The Flying Cromwells, Midland Beach, Staten Island, N.Y. [close up of trapeze performers on boardwalk, audience in background.]
This focused, comprehensive collection of postcards came to the Library in 2001 as a gift from Catherine Robinson, a collector who spent her childhood in Staten Island, and who later assembled and organized the postcards as a hobby. Robinson subdivided the collection into broad topical categories, an arrangement retained here for browsing this digital presentation. Robinson also provided descriptive captions for each postcard, signaling interesting features or general content that is not otherwise evident from the title (these descriptions accompany the postcards' titles, in brackets); on occasion the collector has noted the relative rarity of an item or a scene. The New York Public Library comprises simultaneously a set of scholarly research collections and a network of community libraries, and its intellectual and cultural range is both global and local, while singularly attuned to New York City. That combination lends to the Library an extraordinary richness. It is special also in being historically a privately managed, nonprofit corporation with a public mission, operating with both private and public financing in a century-old, still evolving private-public partnership. Last year, over 16 million New Yorkers visited the library, and over 25 million used its website. The NYPL Digital Gallery provides free and open access to over 640,000 images digitized from the The New York Public Library's vast collections, including not just photographs but illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints and more. Digital projects and partnerships at NYPL are managed by the Digital Experience Group, a 21-person team of programmers, designers and producers dedicated to expanding and enhancing all points of computer and Web-mediated interaction with the library's collections, services and staff.