New York Public Library

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New York Public Library
"Fortitude" Lion and entrance, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, New York Public Library.
New York Public Library Rose Main Reading Room.  Photo by David Iliff.

Contact Information[edit | edit source]



U.S. History, Local History & Genealogy
Irma and Paul Milstein Division
First Floor, Room 121
Schwarzman Main Branch
Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street,
New York, NY 10018-2788

Telephone:[1]  (212) 930-0828

Hours and holidays:[1]

Monday-Saturday open 10:00 a.m.
Mon., Thu., Fri., Sat. close 6:00 p.m.
Tues., Wedn. close 7:30 p.m.

Upcomming closings: click here.

Directions, maps, and public transportation:

  • Red 1 2 or 3  to 42nd Street and Broadway. Walk two blocks east to Fifth Avenue.
  • Blue A or C  to 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue. Walk four blocks east to Fifth Avenue.
  • Orange D B F or V  to 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue. Walk one block east to Fifth Avenue.
  • Green 4 5 or 6  to Grand Central Station. Walk two blocks west to Fifth Avenue.
  • Purple 7  to Fifth Avenue.
  • Buses: MTA buses M1 M2 M3 M4 M6 M7 M42 M104 or Q32 to Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.

Internet sites and databases:

Collection Description[edit | edit source]

The New York Public Library's collection is one of the largest in the world with over 14 million titles. The Irma and Paul Milstein Division of U.S. History, Local History and Genealogy has an outstanding collection of American history at national, state and local levels; international genealogy and heraldry in Roman alphabets; the Dorot Jewish collection; photos; New York censuses, directories, and vital records. The Milstein Division acquires materials beyond the local region. The United States town, city, county and state history collection is national in scope. Books requested in the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room are delivered to the Rose Reading Room. The open shelf dictionaries, encyclopedias, biographies, and indexes alone include 25,000 volumes. The library has computers with Internet access including the most popular genealogical databases, and Wi-Fi for personal computers of visitors. The Milstein Microfilm Room gives access to New York State censuses, New York City directories, and indexes to New York City vital records.

In addition, the Manuscripts and Archives Division, 3rd floor, has about 30,000 feet (9,144 meters) of archival papers of individuals, families, and organizations mostly from the New York area. The Rare Book Division, 3rd Floor, has 130,000 titles from Europe, England, and the Americas. The Art, Prints and Photographs Division, 3rd floor, has 200,000 prints.

Tips[edit | edit source]


Guides[edit | edit source]

  • Sam P. Williams, Guide to the Research Collections of the New York Public Library (Chicago, Illinois: American Library Association, 1975; Family History Library book 974.71 A3w).
  • New York Public Library: Research Libraries, Dictionary Catalog of the Local History and Genealogy Division, 18 Volumes and four suppelments. (Boston, Massachusetts: G.K. Hall, 1974; Family History Library book Q 974.71 A3nd).

Alternate Repositories[edit | edit source]

If you cannot visit or find a source at the New York Public Library, a similar source may be available at one of the following.

Overlapping Collections

Similar Collections

  • Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, holds 450 computers, 3,400 databases, 3.1 million microforms, 4,500 periodicals, 310,000 books of worldwide family and local histories, civil, church, immigration, ethnic, military, and Mormon records.
  • Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana, premier periodical collection, genealogies, local histories, databases, military, censuses, directories, passenger lists, ethnic collections, and Canadians.
  • Library of Congress, Washington, DC, Local History and Genealogy Reading Room is part of the world's largest library including 50,000 genealogies, 100,000 local histories, manuscripts, microfilms, maps, newspapers, photographs, books, strong in North American, British Isles, and German sources
  • Newberry Library, Chicago, genealogies, local histories, censuses, military, land, indexes, vital records, court, and tax records mostly from the Mississippi Valley, eastern seaboard, Canada, & British Isles.
  • Mid-Continent Public Library Midwest Genealogy Center, Independence, MO, national censuses/indexes, 80,000 family histories, 100,000 local histories, 565,000 microfilms, 7,000 maps, and newspapers.
  • National Archives I, Washington DC, census, pre-WWI military service & pensions, passenger lists, naturalizations, passports, federal bounty land, homesteads, bankruptcy, ethnic sources, prisons.
  • Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 85,000 volumes about the Jewish Holocaust, largest yizkor book collection.

Neighboring Collections

  • New York State Library has local histories, genealogies, atlases, church, cemetery (including DAR), city directories, microfilmed newspapers, censuses, passenger lists, and periodicals.
  • New York State Archives has manuscripts, vital record indexes, land grants, maps, military, court, alien depositions, prisoners, Erie Canal passenger lists, wills, estates, and state censuses.
  • New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, New York City, has censuses, city directories, church, cemetery, Bible, land, probates, genealogy, local history, and manuscripts.
  • New York Historical Society manuscripts, newspapers, periodicals, histories, directories, maps, photos.
  • Vital Records Section of the New York State Dept. of Health for outside New York City births and deaths (1881-present), and marriage licenses (1880-present). Also, all divorces since 1963.
  • Municipal Archives has NY City birth, death, and marriage records; the 1890 police census; city directories; voter registrations; almshouse records; and municipal government records.
  • Courts
  • Columbia University
  • Holland Society
  • Huguenot Historical Society
  • YIVO Institute for Jewish Research East European Jewish immigrant studies, gazetteers, yizkor books (Holocaust town memorial books), biographical directories, Landsmanshaft records.
  • Leo Baeck Insitiute preserves family and community histories about Jews in German speaking countries.

Sources[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Irma and Paul Milstein Division of U.S. History, Local History and Genealogy" in New York Public Library at (accessed 16 October 2010).