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Louise Mirrer
Louise Mirrer joined the New-York Historical Society as President and CEO in June 2004. Under her guidance, the Society is reinvigorating its commitment to foster greater public understanding of history and its impact on the world of today, to support and encourage historical scholarship, and to develop education initiatives for young people, students, and adults. Dr. Mirrer is leading the Society's campaign for a major renovation of its landmark building on Central Park West, which so far has raised nearly $80 million.
Under Dr. Mirrer’s direction, the New-York Historical Society has launched a series of groundbreaking exhibitions, including Slavery in New York; New York Divided: Slavery and the Civil War; A New Light on Tiffany: Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls; French Founding Father: Lafayette’s Return to Washington’s America, Grant and Lee in War and Peace; and a rich array of intellectually engaging lectures, debates and family programs.

Dr. Mirrer also inaugurated the “Saturday Academy,” an American history enhancement program for high-school students, and a new Graduate Institute on Constitutional History.

Prior to joining the New-York Historical Society, Dr. Mirrer was CUNY Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. At CUNY, she spearheaded the U.S. History Initiative, which strengthened the University’s American history curriculum through faculty development, online course materials, and increased enrollment in American history courses. Dr. Mirrer’s research focuses on how the creation of historical narratives helps to shape and define social institutions.
In recent years, Dr. Mirrer has been honored with the Dean’s Medal, CUNY Honors College, 2005; Education and Student Advocacy Award, Hostos Community College, 2005; President’s Medal, CUNY Graduate Center, 2004; Leadership Award, Asian-American Research Institution, 2003; New York Post’s “50 Most Influential Women in New York,” 2003; Citation of Honor, Queens Borough President’s Office, 2001; Women Making History Award, Queensborough Community College, 2001; and the YWCA “Women Achievers” Award, 2000. In 2007 she was made an Honorary Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge.

Entries by Louise Mirrer

A Novel Solution to America's 'History Deficit'

(0) Comments | Posted May 12, 2015 | 5:22 PM


The New-York Historical Society and its partners have created many programs to promote historical literacy among young readers and their families. Many of these programs are hosted on site at the Barbara K. Lipman Children's History Library

We've all seen those "gotcha" TV...

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Abraham Lincoln, American Moses

(4) Comments | Posted April 1, 2015 | 2:33 PM

"Abraham Lincoln has not fallen. He is lost to us but he is as Light and an angel with his Father and remains with us in memory and adoration and will so remain for ever."
-- Rabbi Samuel Adler,
Temple Emanu-El, New York, April 19, 1865


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Yes, Women Have a History of Their Own

(0) Comments | Posted March 9, 2015 | 5:36 PM

It's March again -- time for another Women's History Month.

Which means it's also time again for the question skeptics love to ask: Do you mean to say that women have their own history?

Yes, I do. In fact, I'm so convinced of it that we're going to inaugurate a...

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The Case for 'American' American History

(3) Comments | Posted February 17, 2015 | 11:02 AM

If you think Americans aren't interested in anything that happened before the invention of Twitter, try asking this question the next time you're having dinner with friends: What should our schools teach about U.S. history?

I can almost guarantee a long, heated discussion -- because even people who aren't in...

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When Art Framed War

(0) Comments | Posted January 8, 2014 | 11:47 AM

"How are you going to commemorate the Great War?"

As the head of a history museum, this is the sort of question I'm used to hearing -- and given the fact that 2014 marks the centennial of the outbreak of World War I, it's not unexpected that people should ask...

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When New York Exploded into the Modern World

(0) Comments | Posted February 13, 2013 | 2:31 PM

It lasted for only one month -- from February 17 through March 15, 1913 -- but its shock waves reverberate to this day. Exactly one hundred years ago, a group calling itself the Association of American Painters and Sculptors organized something they called an "International Exhibition of Modern Art" at...

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How World War II Changed Everything -- Even Our Taste for Candy

(2) Comments | Posted November 15, 2012 | 9:17 AM

A rare and famous object can open your eyes to the way the world can change. Sometimes, you see the change when you look at an inexpensive package of candy. That's part of the surprise of visiting the New-York Historical Society, where last year, in an exhibition about political revolutions,...

