The Empire State Archives and History Award
acknowledges the outstanding contributions by a national figure
to advance the understanding and uses of history in society.
About the Award
It is rare to find expressions of artistic talent in the usually sober and dry administrative records of the seventeenth century. Imagine the surprise when the accompanying drawing appeared upon turning the page of Pieter Perssen's protocol of notarial records. It shows the notary sitting at his desk reviewing the records. Not only does the drawing offer a rare glimpse into the world of this important position in the Dutch judicial system, but also exhibits the artistic talent of his clerk. Although Notary Perssen's records survive in the municipal Archives of Amsterdam for everyone to read, further artistic expressions of his anonymous clerk are unknown and nothing of this sort has been found since.