Finding Aids Subject Guide

These research tools are available to help discover the archives and special collections at OCPL.

Choose from the following categories or see the Complete A-Z List.


Central New York and New York State History

Bookplate Collection of the Syracuse Public Library, Syracuse, NY
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, bookplates became popular among members of the upper classes. Collecting and trading bookplates became fashionable during that time.

Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum Field Books
This collection consists of field books, day books and diaries chronicling the efforts of volunteers to preserve, restore and rebuild the Chittenango Landing Dry Dock Complex and Museum. These notes date from 1958 to 2007.

First Presbyterian Church United of Syracuse, NY Collection
The records of First Presbyterian Church United of Syracuse, NY contains materials related to the First Presbyterian Church of Syracuse, NY, the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Syracuse, NY and from East Genesee Presbyterian Church of Syracuse, NY. The records date from 1807 and consist mainly of weekly church bulletins, newsletters, directories, compact disc and microfilm of vital records.

Frank N. Decker Papers on Early Onondaga County History
Consists of letters and documents relating to the placing of several historic markers and monuments in Onondaga County by a committee of the Syracuse Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. These monuments commemorate the relationships between the Onondaga Indians and the early European settlers. 

The Frank T. Wood, Jr. and Peggy W. Wood Collection
Contains correspondence, awards, articles, newspaper clippings and photographs concerning the life and work of Frank T. Wood, Jr. and Peggy Wood in Syracuse, NY from 1950 - 2011.

George G. Cotton Collection of Canal Papers
This collection consists of early canal reports from the states of Ohio and New York. Also included in this collection are miscellaneous United States historical pamphlets from the early 1800s. 

George W. Fenner World War I Photographs, Syracuse, NY Collection
The George W. Fenner World War I Photographs Collection contains photographs documenting people and activities supporting the efforts of World War I.

Interview Collection of Human Rights in Syracuse: A Selected History from 1963 - 1983
Audio interviews with approximately 70 people about their families and personal experiences during 1963 to 1983.

Landmark Theatre Archives
The Landmark Theatre Archives is a collection of documents that trace early Syracuse theater, and particularly the history of the Loews State Theatre, renamed the Syracuse Area Landmark Theatre. The collection includes information from the period prior to the construction of the Loews State Theatre. It chronicles the design and construction of the theater and the history of the theater through the year 1998. The closing of the theater and the subsequent rescue is included in the collection. The collection includes a series of oral histories of those involved in the Landmark Theatre and its rescue.

League of Women Voters of the Syracuse Metropolitan Area Collection
League of Women Voters (LWV) of the Syracuse Metropolitan Area formed in the early 1920s, shortly after the League of Women Voters of New York was created. This collection contains the LWV of the Syracuse Metropolitan Area's administrative files, publications, scrapbooks, photographs and ephemera.

Memorial Monuments & Tablets in Syracuse, NY
Photographs and information cards for monuments and tablets in Syracuse, New York, many of which are no longer standing.

Merritt Wesley Barnes Family Photographs, Onondaga County, NY Collection
Contains photographs of the Barnes family.

Mohawk Valley, NY Genealogy and History Newspaper Clippings Collection
Contains selected newspaper clippings from the Enterprise and News, St. Johnsville, NY column "Mohawk Valley Genealogy and History".

New York State Board of Charities Census of Inmates in Almshouses and Poorhouses
This series consists of standard reporting forms submitted to the Board of Charities by keepers or officers in charge of poorhouses and almshouses. The forms provide personal data regarding persons who applied to local overseers of the poor, police, or keepers of poorhouses and almshouses for food and/or lodging.

New York State Comptroller's Office Tax Assessment Rolls of Real and Personal Estates
Legislation enacted in 1799 (amended in 1801) established a system of assessing and taxing real and personal property and required tax commissioners or (beginning in 1801) county supervisors to submit to the State Comptroller a copy of the county's tax rolls and a list of unpaid taxes. This series consists of town and city tax assessment rolls (excluding New York City) prepared by county treasurers and filed with the State Comptroller's Office.

