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CHPC New York

Archives & Library

“Marian Sameth, that indispensable mainstay of the Citizens Housing and Planning Council, gave me free rein to her organization’s splendid library, a priceless repository of those fugitive unpublished plans and reports that tend to be lodged in wayward corners of institutional libraries or else escape them altogether”   - author, Louis Winnick 1990

Since 1937, CHPC has been at the forefront of every debate regarding legislation and policy that has shaped the physical environment of New York City and the housing market for New Yorkers.

Due to this esteemed history, the Marian Sameth and Ruth Dickler Archives and Library offers invaluable, first-hand insight into the policy, legislation, and design decisions that created New York City today. The Archives consists of the extensive records, working files and manuscript materials accumulated by CHPC over the course of its 75 year history. The Library consists of a vast array of print material, much of it rare or hard-to-find, published formally or informally. We are indebted to the work of CHPC staff members Marian Sameth and Ruth Dickler whose devotion to the archival library over decades of their careers ensured its survival.


A guide to the holdings of the Archives is found here. (searchable pdf)

Comprised of the historical records of the Citizens Housing & Planning Council, the Archives includes correspondence, speeches, newsletters, legislation, press releases, reports, memos, proposals, plans, photographs, reports, clippings, and hand-written notes from a wide variety of influential organizations and individuals. With 75 years of working files and reference materials compiled by CHPC staff, this material concerns both specific housing and development projects and topical subjects such as rent control, tax exemptions, and the like.

As an independent organization, CHPC has a long history of working with the City’s community, policy, and legislative leaders. The broad spectrum of unique and influential voices represented in the Archive’s material includes correspondence between CHPC board members and prominent public figures such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Robert Moses, Jane Jacobs, Fiorello LaGuardia, Al Smith, and William O’Dwyer. The records also document the history of CHPC’s organizational activities and public advocacy through committee meeting minutes, newsletters, publications, and internal staff correspondence.


The Library consists of a vast array of print materials, including commercially-published books; publications of Federal, state, and city government departments and agencies; publications of authorities and other quasi-government entities; U.S. Congressional committee and sub-committee reports; national and local serials, such as magazines, journals, and newsletters; corporate proposals, surveys, and the like; and pamphlets, maps and atlases.

To arrange an office visit to view this catalog, please email library@chpcny.org



Current Interns at the CHPC Marian Sameth and Ruth Dickler Archival Library

Previous Interns

Katherine Dyer Jones

Katherine is a sophomore in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornell University. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Studies focusing on urban development, particularly the difficulties that cities face when trying to stimulate growth and development while also remaining conscientious of the importance of historical preservation. Growing up in New York and being fortunate enough to have traveled extensively around the world, Katherine has gained a great appreciation for and fascination with the histories of cities both in the United States and internationally

Having only just completed her freshman year, Katherine is fresh in the planning world, and excited to use her experiences working at CHPC , as well as the breadth of knowledge she gained from sorting through the archives in future endeavors as she continues to explore this field.




Megan Margino

Megan is currently pursuing an MLS degree in Library Science at St. John’s University.  At St. John’s, Megan is a Graduate Assistant in the university library, where she is working in a variety of departments including Archives and Special Collections.  She also holds a BS in Sociology and Criminal Justice from Adelphi University and hopes to work in an academic library in the future.

At CHPC, Megan was an archival intern where she worked to process the organization’s archives under the NYSED Documentary Heritage Program grant.  This experience built upon Megan’s archival knowledge and contributed a great deal to gaining preservation, arrangement, and processing skills.  Megan also enjoyed her experience learning about CHPC and the history of public housing throughout New York City.



Amy Oster

Amy is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania, pursuing a major in Urban Studies and a minor in American Public Policy. She is particularly interested in the intersection of government legislation, mixed-use and transit-oriented communities, and regional development, which she explored in Washington, D.C. this past year and plans to continue researching for her thesis.

Growing up in New York and going to school in Philadelphia have strengthened Amy’s fascination with cities and their history. Given this interest, she is excited about the opportunity both to assist in policy projects and to pore through CHPC’s extensive archival library, cataloguing and categorizing the collection, and highlighting documents of particular interest on the website.


Gina Levitan

Gina Levitan is a graduate of Hampshire College where she focused on media and its impact on society and culture. By extensively studying and writing about the German philosophers of the Frankfurt school her work culminated in a 120 page senior thesis that interpreted their ideas for a 21st century society.

A lifelong New Yorker, Gina enjoys music, film, and art and takes advantage of all the City has to offer. She enjoys running and the outdoors, and speaks Spanish. She has traveled to Vienna, Berlin, Leipzig, Paris, Australia, Ireland, and Northern Ireland, where she spent time volunteering at Groundwork Trust Northern Ireland in Belfast working with children in the Short Strand housing estate in East Belfast.
A talented, painter, writer and researcher, Gina will begin a dual degree masters program in Library Science and the Humanities at New York University and Long Island University in the fall of 2010.


Kate Proshansky

As an intern at CHPC’s archival library, Kate is responsible for cataloguing materials and manuscripts from CHPC’s extensive collection, creating a searchable data base, locating and digitizing items of special interest which are highlighted on CHPC’s website, helping to conserve fragile documents that are at risk, and assisting staff with research.

Kate will be pursuing a course of study in urban studies in the Fall of 2010.  Her interest in urban affairs has developed through courses she has taken at the New School for Social Research, her architectural photography which focuses on the urban landscape, and her experiences growing up in New York City.  Kate’s interest in other languages, cultures, and the urban environment has led her to travel to Vietnam, the United Kingdom, and France.


Anique Murphy

Anique is interested in urban planning, architecture, New York City’s history, and public housing.  She is currently a student of interdisciplinary studies at the New York Institute of Technology where she focuses on architecture, social science, and the humanities.  Building on her study of architecture at Morgan State, she will receive her BS degree in May 2010.  Anique has been volunteering in community efforts since she was 12, including at Common Ground, in community activities in the Bronx, and with young people in Baltimore while she was a student there.

Her interests in housing, architecture, and planning along with her excellent computer and organizational skills, are put to good use in CHPC’s historic archive collection where she helps catalogue and preserve our unique materials.  Anique is a lifelong New Yorker who grew up in the Bronx has travelled in Europe and spends her summers in Antigua with her family.