Early films were “silent” and visually limited. To say that they were “black and white” is to understate the case somewhat. An author notes that the black and white film used until the 1920s was orthochromatic, sensitive to ultraviolet, violet, and blue light, less sensitive to green and yellow, and totally “blind” to red light; this meant that the colors of what was being photographed had to be carefully controlled; actresses could not, for example, use red lipstick. Color was rarely totally absent from so-called “black and white” films. Various means were made to apply some coloration to movies well before the invention in 1915 of a film using an actual color-sensitive emulsion. Techniques called “tinting,” “toning,” and “mordanting” were used to give color to movies although these tended to be rather primitive and wholesale, often giving a hue to the entire frame. A modern viewer of David Wark Griffith’s Birth of a Nation will notice a constant shifting of color—particularly in interior scenes—where some scenes have a reddish hue, others a bluish hue.
A Guide to Architectural Research at the New-York Historical Society
The purpose of this guide is to introduce the researcher to the printed architectural resources, specifically those relating to New York City, available in the reading room of the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library and at local libraries and city agencies. Please note that the Library's architectural drawings collections are housed with the Department of Print, Photograph and Architectural Collections (x228 or 273), and that architects' papers are housed in the Manuscript Department (x265). For information on those collections, see department finding aids or contact those departments directly.
The following books can help you identify specific architects, buildings, neighborhoods and styles. They may be used as a first step in your research, before going to the Library's catalogs (refer to the Catalogs section of this guide for more information); as a complement to research already in progress; or, as an end in themselves, to answer a specific question or verify a fact. Please ask a librarian to direct you to these books.
Architects and their Commissions