Rare Book & Manuscript Library Launches Online Exhibit on The Chamber of Commerce of New York


This exhibit provides a rich visual guide to the New York Chamber of Commerce and Industry Records collection in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Organized thematically, it showcases the varied business that occupied the New York Chamber of Commerce over its more than two hundred years of operation. The Chamber's promotion of New York industry and infrastructure, role in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, attempts to shape outreach by sponsoring civic memorials, conservation work it undertook in the Adirondacks, and many other activities are all represented here. Letters, photographs, maps, internal records, and publications produced by the Chamber and its functionaries are augmented by extensive commentary to illustrate a story that touches on most aspects of New York State's business and political development.

The New York Chamber of Commerce and Industry Records comprise a thorough history of the group. Committee records, minute books, printed materials, photographs, reports, and a wealth of correspondence offer insight into the motivations, activities, and influence of this important business and civic organization. The Partnership for New York City (which merged with the Chamber in 2002) donated the Chamber's records to the Rare Book & Manuscript Library in 2005, augmenting the RBML's extensive holdings related to the business history of New York. These collections include the papers of families that were prominent in New York business, such as the Belmont Family Papers and the Mott Family Papers. RBML also holds the archives of a number of companies with a substantial presence in New York, including PricewaterhouseCoopers and W.R. Grace & Co.

Columbia University Libraries received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2009 to provide access to the archive of the New York Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The project was also designated a “We the People" project, supported in part by funds the NEH set aside for this special initiative. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

"The Chamber of Commerce of New York" exhibition was organized and overseen by Thai Jones, a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at Columbia University. It is published online by the Libraries Digital Program Division, one of the many E-Resources accessible to the Columbia community and the public.

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.