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  City Hall Library Notes, February 2005


Since 1978, the U.S. Congress has designated March as Women’s History Month. The City Hall Library contains a diverse collection of resources on women who have played significant roles in New York City politics, history and culture.

Silent Builder: Emily Warren Roebling and the Brooklyn Bridge by Marilyn E. Weigold tells the story of the wife of the Chief Engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge, Washington Roebling. Mrs. Roebling assisted her husband in finishing the designs for the bridge after he was taken ill and negotiated with vendors, politicians and others to help ensure the that the bridge was completed. Lillian Wald: Neighbor and Crusader by R.L. Duffus is a biography of a wealthy young woman, who chose to devote her life to helping poor immigrants improve their lives at the Henry Street Settlement House on New York’s Lower East Side. Wald’s work was in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Emily Dunning Barringer was the first woman to work as an emergency ambulance surgeon in a New York City public hospital, beginning in 1903. Her memoir Bowery to Bellevue: The Story of New York’s First Woman Ambulance Surgeon chronicles her struggles and achievements. In My Fight for Birth Control, Margaret Sanger describes her work as a nurse and birth control activist in New York City. Sanger believed that women should have freedom of choice in the matter of family planning and access to contraception. She fought for these rights, often going to prison for violating various laws of the time that prohibited distribution and use of birth control.

Many women have achieved success in the political world. Shirley Chisholm was the first African-American woman to be elected to the U.S Congress in 1968, representing a district in Brooklyn. Unbought and Unbossed is Chisholm’s account of her life and career. She started out as a worker in a Brooklyn Democratic club and eventually was elected to New York State Assembly and Congress. She became known as an advocate for the poor and for women’s rights. Geraldine Ferraro, a Congressional representative from Queens, was the first woman Vice-Presidential candidate in 1984. Ferraro: My Story focuses mainly on her experiences in the 1984 presidential campaign and the challenges of being the first potential woman President. Elizabeth Holtzman served four terms in the U.S.Congress, was Brooklyn District Attorney and in 1989 became the first woman to be elected Comptroller of New York City. In her book, Who Said it Would be Easy: One Woman’s Life in the Political Arena, Holtzman discusses her career in public service.

The Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women published Women Making History: Conversations with Fifteen New Yorkers in 1985. The book features interviews with fifteen diverse New York women including Geraldine Ferraro, Beverly Sills and Charlayne Hunter-Gault. The Library also has copies of Mayoral Executive Orders nos. 28 of 1975 and 86 of 1987 establishing and modifying the Commission. The City Hall Library’s vertical files and biographical files also contain a wealth of information on the unique contributions of women to New York City life.

In honor of Women's History Month, Department of Records is putting up images of New York City women. The exhibit Continuity and Change: NYC Women on the Move, contains materials from the Commission on Women’s Issues, the Women’s Advisors and city agencies.


Ever wondered what your house looked like 60 years ago? Between 1939 and 1941, the City photographed every house and building in the five Boroughs for tax purposes. Department of Records has recently made these unique images available for purchase. Visit for more info.


The following publications were received by the City Hall Library in the month of January. Additional government publications can be found online in our Government Publications section.

Center for an Urban Future.
Child welfare watch: pivot point, managing the transformation of child welfare in New York City. Winter 1004-2005.

Center for an Urban Future.
New York’s broadband gap. December 2004.

Hudson Planning Group.
An Assessment of the housing needs of persons with HIV/AIDS: New York City eligible metropolitan statistical area. Final report. January 15, 2005.

Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.
Partial action plan no. 8 for the World Trade Center memorial and cultural program, related initiatives, and lower Manhattan tourism. Approved by HUD as of 11/23/04.

Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.
Remember, rebuild, renew: Progress report 2001-2004.

N. Y. City. Comptroller.
Audit report on the financial and operating practices of the Richmond County District Attorney’s office. January 7, 2005.

N. Y. City. Council.
Maxed out: what every consumer should know about credit cards. December 2004.

N. Y. City. Council.
Parental advisory: violent video games are not child’s play. December 2004.

N. Y. City. City Planning, Department of.
The Newest New Yorkers 2000: immigrant New York in the new millennium. October 2004.

N. Y. City. Mayor.
Mayor Michael J. Bloomberg delivers 2005 state of the City address: “Building a city of opportunity”. January 11, 2005.

N. Y. State. Comptroller.
Window falls prevention program: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. (Report no. 2003-N-11)

N. Y. State. Governor.
State of the state, 2005.

N. Y. State. Health, Department of.
Managed care plan performance: a report on quality, access to care, and consumer satisfaction, 2004.

Regional Plan Association.
A Civic assessment of the lower Manhattan planning process. A report to the Civic Alliance. October 2004.

Sanders, Heywood.
Space available: the realities of convention centers as an economic development strategy. Washington: The Brookings Institute, January 2005.

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