Robert Moses papers

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Collection Data

Collection consists of correspondence, speeches, memoranda, press releases, reports, plans, photographs, clippings, and other printed matter documenting the career of Robert Moses. Personal Correspondence and "Library" (personal copy) files make up the bulk of the collection and include materials relating to topics such as the creation of parks and roads, Moses's political activities, regulation of banks, depression relief, the World's Fairs of 1939-1940 and 1964-1965, the United Nations headquarters, the Hall of Fame of Great Americans, and personal and family matters. Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority papers concern projects to build bridges, tunnels and highways as well as Moses's appointment as chairman. Emergency Public Works Commission and Office of the City Construction Coordinator series pertain to depression relief efforts and publicly funded building activities in New York City. Gubernatorial Campaign materials consist mainly of speeches, press releases, correspondence, and background information on the issues of the election of 1934. Department of Parks files concern the improvement of New York City parks and the expansion of parks and playgrounds. Constitutional Convention series contains correspondence on the administrative, legal and personal issues of New York governmental reform in the 1930s. Long Island State Park Commission and New York State Council of Parks materials relate to the development, maintenance and improvement of parks.
Moses, Robert, 1888-1981 (Creator)
Cardozo, Benjamin N. (Benjamin Nathan), 1870-1938 (Correspondent)
La Guardia, Fiorello H. (Fiorello Henry), 1882-1947 (Correspondent)
Lehman, Herbert H. (Herbert Henry), 1878-1963 (Correspondent)
Rockefeller, Nelson A. (Nelson Aldrich), 1908-1979 (Contributor)
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945 (Correspondent)
Smith, Alfred Emanuel, 1873-1944 (Correspondent)
Long Island State Park Commission (Creator)
New York (N.Y.). Department of Parks (Creator)
New York (State). Constitutional Convention (1938) (Creator)
New York (State). State Council of Parks (Creator)
Power Authority of the State of New York
Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority
United Nations
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1912 - 1980
Library locations
Manuscripts and Archives Division
Shelf locator: MssCol 2071
Bank failures -- Law and legislation
Bridges -- New York (State) -- New York
Depressions -- 1929 -- United States
Electric power -- United States
Exhibitions -- New York (State) -- New York
Express highways -- New York (State)
Parks -- New York (State)
Parks -- New York (State) -- New York
Public housing -- New York (State) -- New York
Roads -- Location
Urban renewal -- New York (State) -- New York
Water resources development -- New York (State)
New York (N.Y.) -- Buildings, structures, etc
New York (N.Y.) -- Politics and government
New York (N.Y.) -- Politics and government -- 1898-1951
New York (N.Y.) -- Politics and government -- 1951-
New York (State) -- Politics and government -- 1865-1950
Public officers
Hall of Fame for Great Americans (New York, N.Y.)
Moses, Robert, 1888-1981
Ickes, Harold L. (Harold LeClair), 1874-1952
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945
New York World's Fair (1939-1940 : New York, N.Y.)
New York World's Fair (1964-1965 : New York, N.Y.)
Press releases
Biographical/historical: Robert Moses (1888-1981) was a public official whose vision played a major role in shaping the physical development of the New York Metropolitan area. Moses was born on December 18, 1888 and raised in New Haven, Connecticut and on East 46th Street in Manhattan. He graduated from Yale University in 1909, and went on to receive a Ph. D. in political science from Columbia University in 1914. He began his career with the Municipal Research Bureau in 1913. By 1922 he had become involved in the areas to which he devoted most of his career: parks, construction and highways. Moses was married twice, and had two daughters. He died on July 29, 1981. Moses was principally responsible for the construction of an enormous number of major public projects in the state and city of New York, including the Triborough Bridge, Queens Midtown Tunnel, Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, the Henry Hudson Bridge, the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, the Throg Neck's Bridge, and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, as well as Jones Beach State Park, the Robert Moses State Parks, and the Robert Moses Power Plant on the Saint Lawrence River and Robert Moses Power Dam on the Niagara River. Moses was also responsible for the construction of much public housing in New York City. During his long career, his offices included the following: President, Long Island State Park Commission, 1924-1963; chairman, New York State Council of Parks, 1924-1963; Secretary of State, New York State, 1927-1928; president, Jones Beach Parkway Authority, 1933-1963; president, Bethpage State Park Authority, 1933-1963; chairman, Emergency Public Works Commission, 1933-1934; commissioner, New York City Department of Parks, 1934-1960; chairman, member, and consultant, Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, 1934-1981; New York City Construction Co-ordinator, 1942-1960; New York City Planning Commissioner, 1946-1960; chairman, New York State Power Authority, 1954-1962; president, New York World's Fair, 1960-1966; special advisor to the Governor of the State of New York on Housing, 1974-1975.
Content: The Robert Moses Papers provide a vast, though by no means comprehensive, view of Robert Moses' long career as a public official. The great number of positions which Moses held, many of than concurrently, over long periods of time, make it difficult to identify precisely which portions of the collection document which aspect of that career. Similarly, the often unorthodox means by which Moses sought to achieve his plans at times obscures any separation of duties. While it is possible to identify series in the papers, it is important to consider that Moses' concerns were far-reaching, and that he considered no project, whether parks, parkways, bridges, tunnels or housing, simply of one department, division or commission. As a result, the letterhead of a given department is no guarantee that the matter discussed in the letter is within the purview of that department. Similarly, over the span of the papers, Moses' secretaries and filing systems changed: some files are alphabetical-subject, while others are chronological. The Robert Moses Papers can be divided into sixteen principal series: Personal Correspondence and Library Files, 1912-1980; Triborough Bridge and Tunnel (TBTA), 1932-1966; Emergency Public Works commission, 1933-1934; Office of the City Construction Co-ordinator, 1933-1953; New York Gubernatorial Campaign, 1934; New York City Department of Parks, 1934-1958; New York Constitutional Convention,1938; Long Island State Park commission, 1953-1962; New York State Council of Parks, 1953-1962; Committee for Slum Clearance, 1954-1959; New York State Power Authority, 1954-1962; 1964-65 New York World's Fair, 1960-1966; Speeches; "Housing", 1924-1960; Printed Matter, 1934-1967; and Photographs. It is important to realize that Moses' activities were almost inseparable from each other, and his characteristic approach to his work involved many of the same questions, issues and personalities regardless of Muses' "official" relationship to the series under consideration. The contents of the series: correspondence, related press releases, reports, speeches, magazine and clippings are also consistent from one series to another.
Acquisition: December 1953-January 1986, Received from Robert Moses and the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel
Content: Processing information: Compiled by Charles Kronick, March 1986; Accessioned by CRK, March 21, 1986
Physical Description
Extent: 142 linear feet (140 boxes and 57 volumes)
Type of Resource
Still image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b11635614
MSS Unit ID: 2071
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): cb60f2d0-f6c5-0139-a7bb-0242ac110003
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