Research Library

A place for discovery about Tompkins County's past...

The History Center’s research library serves casual browsers and scholars, school children, local historians, genealogists, and professional researchers. Along with providing access to diverse archival materials on local history and culture, The History Center is equipped to make professional quality photographic copy prints and scans of photographs from our extensive photo collections. Researchers are also allowed to use digital cameras without flash, for a fee, at the discretion of the archivist. Staff and volunteer research assistants facilitate research on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, from 11:00 to 5:00 or by special appointment.





Archives & Library

  • 4,000 bound books
  • 1000 linear feet of manuscript and archival materials
  • Archival Collections Finding Aids
  • 2000 family genealogy files
  • 250 bound ledgers
  • 440 scrapbooks
  • 1,100 maps

Photographic Collections
over 100,000 images - reprints available!

  • General photo collection
  • Family albums
  • Photograph albums
  • Local professional photographers' collections
  • Identified Individuals photograph collection
  • Stereoviews & cartes-de-visite
  • 35mm slide collection

Genealogy Resources

  • Family genealogy files - over 2,000 Tompkins County families
  • Individual family genealogies
  • Obituary listings
  • Cemetery listings
  • Death and marriage notices
  • Census records
  • Ithaca city directories
  • Local history books
research room

Built Environment Resources

  • 1866 Atlas of Tompkins County
  • Sanborn Insurance maps of Ithaca
  • 1836, 1851, 1868, 1872, and 1889 Ithaca City Maps
  • Historic Structure Reports and theses
  • Bird's Eye View of Ithaca
  • Military Tract Map and Balloting Book (1825)
  • Tompkins County Historic Maps Online




Written Documents Photographs
.28/copy (8.5 x 11) .55/copy (8.5 x 11)
.37/copy (8.5 x 14) .73/copy (8.5 x 14)
.55/copy (11 x 17) .92/copy (11 x 17)

We provide darkroom and scanning services for photographs - ask about use fee policies.

Room Fees

Free to members of The History Center and individuals residing in Tompkins County. $8.00/day for all other researchers.



If you are unable to visit our Research Library in person, we are happy to do research for you, for the following fees:

--$43.20 per hour ($40 per hour + $3.20 sales tax)
--Photocopies, photographic copy prints, and scans can be obtained at an additional cost.

Research requests need to be very specific. Our collections contain nearly 100,000 photographs, over 900 linear feet of archives, genealogy files for over 2,000 Tompkins County families, and 4,000 books relating to the history of Tompkins County. It is likely that we will have information useful to you.

If you would like us to conduct research for you, please mail a letter to Donna Eschenbrenner, Archivist, detailing your request, with a check for $43.20 payable to The History Center in Tompkins County, 401 East State St., Suite 100, Ithaca, NY 14850. Please specify the amount of time you would like us to devote to your research. Email requests are also honored with the fee payable by credit card.

Please mail or e-mail requests to Donna Eschenbrenner, Archivist.


Donna Eschenbrenner, Archivist
The History Center in Tompkins County
401 East State Street, Suite 100
Ithaca, NY 14850
With major support from: