New York City History

Material Culture

Documenting the history of New York City is not limited to the written or visual but also includes tangible material objects. By looking at the objects as "materials" of the past, we can interpret/suggest/theorize how they embody the life of the individuals and the society that used them.

Print Sources

There are numerous books dealing with every aspect of material culture, and these can be located by using the online book catalog. However, an often overlooked source of information is auction house catalogs and museum catalogs. An auction catalog will highlight items that are to be auctioned while a museum catalog provides details on items exhibited in the museum.

19th century New York City Fire Engine

New York City Fire Engine as it looked in 19th Century

Virtual Sources

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Jessica Wagner Webster
Newman Library, 523