A special exhibition of American Colonial and Revolutionary War documents, A Private Passion for Public History: The Richard Maass Collection of Westchester and New York State, has opened at New York University’s Fales Library, located on the third floor of the NYU Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South. The exhibition is on display through November 7. For further information on the exhibition, which is free and open to the public, the public may call (212) 998-2596.

Last fall NYU acquired from Richard Maass, a 1949 alumnus of NYU and an investment banker who has spent 50 years collecting historical documents, rare books, letters and broadsides, a major collection of over 250 historical documents from the American Colonial and Revolutionary War periods, as well as some papers of early governors of New York State and mayors of New York City. The collection is valued at over $700,000. This is the first time that items from this collection are available for viewing by the general public.

Featured in the exhibition are:

  • Ten letters written by George Washington, one of which outlines his plans for the battle of New York City;
  • A land treaty from 1680 for the first purchase of Connecticut land from the Indians;
  • Letters from American military leaders detailing the Westchester and New York battles of the Revolutionary War on a near daily basis;
  • A letter from John Quincy Adams (1839) articulating his position on the freedom of the slaves (he was against it);
  • A 1787 document signed by John Hancock approving monies to be paid out to representatives from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to the House of Representatives;
  • A confirmation of title of property to William Beekman, June, 1667, by the English Governor of Manhattan; map of property in lower Manhattan below Wall Street,

plus many other documents of historical significance.

The Fales Library holds a collection of over 160,000 volumes of British and American literature from 1700 to the present and is open to researchers and scholars.

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