New York State Rural Farm Registers, 1936 - 1940
Contains "Compass System" maps and rural indexes published by Rural Directories, Inc. between 1936 - 1940.

Onondaga Historical Association Local History Leaflets, 1896 - 1904
Twenty-five [25] leaflets written about the history of Onondaga County published by the Onondaga Historical Association between 1896 - 1904.

Papers Pertaining to the Purity of the Ice Supply in Syracuse, NY
This collection consists of papers and statistics and reports concerning the ice supply and purity of the ice supply in Syracuse, New York in 1905.

Postcards of Syracuse and Central New York
Contains both mailed and unmailed postcards of buildings, scenes, and activities in and around Syracuse, New York.

Quilt Patterns of Onondaga County, 1919 - 1923
This collection is comprised of 373 hand-drawn representations of quilts from various locations across Onondaga County and beyond completed by Virginia Beauchamp.

Richard G. Sheeran Collection of Early Onondaga County and Syracuse Manuscripts
Letters and documents written by and about early Syracuse and Onondaga County pioneers, dating from 1797 - 1893.

The Sally Jane (Nichols) Burt Diaries
This collection consists of 18 Journals written by Sally, Frank, and Ira Burt from 1866 - 1887.

Syracuse Gay Rights Activism - 1968 - 1993
This collection consists of transcribed interviews, newsletters and documents relating to Syracuse Gay Rights activism from 1968 - 1993.

War on Poverty, Syracuse, NY, 1964 - 1972
This collection includes archival material relating to Syracuse and Onondaga County’s response to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s declaration of the War on Poverty in the United States in 1964. Materials include information on anti poverty community action programs in Syracuse and Onondaga County, NY from 1964 - 1972.

United States Weather Bureau Records: Original Monthly Meteorological Record of Observations at Syracuse, NY, 1905 - 1978
Annual volumes of forms issued by the United States Weather Bureau and filled out by the Syracuse, NY station.

Women’s Suffrage Pamphlets
This collection contains pamphlets on the subject of women's suffrage in the United States, written between 1850 and 1914.

Works Progress Administration (WPA) Files
This index was done during the Great Depression by Works Progress Administration workers, who compiled a card index of newspaper items of general and historic value to Syracuse and Onondaga County. The material was obtained from newspaper files of the Syracuse Public Library and newspaper files from the Historical Scrap Books of the Onondaga Historical Association. The index covers the years 1806 - 1938. (52,882 records to date)

Zelda Stockham World War II V-Mail Collection, 1943 - 45
Victory mail or V-Mail is a method used during World War II to deliver military letters overseas. The V-Mail correspondences were of standard page format with a box on the top for the receiver’s address. The letters were written by the soldiers, then censored, photocopied to a 16-mm black and white camera film and shipped to the addressee’s location. In the processing center the V-Mails were printed onto paper and then sent to recipients. This method became significantly useful for delivering letters and saving cargo space at the same time.

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Genealogy

Bible Records Collected by the Genealogy and Local History Department of the Syracuse Public Library
This collection comprises family bible records collected by the Genealogy and Local History Department of the Syracuse Public Library and published into individual volumes. Some of the records are transcriptions, and some are photocopies of bible pages.

Chapman Family of New York and Allied Families
This collection contains genealogical notes, correspondence and vital records of the Chapman family and allied families.

Clemons Family of New York and Allied Families
This collection consists of genealogical notes and documents concerning the family of Frank B. Clemons and allied families. Clemons came from a pioneer family which came to the United States in 1643.

Dear Family Documents
Family documents of the Dear Family of Syracuse, including bible records, and marriage and military documents.

Family Bible Records collected by the General Asa Danforth Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, Syracuse, NY
This collection comprises family bible records collected by the Asa Danforth Chapter of the DAR in 1924. Most of these records were owned by families living in the Syracuse and Central NY area, although some families are from other areas of New York State and beyond.

