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The Cornell Local History Research Library and Archives are located on the first floor of the Tompkins Center for History & Culture. Our collections contain nearly 100,000 photographs, over 1000 linear feet of archives, genealogy files for over 2,000 Tompkins County families, and 3,500 books relating to the history of Tompkins County. 

The Cornell Local History Research Library, named in honor of Ezra Cornell, is a place for discovery about Tompkins County's past. Located on the first floor of the Tompkins Center for History & Culture overlooking the Exhibit Hall. Use of the research space and access to archival materials is free to all Tompkins County residents ($10/day for out of county residents). Individual research appointments can be arranged by contacting

An in-person visit offers you the most professional assistance and archival access. However, if you cannot come to the library, some services can be accessed from a distance. 

Please reach out to us!


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. 

Our Research Library is currently available by appointment only. Please contact regarding research requests and to schedule research visits.


Our research support is only possible because of generous supporters. If you benefited from our staff and collections, make a donation to give the same opportunity to the next person who wants to learn about  Tompkins County!

Have a question? Email your research question to our archivist directly. 


The History Center’s Research Library serves casual browsers, 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, at the discretion of the archivist. 

Additional local history materials, including microfilm, books, and research assistance are available at the Tompkins County Public Library, either in person or online.

Contact our archivist at with any questions.

Educators are encouraged to contact us to schedule a field trip for their class to get an inside look at our Archives.

Download our Guide to Research Services


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

$50.00 per hour ($50 per hour + $4.00 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 1000 linear feet of archives, genealogy files for over 2,000 Tompkins County families, and 3,500+ 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 payable to The History Center in Tompkins County, 110 North Tioga Street, Suite 204A, 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 check or credit card. All requests should be sent to


Library Usage

Free to individuals residing in Tompkins County
$10.00/day for all other researchers


Written Documents Photographs
.50/copy (8.5 x 11) .75/copy (8.5 x 11)
.75/copy (8.5 x 14) 1.00/copy (8.5 x 14)
1.00/copy (11 x 17) 1.50/copy (11 x 17)

We provide printing and scanning services for photographs. Ask us about cost and use fee policies.

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-5pm - 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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