Columbia University Libraries has completed digitizing the Manhattan portion of The New York Real Estate Brochure Collection. The online collection now includes materials of Brooklyn and Manhattan residential buildings, totaling approximately 3,000 buildings and more than 13,000 images from brochures including drawings, floor plans and marketing material. Digitized images for the remaining boroughs are scheduled to be released later in 2010.
As J. David Goodman of The New York Times noted, "It’s an incredible resource for floor-plan addicts (or a kind of Streeteasy for time travelers.) There’s definitely a dissertation waiting in all the colorful apartment hyperbole of yore."
The collection was donated to Columbia's Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library by Yale Robbins, Henry Robbins, and David Magier in 1986 and consists of more than 9,000 items including advertising brochures, floor plans, and related materials that document residential and commercial real estate development in the five boroughs of New York and surrounding areas from the 1920s to the 1970s. When completed, the collection will represent more than 4,100 buildings.
The New York Real Estate Brochure Collection is a joint project of the Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, the Libraries' Preservation and Digital Conversion Division, and the Libraries' Digital Program Division. It was funded by monies allocated by Columbia University Libraries for the digitization of special and unique materials of permanent research value.
The Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library is one of the most comprehensive architecture and the fine arts library collections in the world. Avery collects a full range of primary and secondary sources for the advanced study of architecture, historic preservation, art history, decorative arts, city planning, real estate, and archaeology. The Library contains more than 550,000 volumes including more than 40,000 rare books. Avery’s Drawings and Archives collection includes 1.5 million architectural drawings and records. The Avery Library is home to the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, the only comprehensive American guide to the current literature of architecture and design. For more information, please visit: /content/libraryweb/indiv/avery.html.
Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 10 million volumes, over 100,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 550 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.