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October 2012

WWII & NYC Opening Night Victory Belles
Opens Friday, October 5!


Do you know how to jitterbug? Time to cut loose at WWII & NYC!


“Some Like It Hot”: The Music of Marilyn Monroe

Opening Weekend Store Swing Dresses Store: swing dresses

WWII & NYC Activities for the Whole Family!


Shake a leg and pick up a 1940s swing dress!


Hudson River School Members-Only Tours


War Comes to New York

On December 7, 1941, Japanese airplanes launched a surprise Sunday morning attack on the United States Pacific Fleet at its anchorage at Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands. The skilled pilots of the Rising Sun disabled or sank all eight American battleships in port and killed more than 2,400 sailors, soldiers, and civilians. The next day, a resolute FDR spoke of the attack as “a day which will live in infamy” and asked a joint session of Congress for a declaration of war against Japan. On December 11, Germany declared war on the United States; even though Hitler's defensive agreement with Japan did not require the Third Reich to act unless Japan was the victim, not the aggressor.

When the United States entered the war, New York was the largest city in the world, with more than seven million residents in the five boroughs and another four million in the nearby suburbs. Even during the Great Depression, New York's harbor was the busiest, its skyscrapers the tallest, its land values the highest, and its industrial output the greatest of any city in the world. Fifth Avenue already was synonymous with shopping, Broadway with theater, Madison Avenue with advertising, and Wall Street with finance. The great radio networks and publishing empires were all headquartered in Manhattan, and the New York Stock Exchange was the financial world's dominant trading floor. Once war was declared, residents of the city faced the unknown. They had read in newspapers and listened on radios about the Luftwaffe blitz on London in the fall of 1940. Would American coastal cities — New York chief among them — become targets for bombing? What about submarine attack? After all, German U-boats — Hitler's fleet of attack submarines — had already been waging a relentless undersea war against Atlantic shipping, and they would presumably redeploy to American waters to attack defenseless oil tankers and cargo ships along the East Coast, crippling American supply lines.

