Resource Library

Photograph above: Archive of the Fundación Sierra-Pambley; Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Resource Library is a collection of selected research papers, monographs, theses, dissertations, and other resources on topics related to preservation history and archival best practices.

Collected over the years, these high-quality scholarly works were created by independent researchers, academics, writers, and filmmakers. Supplementing these learning tools is a list of Archival Resources that grew out of a series of archival workshops to help small not-for-profit organizations active in preservation in New York City become better curators of their own records and history. These resources provide assistance in addressing various issues prevalent in small institutional or personal archives.

We are always interested in featuring new resources on preservation history or archival best practices on our website. Email us to learn how you can get your work included in our Resource Library.

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Above: Photograph above: Archive of the Fundación Sierra-Pambley; Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Preservation History Resources

100 Years of Preservation: A Conversation with Anthony C. Wood

recorded at a program cosponsored by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and the New York Preservation Archive Project

This video captures a conversation with Anthony C. Wood, founder of the New York Preservation Archive Project on what led to the passage of New York City’s Landmarks Law, how it has affected the urban environment since, and the prognosis for preservation looking forward.

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50 Years of Historic Preservation in New York City

by Ingrid Gould Ellen, Brian J. McCabe, and Eric Edward Stern

This report by the NYU Furman Center, released in March 2016, shows the extent of preservation in New York City and compares the land use, housing stock, demographic characteristics, and commercial property in historic districts with those in areas that are not regulated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.

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A Proven Success: How the New York City Landmarks Law and Process Benefit the City

prepared by Gregory G. Dietrich for the Citizens Emergency Committee to Preserve Preservation

This study analyzes the New York City Landmarks Law and its economic, social, and environmental impact on the City and its residents.

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Albert S. Bard and the Origin of Historic Preservation in New York

by Carol Clark

This article explores the drafting and wording of the Bard Act and its influence on New York City’s Landmarks Law.

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Battling for Brooklyn Heights

by Martin L. Schneider

This personal account describes how dedicated, passionate, and informed citizens took the future of their neighborhood into their own hands and successfully protected Brooklyn Heights from development pressures. 

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Brooklyn Is My Neighborhood: The Story of New York’s First Historic District

by Martin L. Schneider and Karl Junkersfeld

This video serves as a prelude to Martin Schneider’s “Battling for Brooklyn Heights,” which is also included in these resources. 

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Building and Rebuilding New York: The Radio Urbanism of Robert C. Weinberg, 1966-71

by Christopher Neville for NYPAP

This research project investigates Robert C. Weinberg’s role in the development of historic preservation in New York City. 

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Enforcement and the New York City Landmarks Law: Past, Present, and Future

by Benjamin Baccash

This thesis hopes to improve the enforcement procedures of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) and further the protection of the historic resources under its regulation.

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Fitch Forum on Preservation Law

compiled by the Widener Law Review

This Widener Law Review volume is based on selected papers presented at the 2011 Fitch Forum held at Columbia University that examined the role of preservation law on the 45th anniversary of the creation of New York City’s landmarks preservation legislation. 

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Historic Preservation: At the Core of a Dynamic New York City

prepared by PlaceEconomics

This report, released in May 2016 and prepared for the New York Landmarks Conservancy, quantifies the contributions of historic preservation to the economy, the environment, and the life of the nation’s greatest city.

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In Defense of Preservation

This is a transcript of panel arguing for the value of historic preservation with Eric W. Allison, Dorothy Miner, Anthony C. Wood, and Jeffrey Kroessler at the Gotham History Festival on October 6, 2001. 

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New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (1962-1999): Paradigm for Changing Attitudes Towards Historic Preservation

by Marjorie Pearson, Ph.D.

This study describes and analyzes the history of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission from its beginnings through the end of the 20th century. 

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New York: The Historic City

by the Historic City Committee

This report, prepared for the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1989, is an examination of the administration of the Landmarks Law and proposes a series of recommendations to improve the Commission’s work. 

