Scope and arrangement
The Bard Papers, 1893-1962, consist of Bard's extensive topical files, organizational files, notes, reports, appointment books, photographs, and printed material documenting his involvement in civic affairs in New York City during the first half of the twentieth century. The collection contains records of his involvement with a dozen organizations devoted to improvements in the governance, planning, infrastructure, architecture, and aesthetic embellishment of the city.
The collection also contains a small amount of personal and family papers. Papers relating to Bard's work for the law firm of Bard & Calkins can be found in the Bard & Calkins Records, a separate collection in the Manuscripts and Archives Division.
The Albert S. Bard papers are arranged in eighteen series:
The General files (ca. 1896-1960) are arranged alphabetically by both personal and organizational names and subject. Matter. The series contains a combination of general correspondence, organizational records, and topical files. The content of the files consists chiefly of correspondence, with related newspaper clippings, print, and near-print material reflecting the wide variety of Bard's interests in politics and election reform, city planning and New York City urban development, billboard advertising, college fraternities, public speaking, art and architecture, war memorials, and the national anthem.
Topical files exist for general subject areas (such as city planning, regional planning and zoning, transit, politics, national anthems, and war memorials) as well as for specific issues (the proposed Brooklyn-Battery Bridge, the closing of the New York Aquarium, and the debate over the location and architecture of the Federal Building and U. S. Courthouse).
Organizational records in the General files include Bard's files of his participation in and/or work for the Bar Association, the Central Park Association, the Park Association of New York City, the National Serigraph Society, S. S. Curry's School of Expression, the Inter-fraternity Conference, Keep America Beautiful, Inc., and the School Art League..
Researchers should note that there is a great deal of overlap between the General files and Bard's organizational files in Series II-XIII. Additional material on most of the topics and issues addressed in the General files can also be found in several of the series devoted to specific organizations.
The series contains material related to the development of Manhattan's West Side, especially the relocation of railway terminals and waterfront development, and to billboard advertising and its regulation. Included is correspondence of William Jay Schieffelin (chairman), Herman C. Loeffler (secretary), and Bard (vice-chairman) with civic organizations, government officials, chambers of commerce and business firms. There are also minutes of meetings of the committee on city planning and the committee on legislation, legislative reports and copies of bills in the state assembly and senate.
The Fine Arts Federation of New York includes correspondence of Bard as treasurer and of Wheeler Williams (president) and printed matter relating especially to designs for the development of Battery Park. There is also legal correspondence and papers relative the Bronx Exposition, Inc. and the New York International Exposition of Science, Arts and Industries. There are also minutes of meetings and reports of the committee on city development.
The Honest Ballot Association papers (ca. 1905-1956) consist mainly or correspondence, reports, memoranda, printed and near print matter relating to ballot reform, election fraud, direct primaries, voting machines, state election laws, NYC elections and routine organizational matters. There are also papers (1933-1934) relative to the City Fusion Campaign Committee and the City Fusion Party of which Bard was legal advisor, including correspondence, reports of assembly district treasurers, and legal papers especially relative to the case of La Guardia et al, petitioners. Bard's notes and papers on his duties as a poll watcher are included. There are also copies of official ballots for local elections (1905-1907) in NYC and in other states and printed matter relating to election laws.
The papers (1917-1924) of Local Draft Board #154 include correspondence of Bard as chairman relating mainly to financial matters, and bills paid, vouchers, induction record book of men sent to camp, list of registrants, stationary and forms. The few letters dated 1931 were from people seeking information about individuals, recollections about the Board, etc. The Selective Service Headquarters, Albany, material contains correspondence to/from Local Draft Board No. 154 regarding financial matters. The remaining material includes a list for draft registration, Bard's notes, songs, certificate for Bard's service, induction record book of men sent to camp, and a telephone book.
