Monthly Archives: June 2012

A Final Resting Place and Its Afterlife: Woodlawn Cemetery

Depending on whom you ask, Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, which began a lengthy 150th anniversary program this year that will culminate in 2014 with an exhibition at the Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University, has anywhere between 20 and 100 years left as an active cemetery (that’s the industry term for a place that still has open burial plots for sale). Some 300,000 people are buried there—Herman Melville, Fiorello La Guardia and Miles Davis among them—and there will be many more to come. It was only in the last decade or so that many of America’s cemeteries, taking a cue from Mount Auburn in Cambridge, Mass. (the final resting place of the poet Robert Creeley), began establishing themselves as nonprofits and, paradoxically for places that are so literally about the past, thinking about the future. Probably more than any other cemetery in the country, Woodlawn has already taken major steps toward preserving itself as a kind of outdoor museum: in 2006, the cemetery donated its papers to Columbia’s Avery Library (in all, they comprise 800 linear feet). In 2011, the U.S. Department of the Interior designated the cemetery as a National Historic Landmark, making sure that, like the mausoleums that bear the names of certain long-forgotten, once-powerful families, it will survive long after its active life is over.

Check out this article by Michael H. Miller from GalleristNY.

It’s summertime in New York and the tourists have arrived. Become one yourself.

Will Jones.
How to read New York: a crash course in Big Apple architecture.
New York: Universe, 2012
Avery-LC NA735 .N4 J66 2012g


Essential reading for both native New Yorkers and tourists alike, How to Read New York unveils the boundless diversity of Gotham’s architectural wonders. Covering every era of New York architecture—from what remains of the colonial days to the latest postmodern skyscraper—this unique guidebook illuminates the fascinating architectural and urban history of New York.  

Organized chronologically and by architectural style, the book covers key highlights of the built environment from the Battery to Inwood. Many of the skyline’s most iconic buildings are included, along with many lesser-known buildings that are architecturally interesting. Illustrated with 430 line drawings and vintage engravings that bring old New York to life, the book concludes with a map section that suggests themed walking tours.   


Rising: rebuilding Ground Zero.
Silver Spring, Md.: Discovery Communications, 2011.
Butler Media Reserves

This two part 6-hour documentary will take viewers on the journey of the process and struggles behind constructing One World Trade Center.  As George Pataki, former New York governor, explains, the construction site is vastly different from any other site as it is hallowed land.  Working to keep the memory of those fallen alive, and provide a symbol of strength, the rebuilding process continually faces challenges as the complex’s four skyscrapers, transportation hub, museum and memorial are “all being constructed at the same time and on the same location.”


High Line field guide.
New York: Friends of the High Line, 2011.
Avery-LC F128.65 H54 H45 2011g

This 72-page, limited-edition publication commemorates the opening of Section 2 of the High Line with beautiful full-color photography from Sections 1 and 2, as well as historical photographs, maps, and information about the High Line's innovative programs.

Woodlawn Cemetery preservation grant

Tremendous news! The Woodlawn Cemetery was awarded a preservation grant of $150,000 from American Express/National Trust for Historic Preservation for participating in the Partners in Preservation NYC Initiative.  They received 100% of the requested funds to restore the Belmont Mausoleum! A BIG THANKS goes out to EVERYONE around the globe that supported them in this competition!!

Avery Library Drawings and Archives has the Woodlawn archives.

Graduate Archival Interns

Drawings and Archives welcomes our new Graduate Archival Interns for 2012-2013.  Emily Rinaldi (GSAPP-HP) will be working on the papers of the architect Alan Burnham (1913-1984), an early preservationist supporting the foundation of the New York City Landmarks Commission .  Pamela Casey (MFA-Writing) will be processing the papers of another notable New Yorker, Henry Hope Reed (1915- ), founder of Classical America, Curator of Central Park, and often considered the father of the modern walking tour. Shelley Hayreh, the Avery Archivist, will supervise the work of the interns and edit and publish their processing files into online finding aids at the end of the year.

We would also like to acknowledge the achievements of our 2011-2012 interns, Lauren Murtagh and Christopher Cowell. Both produced excellent finding aids for two fascinating and difficult collections.

Lauren's finding aid on the architect Alfred Neumann

Christopher Cowell's finding aid of the papers of Clyde Dorsett, architectural consultant on mental health architecture.