Advisory Board Featuring Leading Historians, Journalists, and Scholars Established

New York, NY, November 8, 2021 – The New-York Historical Society is pleased to announce that Russell Shorto has been appointed executive director of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Institute for New York City History, Politics, and Community Activism. In this role, Shorto will also lead an advisory board chaired by Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, whose members include Joy Bivins, Carroll Bogert, Douglas Brinkley, Pamela Rubin Carter, Thomas Dyja, Adam Gopnik, Adam Hochschild, Agnes Hsu-Tang, Michael Keogh, Tarky Lombardi, Kica Matos, Robert Odawi Porter, Luc Santé, Stacy Schiff, and Brent Staples.

The Institute, initiated and funded by the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Foundation, aims to create a new historical archive, collecting relevant materials that relate to 20th and 21st-century local history, including the civil rights movement, women’s rights, climate concerns, the drive for LBGTQ+ rights, and the historic preservation movement. It will also offer scholarly programs, a resident fellowship, and short-term fellowships.

“Russell Shorto’s insights into New Amsterdam and how New York has evolved over time are excellent groundwork for the mission of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Institute,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, New-York Historical’s president and CEO. “We look forward to working with Russell, and we are extremely grateful for the visionary leadership of Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, whose decades of experience on the  federal, state, and local level have informed the rapid direction and growth of the Institute and already made this significant enterprise a reality.”

“The Diamonstein-Spielvogel Foundation is pleased to continue our long-term commitment to the communal good and public realm with the founding of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Institute for History, Politics and Community Activism, which began its work of presenting focused programming and gathering collective memory and experiences for archival research this past summer,” said Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel. “As one of New York City’s premiere and most historic cultural resources, the New-York Historical Society is an ideal forum for Russell Shorto’s imaginative scholarship and distinctive focus on the history of our City. His noteworthy appointment as executive director enables us to expand our efforts to support our commitment to inclusiveness, diversity, social equity, community service, and accessibility, so that present and future historians can place the City’s multiple histories within an accurate and meaningful context. We look forward to working closely with Russell to help achieve the stated mission of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Institute and help shape its rich, useful future.”

“I’m very excited about this opportunity,” said Russell Shorto. “New York has always led the way in advancing civil rights and social justice in America. For nearly 20 years I’ve argued that that tradition has its roots in New York’s Dutch founding. The Diamonstein-Spielvogel Institute gives me a chance to bring that history to bear on the present. I’m grateful to Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel and Louise Mirrer for deputizing me to take on such a worthy task.”

Russell Shorto is the author, most recently, of Smalltime: A Story of My Family and the Mob, and of six earlier books, including Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City and the national bestseller The Island at the Center of the World. He is a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine and senior scholar at the New Netherland Institute in Albany, New York. From 2007 to 2013 he was director of the John Adams Institute in Amsterdam. In 2009 he was awarded a knighthood from the Dutch government for his work in increasing historical understanding between the Netherlands and the United States. In 2018 he was inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame.

About New-York Historical Society
New York City’s first museum, the New-York Historical Society Museum & Library was founded in 1804. The Patricia D. Klingenstein Library—one of the most distinguished in the nation—fosters research through its outstanding collections, which holds millions of books, newspapers, maps, manuscript and archival collections, prints, photographs, and architectural collections. The Museum presents groundbreaking history and art exhibitions as well as public programs that convey the stories of New York and the nation’s diverse populations to the broadest possible public.

The New-York Historical Society is located at 170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street), New York, NY 10024. Information: (212) 873-3400. Website: Follow the museum on social media at @nyhistory on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Tumblr.

About Diamonstein-Spielvogel Foundation
The Diamonstein-Spielvogel Foundation was founded by Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel and Ambassador Carl Spielvogel to continue and extend their long-term commitment to the common good and the public interest. With this focus, deeply rooted in inclusiveness, social equity, and community service, the Foundation creates and supports original projects based on content and results-driven innovative strategies. The Foundation funds projects which demonstrate creative promise in four priority areas: projects focused on civic leadership, public affairs, and diplomacy; projects of cultural merit; original educational initiatives; and science and medicine, in support of the advancement of the field of health. All funding initiatives are by invitation only. Learn more at

Press Contacts
Marybeth Ihle, New-York Historical Society |


Monday, November 8, 2021
Creative: Tronvig Group