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Central New York Local History Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 7 Jan 2008

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.

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.

Arrangement of the Collection

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


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.

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

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)

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.

Table of Contents



Legal papers