New York State Library
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Manuscripts and Special Collections

The Manuscripts and Special Collections unit was established within the State Library in 1881. Its responsibilities include the acquiring, preserving and providing access to the Library's collections of manuscripts and personal papers; rare books; and special collections including prints, posters and broadsides, and musical scores. These collections, which include some of New York's documentary treasures, relate the history of New York State from the 17th century to the present and provide insight into many topics related American history, literature, science and the arts.

Visiting Manuscripts and Special Collections

The Research Room for Manuscripts and Special Collections is on the 11th floor of the Cultural Education Center. MSC is open for research Monday through Friday, 10 AM - 4 PM by appointment only. Appointments may be full day (10 AM – 4 PM) or half day (either 10 AM - 1 PM or 1 PM - 4 PM). The Library is closed Saturdays, Sundays, and New York State legal holidays.

Note: Contact us at least 48 business hours in advance of your preferred appointment date(s) to allow us to reserve a table and the materials you wish to use. Vault items will take even longer to make available (up to several weeks). Please wait for your appointment to be confirmed by staff before planning a visit.

Contact the Manuscripts and Special Collections Unit

For Your Health and Safety

All visitors ...

  • must wear a mask and maintain a social distancing of 6 feet.
  • who cannot wear a face covering for medical reasons should contact the NYS Library for information about accommodations.

The NYS Library will...

  • provide hand sanitizer. There are dispensers by the elevators, and we will have scent-neutral hand sanitizer available at the service desks.
  • sanitize equipment and work spaces after use.

Making Donations to MSC

Last Updated: August 23, 2021