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New York’s Pioneer of Planning and Preservation: How George McAneny Reshaped Manhattan and Inspired a Movement

by Charles Starks

This manuscript explores civic figure George McAneny‘s work and his profound influence on the 20th-century built environment of New York City, with a focus on past and present conflicts over planning and preservation. Funding for this project was provided by the New York Preservation Archive Project. 

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Our Vanishing Legacy

produced by Gordon Hyatt and WCBS-TV

This film was the first primetime broadcast advocating for preservation efforts in New York City. Originally airing on WCBS-TV on September 21, 1961, Our Vanishing Legacy looks at threats to the City’s architectural heritage and argues the need to enact a law to protect important landmark buildings.

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Preservation Pioneers Oral History Collection

undertaken by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

The Preservation Pioneers oral history collection was undertaken in the mid-1990s to document the memories of the women and men who led the nascent preservation movement for Greenwich Village.

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Preservation Vision NYC: Final Report

prepared by Kirstin Sechler and Jon Calame for Minerva Partners

This report is a summary of discussions hosted by the Preservation Vision: NYC project, which invited interested citizens and preservation practitioners to think about the future of historic preservation practice in relation to the future of the city, creating a temporary forum for the profession to think concretely about its long-term goals. 

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Preserving New York: The City’s Landmarks Law Turns Fifty

by Grace Friary

This article, which originally appeared in Antiques & Fine Art XIV, no. 1 (15th Anniversary/Spring, 2015), is a brief history of the Landmarks Law in honor of the law’s 50th anniversary. 

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The Intersection of Affordable Housing and Historic Districts

prepared by ThinkBrooklyn

Released in May 2016 by the Historic Districts Council, this report analyzes data for New York City’s historic districts using U.S. Census Bureau affordability and income indicators including rental prices, income, and rental burden, as well as building-level affordability indicators for housing in privately-owned and publicly-subsidized rental developments.

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The Origins of Brooklyn Bridge Park, 1986-1988

by Scott M. Hand and Otis Pratt Pearsall

This is the story of three pivotal years during which the Brooklyn Heights Association rallied a coalition of affected communities, civic groups, politicians, and engaged individuals to prevent the private development of the waterfront near Brooklyn Heights and instead create the Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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Treasures of New York: The Landmarks Preservation Movement

produced by WNET/THIRTEEN

This documentary celebrated the 50th anniversary of New York City’s Landmarks Law in 2015 by exploring the historic preservation movement and the work of the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, which together have protected thousands of culturally- and historically-significant sites in all five boroughs of the New York City for the past half century.

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WAMC’s Alan Chartock In Conversation with Anthony C. Wood

aired on WAMC Northeast Public Radio

This radio broadcast with Archive Project founder and chair Anthony C. Wood discusses the history and current state of the historic preservation movement. 

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General Archival Resources

The Value of Corporate History

by George David Smith & Laurence E. Steadman

Explores the importance of planning for the future of a corporation (or not-for-profit) by looking to its past. 

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Documenting Community Organizations

prepared by the Central New York Library Resources Council Documentary Heritage Committee

Explores why an organization should keep a history, what records to keep, and how to make those choices.  

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Don’t Throw it Away!: Documenting and Preserving Organizational History

by Sandra Florand Young

This booklet encourages organizations to save and organize their records. and is intended to assist in the preparation of a plan for the organization and maintenance of current records and historic documents. It offers advice on setting up an in-house archives, as well as factors to consider should the organization want to deposit records in an institution. 

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Starting from Scratch: How to Create a Museum Archives

by Sammie L. Morris

This article, written for the non-archivist, provides the basics for starting an archival program. 

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An Introduction to Records Management for Nonprofit Organizations

prepared by Northeastern University

This booklet is intended to assist small, not-for-profit organizations that wish to improve control over their records.

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Archival Policy Manual

prepared by Historical Foundation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church

This is sample archival policy manual for a small not-for-profit organization.

