The American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society was founded in 1895 to preserve scenic and historic sites. The records contain correspondence, minutes, reports, photographs and printed material documenting the Society's work, chiefly in New York State.
Biographical/historical: The American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society (ASHPS), originally called the Society for the Preservation of Scenic and Historic Places and Objects, was founded in 1895 by Andrew Haswell Green (1820-1903), New York City civic leader and conservationist. Active largely in New York State, with headquarters in New York City, the Society's purpose was to protect scenic and historic sites. Its chief method was to act as custodian for scenic areas and historic sites, acquiring them, maintaining them, and keeping them open to the public free of charge. Such sites included John Boyd Thacher Park, near Albany; Battle Island Park, between Fulton and Oswego; Stony Point Battlefield Reservation, on the Hudson; Fort Brewerton, on the Oswego River; Letchworth Park, on the Genesee River; Watkins Glen, near Seneca Lake; Philipse Manor Hall, Yonkers; Hamilton Grange, New York City; and John William Draper Memorial Park, Hastings-on-Hudson. Some of these sites, all of which were located in New York State, were eventually put into the care of the state or federal government.
In addition, the Society worked on behalf of numerous sites not specifically under its care, supporting or opposing legislation; working on behalf of endangered sites; acting as an advisor; working for the improvement of cities through the protection of parks and historica buildings and districts; erecting monuments and plaques; helping to establish parks; and pushing for the creation of the New York State Conservation Department. While most of this concerned sites in New York State, the Society was also active on behalf of sites throughout the United States and in Europe. Some sites that benefitted from these efforts include: Niagara Falls; Palisades Interstate Park; the Octagon House, Washington, D.C.; Storm King Mountain in the Hudson Highlands, where Consolidated Edison planned to build a power plant; Washington Square, Inwood Park, Fort Washington, Fraunces Tavern, and the Morris-Jumel Mansion, all in New York City; reconstruction efforts in France after World War I; cemeteries in France for American soldiers, following World War I; and many others.
Presidents of the Society included Andrew H. Green, Walter S. Logan, George Frederick Kunz, George McAneny, and Maj. Gen. Alexander Hamilton.
Content: Collection includes minutes of trustees' monthly meetings, and of annual meetings of the Society, 1911-1971; annual reports, 1898-1926; record books, 1898-1926, containing additional minutes, correspondence of secretaries and presidents, reports, New York State legislative documents, clippings, printed material, blueprints, maps, and photographs; minutes, reports, correspondence, and other records, 1911-1939, of committees that administered sites under the Society's custodianship; miscellaneous financial documents, 1930s-1960s; general files, 1930s-1960s, consisting largely of correspondence; issues of the Society's bulletin, Scenic and Historic America, 1929-1938; two books, A Narrative of the Life of Mary Jemison, and Philipse Manor Hall at Yonkers, N.Y., published by the Society, containing heavy annotations for the 1925 editions; and minutes, correspondence and other documents, 1924-1939, of the State Council of Parks (N.Y.), on which the Society was represented. Robert Moses was chairman of the Council and some of his correspondence is included. Scenic and historic sites treated include Letchworth Park, Stony Point Battlefield Reservation, John Boyd Thatcher Park, John William Draper Park, Hamilton Grange, and Philipse Manor Hall, all located in New York State and under the custodianship of the Society.
Also discussed are Niagara Falls, Palisades Interstate Park, the Octagon House in Washington, D.C., the Morris-Jumel Mansion in New York City, Storm King Mountain (site of the Consolidated Edison power plant in upstate New York), and post-World War I reconstruction in France.
Ownership: 07/--/79 American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society Gift