grace... as detailed, balanced, and psychologically insightful a portrait of the tycoon as we may ever have..." - Kirkus Reviews

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Join the Young Friends
The Young Friends of the New-York Historical Society is a special membership group of young professionals, history lovers and New York City enthusiasts aged 21 to 45. Members enjoy a multitude of benefits including invitations to historic happy hours, movie and trivia nights, special exhibition previews and tours, exclusive lectures, as well as unlimited free Museum admission and discounts to public programs. For more information, visit Don't forget the approaching holiday season. The gift of a Young Friends membership is one that lasts for the entire year!
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This holiday season, shoppers with a passion for the treasures of America's past will find a rich array of gifts at the New-York Historical Society Shop. Lincoln and New York has inspired gift items that include:

First Lady of Shopping Bag  $59.00
A reusable shopping bag for fabulous fashionistas 

Abraham Lincoln Heart Pendant, $59.00
"All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother."
and a sterling silver heart pendant, created by the New-York Historical Society, inscribed with a quotation attributed to Abraham Lincoln.  

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