History BOOKS of the Finger Lakes
For many decades the DeWitt Historical Society (now The History Center in Tompkins County) helped authors and researchers publish more than 80 books on local history. Since 2019 we have moved away from publishing books but are still HUGE supporters of our local readers, authors, and rich literary history.
We are a well read community, and a well published region. The Finger Lakes Book Project has document over 1,500 published works on the history of the Finger Lakes and Tompkins County. Sharon K. Yntema's book 'Ithaca Area Bookstores' discovered at least 96 stores that sold books locally over a 200 year period. In addition Tompkins County has a rich history of small publishing and printing houses; from luminaries like Firebrand Books and Cornell University Press, to our established houses such as Cayuga Lake Books and Burford Books. Discover the history of Ithaca, Tompkins County, and the Finger Lakes through the authors, readers, and publishers who call this region home.
📰 Find over 4,000 books on and about local history in our Research & Reference Library. A free resource for all residents of Tompkins County.
📚 Explore the Finger Lakes Book Project, a curated list of historic Finger Lakes publications curated by Joe Wetmore of Autumn Leaves Used Books over 20 years.
📍Discover local literary history through free self-guided tours on the PocketSights app.
🕮 Build your own local history library by purchasing through our online store.
Ithaca Area Bookstores - Two Hundred Years of Bookstore History in Tompkins County 1819-2019 by Sharon K. Yntema, published 2023
" In my research I found reference to ninety-six stores that sold books in Tompkins County in the 200-year period between 1819 and 2019. The future of bookstores in Ithaca and Tompkins County is unknwon in the long range, but for now, Ithaca continues to live up to the phrase coined by Buffalo Street Books: ITHACA IS BOOKS!"
Local history books can be purchased in-person at our Exhibit Hall on the first floor of the Tompkins Center for History & Culture or through our online store. We encourage those interested in local history titles to check our local bookstores: Autumn Leaves Used Books, Buffalo Street Books, Cornell Press, Ulysses Books, and Odyssey Bookstore.
**Educators interested in acquiring discounted or free copies for their schools or learning spaces are encouraged to reach out to us.**
Many local history books not available for purchase can be read in our Research Library.
FREE DIGITAL LOCAL HISTORY DOWNLOADS AVAILABLE
THE FINGER LAKES BOOK PROJECT
This list was curated over 20 years by Joe Wetmore, former-owner, founder, and long-time book buyer and seller at Autumn Leaves Used Books located on the Ithaca Commons.
In 2022 Joe donated a paper copy of his list to The History Center in Tompkins County. Through tireless transcription our student workers transcribed the document into a searchable spreadsheet.
The History Center has taken on the annual task of updating the spreadsheet with newly published works from the Finger Lakes region, and has made the spreadsheet publicly available for other researchers and discoverers of unique local stories. The list is expansive, but consistently being added to, please reach out with suggestions, additions, and improvements!
LITERARY HISTORY TOURS IN TOMPKINS COUNTY
ANNUAL COMMUNITY WIDE LITERARY EVENTS IN TOMPKINS COUNTY
The Friends of the Library Booksale happens over three consecutive weekends in May and October each year at 509 Esty St. Each Book Sale offers up to 250,000 gently used books, comics, graphic novels, DVD's, CD's and more! Proceeds benefit the Tompkins County Public Library and the Finger Lakes Library System.