Today I spent some time perusing the wonderful newspaper resources of the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America newspaper archive looking for possible articles relating to my great-grandfather in New York.

I did find one article referencing a Policeman Tierney that may be about him – the article mentions a chase to the rooftops and we have a single photo of him that has him in uniform and posing on a rooftop. (See my previous blog post Michael Tierney – Policeman, Part 2 for more on him.)

While that was exciting, I stumbled on an unrelated article from the March 9, 1913 edition of The Sun that was even more so! I tweeted a link to it before I even read much of the article, since it seemed interesting.

As I read onward, I learned that the Modern Historic Records Association

“…sent two envelopes of imperishable paper to each of its members. In these envelopes each family was requested to place a message to its descendants 100 years from the present date, to be opened in the year 2013. this message might consist of photographs of the family, a genealogical history going as far back as practicable, or anything else deemed worthy of transmission.”

That is quite interesting on its own, but I then found there was a further wrinkle to the plan:

“Duplicate copies were to be placed in the envelopes. The two sets of envelopes so collected were to be placed in an indestructible box. One of these boxes was to be deposited in the New York Public Library, the other in a chamber in one of the pyramids of Egypt. Both were to be opened just 100 years from the present date and the envelopes turned over to the descendants to whom they were addressed.”

NYPL TweetAs that plan sunk in, I began to get more excited. What could these men have written of? Where are their descendants now? Do others know of this plan still?

My tweet was then replied to by the @NYPL account (“whoa!”) and cc:d to their other historical collections tweeter accounts. Looks like I’m not the only excited one here.

I do hope something is found in relation to this project – and am left wondering what pyramid was supposed to be involved and if the plan was carried out fully.
Updated on January 8, 2013 at 22:23:

I have done a bit more more digging on the Modern Historic Records Association, and was able to find a listing in the book that may reference the items given to the New York Public Library for this project:

Bulletin of the New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations , Volume 17 (1913), Page 118



  • avatar

    Comment by Rorey Cathcart — January 10, 2013 @ 9:36 am

    Love this story. So, so hope they put this box together and that NYPL has/can find it. Doubt the Eygpt angle came through but who knows 🙂

    Look forward to more follow-up

  • avatar

    Comment by John — January 11, 2013 @ 10:58 am

    I’ve called the NYPL librarian desk and found they have some holdings listed for 1912, but only lists 15 pages and from other resources out there I suspect they might be the incorporation docs.

    I’m going to reach out to the Milstein and see if something might be turned up in the historical collections. Need to get my Indiana Jones hat and head in in person methinks. 😉

    I’ve got some other background info I’ve dug up already, just need to make some time to write it up.

  • avatar

    Comment by Rorey Cathcart — January 11, 2013 @ 11:53 am

    Fingers crossed for ya!

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