“Leo Hershkowitz, 92, Dies; Unearthed New York City History”

This headline is merely a newspaper announcement. Behind the headline is an amazing human that understood the importance of paper documents – ephemeral in nature, but historically important and profound. Known as a paper scavenger, he found (soon to be shredded in the municipal pulp mill) “the city’s financial records for the funeral of Abraham Lincoln — held at City Hall on April 19, 1865 — including the undertaker’s bill for $1,000 and another bill, for $20, from James Ayliffe of Trinity Church for composing a funeral dirge and playing the church’s chimes.”

Leo Hershkowitz, 92, Dies; Unearthed New York City History

And, from bundles of papers earmarked for disposal by the city comptroller’s office, he saved coroner’s records from the late 18th and early 19th centuries that recorded infanticides, suicides, drownings – and the killing of Alexander Hamilton by Aaron Burr in a duel across the Hudson in Weehawken, N.J.

Old documents can be safely stored in our archival storage boxes and file folders.