Must-See Images From the New York Public Library’s Digital Collections

Images of Palestine and Egypt in 1894, new immigrants arriving at Ellis Island at the turn of the 20th century, a 14th century mahzor, Irving Berlin, and so much more

By Jonathan Zalman|January 11, 2016 12:50 PM


Last week, the New York Public Library released more than 180,000 images to the public, available for hi-res download, with no strings attached [1]. (These images from the NYPL digital collections, have fallen out of copyright.) The entire digital collection includes more than simply photographs; it also includes historical maps, botanical illustrations, ancient religious texts, menus and pamplets, along with manuscripts and papers from Charles Dickens, Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, and the correspondences of Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. It really does go on and on.

Here are some highlights, for the Tablet crowd:

A 65-image collection of Palestine and Egypt in 1894 [2].

The photography of Lewis W. Hine (1874-1940) at Ellis Island. The entire collection can be found here [4].

American Popular Songs: Sheet music and songwriters. This collection includes a number of works from Irving Berlin and other songwriters of the Tin Pan Alley era. The entire collection can be found here [5]. (The image below shows Ethel Merman and Irving Berlin rehearsing for Call Me Madam in 1950.)

And check out this still image from the Slavic and East European Collection, entitled “V Senagogie. Ritstsoni. [6]

Other notable images are of this mahzor [7] from Germany, dating from some time in the 14th century, and these drawings [8] from the “Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt and Nubia” collection. There’s also “Jerusalem Explored [9]” and “Pictureque Palestine, Sinai and Egypt [10].”

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