Years ago I worked with Marion Casey of NYU’s Ireland House to put together a database of Irish-born admissions to the Bellevue Almshouse between 1845 and 1852. At the time, Bellevue was the only place that destitute or sick people in the city of New York could go for relief (this was before quarantine institutions like Ellis Island, and before dedicated hospitals for particular illnesses, like those on then-Blackwell’s, now-Roosevelt Island). We’re returning to the project this summer, to try to find some way to make the nearly 10,000 entries, which include name, profession and reason for admission – fruitful fodder for historians of immigration and public health alike – available to the public.
In the process of starting this work, though, I came across this handy collection of New York city directories from the 17th to 20th centuries. Neat!