The Iconography of Manhattan Island is a six volume study of the history of New York City by Isaac Newton Phelps-Stokes, published between 1915 and 1928 by R. H. Dodd in New York. The work comprehensively records and documents key events of the city's chronology from the sixth to the early twentieth century. Among other things, it shows the evolution of the Manhattan skyline to the early years of the twentieth century.
The Iconography of Manhattan Island is a scholarly tour de force: the diligent work of I.N. Phelps Stokes's worldwide research teams scouring public and private collections of maps, guides and obscure source material to complete his encyclopedic monument to New York City. Describing in sometimes excruciating detail the growth of a fortified Dutch settlement into the world's greatest city, the expensive set ultimately included six volumes sold to subscribers and libraries in a limited edition of 360 sets printed on Holland-made paper and 42 on Japanese Vellum.
The books exude a poetic reverie for the goings-on and small details of city life that is practically Joycean. Unequalled in its sagacity and architectural detail, Stokes's Iconography provides the careful reader with an inner monologue that can almost be heard when reading. Indeed, he prefaces the third volume of the Iconography with a delicate exposition about the quiet turn where clues may confer a truth after facts have led into darkness. As a last resort one may be successfully led by a thread of... Read More