Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Friday, January 15, 2016

New York Public Library Adds to Public Domain Digital Collections

Landing at Jamestown 1795

The online, public domain, digital collections at the New York Public Library now have over 672,000 items. These items, for the most part, are freely downloadable and useable. Above is an example of an item from the collection. Here is a screenshot of the NYPL Digital Collections page.

Many of the items on the NYPL website are also available on the Digital Public Library of America (DP.LA).

Another example of the items in the NYPL Digital Collections is the American Jewish Committee Oral History Collection. The collection is described as follows:
The New York Public Library's Dorot Jewish Division's American Jewish Committee Oral History Collection is the outcome of the "grandparent" of Jewish oral history projects. The Division holds the only complete compilation of transcripts and recordings from this 25-year project that began in the 1960s. The collection contains interviews with 2,250 individuals -- comprising approximately 100,000 pages of transcripts and 6,000 hours of audiotapes. The American Jewish Committee interviewed individuals from all walks of life, thereby compiling a collection of oral histories documenting the Jewish experience in America. Out of this comprehensive collection of interviews, 350 of the transcripts have now been scanned and digitized; most of these are available both onsite at the Library and offsite, and the others onsite alone.

It includes interview subjects prominent in many spheres of life: to cite a very few examples, Bella Abzug, Salo Baron, Abe Beame, David Ben-Gurion, Milton Berle, Howard Cosell, Arthur Miller, Golda Meir, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Mark Spitz, Adolph Zukor, and many more. 
Along with these individual interviews there are a number of series of interviews around selected themes. Among the series are American Jewish Women of Achievement; American Jews in Sports; American Jews of Sephardic Origin; Holocaust Survivors; Soviet Jewish Emigres in America; and the experiences of former residents of Eldridge Street and of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum in New York City.
I find that many genealogical researchers never take the time to search in a library, especially a pubic library. This is their loss.

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