Our vast silver collection presents American history in a unique way. Early New York silver reflected the multiethnic society that characterized the Dutch settlement of New Netherland and later, the British colony of New York. Following the American Revolution, the formation of an early national identity gave New York silver a new, more unified aesthetic character. In the 19th century, as the largest port in the United States, New York was home to many of the nation’s most important silver retailers and manufacturers. Established in 1837 by Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B. Young, Tiffany & Co. grew rapidly to become one of the nation’s most prestigious and innovative luxury retailers.
Among the highlights on view are the oldest extant teapot made in New York, outstanding rimonim (Torah finials) made by one of colonial New York’s most prolific artisans Myer Myers, and a presentation punch bowl created by Tiffany & Co. to commemorate the official opening of the Woolworth Building in 1913—along with trophies, silverware, plate, coffee services, a sword and scabbard created during the Civil War and many other decorative objects. Much of the silver on display from the time of New Amsterdam was donated to New-York Historical by descendants of the original owners, who preserved their inherited tankards and teapots as tangible links to New York’s past.
Exhibitions at the New-York Historical Society are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.