The Mayor's Billboard Advertising Commission was established under William Jay Gaynor (1849-1913), elected as Mayor of New York City, in 1909. Gaynor was supported by Tammany in his election but his reform-minded program lost him Tammany support. Gaynor appointed Bard and several others to the Commission. " The mandate of the Commission was to look into advertising in New York City by means of billboards, sky-signs, and "kindred devices. " Bard was appointed Secretary of the Commission.
Mayor Gaynor died before the Commission completed their work. The final result was submitted to the next mayor, Ardolph Kline. The report was entitled "Report of the Mayor's Billboard Advertising Commission of the City of New York. " There was a tremendous demand for the report after it was published from city agencies, organizations, and individuals.
This series, Mayor's Bill-Board Advertising Commission, 1912-1914, spans the two years of the Commission's existence. The documentation includes the original certificate appointing Bard to the Commission (signed and sealed by Mayor Gaynor), and the minutes of the Commission. The series also contains transcripts of the public hearings held by the Commission, correspondence, financial information, list of names to whom the report was sent, and Bard's notes. Two annotated copies of the report are located in box 144.
The records that Bard retained focus primarily on advertisement and billboard proliferation in New York City. Included are correspondence, minutes, reports and bulletins of the Society.
Bard's files on National Roadside Council (NAS) constitute the largest series in the collection. The papers consist of Bard and Lawton's correspondence with one another and with civic organizations, city planners, advertisers, public officials, garden clubs, trade associations, and sister organizations in other states. The correspondence concerns the campaign to regulate billboard advertising through local zoning ordinances and state and federal legislation, the litigation of billboard cases in New York and other states, the publication of the Council's news bulletin, and related matters. Correspondents include Thomas C. Desmond, Hope Goddard Iselin (Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin), Franklin B. Kirkbridge, Samuel H. Ordway, Jr., Roger William Riis, American Civic Association, American Planning and Civic Association, California Roadside Council, Norman Bel Geddes & Co., New Jersey Roadside council, New York State Roadside Council, New York State Committee for Billboard Legislation, and Reader's Digest. There is also correspondence (1913-1916) and minutes of the Mayor's Billboard Advertising Commission of which Bard was secretary. Printed matter present includes copies of the National Roadside Bulletin (published by the NRC), and numerous pamphlets, flyers, brochures, and clippings.
Bard's Norwich Society papers contain a copy of the club's constitution, a list of members and correspondence concerning dues payment, the planning and scheduling of its programs, annual dinners and smokers, plans to increase the membership, arrangements for guest speakers, the commercialization of the Norwich area, the City charter, and international affairs. There are copies of Bard's letters soliciting membership during his tenure as president (1922-1923). Also included are minutes of meetings of the executive committee, printed programs and other ephemera.
The New York Young Republican club papers (ca. 1913-1960) consist of correspondence relating to club affairs, membership, and its policies on public issues. Also included are Bard's notes; a draft of the club constitution, a menu and list of diners that were to be in attendance at the inaugural dinner at the Hotel Astor on December 20, 1911 (Notable names include, P. T. Barnum, Charles A. Dana, and Elihu Root Jr.), and publications of the organization.
This series documents Bard's efforts to have proportional representation adopted for elections in New York City and State. The papers consist of correspondence with members of the Committee and others, especially George H. Hallett, Jr. and printed matter relative to the advocacy of proportional representation in municipal and state elections, its incorporation in the New York City Charter, and its constitutionality in New York.
This series is a compilation of material relating to the control of advertisements, billboards and urban design.
The printed matter consists of an assortment of brochures, pamphlets, and other publications that Bard kept in his personal library. It includes two annotated copies of the report of the Mayor's Billboard Committee.
The posters and broadsides contains informative and colorful material relating to advertising, billboards and the political system of New York City. The posters and broadsides are excellent reference examples of the printing styles of early to mid twentieth century.
The Personal and Family Papers provide only a limited amount of information on Bard's private life.. Included is a small amount of correspondence with family, appointment books recording his professional and social activities and engagements, a typescript genealogy of the Bard family, a few photographs and invitations, announcements, programs, menus, and other printed, memorabilia.