Document Type


Date of Award



Associations, institutions, New York, Colonial period (ca. 1600-1775)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Bernard Mason

Second Advisor

Richard M. Dalfiume

Third Advisor

Mary Ryan


ln the twenty-five years preceding the Revolution, New York City experienced growth both physically and in terms of a budding awareness of community. Its population and trade expanded as great wealth poured into the port during renewed Anglo-French fighting. The same years witnessed the foundation of a college, two libraries, at least two semi-professional organizations, several charitable societies, and culminated in a strong drive to build a hospital. Such endeavors all represented the work of private men voluntarily joining together to accomplish specific tasks.

The period before 1750 had not experienced such a blossoming of community-oriented endeavors. Instead, such activities appear to have accompanied the growth of material assets associated with later years. The following pages will recount the physical expansion and socio-economic composition of mid-eighteenth century New York City. Subsequent chapters will focus on features of this proliferation, hinting at the growing community-mindedness of New Yorkers exhibited in the formation of numerous voluntary organizations between 1750 and 1776.