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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!

  • 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

Archival Re-Prints Available

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)

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

    • C. Hadley Smith Photograph Collection
    • Charles Howes Collection
    • Clayton Smith Collection
    • Curt Forester Photograph Collection
    • Gordon Buzzell Collection
    • Henry Head Collection
    • J. F. Drake Collection
    • John Spires Collection
    • John Troy Collection
    • Joseph Burritt Collection
    • Louise Boyle Collection
    • Marion Wesp Collection
    • Ralph Baker Collection
    • Seth Sheldon Collection
    • Sol Goldberg Photograph Collection
    • Verne Morton Photograph Collection

    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


    Available for purchase from our Book Store or review in our Research Library

    With a Jewelers Eye - 1860's

    With a Jewelers Eye: The Photographs of Joseph C. Burritt

    Verne Morton Early 1900's

    Great Possibilities: 150 Verne Morton Photographs

    Images of Rural Life: Photographs of Verne Morton

    Sol Goldberg - 1956-'65

    Sol Goldbergs: Kids and other important people

    Sol Goldberg's Ithaca

    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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