First Presbyterian Church United of Syracuse, NY Collection
The records of First Presbyterian Church United of Syracuse, NY contains materials related to the First Presbyterian Church of Syracuse, NY, the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Syracuse, NY and from East Genesee Presbyterian Church of Syracuse, NY. The records date from 1807 and consist mainly of weekly church bulletins, newsletters, directories, compact disc and microfilm of vital records.

The Frank T. Wood, Jr. and Peggy W. Wood Collection
Contains correspondence, awards, articles, newspaper clippings and photographs concerning the life and work of Frank T. Wood, Jr. and Peggy Wood in Syracuse, NY from 1950 - 2011.

Gaylord Family Collection
Consists of correspondence, day books and genealogical notes from the Gaylord Family of Syracuse, New York, 1833 - 1955.

A genealogical record of the Shepard, Williams, and Cuyler Families of Aurora, NY, including an autobiography written for his children in 1847 and 1848
Consists of manuscripts of the families of Shepard, Williams and Cuyler of Aurora, NY. Among the materials in the collection are maps, letters, certificates and journals chronicling these families from the late 1700s to the mid 1800s.

Ketcham Family Files
Rev. William E. Ketcham (1837 - 1903) was a Methodist Episcopalian Clergyman in Yonkers, NY and was a member of the The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. Most of the letters in the collection were written to Rev. Ketcham regarding the Ketcham/Ketchum family genealogy.

Leon Abel Congdon Family Research Collection
Folders with various family trees, books, notes and letters that were collected and/or written by Leon A. Congdon.

Lovina Powers Correspondence, 1856 - 1874
Most of the letters in this collection are written to or by Lovina Powers or her family and friends living in Oneida County, New York.

Merritt Wesley Barnes Family Photographs, Onondaga County, NY Collection
Contains photographs of the Barnes family.

Mohawk Valley, NY Genealogy and History Newspaper Clippings Collection
Contains selected newspaper clippings from the Enterprise and News, St. Johnsville, NY column "Mohawk Valley Genealogy and History". 

Onondaga County Pioneer Index
Consists of index cards listing known Onondaga County pioneers from the earliest settling of the county until approximately 1850. These index cards list vital information and references to the individual and family in sources throughout the library.

Onondaga County Public Library Beauchamp Branch Photodocumentation Project, 1994
Contains photographs documenting the African American community in the Beauchamp Branch Library neighborhood.

Onondaga County, NY County Clerk Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1847 - 1849 and other Early Miscellaneous Onondaga County Records
Contains records of births, marriages and deaths, 1847 - 1849, as well as admission to citizenship, immigration and naturalization, and military records. 

Parish Register, Christ Church, Jordan, New York
Include the names of the parishioners, historical data, communicants, baptisms, confirmations, burials, marriages and miscellaneous documents.

Religious Census, Syracuse, NY, 1911
A census of religious affiliations, taken in the city of Syracuse on January 28, 1911 under the auspices of the Syracuse City Sunday School Association. Each religion is in its own folder. Each of these folders list names of heads of each family, address of family, and number of people in the household. These households are arranged by ward.

Reverend William H. Giles, Methodist-Episcopal Records, including Baptisms, Marriages, Deaths, New York State, 1879 - 1913
This collection consists of the parish records of William H. Giles, who led numerous upstate New York churches between 1879 - 1913. These records include names and addresses, and records of baptisms, marriages and deaths of his parishioners at a number of churches in Central New York.

The Sally Jane (Nichols) Burt Diaries
This collection consists of 18 Journals written by Sally, Frank, and Ira Burt from 1866 - 1887.

Sawyer Family Research
Research regarding the descendants of William Sawyer of Newbury, Massachusetts, compiled into several notebooks and ledgers by Julia H. Quackenbush, as a work in progress. Mrs. Quackenbush donated her research to the Syracuse Public Library in 1941. 

Schramm Autographed Cachet Collection
Comprises over 1300 autographed, often decorated envelopes of famous and ordinary people during the 1930s - 1950s, representing baseball players, politicians, military leaders and servicemen, aviation pioneers and more.

