Seymour B. Durst loved New York. While dedicating his professional life to commercial and residential real estate development, he had a personal lifelong passion for collecting published and archival materials on New York and its history, through architectural, cultural heritage and urban planning perspectives. By the time of his death in 1995, his “Old York Library” collection had taken over virtually his entire five-story townhouse. The collection is comprised of historic photographs, maps, pamphlets, newspapers, books, and New York City memorabilia.
Today, the collection lives on as the Seymour B. Durst Old York Library at the Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library. With generous support from the Durst Organization, Avery is now engaged in a multi-year digitization project that will make the Old York Library collection available online. The project honors Mr. Durst’s important tradition of collection-building and when accomplished, will facilitate active use of the collection in curricular and research activities, as well as provide online access for public audiences interested in New York’s history and real estate development.