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Central New York Local History Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Title: Central New York Local History Collection
Inclusive Dates: 1795-1952
Quantity: .25 linear ft.
Abstract: Letters, programs, photographs, posters, and other ephemera about and from towns and villages in Central New York. Includes clippings and printed material about Hill Top House (Pompey, N.Y.).
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Central New York (often abbreviated "CNY") is a term used to broadly describe the central region of New York State, roughly including the counties of Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Tompkins, and Herkimer. Towns, villages and cities in the area include Auburn, Cortland, Oneida, Rome, Sherrill, Utica, Syracuse, Fulton, Oswego, Ithaca, Cazenovia, and Seneca Falls. The Central New York Military Tract, land reserved from soldiers of the American Revolution, was located here, and many towns derived from the tracts have classical names.

The borders of Central New York are not precisely defined, however. The core of the region consists of Onondaga County, Cayuga County, Oswego County and Madison County. Tompkins County and Cortland County are often considered part of New York's "Southern Tier" region, while Oneida County and Herkimer County are often considered part of the "Mohawk Valley" region.

In 2009 the region had a population of about 1.1 million.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Central New York Local History Collection is a collection of material relating to counties, towns, villages and other locales in the Central New York region.

Correspondence covers a wide range of topics, including a young man's description of social life in Geneva ("...a very pretty and a very pleasant place. But the Young people enjoy themselves very different from any place I ever knew, although its a very Gay place. .."), a letter from a Marcellus mother to her son in boarding school, the potential appointment of Luther Marsh as Superintendent of the Salt Springs, and the health and family matters of a minister's wife detailed in a letter to her son. Also included is a letter from naturalist and professor of forestry Fay Welch, sometimes called the "father" of skiing in central New York.

Ephemera includes programs and tickets (Cortland Academy commencement, 1882 Democratic State Convention, American Legion Band performances), printed material (Churchman's Almanac, Whig Almanac, Hill Top House in Pompey), souvenirs (postcards, Syracuse Centennial commemorative stamps), clippings (scrapbook relating to George N. Crouse and local Republican politics), an issue of the New York Spectator with an article on Joshua Forman and his idea of a Bank Safety Fund, and more.

Legal papers includes indentures, agreements, court decisions, and similar material.

Newspapers includes the Boonville Herald, the Lowville Journal and Republican, the Cayuga Tocsin, and others.

Photographs include people and places, most from the mid-1920s.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Aside from the division by type, there is no particular order to the collection.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has numerous collections relating to local history. For a complete list, please refer to the the SCRC Subject Index . In particular, see also the Central New York Trade Catalogs and Business Ephemera and Central New York Cultural Ephemera

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Subject Headings


Crouse, George N.
Forman, Joshua, 1777-1849.
Welch, Fay, 1896-1984.


Middle class -- New York (State) -- Social life and customs.


Auburn (N.Y.) -- History.
Cortland (N.Y.) -- History.
Geneva (N.Y.) -- History.
Marcellus (N.Y.) -- History.
Mexico (N.Y.) -- History.
Onondaga Hollow (N.Y.) -- History.
Salina (N.Y.) -- History.
Syracuse (N.Y.) -- History.

Genres and Forms

Court decisions.
Programs (documents)

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Central New York Local History Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchases, various.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: MRC
Date: 7 Jan 2008
Revision history: 25 Jan 2008 - adds, subject headings; 3 Jun 2008 - additions (MRC); 3 Dec 2008 - additions (MRC); 12 Feb 2009 - additions (MRC); 7 Jul 2009 - additions (MRC); 7 Dec 2009 - additions (MRC); 8 Jan 2010 - additions P09-468 (MRC)

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Box 1 Miscellaneous
Box 1 Miscellaneous
Oversize 1 Miscellaneous oversize - includes scrapbook relating to George N. Crouse and Republican politics
Legal papers
Box 1 Miscellaneous
Oversize 1 Miscellaneous
Box 1 Miscellaneous

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