Gateway to North America: The People, Places, and Organizations of 19th-Century New York

From the New-York Historical Society, Gateway to North America: People, Places, and Organizations of 19th-Century New York is an archive chronicling the people and organizations of New York City during the 19th century. It is a unique collection of historical directories, member lists, travel guides and other rich sources. 

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At a Glance


Subject Area: History
Ideal For: Academic Libraries

Title List:
Coverage: Excel | HTML

During the “Long 19th Century,” New York City was the focal point in North America for industry, trade, commerce and immigration. Gateway to North America contains over 800,000 pages of content from over 1,500 print and manuscript directories, member lists, travel guides and other sources. It is an invaluable resource for scholars, students, researchers and educators alike.

Search Features Include: 

  • Enhanced Discoverability – Publication level results with item level table of contents accessible from the viewer
  • Enhanced Title Search –  Results contain only unique publications related to the keywords
  • New Indexing and Facets –  Newly added facets and indexing, created by subject matter experts at New-York Historical Society, are available to refine searches
  • Updated MARC records – MARC records include updated/additional subjects and access points

Content Includes:

  • Residential, trade and occupational directories
  • Membership lists for professional groups, philanthropic and governmental institutions,
    ethnic organizations, religious groups and leisure clubs
  • Names and physical descriptions of Civil War deserters and the incarcerated
  • Illustrated advertisements
  • Commercial listings by trade
  • Descriptions of local philanthropic, religious and governmental institutions
  • Travel schedules
  • Maps
  • Postal and tax rates
  • Town histories

Sources Include:

  • Yearbooks and annuals
  • Tax lists
  • Elite blue books
  • Vital records
  • Burial lists
  • Registers
  • Biographical dictionaries
  • Gazetteers

Maps Include:

  • Land development and internal improvements over time
  • Travel routes
  • Locations of government buildings, churches and schools
  • Concentrations of wealth and poverty
  • Spread of disease

This database will be invaluable for researchers who require its rare material. Indeed, the only other way one could access this body of material would be to travel to the New-York Historical Society and spend considerable time there.

— Choice Magazine