Skip to main content

Clippings at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts: Orientation to clippings

A guide to finding clippings at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Guide by Bob Kosovsky.

What are clippings?

Clippings are articles clipped from newspapers, magazines, playbills, and other types of publications and ephemera. Virtually all clippings contain text and many also include photographs or images.

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts organizes clippings in folders either by personal name, name of group, organization, venue, or subject.  Our files contain over 400,000 folders of clippings; each folder can contain anywhere from one to 100 clippings. All the divisions have clippings, many of which are NOT in the online catalog.  In general, the folders are inventoried, not the individual clippings within the folder.

Why use clippings?

  • Consulting clippings are a convenient way to get started quickly since the initial work of gathering articles from disparate sources has been done for you. However, no folder should ever be thought of as being a complete collection of articles on a person or topic.
  • Until the 1950s, there were no indices to articles in newspapers and periodicals that comprehensively covered the performing arts. Clippings are particularly useful for time periods that are not covered by periodical indices.

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Librarian, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Music Division