Collections of the Washington Street Historical Society

The Washington Street Historical Society, through the donations of the Sadallah family and the ongoing acquisition activities of the collections director Carl Antoun Houck, has accessioned a unique collection of early Arab-American artifacts from New York City, including photographs, letters, immigration documents, business records, and various physical objects.

Little Syria Artifact Collection

These objects have been photographed and catalogued, meeting standards established by New York State. Unfortunately, we are entering a period when nearly all further physical record of Washington Street may be lost forever. If you possess artifacts and would like to entrust them to an organization dedicated to their upkeep, partnering with other cultural institutions in New York City, please contact Carl Antoun at littlesyria@gmail.com.

When they are discovered, the historical society occasionally purchases objects and accessions them. The Washington Street Historical Society, in concert with folklorists and other museums and collectors, intends to undertake a national campaign to uncover additional remaining objects. Donations to the historical society can also set funds for the establishment of collections in certain areas, for instance in musical recordings, books, or newspapers. The collections director has already developed a list of priority objects for collection, and he will work with interested donors to support further collection in areas that deserve attention. 

The Washington Street Historical Society has instituted policies of full professional standards for the storage and organization of its collections, and it will recruit temporary partners to facilitate the storage of its collection in anticipation of eventually securing a permanent physical home where objects could be displayed for the public. While we would aim eventually to hold and display collections somewhere in Lower Manhattan, with sufficient funds, we will first attempt to find any appropriate and qualified storage location with security and climate control. The historical society’s collections are now being recorded into specialized computer databases for museum work, and professional, high-quality photographs of all objects are being taken.