Special Collections at CEF Libraries

New York Heritage websiteAre you a history buff? Many of the libraries in our region house unique collections of photographs, documents and objects. See below for  a list of some of the unusual collections you can find by visiting the library.

Some libraries are also scanning photographs and yearbooks, which you can find and search at the New York Heritage website.

Akwesasne Library and Cultural Center

  • The library owns a unique collection of Native Fiction and Native Non-fiction including books on Akwesasne Mohawk culture and other native cultures.
  • The Akwesasne Cultural Center is a museum that presents Mohawk culture from the perspective of the Mohawk people of Akwesasne, and contains over 2,000 photographic objects and over 700 ethnographic objects of various kinds, related to the Mohawk community of Akwesasne.

AuSable Forks Free Library

  • Among the unique collections at the library is a large section of Adirondack books and material, housed in a specially-renovated room of its own. Notably, this collection includes a great Rockwell Kent section – filled with framed prints, beautiful original books, and even collector pieces such a Kent-designed hand-painted plate from 1939.

Finding tools for some of the special collections have been created:

Keene Valley Library Association

  • The Archives was founded in 1921 with a gift by John T. Loomis, who was a historian and dedicated collector of Adirondackiana.
    It has expanded to include much material from the Adirondack Bibliography, authored by Dorothy Plum of Keene. In addition, since 1987, the Archives has housed the records of the Adirondack Mountain Reserve. It contains a large collection of photographs and local historical and genealogical materials.
  • The library also has a special collection of mountaineering books and maps. A description of the map collection canbe found here: Keene Valley map collection
  • The library has a collection of digitized photos on the New York Digital Heritage website:

Lake Placid Public Library

  • The library holds a variety of archival materials including the North Elba/Village of Lake Placid Historian Archive Collection, Lake Placid Club Collection, the Gettman collection, maps, scrapbooks, and newspaper articles.
  • A recent addition is the Barbara Kelly Skating Club of Lake Placid (figure skating) Collection. It includes many materials that she has collected over the years-programs, photos, even some paraphernalia.
  • The Lamb Memorial Music Collection – a circulating collection of almost 2,000 music CDs in a variety of genres. Also included are a number of opera performances on DVD.
  • The following finding tools have been created for some of the special collections:
  • The North Elba-Village of Lake Placid Historian Archive Collection 
    is available online at the New York Digital Heritage website, and consists of historical photos, newspaper articles, postcards, and some personal notes of people, places, sports, and businesses pertaining to the Town of North Elba and Village of Lake Placid as created by Town and Village Historians Mary MacKenzie (1964-2001) and Beverley Reid (2001-present). Mary MacKenzie accumulated an array of materials in her 37 years as Town and Village Historian, and all around aficionado, dating back to the pioneer days focusing on telling the history of the area.

Paine Memorial Library

  • The library houses a rare book collection, which contains local history, works by local authors and genealogy resources.
  • The library provides access to local historical photos on CD.

Plattsburgh Public Library

  • The library has a collection of historical photographs of Plattsburgh and the surrounding area
    Plattsburgh Cole Collection, and a genealogy reference collection.

Saranac Lake Free Library

  • The Adirondack Collection at the Saranac Lake Free Library consists of books, manuscripts, documents, maps, photographs and other printed materials illustrating the history of the Adirondacks with emphasis on Saranac Lake and the central Adirondacks; federal and some state census data for Essex, Franklin, Clinton and St. Lawrence counties covering federal census years 1850-1920 (1925 NY); the Adirondack Genealogical and Historical Society’s books of cemetery inscriptions for southern Franklin County; church records; and an obituary index for the Tri-Lakes area.
  • Many photographs held by the library have been digitized and are housed on the New York Heritage website:
    View the entire Saranac Lake Free Library Digital History Collection
  • Photographs of the Cure Cottages of Saranac Lake : Before 1946, when a drug based cure for tuberculosis was found, Saranac Lake was a renowned center for the only known way to cure tuberculosis, fresh air and complete bed rest. The Cure Cottages are buildings, mostly still present today, that became private sanatoriums for those sick with tuberculosis. The Cottages are focused on the fresh air and
    bed-rest treatment, having multiple porches, balconies, and sun-rooms, with enough room to place multiple patients on cots and hammocks.
  • The William Chapman White Memorial Room Adirondack Research Center at the Saranac Lake Free Library contains:
    • ADIRONDACK CLASSICS: Todd, Lundy, Street, Headley, Murray, Hammond.
    • HISTORY: Donaldson, Hochschild, White, Campbell, Landon, Masten, Adirondack Country, local and oral histories
    • MAPS, ATLASES, GAZETTEERS, GUIDE BOOKS: French, Stoddard, Wallace, Sanborn
    • REFERENCE MATERIALS: Tuberculosis, Logging and Forestry, Adirondack Geology, Botany, Zoology
    • REPORTS: Colvin, Forest Commission, Forest Fish and Game Commission, Conservations Commission
    • PAMPHLETS: Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks reports, Early hotel circulars, hundreds of others of Adirondack historical
    • MANUSCRIPTS: Lundy, Donaldson, Reben and other local biographers and historians
    • PERIODICALS: Forest and Stream, Journal of the Outdoor Life Forest Leaves, Adirondack Life, ADK Publications, Directories, Saranac Lake High School Yearbooks
    • PHOTOGRAPHS: 3500 glass plate negatives, 4500 catalogued, photographs; Distin, Kollecker, Stoddard, Baldwin, 1200 lantern slides
    • POSTCARD COLLECTION: Over 2500 Adirondack postcards
    • George Marshall Adirondack Collection: Books, NYS Conservation Reports, Colvin Reports, Travel Guides, Periodicals, Correspondences, Pamphlets, Maps, Photographs, Lantern Slides
  • A description of the Saranac Lake Free Library manuscript collection can be found  here: Saranac Lake Manuscript collection.

Tupper Lake Public Library

  • The Tupper Lake Public Library has a fairly large collection of printed Adirondack materials.
  • Many local photographs have been digitized and added to the New York Heritage Website:  You can see the Tupper Lake Public Library Photograph collection at https://nyheritage.org/contributors/tupper-lake-goff-nelson-memorial-library.
  • In addition to the photograph collection, Goff-Nelson Memorial Library has digitized the yearbook published for Tupper Lake High School. This collection is organized by date, as the title of the yearbook changes throughout the run. See the
    Tupper Lake High School Yearbook Collection
    on the New York Heritage Website.
  • A collection of stuffed animals are on long-term loan to the library. The taxidermy was done by a local resident. They include a raccoon, gray fox, bob cat, fisher, walleye, pine marten, red fox, pheasant, grebe, coyote, and an eagle carved from balsa wood.
  • The library also has a few quilted wall hangings that were done by the local Raquette River Quilters group.

Malone Wead Library

  • Malone directories, Franklin Academy yearbooks, the Malone Telegram on microfilm from 1905 – current (with a few missing issues.)

Wells Memorial Library, Upper Jay

  • The library has a collection pertaining to artist and toymaker Arto Monaco and  the Land of Make Believe theme park in Upper Jay including original  toys, correspondence, clippings, cartoon sketches, designs for toys and  games, comic books, photographs, taped interviews, DVDs and other  memorabilia.  Children’s picture books are housed in a book train made by Arto.

 Westport Library