In North America, the term loyalist characterised colonists who rejected the American Revolution in favour of remaining within the British Empire. American loyalists included royal officials, Anglican clergymen, wealthy merchants with ties to London, demobilised British soldiers, and recent arrivals (especially from Scotland), as well as many ordinary colonists who were conservative by nature and/or felt that the protection of Britain was needed. Colonists with loyalist sympathies accounted for an estimated 15% to 20% of the white colonial population of the day, compared with those described as "Patriots", who accounted for about 40-50% of the population. This high level of political polarisation leads historians to argue that the American Revolution was as much a civil war as it was a war of independence from the British Crown.
The images in this digital presentation offer an extensive array of visual documentation-in portraits, scenes, and views-of the people, places, and events that shaped the new American nation. They represent a holding of 10,240 visual items that is part of even larger collection of some 30,000 items assembled by the New York physician Thomas Addis Emmet (1828-1919), and donated to the Library in 1896 by trustee John Stewart Kennedy. Emmet developed a passionate interest in American history after a boyhood visit to Philadelphia, when he first saw the original Declaration of Independence, and went on to collect, for some fifty years, drawings, engravings, maps, and manuscripts relating to the American Revolution and the early history of the United States. Like other 19th-century collectors, Emmet presented his pictorial Americana as "extra-illustrations," binding them, in his case, into classic American history texts to illustrate relevant passages and to enrich the texts visually and intellectually. In the same way, he also assembled images and manuscripts to document the published proceedings of the Albany Congress and the Continental Congress. Other portions of the Emmet Collection not offered in this digital presentation are manuscripts, in the Manuscripts and Archives Division, and maps, in the Map Division. Digitized content at The New York Public Library is drawn from a broad range of original historical resources, including materials that may contain offensive language or stereotypes. Such materials should be viewed in the context of the time and place in which they were created. All historical media are presented as specific, original artifacts, without further enhancement to their appearance or quality, as a record of the era in which they were produced. See more information on the NYPL site. 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.
Loyalist Ephemera, NYPLIn North America, the term loyalist characterised colonists who rejected the American Revolution in favour of remaining within the British Empire.
Emmet New York History Collection, NYPLMost Images are from the collection assembled by the New York physician Thomas Addis Emmet (1828-1919)