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The History Center blog shares research and findings about local history, excerpts from the History Center Archives, information about upcoming exhibits and other opportunities on how to get involved with The History Center in Tompkins County. To learn more or view the archival materials mentioned, visit us in downtown Ithaca, follow us on social media @TompkinsHistory, or subscribe to our monthly newsletter History Happenings

A busy year behind the scenes in the Research Library & Archives

Thu, December 30, 2021 1:32 PM | Anonymous

Despite pandemic constraints, 2021 was a rich and productive year in the Archives and Research Library. We served almost 600 people in our library and by email and phone from ten different states across the US, including Florida, Iowa, Washington, Tennessee, Georgia, Minnesota, New Jersey, and more. We created a brief video honoring the Council for Equality, Ithaca's own Civil Rights organization from the 1960s. A generous grant from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation helped us to revise and update our archival collections finding aids, those essential tools for researchers.

We worked with numerous local partners to research and showcase Tompkins County's diverse history: The Village of Freeville, United Way, Discover Cayuga LakeIthaca Asian American AssociationFinger Lakes Land Trust, The Ithaca Voice, WSKG, WRFI, The Cherry Arts, Civic Ensemble, Caroline History Club, St. John's Episcopal Church, Friends of Stewart Park, and the Human Services Coalition. We also facilitated research for Cornell University Historic Preservation and Planning students studying the local built environment.

Donations to the collection this year included materials from Club Essence, an African American women's group from the 1970s to the early 2000s; records of Ithaca's iconic Corner Bookstore; genealogy materials from numerous local and regional families; stereoviews of local scenes; records of the New York National Farmers' Union; materials from the Lehman Alternative Community School from one of its own students; an extensive collection of World War II items belonging to Robert Nobles of Ithaca, and more.

More than a dozen volunteers and interns generously donated their time, effort, and expertise to facilitate all of this essential work. They include Nancy Leeming, Mary Tomlan, George Dillmann, Gene Endres, Elisabeth Shea, Janet Wagner, Alison Maceli, Ashley Miller, Alex Black, Shailja Gaur, Margaret McKinnis, Katherine Esterl, Raia Gutman, Maya Matunis, and Jessica Golden. We are more grateful to them than we can say.

Donna Eschenbrenner

Director of Archives & Research Services

Physical Address

Located inside the Tompkins Center for History & Culture

110 North Tioga Street

(On the Ithaca Commons) 

Ithaca NY, 14850 USA

Gayogo̱hó:nǫ' Territory


Exhibit HallWednesday-Saturday 10am-5pm - CLOSED Sun-Tues

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


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Phone: 607-273-8284


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