The New York State Newspaper Project microfilmed over 4 million pages of NYS newspapers between 1987 and 2007, as well as inventorying and cataloging many more. With help from the Friends of the New York State Newspaper Project, the Research Library continues to add even more microfilmed papers to its collections for the future use of researchers, family historians, and others.
Preserving and Sharing
History One Collection at a Time
Preserving the Library's historic collections while making them accessible is one of the Library’s most compelling challenges.
Who would have thought to go to a library to enjoy an opera? In mid-January, the Library hosted a preview performance of George Washington's favorite opera using materials found in the Library’s collection. Popular in America from the Revolution to the Civil War, 'The Poor Soldier' opera was said to have been a favorite of the first President's. 2007 Library Research Resident Ann-Marie Barker Schwartz and her company of talented musicians, actors and singers re-created the opera based on texts and partial scores unearthed in the State Library's Manuscripts and Special Collections.
Following its preview at the State Library, the production was featured at Schenectady County Community College to commemorate an 1809 production of the opera in Albany. The State Research Library worked with the State Museum to put together an exhibit of related documents and artifacts, which were exhibited at Schenectady County Community college for the run of the opera.
In October, a facsimile of the Library’s nationally recognized treasure the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation was sent to New York City to be part of the exhibit Lincoln and New York. Written in Lincoln’s own handwriting, the document was on view at the New York Historical Society through March 25, 2010.
Some Very Special Collections
- An exact facsimile of the original manuscript containing the earliest reference to the purchase of the island that would become one of the world's greatest cities became part of the State Research Library’s collections in 2009. Written in 1627 by Pieter Schaghen, the representative of the States General in the Assembly of the West India Company, the letter announced the purchase of Manhattan Island for the value of 60 guilders. The manuscript facsimile of "De Schaghenbrief" was presented to the Library by the Director of the National Archives of the Netherlands following the visit of the Crown Prince and Princess of the Netherlands on September 8. The letter is printed on 300-year-old paper and is so authentic looking that it bears a stamp of clarification certifying that it is a facsimile and not the original document. The letter is available for study in Manuscripts & Special Collections. A transcription and translation of the document can be seen on the New Netherland web site at www.nnp.org/nnp/documents/schagen_main.html. The original document is held by the National Archives of the Netherlands in The Hague.
- The Library’s holdings were enriched by a collection of ninety-one historic newspapers from the New York City area published on September 11, 2001 and the following few days. The newspapers capture the political and social climate of the era, addressing issues related to the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in New York City. The newspapers are in English, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, and Polish and represent news publishers, local communities, groups, organizations and others in New York City, the U.S., and around the globe. Among them is an edition of the New York Post dated September 11, 2001 that was issued before the attacks.
- A gift of a document from 1761 concerning 20 thousand acres of land in the region around Albany was made by a resident of Atlanta, Georgia. It had been acquired originally by her great-grandfather, a stone carver who had worked on building Albany’s Capitol Building.
- An extensive collection of the papers of the Van Voorhees Family Association dating from 1932 to about 2000 was given to the Library by Judith Van Voorhis of Schenectady. The collection includes Bible records, deeds, wills, census records, cemetery records, family group sheets, correspondence files, photographs, journals, obituaries, and manuscripts. It also records efforts begun in the 1880s to compile a comprehensive genealogical record of the Van Voorhees family.