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Document Retention and Destruction Policies for Nonprofit Organizations

prepared by the Watershed Institute

This guide explains document retention and destruction policies, why they are important, and how to create them. 

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Document Retention and Destruction Policy

prepared by the University of Wisconsin Center for Community and Economic Development

This is a sample document retention and destruction policy for a small institutional department. 

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Records Retention and Disposition Guidelines

prepared by the Collaborative Electronic Records Project at the Rockefeller Archive Center

This document includes a schedule and guidelines for a typical not‐for-profit’s needs for record retention. 

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Assessing Preservation Needs: A Self-Survey Guide

by Beth Patkus

This guide is intended to help small- to medium-sized institutions identify their preservation needs and develop systematic preservation programs for their historical collections.

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IP Media Storage Quick Reference

by Peter Z. Adelstein

This guide explains the role of storage conditions—temperature, relative humidity, and air quality—in the physical survival of photographs, films, audio and video tapes, CDs, and DVDs.

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The Storage Guide for Color Photographic Materials

by James C. Reilly

This book, with its accompanying wheel of environmental conditions, provides an overview of the stability of today’s color photographic materials and explains how and why color images fade, why they need special storage, and what can be done to make them last as long as possible.

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Email Guidelines for Managers and Employees

prepared by the Collaborative Electronic Records Project at the Rockefeller Archive Center

This document sets forth archivally-acceptable methods of managing email, and may be adopted, in whole or in part, by any not-for-profit organization.

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Handbook for Digital Projects: A Management Tool for Preservation and Access

prepared by the Northeast Document Conservation Center

This handbook provides a guide to managing digital conversion projects, including tips and advice from institutions that have engaged in such projects.

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Preservation in the Age of Google: Digitization, Digital Preservation, and Dilemmas

by Paul Conway

This article frames four dilemmas for preservation relating to the impact of environmental storage, new challenges to preservation quality, threats to audiovisual heritage, and an emerging expertise gap.

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Preserving Email

by Christopher J. Prom

This report outlines practical steps in creating an effective email preservation program to preserve email for its legal, administrative and/or historical value.

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An Oral History Bibliography

prepared by the Columbia University Center for Oral History

This research guide, developed in 2009, lists a wide array of resources on the various aspects of oral history projects. 

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Oral History & Preservation: A Guide

by the New York Preservation Archive Project

This manual helps to introduce the field of historic preservation to the value of conducting oral history projects, and to provide a few key tools to get started. Our goal is to inspire new initiatives in locations across the country that will document the stories of preservationists. Toward that end, this manual covers recommended resources, lessons learned from our own experience with oral history work, and important steps in project planning.

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Oral History Association

The Oral History Association maintains a list of valuable resources on their website, which includes online guides to doing oral history, oral history centers and collections, and regional and international oral history organizations.

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Oral History Philosophy, Procedures and Evaluation

prepared by the Columbia University Center for Oral History

This brief introduction to oral history practice describes the important stages of research, interviews, processing and evaluation.

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Preservation Pioneers Oral History Collection

undertaken by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

The Preservation Pioneers oral history collection was undertaken in the mid-1990s to document the memories of the women and men who led the nascent preservation movement for Greenwich Village.

External Link >

Principles & Best Practices

prepared by the Oral History Association

The field of oral history has a strong internal code of ethics. Practitioners are also actively engaged in examining and improving their methods as the field changes and grows. A good first stop for up-to-date explanations and descriptions of important practices is the Oral History Association’s Principles & Best Practices.

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Teaching Oral History – Telling Lives Curriculum Guide

written by Gerry Albarelli and Amy Starecheski for the Columbia University Center for Oral History

This curriculum guide, written in 2005 and revised in 2013, grew out of the work done by the Columbia University Center for Oral History over several years to engage with New Yorker’s memories of September 11, 2001. The guide explains clearly what oral history is, how to conduct interviews, structure projects, and make use of oral history concepts in the classroom.

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Transcribing Oral History Interviews

prepared by the Baylor Institute for Oral History

This style guide, prepared in 2015, describes core concepts and challenges in the transcription process. It is also a valuable reference for transcription standards that will ensure creation of clear, professional records.