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EXHIBITIONS WWII & NYC Opens Friday, October 5!
Public Programs WWII & NYC
OCT 5 — MAY 27, 2013
When World War II broke out, New York was a cosmopolitan, heavily immigrant city, whose people had real stakes in the war and strongly held opinions. WWII & NYC will explore the impact of the war on the metropolis, which played a critical role in the national war effort. The exhibition draws upon our extensive permanent collections and on important loans from the US Navy, the Smithsonian Institution, the Mariners' Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among other institutions.
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Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School
THROUGH FEB 21, 2013
After a national tour, this iconic art — including Thomas Cole's five-part series The Course of Empire and more masterworks by artists such as John F. Kensett, Albert Bierstadt, Jasper F. Cropsey, Asher B. Durand — is once again on display with over 45 exquisite works drawn from rich collections of 19th century American painting that capture the beauty, power and awe of America's landscapes.
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The Declaration of Independence: The Stone Engraving
Less than fifty years after the thirteen American colonies broke from Great Britain, the signed manuscript that declared independence was already fragile and becoming faded. In 1820, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, with the approval of Congress, commissioned William J. Stone to engrave a facsimile — an exact copy — of the decisive document.
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The 2012/2013 Season of Public Programs Continues in October
Exhibitions War on the Waters: The Civil War Navy
Leading military historians re-examine the war for control of the divided nation's waters during the Civil War. With James M. McPherson, Craig L. Symonds, and Harold Holzer (moderator).
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America's Unwritten Constitution
TUESDAY, OCT 16, 6:30 PM
Akhil Reed Amar, in conversation with Linda Greenhouse, looks beyond the literal text of the Constitution and reveals the profound values, precedents, and practices that compliment this venerated document.
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Halftime in America
TUESDAY, OCT 23, 6:30 PM
Leading business experts discuss how the United States can reassert itself as a formidable competitor and innovator on the international stage. With Nancy R. Lazar, David A. Moss, Robert Wolf, and Byron R. Wien (moderator).
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Americans in Paris
Two writers who have lived in Paris and written about it discuss their personal connections to the city, exploring what it means to them and to Americans. With Kati Marton and Adam Gopnik (moderator).
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Three Days at Gettysburg, Part I
TUESDAY, OCT 30, 6:30 PM
In the first of a two-part program, three renowned Civil War historians discuss the Battle of Gettysburg and why it has endured in American memory. With James M. McPherson, John F. Marszalek, and Harold Holzer (moderator).
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FREE EVENTS Hear Music, Celebrate Architecture, History Revealed
Free Events Some Like It Hot: The Music of Marilyn Monroe
Join us for the WWII & NYC exhibition's opening night with a concert by critically acclaimed jazz musicians the Harry Allen Quartet and Rebecca Kilgore, who have performed “Some Like it Hot” at Feinstein's at Loews Regency to rave reviews from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Concert is FREE with Museum Admission (Museum Admission is pay-as-you-wish Friday evenings, 6-8pm).
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Archtober Tour
MONDAY, OCT 22, 12:30 PM
It's Architecture and Design Month in New York City, and New-York Historical Society is the featured Building of the Day. Take a free tour led by architects Scott Duenow, AIA, of Platt Byard Dovell White Architects and Lee Skolnick, FAIA, of Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership, who worked on New-York Historical's recent renovation.
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Washington's Letter to the Jews
In 1790 George Washington wrote a letter to the Jewish congregation in Newport, Rhode Island in which he spoke of religious tolerance and good wishes to the community. Panelists will discuss this letter and the greater context of early Judeo-American history at Congregation Shearith Israel: The Spanish Portuguese Synagogue, America's First Jewish Congregation, Central Park West at 2 West 70th St. With Louise Mirrer, Jonathan Sarna, and Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik. Please call (212) 873-0300 x208 for more information.
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FILM SERIES A Selection of Classic WWII Films With Special Guests
Film Series Inaugural Film Series
2012/2013 SEASON
Join us for the New-York Historical Society's Bernard and Irene Schwartz Classic Film Series: World War II and Its Legacy in Film, featuring opening remarks by notable directors, writers, actors, and historians. Produced in conjunction with the exhibition WWII & NYC, this selection of classic films will show a broad scope of life during and after the most widespread and destructive conflict in human history.
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Mrs. Miniver (1942)
Catherine Wyler discusses her father's award-winning tale of strength and resilience on the British home front with Lesley Stahl. Winner of six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Directed by William Wyler. Starring Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Teresa Wright, and Dame Mae Whitty.
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Double Victory (2012)
Legendary filmmaker George Lucas joins Brent Staples and former Tuskegee Airman Roscoe Brown to discuss this documentary, produced by Lucasfilm Ltd., spotlighting America's first all-black aerial unit who broke racial barriers and challenged stereotypes by serving their country in World War II. This documentary was made in conjunction with Lucasfilm's Red Tails.
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FAMILY PROGRAMS WWII & NYC Activities for the Whole Family
Store Opening Weekend!
On Friday, stop by before the The Music of Marilyn Monroe to cut loose and learn some moves like the Jitterbug and the Lindy hop — dance lessons begin at 5:30 pm. Who were the brave men and women who brought the Allies' to victory in World War II? On Saturday and Sunday learn their stories as history comes alive when you celebrate and engage with visiting re-enactors honoring the Allied troops who fought courageously. Pick up a family activity card and tour the new exhibition, or take a taste test of Wartime Birthday Cakes on Saturday or Sunday. Plus, you won't want to miss the delightful Victory Belles vocal trio on Sunday at 12 noon or 3 pm!
For the duration of WWII & NYC, families can explore the exhibition using activity cards that guide you through the exhibition from the point of view of a fictional New Yorker. Walk in their shoes! Recommended for ages 8 and up. Available at the Membership Desk.
OTHER EVENTS AARP Members Enjoy Discounted Tickets & More!
FRIDAY, OCT 19, 12 NOON - 7 PM
Join us for AARP Day with four floors of stories that climb out of the history books and into your life.
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MEMBERSHIP Exclusive Tours of the Hudson River School
Grandparents Day Members-Only Tours
WEDNESDAY, OCT 10, 3:15 & 3:30 PM
Join us for a free members-only tour of Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School. Please RSVP to This event is limited to 40 members. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Learn more about the many benefits of membership with the New-York Historical Society today!
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MUSEUM STORE Get in the Mood
Store Shake A Leg!
Get in the mood for the WWII & NYC exhibit with our fun 1940s inspired dresses. These swing dresses are made in the USA and are sure to turn heads on the home front!

20% Member double discount days for this month are Friday, October 5th, and Monday, October 8th. Valid in store only, not available online.
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DINE Visit On Columbus Day for Brunch!
Caffe Storico Caffè Storico
Caffè Storico will be open on Monday, October 8, from 11 to 6 pm for Columbus Day — it's a perfect opportunity to treat yourself to a wonderful holiday brunch.
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Dancing Couple Photo Credit: Reed George

Visitor Information


New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
at Richard Gilder Way (77th St)
New York, NY 10024

Phone (212) 873-3400
TTY (212) 873-7489


Tuesday-Thursday: 10am - 6pm
Friday: 10am - 8pm
Saturday: 10am - 6pm
Sunday: 11am - 5pm
Open Monday, October 8, for Columbus Day


The Patricia D. Klingenstein Library is open
Tuesday-Friday: 9am - 3pm
Saturday: 10am - 1pm

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New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, New York 10024