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Whether for genealogical research, or to learn about your house, or any other aspect of local history, you will probably find something, in the Cornell Local History Research Library and Archival Collections.

We have over 2,000 family genealogy files, over 140 oral history interviews, 250 bound ledgers, 440 scrapbooks, 1,200 maps, more than 3,500 local history books, extensive manuscript collections, newspapers dating back to 1819, and dozens of regional photographic collections from as early as 1865.

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
  • Family, Business, and Organizations Collections
  • Daguerreotypes, tintypes, and ambrotypes

Contact our archivist at with any questions about our holdings. Or schedule an appointment to visit the Research Library

    New York Heritage Digital Collections

    New York Heritage is a collaborative project of eight of the nine Empire State Network library councils which supports the digital holding and archiving of materials from other institutions on their online database. The History Center archives include over 100,000 photographs; each year through grant support and staff labor we are able to digitize select collections and make them available through this valuable online resource. 

    History Center Photograph Collections

    • C. Hadley Smith Photograph Collection

    History Center Archival Finding Aids

    What's the difference between Historic Ithaca & The History Center in Tompkins County?

    This is a question we get a lot, and honestly we're flattered. Historic Ithaca and The History Center have been long time collaborators and supporters of each others work in the community, but despite our long local histories we have always been separate organizations. 

    Historic Ithaca educates and advocates for historic buildings, sites, and landscapes, and maintains a library and archive of information related to buildings and sites in Tompkins County. The History Center is broadly the county-wide historical society. THC's focus is on social history and material culture, and our public engagement with the community through our museum Exhibit Hall and Research Library. Of course, as organizations we share some common goals and interests, and we frequently work together on projects and special events.


    HI provides technical support including condition assessments, National Register nominations, house histories, cultural resource surveys, and more to individuals, organizations, and municipal governments in our community.

    We engage the community in speaking out about preservation and built-environment issues, from promoting the cultural, economic, and sustainability benefits of historic preservation to opposing projects and actions that threaten historic buildings.

    Our Library of the Built Environment is open to the public Tuesday-Saturday, with over 500 book titles plus periodicals, maps, photographs and slides, and files on individual properties throughout Tompkins County.

    Physical Address

    Located inside the Tompkins Center for History & Culture

    110 North Tioga Street

    (On the Ithaca Commons) 

    Ithaca NY, 14850 USA

    Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫˀ Territory


    Exhibit Hall Wednesday-Saturday 10am-6pm - CLOSED Sun-Tues

    Cornell Local History Research Library & Archives - By appointment only. Please contact


    Email: Refer to Contact page for individual emails, General inquiries to

    Phone: 607-273-8284


    Find us on social media @tompkinshistory


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