Gazetteer of New York, 1860 & 1861 page 435
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Tlie Oterary and Library Societies of the city exert an important influence upon
the intellectual condition of the people. Many of the libraries are extensive and are provided with
ample accommodations for the preservation and care of the books and for the convenience of

The population of New York has increased with great rapidity since the commencement of the

in New York. He suffered martyrdom at Caughnawaga, Sept.
27, 1642, atihe hands of the Iroquois. The first religious ser¬
vices of thisThurch were held by Father Farmer, of Philadelphia,
about 1781-82. The first church was built in 1786, and named
St. Peter. Its chief benefactor was Charles III., King of Spain,
who gave $10,000.

The first church edifice was erected near the Fort, in 1633,
and in 1642 was superseded by one built of stone within the
Fort. The Reformed Dutch Church retained the ascendency
until 1664, when the chapel in the Fort was devoted to the
English service. Trinity, formed in 1697, received grants of prop¬
erty from the Government, which by the subsequent growth
of the city have become enhanced in value beyond parallel in
America, if not in the world. Its revenues are usually consi¬
dered adequate not only for the support of its several chapels
and other edifices of worship, hut for aiding liberally the poorer
churches of this denomination throughout the country. Its
income, already very large, will in a few years he greatly in¬
creased as leases at a low rate for long periods expire and the
property is again offered for lease. The property of the Col¬
legiate Dutch Church is also of great value, and surpassed only
by that of Trinity Church. During the Revolution the Pres¬
byterian and Dutch Churches were used by the British as riding
schools, prisons, and for other military purposes. Within a few
years most of the church buildings in the lower part of the city
have been sold', their sites occupied for commercial purposes,
and costly edifices of great architectural, beauty have been
erected “ up town.”

1 The New York Library Society was first started in 1700,
when Rev. John Sharp, chaplain of Lord Bellemont, gave a col¬
lection of books to be styled the “Public Library of New York.”
The society was incorp. in 1752, and was organized under its
present name in 1754. The library was mostly scattered during
the Revolution; hut its charter was revived Feb. 18,1789, and
the books as fer as possible were recollected. It was at first
kept in the City Hall. In 1793 it was removed to a building in
Nassau St., afterward to Chambers St., and in 1840 to a new
building corner of Broadway and Leonard Sts. It was after¬
ward moved to the Bible House, and in 1857 to its present
quarters, University Place, between 12th and 13th Sts. The
library building is a fine edifice, and the library now contains

40,000 vols.

The New York Historical Society was organized Dec. 10,1804,
and incorp. Feb. 10, 1S09. After occupying rooms many years
in the New York University Buildings, it was removed in 1857
to a new, fireproof building on 2d Avenue, corner of lltli St.,
which was dedicated Nov. 17 of that year. This society pos¬
sesses a library of 30,000 volumes, particularly rich in historical
works and manuscripts, a choice gallery of paintings and collec¬
tion of antiquities, coins, medals, and charts. Among its collec¬
tions are a series of large tablets of Assyrian sculpture, the gift
of James Lenox, Esq. Under a special act of April 12, 1856,
the premises were made exempt from sale on execution, and the
law is so framed that the society’s property cannot bo encum¬
bered by mortgage. Regular meetings of the society are held
on the first Tuesday of each month.

The Mercantile Library Association, at Clinton Hall, Astor
riace, was organized in 1820, and has a library, reading room,
lecture room, and cabinet. It was originally intended for tho
use of merchants’ clerks, but is now accessible to all. Its
library, especially full in periodicals, numbers 55,000 volumes;
and the association has about 4,500 members. It formerly occu¬
pied the. premises of Old Clinton Hall, on Beekman St., near
the Park.

New York Law Institute, founded through the exertions of the
late Chancellor Kent, was formed in 1828 and incorp. Feb. 22,
1830. It contains about 6,500 volumes, forming one of the most
valuable and perfect collections of the kind in the United States.
It is located at 45 Chambers St., to which place it was removed
in 1855. Membership is confined to counsellors, solicitors, and
attorneys. Judges of the Federal and State Courts, and stran¬
gers generally, are allowed to visit and use the library.

The Mechanics' Institute, located at No. 20 4th Avenue, was
incorp. April 24, 1833. Its objects are to diffuse knowledge
among the mechanical classes, to found lectures on natural,
mechanical, and chemical philosophy, and scientific subjects,
to open schools, and hold annual fairs. It has established
classes in modeling, (machinery, architecture, and ornamental
drawing, a winter course of lectures, a reading room, and a
library of 6,000 volumes, all of which are free to mechanics,
workingmen, and apprentices of the city.