Smith Family Letters
This collection consists of five letters written to Mrs. Abram D. Smith, Abram D. Smith and to Mrs Harriet W. Smith in the early 1900s. Three letters to Harriet Smith were written to her by S.L. Frey.

South Presbyterian Church of Syracuse, NY Collection
Collection contains unique materials related to the history of the South Presbyterian Church of Syracuse, NY. All of the records are dated from the establishment of the church in 1901 and continue until 2001.

Syracuse Central High School (Central Tech) Collection
The Syracuse Central High School (Central Tech) collection contains a diverse array of unique materials relating to the history of the high school and the educational and extracurricular activities of its students.

Syracuse, NY Armory Records
This series of records is from the Syracuse Armory, which is located at 236 West Jefferson Street in Syracuse, New York. The records date from 1909 - 1954 and include inventories, muster rolls, enlistment forms and various reports.

Tennant-Younglove-Wooden and Allied Families
Research on the Tennant, Younglove, Wooden and allied families, contributed to the library by Leroy E. Tennant in 1970.

Works Progress Administration (WPA) Files
This index was done during the Great Depression by Works Progress Administration workers, who compiled a card index of newspaper items of general and historic value to Syracuse and Onondaga County. The material was obtained from newspaper files of the Syracuse Public Library and newspaper files from the Historical Scrap Books of the Onondaga Historical Association. The index covers the years 1806 - 1938. (52,882 records to date)

Zelda Stockham World War II V-Mail Collection, 1943 - 45
Victory mail or V-Mail is a method used during World War II to deliver military letters overseas. The V-Mail correspondences were of standard page format with a box on the top for the receiver’s address. The letters were written by the soldiers, then censored, photocopied to a 16-mm black and white camera film and shipped to the addressee’s location. In the processing center the V-Mails were printed onto paper and then sent to recipients. This method became significantly useful for delivering letters and saving cargo space at the same time.

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Local Organizations

American Humane Association 'Be Kind to Animals' Poster Collection, Syracuse, NY
Posters produced for the Syracuse SPCA as part of the national American Humane Association's 'Be Kind to Animals' project.

Central New York SPCA Collection
Central New York SPCA Collection contains files, photographs, financial ledgers, awards and board of trustees minutes from 1880 - 2000.

Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum Field Books
This collection consists of field books, day books and diaries chronicling the efforts of volunteers to preserve, restore and rebuild the Chittenango Landing Dry Dock Complex and Museum. These notes date from 1958 to 2007. 

First Presbyterian Church United of Syracuse, NY Collection
The records of First Presbyterian Church United of Syracuse, NY contains materials related to the First Presbyterian Church of Syracuse, NY, the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Syracuse, NY and from East Genesee Presbyterian Church of Syracuse, NY. The records date from 1807 and consist mainly of weekly church bulletins, newsletters, directories, compact disc and microfilm of vital records.

Landmark Theatre Archives
The Landmark Theatre Archives is a collection of documents that trace early Syracuse theater, and particularly the history of the Loews State Theatre, renamed the Syracuse Area Landmark Theatre. The collection includes information from the period prior to the construction of the Loews State Theatre. It chronicles the design and construction of the theater and the history of the theater through the year 1998. The closing of the theater and the subsequent rescue is included in the collection. The collection includes a series of oral histories of those involved in the Landmark Theatre and its rescue.

League of Women Voters of the Syracuse Metropolitan Area Collection
League of Women Voters (LWV) of the Syracuse Metropolitan Area formed in the early 1920s, shortly after the League of Women Voters of New York was created. This collection contains the LWV of the Syracuse Metropolitan Area's administrative files, publications, scrapbooks, photographs and ephemera.

Lincoln Auditorium, Central High School Programs Collection
Programs from Lincoln Auditorium, some autographed by the performers, dating from 1918 – 1972.

