New York State Library
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Research Residency In New York State History and Culture

No Cunningham Research Residency are currently being awarded.


  • The Anna K. and Mary E. Cunningham Research Residency in New York State History and Culture: This program was established in 1997 to benefit scholars using the unique collections of the New York State Library to study the history of New York. Funds for the research residencies are provided by the Anna K. and Mary E. Cunningham Trust Fund.


Applicants must conduct original research at the New York State Library. For more information on research possibilities, see:

Applications are welcomed from:

  • academic and public historians,
  • graduate students,
  • independent researchers and writers, and
  • primary and secondary school teachers. 

Preference will be given to projects that have a high probability of publication or other public dissemination.  Projects involving alternative uses of the collections such as research for multimedia projects, exhibits and documentary films are encouraged.

History Collections at the State Library

The New York State Library, established in 1818, is a major repository for New York's cultural, political, legal and social history. The 20-million-item collection is especially strong in the social sciences. The Library is a depository for both New York State and Federal government documents, and has extensive holdings in state and local history and genealogy.

Selected Collections and programs:

  • Manuscripts and Special Collections: This unit was established within the State Library in 1881. Its responsibilities include acquiring, providing access to, and preserving the Library's collections of archives and manuscripts, rare books, maps and atlases, prints and photographs, broadsides and posters, musical scores and ephemera. These collections document the political, cultural and scientific history of New York State from the 17th century to the present.
  • Local History and Genealogy: With an extensive, specialized collection of local and family histories, the state Library has developed an international reputation as a source for genealogical and local history studies. Federal and State census records supplement these resources, as do newspapers, church and cemetery records, city directories, and research guides.
  • Newspapers: The New York State Library is home to a comprehensive collection of historically significant New York State newspapers, including many 18th and 19th century titles in both hard copy and microform.
  • New Netherland Institute: This project transcribes, translates, and publishes Dutch manuscripts in New York State repositories relating to New Netherland. It sponsors the annual Rensselaerswyck Seminar and promotes an awareness of Dutch contributions to America.

Additional information is available on the Library Collections page.

Anna K. and Mary E. Cunningham Trust Fund

The Anna K. and Mary E. Cunningham Trust Fund is an endowment created by a bequest from the estate of Anna Cunningham on behalf of her sister, Mary, and herself.  It is a fitting celebration of the sisters' lifelong interest in the study of New York State history.  Anna Cunningham (1906-1996) was Supervisor of Historic Sites of New York State, as well as serving on the boards and councils of many state and national historic preservation organizations.  Mary Cunningham (1917-1986), whose personal papers are among the collections of the State Library, held various executive positions in the New York State Historical Association, was a founder and the first editor of American Heritage magazine, and was a founder of the Yorkers program for teaching and involving young New Yorkers in the State's history.

The New York State Library is part of the New York State Education Department.

The State Education Department does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, religion, creed, disability, marital status, veteran status, national origin, race, gender, genetic predisposition or carrier status, or sexual orientation in its educational programs, services and activities. Portions of any publication designed for distribution can be made available in a variety of formats, including braille, large print or audiotape, upon request. Inquiries regarding this policy of nondiscrimination should be directed to the Department's Office for Diversity, Ethics, and Access, Room 530, Education Building, Albany, NY 12234. Requests for publications should be made to the Department's Publications Sales Desk, Room 309, Education Building, Albany NY 12234.

Last Updated: September 28, 2021