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Project Staff:

  • Kevin Reiss, Website Design/Data Processing; Project Coordinator, August 2008-March 2009
  • Angela Sidman, Metadata Creation; Project Coordinator, August 2008-August 2009
  • Caroline Fuchs, Project Coordinator, January-August 2008
  • Madelyn Kent, Research Support
  • Eric Pellerin, Research Assistant
  • Peter Waldvogel, Photographer
  • Stephen Klein, Systems Librarian at the Mina Rees Library, migrated the site from Wordpress to Omeka, December 2010.

The project staff would like to thank:

  • The faculty and staff of the Mina Rees Library, CUNY Graduate Center
  • Ray Ring, Christopher Lowery, and Jennifer Favorite of the Graduate Center’s Building Design and Exhibitions staff
  • Anita Duncan, Irma Worrell Fisher, Richard Golub, Richard Simpson, Anita Pins, Stephanie Garber, Dean Avery, and the Murray Hill Neighborhood Association
  • The staff of the New York Metro Library Council
  • Ralph Lieberman
  • Jennifer Cohlman and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum Library, Smithsonian Institution Libraries

The Mina Rees Library, CUNY Graduate Center was supported in part by funds from the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) through the New York State Regional Bibliographic Databases Program.

Contact us:

Metadata librarian
Mina Rees Library
CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016

Project description

In 1976, as the United States celebrated its Bicentennial, the Murray Hill Neighborhood Association (MHNA) organized an exhibition of images which depicted how their neighborhood had changed over the last hundred years. That exhibition, which for many years was on display at the CUNY Graduate Center, is at the heart of this digital project. With the help of a grant from the Metropolitan New York Library Council, this project expanded upon the 1976 materials by adding newly commissioned photographs and hiring a graduate student to research the architectural history of each site. The information from this research appears in the building information section that appears for each street address from Murray Hill included in the project.

The photographs and images originally gathered together by the MHNA fell into two categories.

  1. Historic photographs and engravings created between the mid-19th and early 20th centuries
  2. Photographs dating to the 1970’s

In 1976, MHNA member Dick Simpson revisited many of the sites captured in the historic photographs and documented how they had changed and developed in the intervening decades. Additionally, the MHNA used the 1977 publication, “An historic district in Murray Hill” by Anita Pins as a source for many photographs of East 35th Street.

No original photographs or engravings were included in the 1976 exhibition. Images were reproduced on exhibition mounts and it was these mounts, some of which showed marked signs of deterioration, which were scanned for digitization when this project began in early 2008. In June and November of 2008 the project’s Photographer revisited the sites which had already been captured on film twice before.

These new digital images trace the development of the Murray Hill neighborhood right up to the present day. In February of 2009 an updated version of the original physical exhibition, including new photography and expanded contextual information, was installed at the Graduate Center lobby.

The project’s records were created using a digital collection building tool called ContentDM provided by METRO to grant recipients. Once the records had been created they were then exported in a dublin core based xml format and converted to RSS and imported in Wordpress for display on the site. The subject headings and other descriptive terms that appear in the site’s categories features were mapped into a wordpress format for creating a category taxonomy, this taxonomy was also imported into the site.

Project Vocabularies and Resources


The project staff utilized several different specialized vocabularies to describe the architectural history of Murray Hill. When available, staff included definitions of the terms used to describe architectural elements and styles. Short biographical statements about the architects and architectural firms whose work appears in the project were also added whenever possible. These definitions and biographies provide the user with a clearer understanding of the larger relationships at play between architectural forms, building styles, and specific architects within the localized context of the Murray Hill neighborhood. The following vocabularies were used as sources for the descriptive information in the project:

The Getty Art and Architecture Thesaurus: AAT. A structured vocabulary of roughly 131,000 terms in the fields of art, architecture, and material culture. It is the source for the terms that appear in the Architectural Element and Architectural Style categories.

The Library of Congress Authorities:LC Authority File. The standard tool for determining the uniform names of people, corporate bodies, and places, the Library of Congress authority files were the preferred resource for determining naming conventions in all areas.

The Getty Union List of Artist Names: ULAN. A structured vocabulary containing around 120,000 records, including 293,000 names and biographical and bibliographic information about artists and architects. ULAN is the major source for the biographies which accompany some entries in the Architect category and served as the secondary source for authoritative name entries when no record was available from the Library of Congress.

Local definitions created by the project staff in accordance with Library of Congress patterns were used when appropriate in our major category groupings.


As part of the landmarking process, The New York City Landmark Commission writes thorough reports on both individual buildings and neighborhoods as a whole. Consult their documentation for authoritative site-specific information and for summary statements describing how landmarked locations in Murray Hill fit into the broader architectural history of New York City as a whole.

The New York Landmark Commission Designation Reports: LCSD | Murray Hill LCSD Report.

Rights and Reproductions:

The Mina Rees Library does not own copyright for the images in the Digital Murray Hill collection which were created before 1994 and donated by the Murray Hill Neighborhood Association (MHNA). The Library does not grant or deny permission to use the historical content received from the MHNA and mounted on the Library’s website. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item from the Digital Murray Hill collection and for securing any necessary permissions rests with persons desiring to use the item.

Images created by Peter Waldvogel in 2008 are the property of the Mina Rees Library and may not be reproduced without permission.

Please contact with any further inquiries.


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