The grit of New York's earliest days is still to be found, on paper, at the Municipal Archives. Thanks to an inspired digitization project, the movers and shakers of New Amsterdam are all there: Peter Stuyvesant, Adriaen van der Donck, Anthony "The Turk" van Salee and his wife, the former town prostitute Griet Reyniers. These are the people who founded a teeming little city at the southern end of the island they called the Manhattes. It was a rough place, but one that was uniquely infused by two things that were part of the Dutch mentality in the 17th century: tolerance and a free-trading sensibility. Roam through these documents—in the 17th century originals or in the 19th century English translations—and a realization dawns on you: New York was New York right from the start.
—Russell Shorto, author of The Island at the Center of the World
This gallery introduces the New York City Municipal Archives' recent initiative to digitize and share its earliest collections documenting municipal government. In 1985, the Archives acquired New Amsterdam and Common Council Minutes from the City Clerk. Dating 1647-1834, the manuscripts and their English translations document proceedings, resolutions, minutes, accounts, petitions, and correspondence of Dutch and English colonial governments.