Hayward’s United States Gazetteer (1853) page 489

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ical Society, founded in 1804, which occupies
rooms in the university, has a library of 17,000
volumes. It has published several volumes of
Historical Collections. This society contemplates
the erection of a building soon, and has obtained
considerable funds for that purpose. The Mer-
cantile Library Association, formed in 1820, for
the special benefit of merchants' clerks, maintains
an attractive and well-furnished reading room,
and has accumulated a library of about 32,000
volumes. A building was erected for the asso-
ciation in 1830, at a cost of $53,000. The society
provides for an able course of public lectures in
the winter. There is also the Apprentices' Li-
brary, in Crosby Street, of 14,000 volumes, estab-
lished in 1820 by a society of mechanics and
tradesmen founded in 1785; the library of the
Mechanics' Institute, 3000 volumes; and of the
American Institute, for the encouragement of
agriculture, commerce, manufactures, and the
arts, embracing about 6000 volumes. The Amer-
ican Institute holds an annual fair at Niblo's
Garden, which is one of the most interesting ex-
hibitions of the city. The Lyceum of Natural
History in New York, established in 1818, has
rooms, containing its library and cabinet, in the
medical department of the university, on Broad-
way. This cabinet contains extensive collections
in all the departments of natural history. The
society has done much for the promotion of
science in this country.

But one of the noblest gifts to learning and
science, and one of the most splendid, instances
of public benefaction, for which not only the
city of New York, but the whole country, owe a
debt of lasting gratitude to the memory of the mu-
nificent donor, is that of the Astor Library. This
library was endowed by the bequest of the late
John Jacob Astor, of New York, who, in a codi-
cil to his last will, bearing date the 4th of July,
1836, devised as follows : “ Desiring to render a
public benefit to the city of New York, and to
contribute to the advancement of useful knowl-
edge and the general good of society, I do, by
this codicil, appropriate
four hundred thousand
, out of my residuary estate, to the estab-
lishment of a public library in the city of New
York.'' The will then directs as to the disposal
of the money,“ in the erection of a suitable build-
ing ; ''
in furnishing and supplying the same
from time to time with books, maps, charts, mod-
els, drawings, paintings, engravings, casts, stat-
ues, furniture, and other things appertaining to a
library for general use, upon the most ample
scale and liberal character; '' and “ in maintain-
ing and upholding the buildings and other prop-
erty, and in defraying the necessary expenses of
taking care of the same, and of the accommoda-
tion of persons consulting the library; '' “ the
said library to be accessible, at all reasonable
hours and times, for general use, free of expense
to persons resorting thereto.'' Of the funds given,
Mr. Astor directs that “ a sum not exceeding
$75,000 may be expended in the erection of a
building,'' for which he authorizes the trustees
“to select a site on the E. side of Lafayette
Place, to contain 65 feet front and rear, and 120
feet deep.'' $120,000 are then to be expended in
the first outlay for books and other objects, in
establishing the library; and the residue, about
$200,000, to be permanently invested as a fund
for its maintenance and gradual increase.

The building for the Astor Library is a hand-

some ornament to the city. It is built of brown
freestone and brick, in the Byzantine style of
architecture, or rather in that of the royal palaces
of Elorence; and presents a strongly imposing
appearance, both in its external and internal
structure. Its dimensions, on the ground, are as
above stated; and its height, from the sidewalk
to the top of the parapet, 67 feet. The great
library hall, occupying the second floor, is 100
feet in length, 60 in width, and 50 feet high. The
side walls form one continuous shelving, sufficient
to contain 100,000 volumes. The light is from
windows in the front and rear walls, and from a
skylight of large dimensions. Midway between
the floor and ceiling is an iron gallery, resting
upon 14 beautiful columns; from which, and from
other intermediate and lighted galleries, ascended
by spiral stairways, the shelves are reached. The
floor is composed of a richly wrought mosaic,
resting on iron beams. Among the other apart-
ments of the building are a reading room, and a
lecture room, with accommodations for 500 per-
sons. Between 55,000 and 60,000 volumes have
been already purchased for this splendid library, at
a cost of about $63,000.

New York is liberally provided with institu-
tions for the relief of the poor and distressed of
every descriptor!. Besides the Lunatic Asylum,
on Blackwell's Island, already noticed, the New
York Hospital has a fine situation on the W. side
of Broadway, opposite the head of Pearl Street.

The buildings, which are extensive, stand in the
rear of a beautiful yard, and seem pleasantly re-
tired, although in the very heart of the city. Con-
nected with this hospital is the Lunatic Asylum,    *

located at Bloomingdale, on the Hudson ltiver,

5 miles from the City Hall; attached to which are
40 acres of ground, beautifully laid out into gar-
dens and pleasure grounds. This accommodates
about 250 patients. Here also is one of the Orphan
Asylums. A new institution, styled the State
Hospital of the City of New York, has lately gone
into operation, occuping a spacious square,bound-
ed by Eorty-Second and Forty-Third Streets, and
the Fifth and Sixth Avenues. The New York Dis-
pensary, established in 1790, the Northern Dispen-
sary, in 1829, and the Eastern Dispensary, in 1834,
answer the purpose of hospitals to some extent.

These useful establishments are supported by
annual subscriptions. On Staten Island are three
large and excellent institutions for the relief of
sick and disabled seamen : the Marine Hospital,
at Tompkinsville, adjacent to the quarantine
ground, which has three spacious buildings; the
Seamen's Retreat, situated half a mile farther
south; and the Sailor's Snug Harbor, on the N. side
of the island, which provides a home for aged and
decayed seamen. This noble charity was founded
by the liberality of Captain Randall, who be-
queathed to it an estate now reputed to be worth
$1,000,000. The funds of the Sailor's Snug Har-
bor, in 1852, amounted to $87,000.

The New York Asylum for the Deaf and
Dumb, a noble institution of its kind, incorporat-
ed in 1817, is on Fiftieth Street, near the Fourth
Avenue, or Haerlem Railroad. The principal
building is 110 feet long by 60 wide, and 4
stories high above the basement. The New York
Institution for the Blind is on the Eighth Ave-
nue, and has about 50 pupils.

At Bellevue, on the East River, 2i miles from
the City Hall, is the New Almshouse, which is a
very extensive establishment, having a hospital

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