AGS of NY Archives Grant-Supported Processing Project Completed

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by Bob Jaeger and Susan Peschel

A three-year project to organize and process the American Geographical Society of New York Archives, funded by a grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation through the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), has been completed.

The CLIR grant funded a full-time archivist and part-time student employees to work on the collection, which contains the records of the Society, the only organization focused on bringing together academics, business people, those who influence public policy (including leaders in local, state and federal government, state and federal government, not-for-profit organizations and the media), and the general public for the express purpose for furthering the understanding of the role of geography in our lives.  

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AGS of NY Archive reading room.
AGS Archives in New York
The Archives room at the AGS of NY.
Archives upon arrival in Milwaukee
Temporary storage of the Archives prior to sorting and processing.

The materials date from the Society’s founding in 1851 and include approximately 350 cubic feet of material, with documents relating to well-known figures in American exploration and the larger field of geography from the mid–nineteenth century through most of the twentieth.

Process AGS Archive
Completed project as of February 2015.

Highlights include log books, diaries, photographs, and artifacts of early Polar expeditions, such as the papers of Robert E. Peary (who served as President of the Society), the American flag carried by Capt. Charles Francis Hall on his second Polar Expedition, and correspondence with such individuals as David Livingstone, Franklin D. Roosevelt (an AGS councilor), Charles Lindbergh, and William H. Seward, to name only a few.

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Artifacts and a journal from Isaac Israel Hayes’ Polar expeditions of 1860 and 1869.
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Inuit sketches by Robert Flaherty
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The archives hold papers of Robert E. Peary (who served as President of the Society), and correspondence with such individuals as David Livingstone, Theodore Roosevelt, Charles Lindbergh, and William H. Seward to name a few.

The collection contains correspondence, publications, reports, maps, meeting minutes, ledgers, and records on expeditions, explorers, and other geographic organizations and activities. For more information, please contact the American Geographical Society Library at 414-229-6282 or via email at agsl at uwm dot edu.

American Geographical Society Library Records, 1851-2013 (link to finding aid)