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New York City History Primary Source Archives: PS: Books

In the tab names, SS stands for Secondary Source, PS stands for Primary Source

Historical City Guides

Brown, Henry Collins. Valentine’s City of New York: A Guide Book, with Six Maps and One Hundred and Sixty Full Page Pictures. New York: Valentine's Manual Inc., 1920. HathiTrust Digital Library.
Brownell, Eva Palmer, Ruth Putnam, Alice Carrington Royce, and Maud Wilder Goodwin. Historic New York: Being the First and Second Series of the Half Moon Papers. New York, London: G.P. Putnam’s sons, 1897.
City History Club of New York. and Frank Bergen Kelly. Historical Guide to the City of New York. New York: F. A. Stokes Company, 1909.
Federal Writers’ Project (N. Y.). New York City Guide; a Comprehensive Guide to the Five Boroughs of the Metropolis: Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Richmond. New York: Random House, 1939. Internet Archive, 2006.
Foster & Reynolds Co. New York, The Metropolis of the Western World. New York, The Foster & Reynolds co, 1910.
Handy Guide to New York City, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Other Districts Included in the Enlarged City. 9th ed. Chicago: Rand McNally and Company, 1900. HathiTrust Digital Library.
King, Moses. King’s Handbook of New York City; An Outline History and Description of the American Metropolis. Boston, Mass., 1893.
Ober, Corolyn Faville. Manhattan: Historic and Artistic, A Six Day Tour of New York City. New York: Lovell, Coryell & Company, 1892. HathiTrust Digital Library.
Rand McNally and Company. Rand McNally Guide to New York City and Environs: With Maps and Illustrations. New York: Rand, McNally, & Co., 1922. HathiTrust Digital Library.

Histories of New York

Irving, Washington. A History of New York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty. Philadelphia: M. Thomas, 1819.
Wald, Lillian D. The House on Henry Street. H. Holt, [c1915].
Riis, Jacob A. How the Other Half Lives; Studies Among the Tenements of New York. New York: C. Scribner’s sons, 1890.
Riis, Jacob A. The Battle with the Slum. New York: The MacMillion Company, 1902. (A sequel to How the Other Half Lives.)
Shulman, Harry Manuel. Slums of New York,. New York :, 1938.


The HathiTrust Digital Library brings together the immense collections of partner institutions in digital form. Hundreds of full-text historical guidebooks about New York City and the Boroughs can be found by search the digital library. To search the catalog, go to the advanced search screen and search "guidebooks" and "name of place" in "Full Text and All Fields" and limit to English. For example:

Suggested Search Terms:

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Historical Documents and Oral Histories

Books from the Internet Archive

A Plan for New York City, 1969

       New York (N.Y.), and City Planning Commission. Plan for New York City, 1969 A Proposal. New York (N.Y.): City Planning Commission, 1969.

"These volumes comprise New York's official 'Master Plan,' enormous and far-reaching in scope but designed for the speediest possible implementation. the proposals of the plan have caused much controversy and even disruption since their first public presentation in November 1969. Reactions have ranged from high praise as 'a strong and extremely significant document' to charges of being 'merely a listing of problems rather than solutions'." - Description from 

Seymour B. Durst Old York Library

Titles include:

Isaac H. Blanchard Co. Glimpses of the New Coney Island. New York : Published by Isaac H. Blanchard Co., 268-270 Canal Street, 1904.
Pennsylvania Tunnel and Terminal Railroad Company. General Description of New York Terminal. New York, 1907.
West End Improvement League of Coney Island. Neglected Coney Island. New York : West End Improvement League of Coney Island, 1912.

Cornell University Library New York State Historical Literature

The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909

       Stokes, I. N. Phelps. The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909 [electronic Resource] : Compiled from Original Sources and Illustrated by Photo-Intaglio Reproductions of Important Maps, Plans, Views, and Documents in Public and Private Collections. New York: Robert H. Dodd, 1915. Columbia University Libraries Electronic Books. 2006.

This six-volume set's index and chronology (volumes four, five, and six) are especially valuable. "This reference book records important daily events taken from contemporary sources, like newspapers, and features an index that includes information about land grants and farms, entries for streets, buildings, and individuals, and much more from the history of the island."