The Astor Library was founded upon a bequest of $400,000
made by John Jacob Astor in his will, Aug. 22, 1839. Its trus¬
tees organized in May, 1848, and employed Dr. Joseph G. Cogs¬
well to visit Europe for the purchase of books. On the 10th of
Dec. 1849, they adopted a plan for an edifice, 120 by 65 ft.,
which was opened to the public Feb. 1, 1854. On the 31st of
Oct. 1855, Wm. B. Astor presented to the trustees a lot, SO hy
100 ft., adjoining the library, upon which has been erected a
building similar to the first, the two forming the most spacious
library rooms in America. The buildings will contain 200,000
volumes, and half that number are already in the library.
This noble institution is situated on La Fayette Place, in a quiet
quarter of the city, and isaopen to all without charge. Books
are not allowed to be taken from the rooms. The trustees are
required to report annually to the Legislature.

The Printers' Free Library, located at No. 3 Chambers St.,
was founded in 1823 by the New York Typographical Society,
for the benefit of those employed in printing and binding books.
It has 3,500 volumes.

Tie Apprentices’ Library, at Mechanics’ Hall, 472 Broadway
near Grand St., is free to apprentices, and open to journeymen
upon payment of $1 annually. It numbers 16,000 volumes.

The Libraries of the City Corporation, of Columbia College, of
the Free Academy, of the several hospitals, of the medical col¬
leges, of the theological seminaries, of the Bible Societies, and
of several other institutions, are extensive, and some of them
are very valuable in their several departments.

The Cooper Institute, a fine edifice of brownstone, covers an
entire block between 3d and 4th Avenues and 7th and 8th
Streets. It Was erected hy Peter Cooper, Esq., at a cost of
$300,00.0, to promote the advancement of science and a know¬
ledge of the useful arts. The first and second stories are to bo
rented and the avails devoted to the expenses of the establish¬
ment. In the basement is a lecture room, 125 ft. hy 82 ft.,
and 21 ft. high. The three upper stories are arranged for
purposes of instruction, and contain a very large hall, with a
gallery designed ultimately as a free public exchange. A school
of design is in operation in these rooms, and is attended hy somo
50 young ladies under instruction in engraving, lithographic
drawing, fend painting. The design of this institution is emi¬
nently creditable to the enlightened views of .its munificent
projector, and will associate his name with those who have done
much for the useful arts and deserved well of mankind. The
building is known as “The Union,” apd, in accordance with an
act of February 17,1857, it has been placed in charge of trustees.

The American Institute was incorp. May 29, 1829, for the pur¬
pose of encouraging and promoting domestic industry in this
State and the United States, in agriculture, commerce, manu¬
factures, and the arts. It aims to promote these objects hy an
annual exhibition of machines and manufactures, the awarding
of premiums, and the formation of a repository of models and
a library of books relating to the useful arts; and for this pur¬
pose it may hold property producing an income of $30,000 per
annum. It has connected with its organization a farmers’ club,
which holds monthly meetings, and occasional cattle shows,
plowing, and spading matches, as its officers may direct. The
annual fairs of the Institute were formerly held at Castle Gar¬
den, but in 1857 were transferred to the Crystal Palace, where
its 30th fair was prematurely ended by the burning of the
Palace Oct. 5,1858. The amount awarded for premiums from
1835 to 1857, both inclusive, has been distributed as follows:—


$ 779.00

































1852, $4,917.43

1853, 3.366.77

1855, 3.269.97

1856, 5,593.49

1857, 3,160.34

This society has successively occupied premises on Liberty St.
near Broadway, at 41 Cortland St., 187 Broadway, the City Hall,
Broadway, corner of Anthony St., and 351 Broadway. The last
named premises it now owns. In 1859 it removed to the Cooper
Institute building. In 1835 it commenced the publication of a
monthly journal that continued through several volumes. The
annua] reports of the Institute to the Legislature since 1841 are
voluminous and valuable.

The Lyceum of Natural History, located on 14th St., was
incorp. in 1818. It has a large library relating to the natural
sciences, and a cabinet. It was first opened in the rear of n'ie
City Hall; thence it was removed to Stuyvesant Institute, and
finally to its present locality.

The American Geographical and Statistical Society was
incorp. under the general law April 30, 1852, and, after several
years’ sojourn in the University Building, has recently been re¬
moved to Clinton Hall, Astor Place. It holds monthly meetings
at the rooms of the Historical Society, and is forming an exten¬
sive and valuable statistical library. The objects of the society
are expressed in its name. It publishes a monthly journal,
chiefly of original papers.

The New York Academy of Music, corner of Irving Place and
14th St., was incorp. April 10,1852. The building is 121
ft. by
114 ft., and will seat 4,000 persons. It is richly decorated, and
is constructed with express reference to fine acoustic effect.
The cost is estimated at $350,000.

Tlie city has about 15 theaters and a great number of


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