Reading Publics: New York City’s Public Libraries, 1754-1911.
By Tom Glynn.
Fordham University Press, 460 pp., $35.00.
Reviewed by Rob Koehler
Tom Glynn’s Reading Publics provides a richly detailed history of the development of libraries in New York City from the first -- the New York Society Library, founded in 1754 as a library for the new King’s College -- to the coalescence of the New York Public Library in 1911. In nine chapters, he examines a variety of institutions, including subscription, circulating, research, and collegiate libraries, giving a sense of the breadth of individual, corporate, and institutional sponsors who founded libraries in the city and the various purposes those libraries were to serve.
Sensibility and the Road: The Journal of Madame Knight and the Cultural Refinement of Eighteenth-Century New York
By Andrew L. Hargroder
The 1790s was a decade marked by conspiracy-mongering in the United States. Polarized visions over the republic’s future inspired a prevailing mood of both revolutionary optimism for humankind and abrasive paranoia. Countering these anxieties, middle- and working-class Americans formed fraternal and literary clubs designed to foster democratic comity and candor as a public discourse. Among New York’s clubs, a new class of citizen took form, which espoused a more inclusive understanding of rights and political engagement. That allowed non-elites, like Richard Bingham Davis, to contribute to the conversation over the republic’s future.
"Tontine Coffee House” (1797) by Francis Guy. Though this coffee house was a site of frequent political clashes between Federalists and Democratic-Republicans throughout the 1790s, it also provide a sense of NYC architecture and the city's lively streets at the time of Davis and the societies’ activities.
By Gerard Koeppel
If a picture is worth eighty thousand words or so, one image captures what this book is about. And if every picture tells a story, this image tells two...
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