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Remembering LeRoy Neiman and His Wartime New York

(1) Comments | Posted August 27, 2012 | 3:18 PM

LeRoy Neiman, the American artist beloved for his splashy, brilliantly colored paintings and screen prints of athletes and sporting events, died in June at the age of 91. Apart from being astonishingly successful -- at one point he was thought to be America's wealthiest artist -- LeRoy was also a...

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Brewing New York's History

(3) Comments | Posted March 26, 2012 | 3:52 PM

New York, when I was growing up, was a serious beer town, with commercial breweries like Rheingold, Ruppert, Schaefer and others dotting the cityscape. Jingles like "My beer is Rheingold, the dry beer," or "Schaefer is the one beer to have when you're having more than one" (we used to...

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What "Liberty/Liberté" Tells Us About Slavery, Black History, and Raw Nerves

(2) Comments | Posted February 8, 2012 | 4:57 PM

"Slavery," historian James Oliver Horton wrote in 2006, "was not a sideshow in American history. It was the main event." So why has a work by the African-American artist Fred Wilson -- an installation piece that riffs on the topic by assembling authentic slave shackles, slave chains and Revolutionary-era icons...

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What to Do When America Gets an F on Its History Report Card

(21) Comments | Posted June 22, 2011 | 3:46 PM

Can you identify a photograph of Abraham Lincoln and give two reasons why he was important? If so, you are doing better than 91 percent of American fourth graders. According to the Nation's Report Card -- the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), issued...

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Reading a Mother's Day Card From 300 Years Ago

(1) Comments | Posted May 6, 2011 | 1:15 PM

Mother's Day is a time when many of us bring out our keepsakes -- cherished family photos, carefully preserved letters, perhaps a ring or a necklace that's been handed down over the years. These are the tokens we use to construct our personal histories.

But Mother's Day is also a...

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How to Spread Revolution Without the Internet

(2) Comments | Posted March 21, 2011 | 2:52 PM

People have marveled at the role played by Facebook and Twitter in the popular uprisings that have erupted across North Africa and the Middle East, from Tunisia to Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain. Not a few observers have concluded that the rapid spread of revolution must be a phenomenon made possible...

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How the Past Changes When It's Seen Through a Child's Eyes

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2010 | 9:41 AM

Think for a moment about a young boy in 1870s New York, born into an impoverished immigrant family, who is swept up in the movement to take destitute children away from their urban homes on "orphan trains" and send them to work in the West, on the farms...

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How a Little History Sweetens the Immigration Debate

(0) Comments | Posted June 23, 2010 | 3:01 PM

This is the story of a Spanish-speaking immigrant--one of nine children in his family, who grew up plowing fields in Spain and eventually made his way to this country from Cuba in search of a better living. Manuel Rionda was just 16 years old when his family sent him to...

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Be Grateful History Is Not Dead

(0) Comments | Posted March 5, 2010 | 3:53 PM

The Grateful Dead began their long, strange trip in San Francisco, but the road has now taken them to an unexpected new East Coast destination: the New-York Historical Society, which just opened its new exhibition The Grateful Dead: Now Playing at the New-York Historical Society.

On view...

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The Invention of Santa Claus

(124) Comments | Posted December 16, 2009 | 9:12 AM

It's recently been reported that an atheists' group has planned an advertising campaign for this Christmas, featuring a photograph of smiling people wearing Santa Claus hats. The caption: "No God? . . . No problem! Be good for goodness sake." Whatever you might think of this message, the ad does...

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In Search of Men of Principle

(0) Comments | Posted November 9, 2009 | 2:07 PM

I was lucky enough to see the Broadway revival of Neil Simon's Brighton Beach Memoirs in the company of Harold Newman, Co-Chair of the New-York Historical Society Chairman's Council, before the play's early and unfortunate closing. As we left the theater, Harold and I were still caught...

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Following Unconventional Wisdom Toward the American Dream

(3) Comments | Posted August 4, 2009 | 3:33 PM

Work hard and play by the rules: that's how you're supposed to achieve the American Dream. But with unemployment climbing toward the double digits, and income levels sinking for many of those who do have jobs, the "hard work" part of the formula seems to be questionable. And with the...

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Scanning the Latest Blog Posts, 233 Years Ago

(3) Comments | Posted July 2, 2009 | 4:54 PM

As the Independence Day celebration rolls out across our land -- from the redwood forests, to the Gulf Stream waters, to the bytes and pixels on Huffington Post -- one marvel of our early history that we might recall is that the American Revolution had its own bloggers.

They were...

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