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Institute of Museum and Library Services

The mission of the Institute of Museum and Library Services is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. They provide leadership through research, policy development, and grant making.

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Metropolitan New York Library Council

METRO is a leading source of grant funding and information for libraries throughout New York City and Westchester County. Their grant initiatives help hundreds of libraries to get the financial support they need to meet critical challenges.

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National Endowment for the Humanities Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions

Preservation Assistance Grants help small and mid-sized institutions—such as libraries, museums, historical societies, archival repositories, cultural organizations, town and county records offices, and colleges and universities—improve their ability to preserve and care for their significant humanities collections.

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National Historical Publications & Records Commission

Congress established the National Historical Publications & Records Commission grants program to promote the preservation and use of America’s documentary heritage.

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New York Council for the Humanities

Through two competitive grant programs, the New York Council for Humanities offers nimble and responsive grants to support the diverse arts and culture sector of New York State.

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New York State Archives

The New York State Archives offers grants and awards to support, promote, and recognize sound archival and records management practices, as well as to encourage creative and valuable uses of archival records.

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New York State Council on the Arts

NYSCA accepts grant proposals each year from not-for-profit organizations incorporated in New York State. Grants are organized into discipline-based funding areas, including: Architecture + Design, Arts Education, Dance, Electronic Media & Film, Facilities, Folk Arts, Individual Artists, Literature, Museum, Music, Presenting, Special Arts Services, State & Local Partnerships, Theatre, and Visual Arts.

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New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation offers a variety of grant opportunities, workshops, and awards. 

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The New York State Program for the Conservation and Preservation of Library Research Materials

The New York State Program for the Conservation and Preservation of Library Research Materials provides State funding for libraries and other organizations engaged in efforts to preserve deteriorating library research materials.

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ArchivesWiki

ArchivesWiki, sponsored by the American Historical Association, is a clearinghouse of information about archival resources throughout the world. 

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Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York

Founded in 1979, the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York is a not-for-profit organization representing a diverse group of more than 650 archivists, librarians, and records managers in the New York metropolitan area.

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Columbia University’s Archival Collections

Columbia University’s archival collections include over 12 million volumes, over 160,000 current journals and serials, and an extensive collection of electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audiovisual materials. 

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Digital Curation and Preservation Bibliography

by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

This bibliography presents selected articles, books, and technical reports that are useful in understanding digital curation and preservation.

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New York Public Library Manuscripts & Archives Division

The New York Public Library has more than 56,800 linear feet of material in nearly every format imaginable. Through this “Archives Portal,” one can search these vast holdings, initiate a research visit, submit a query to an archivist, and access digitized material.

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New York State Archives

The New York State Archives leads efforts to manage, preserve, ensure open access to, and promote the wide use of, records that support information needs and document the history, governments, events, and peoples of New York State. 

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Society of American Archivists

Founded in 1936, the Society of American Archivists is North America’s oldest and largest national professional association dedicated to the needs and interests of archives and archivists.

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New York City History and Preservation Resources

Columbia University’s Architecture Research Guides

Offers guides on research at Columbia University’s Avery Library, with resources on architecture, archaeology, urban planning, real estate, historic preservation, and more. 

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Gotham Center for New York City History

The Gotham Center is a public educational organization devoted to the history of New York at The Graduate Center, City University of New York.

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How to Research a New York City Building

prepared by the New York Public Library

This guide will introduce you to the vast number of resources relating to the architecture of New York City that are in the collections of the New York Public Library, as well as other institutions.

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New York Times Topics: Landmarks Preservation Commission

The latest news about the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, including commentary and archival articles published in The New York Times.

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Preservation News

Preservation News, a formerly monthly publication of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was the official journal of the organization between 1961 and 1995. With a mission to “keep members and the public informed about preservation issues and activities”, the journal serves as a complete chronicle of the activities of the organization during the intervening 34-year span.

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