Onondaga County Civil War Roundtable Archives
The collection includes by-laws, program and project information, membership information and the newsletter of the organization.

Parish Register, Christ Church, Jordan, New York
Include the names of the parishioners, historical data, communicants, baptisms, confirmations, burials, marriages and miscellaneous documents. 

Peace Newsletters
This collection of microfilmed Peace Newsletters begins with the first newsletter from 1936 and goes to the end of the year 2012.

Religious Census, Syracuse, NY, 1911
A census of religious affiliations, taken in the city of Syracuse on January 28, 1911 under the auspices of the Syracuse City Sunday School Association. Each religion is in its own folder. Each of these folders list names of heads of each family, address of family, and number of people in the household. These households are arranged by ward.

Sedgwick Hazard Library Club Papers
Minutes, historical records, clippings, correspondence, programs of events, bylaws and constitution, membership and attendance records of a woman’s club in Syracuse, New York from 1931 - 2006.

South Presbyterian Church of Syracuse, NY Collection
Collection contains unique materials related to the history of the South Presbyterian Church of Syracuse, NY. All of the records are dated from the establishment of the church in 1901 and continue until 2001.

Syracuse Central High School (Central Tech) Collection
The Syracuse Central High School (Central Tech) collection contains a diverse array of unique materials relating to the history of the high school and the educational and extracurricular activities of its students.

Syracuse, NY Armory Records
This series of records is from the Syracuse Armory, which is located at 236 West Jefferson Street in Syracuse, New York. The records date from 1909 - 1954 and include inventories, muster rolls, enlistment forms and various reports.

Syracuse Public Library Archives
Contains information from the first public library of Syracuse to the current Onondaga Public Library System. The collection includes written histories, library catalogs, publications and images.

Urban League of Onondaga County, Inc. Collection
Collection contains diverse materials associated with the history of the organization, administrative documents, materials related to the National Urban League, conferences and meetings agendas, brochures offering programs and services, speeches, copies of newspaper clippings, correspondence and many photographs of local and national conferences, annual meetings, staff, members of Urban League of Onondaga County, Inc.

WFBL Radio Programs, Syracuse, New York, 1961-1962
This collection consists of programs files and the transcription of programs produced by WFBL in 1961-1962.

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Special Collections

Bell's British Theatre
A collection of plays by British playwrights.

Bookplate Collection of the Syracuse Public Library, Syracuse, NY
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, bookplates became popular among members of the upper classes. Collecting and trading bookplates became fashionable during that time

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United States/ World History

Autograph Manuscript Collection
Letters, photographs and documents from prominent Americans chronicling the nation’s early history dating from 1775 – 1983.

Civil War Letters and Journal of Charles F. Weller
This collection consists of letters and a journal written by Charles F. Weller during his time as a soldier in the United States Civil War.

Pamphlets of Syracuse native Williard Rouse Jillson, 1918 - 1961
This collection consists of pamphlets written by author William Rouse Jillson, as well as several pamphlets about the writings of Jillson written by others.

Schramm Autographed Cachet Collection
Comprises over 1300 autographed, often decorated envelopes of famous and ordinary people during the 1930s - 1950s, representing baseball players, politicians, military leaders and servicemen, aviation pioneers and more.

Slavery in the United States Pamphlet Collection, 1836 - 1932
This collection contains pamphlets on the subject of slavery in the United States, written between 1836 and 1932.

War on Poverty, Syracuse, NY, 1964 - 1972
This collection includes archival material relating to Syracuse and Onondaga County’s response to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s declaration of the War on Poverty in the United States in 1964. Materials include information on anti poverty community action programs in Syracuse and Onondaga County, NY from 1964 - 1972.

Women’s Suffrage Pamphlets
This collection contains pamphlets on the subject of women's suffrage in the United States, written between 1850 and 1914.

World War I and World War II Propaganda Posters, Syracuse, NY Collection
Contains propaganda posters from the United States, as well as collections from various other countries, to entice people to support the wars. There are also additional war related documents that are not classified as posters.

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