I have been working on the draft of Incorporating New York for much of these past several weeks. I am now in December 1868. The book ends in 1878. I thought I would share the document you see above, which was sent on 30 December 1868, 149 years ago today. The letter was written by a number of New Yorkers to the commissioners of Central Park seeking permission to place what would become The American Museum of Natural History within the grounds of the park. The signers include Theodore Roosevelt Sr., Howard Potter, J.P. Morgan, Levi P. Morton and others. This is an interesting period in the city and the nation’s history. Being the end of the year, the individuals were naturally in a mood of reflection and thinking about prospects for the future. It was more than that however. December 1868 is less than a month after the election of Ulysses S. Grant. The country had just gotten over the Andrew Johnson impeachment and trial. Johnson would leave office in just over three months. Just three weeks prior to this letter the Union League Club of New York held a reception for Grant at which many of these very were in attendance.

(image/1870 AMNH annual report)