What’s New

Digital Archives Project Recognized With NEH Grant


The New York Philharmonic has won a $300,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to help support its multi-year initiative to digitize the Orchestra’s archives. The NEH grant affirms the humanities value of the collection, which dates to 1842, and recognizes the archives’ importance. Upon its completion in 2018, the New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives will contain more than 3 million pages of correspondence, operation files, financial ledgers, minutes from business and artistic meetings, marked scores, printed programs, and press clippings. It will provide online open access to nearly 130 years of cultural, political, and social history through the lens of one of the United States’ oldest cultural institutions. This is the Philharmonic’s first NEH grant in 30 years. (Pictured at left is a notice from a 1915 program, from the archives, asking women who were knitting during performances to aid the war effort to refrain.)

NYC Audubon Introduces D-Bird Webpage


Each year, hundreds of millions of North American birds die after colliding with glass in buildings, many studies show. For migratory birds, urban areas are especially treacherous. Project Safe Flight, a program of the New York City Audubon supported by the Leon Levy Foundation, aims to prevent collisions, rescue injured birds and count those that have perished to document trouble sites that may be able to take mitigation measures. Now NYC Audubon has introduced a dedicated webpage, D-Bird, that anyone who finds a dead or injured bird can use to report it. via computer or a smartphone. Contributions to D-Bird will make New York City safer for birds.


2015: IAA Reveals Two Groundbreaking Discoveries

IAA Skull

A 55,000 year old human skull was uncovered in the “Dan David Manot Cave in Galilee by a team of researchers from the Israel Antiquities Authority, Tel Aviv University and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. This find marks the oldest modern human remains outside Africa.

The largest collection of medieval gold coins ever found in Israel were unveiled in February, dating back about a thousand years.  The find was near the port city of Caesarea and consists of about 2,000 coins, weighing about 13 pounds.  The coins provide “fascinating and rare historical evidence” from the Fatimid era in the 10th and 11th centuries.


Leon Levy Foundation Awards Grant to Mt. Sinai to Establish a Leon Levy Neuroscience Fellowship


The Foundation has awarded a three year grant beginning in 2015  to establish a Leon Levy Neuroscience Fellowship at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai Medical Center. The Principal Investigator for the program will be Dr. Eric J. Nestler, Director of the Friedman Brain Institute, Nash Family Professor and Chair, Department of Neuroscience.

Richard Holmes To Give Annual Leon Levy Biography Lecture


Richard Holmes, the award-winning British author known in particular for his biographies of the Romantic poets, will deliver the 7th annual Leon Levy Biography Lecture on Sept. 23. A cornerstone program of the Leon Levy Center for Biography, the lecture, which is open to the public, offers an opportunity for a renowned biographer to discuss the craft of biography. Holmes, in addition to his definitive volumes on Shelley and Coleridge, has written Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer; Sidetracks: Explorations of a Romantic Biographer; Dr. Johnson & Mr. Savage; The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science and, most recently, Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air. Reviewing that book in The New York Times, Paul Elie noted, “No writer alive and working in English today writes better about the past than Holmes.” The lecture begins at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 23, at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

For more information and to register, go here.


“Dressing America” Aired on Public Television


Dressing America: Tales from the Garment Center, a documentary made by Pacific Street Films, explores the stories of Jewish entrepreneurs who in the early 20th century made their careers and built their lives in and around Seventh Avenue, which once made 80 percent of the clothing in the United States. Often immigrants, these characters battled it out with unions and each other, “borrowed” and swiped ideas from high-fashion designers, and in the end created businesses that allow their children to move up in society.

Largely funded by the Leon Levy Foundation as part of its garment industry history initiative, Dressing America will be shown on Thirteen on Tuesday, Sept. 2, at 10 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 7, at 10:30 p.m. WLIW will show it on Thursday, Sept. 11, at 10 p.m. and Friday, Sept. 12, at 1 a.m.


NYBG Honored for Native Plant Garden Project

NYBG Native Plant Garden

The New York Botanical Garden has received the 2014 Honor Award, given by the New York Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, for the Native Plant Garden project.

The Native Plant Garden, funded by a $15 million grant from the Leon Levy Foundation, is a cutting-edge, 3.5-acre installation with a dramatic 230-foot-long water feature as its centerpiece.  A promenade of boardwalks and intimate paths lead visitors through a range of micro-climates, featuring over 70,000 plants. Designed by landscape architect Oehme Van Sweden & Associates, the Native Plant Garden beautifully demonstrates that native plants can be as magnificent as their exotic counterparts more commonly used in traditional gardens.

Predators and Prey: A Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel

LOD Fish

One of the oldest surviving complete Roman mosaics dating from 1,700 years ago, a spectacular discovery made in Lod, Isreal, is now being shown at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, UK.  The exhibition Predators and Prey: A Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel is installed in the Coach House gallery, with a purpose-built viewing platform, enabling visitors to study the entire layout of the mosaic in optimum conditions and enjoy close access to all the details.  There is an accompanying exhibition, which sets the mosaic in its historical, social and artistic context, with objects loaned from the British Museum, and documenting the story of its discovery and restoration.  The display also casts light on the important role of the Rothschild family as collectors and supporters of archaeological excavations.

The Mosaic is presented in association with the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Shelby White and Leon Levy Lod Mosaic Centre, and in collaboration with the British Museum, from 5 June – 2 November 2014.

Leon Levy Neuroscience Fellows Symposium on April 30, 2014

Drs.Petsko & Dean Glimcher, John Bernstein, Shelby White, Dr. Iadecola, Elizabeth B. Moynihan

Drs.Petsko & Dean Glimcher, John Bernstein, Shelby White, Dr. Iadecola, Elizabeth B. Moynihan

By establishing the Leon Levy Neuroscience Fellowship Programs at select New York institutions, the Foundation has continued to pursue Leon Levy’s core interest in neuroscience. The third Annual Leon Levy Neuroscience Fellows Symposium was hosted by Weill Cornell Medical College in its newly opened Belfer Research Building. Current and alumni fellows, principal investigators, heads of laboratories and neuroscientists from our participating institutions gathered for a full day. The day ended with a poster session and cocktail reception.  Presentations about their research were made by current Leon Levy Neuroscience Fellows, Drs.  Gaurav H. Patel, Stephen V. Shepherd, Nicholas Stavropoulos and Makoto Ishii. The Plenary Talk was delivered by Dr. Gregory A. Petsko, Director of the Helen & Robert Appel Alzheimer’s Research Institute at Weil Cornell Medical College.

Met Hosts Annual Meeting Of LLF Archives Grantees


Every February since 2008, the Leon Levy Foundation has called together its active grantees in its Archives and Catalogues Program for a roundtable on current concerns and issues. In 2014, the Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted this annual event. Several grantees weighed in on how their institutions were beginning to deal with “born-digital” archival assets. Barbara Haws, the archivist at the New York Philharmonic, revealed her activities visiting meetings of librarians to show how they could use the Philharmonic’s Leon Levy Digital Archives, and Inge Reist, of the Frick Collection, talked about collaboration. The Met’s archivist, James Moske, provided a progress report on its grant to process the papers of its directors and senior staff, and curator Yaelle Biro spoke on how archives enriched the current exhibition, “The Nelson A. Rockefeller Vision: In Pursuit of the Best in the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.”