The History Center's historic photograph collection is actually a collection of collections. It comprises several different individual collections separated by type, by subject, and sometimes by photographer. There are more than 100,000 photographs in all, and this crown jewel of our archives is among the most frequently used of all our research materials. Some of our collections are digitized and can be seen on New York Heritage Digital Collections.
Our photograph collections include over 100,000 images - Reprints available!
Archival Re-Prints Available
Access more digitized local records at the links below:
Contact our archivist at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about our holdings. Or schedule an appointment to visit the Research Library. Access to the archival collections is free to all Tompkins County residents, $10/day fee for out of county researchers.
We provide printing and scanning services for photographs. Ask us about cost and use fee policies.
Access to the archival collections is free to all Tompkins County residents, $10/day fee for out of county researchers.
In order to keep staff, volunteers, and visitors safe from Covid and other airborne viruses, researchers visiting our research library are strongly encouraged to wear a mask properly over their mouth and nose the entire time they are in our space.
New York Heritage Digital Collections
New York Heritage is a collaborative project of eight 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.
Professional Photographer Collections in The History Center Archives
Please credit The History Center in Tompkins County if you reference these materials elsewhere. Eg. "Sean Eversley Bradwell Collection V-64-7-4 courtesy The History Center in Tompkins County, Ithaca New York."
'Keeping Up With the Collections - Celebrating Ithaca's Neighborhoods in Photographs'
A 2022 Presentation to the South Central Regional Library Council
Donna Eschenbrenner and Eve Snyder of The History Center in Tompkins County presented to the South Central Regional Library Council on The History Center's unique photo collections and their use in the innovative program HistoryForge, where images, maps, and census data merge to tell the story of Ithaca's built environment and the people who lived there.
Verne Morton - Prolific Photographer & Naturalist
Verne Morton was born October 9, 1868, in Groton, N.Y. He and his brother Neil lived on the family farm in central New York all their lives. Verne taught school and practiced freelance photography, photographing the people and their work in this rural community. The Mortons lived a frugal life, with income from the family farm and an inheritance from a carriage and wagon business. Neil bought his first automobile in 1913 and the two brothers traveled and photographed the northeastern United States. Verne Morton took photos until he died in 1945. The History Center photograph collections hold almost 12,000 early glass plate negatives of this gifted Groton photographer who worked from 1895 to 1945 documenting rural life in upstate New York.
Selections of his photographs can be viewed during a visit to our Research Library, through New York Heritage Digital Collections online portal, or through the books Great Possibilities: 150 Verne Morton Photographs published in 2010, or Images of Rural Life: Photographs of Verne Morton published in 1984 both available for purchase at thehistorycenter.net/shop.
TOMPKINS COUNTY HISTORIC PHOTOGRAPH BOOKS