is charged with the stewardship of some of the nation’s most important
collections of records from the Colonial and other early periods
of American history. Today’s environment presents many opportunities, challenges,
and threats to keeping heritage documents safe while providing broad
access to them.
Through the Library’s Digital Initiatives
Program, scanners transform fragile and vulnerable historic manuscripts
and documents into digital formats that can be accessed online, while
at the same time preserving and protecting originals from harm. Records
and other early documents are not only saved from further degradation,
they are now freely available to all. Less fragile materials are
scanned by the Library’s new Kirtas machine at a rate of up to 1200
pages per hour.
The New Netherland Project -
The New Netherland Project is challenging
the very foundations of early American history. Since 1974, Dr.
Charles Gehring and a small group of volunteers and staff have
worked to preserve and translate the earliest records of American
colonial history – those of New Netherland. Working with rare
early manuscripts and records in the collections of the State Research
Library and the State Archives, they have revealed the story of the
17th century Dutch colony and its lasting impact on American history and culture.
The New Netherland Project is supported by the New York
State Library, the Holland Society of New York, and the National
Endowment for the Humanities.
Private donors and benefactors have endowed the Library
with many outstanding historic collections. The Library's stewardship
responsibilities include major collections in genealogy, New
York State and local history, education, health and medicine, science,
law, public policy, business, and Native Americans. These exceptional
and often rare collections of manuscripts, memorabilia, and other
documents enrich the Library’s collections and are preserved for
future generations of New Yorkers.
Some very special collections...
- In 2008 the State Research Library’s CD The Sir William Johnson Papers received a "Notable Government Document" designation from the American Library Association’s Government Documents Round Table. This collection of correspondence and other documents from the Colonial
era of American history provides a fascinating glimpse into the
pre-Revolutionary interactions among the British, French, and Iroquois
- Books, manuscripts, magazine articles, memorabilia, and
artifacts related to Theodore Roosevelt gathered over 40 years
by Lyall Squair of Syracuse include papers related to the Spanish-American
War, and postcards depicting him and subjects related to him including
teddy bears and animals he hunted.
- The Van Rensselaer Manor papers include some of the earliest records
of Colonial history, including maps, surveys, and rent account
ledgers, providing a wealth of information on rural Colonial Albany
and Rensselaer counties.
- Memorabilia from the family of Nathan Sanford -- Chancellor
of New York State from 1823 to 1826, New York Assemblyman and Senator,
US Attorney General, and US Senator -- provide a glimpse into the
lives of New York’s 19th century cultural
- One of the oldest and most extensive collections of local
and family histories, the State Library’s genealogy collection
has earned an international reputation as one of the best.