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Research Library and Collections

Archival Collection of Covid-19 Impacts in Tompkins County

We are living through one of the most demanding and disturbing times in modern history. The whole world is grappling with the unsettling realities of the Coronavirus outbreak. Tompkins County is no exception, and our community hascompletely restructured in the past month with the goal of protecting our most vulnerable, and slowing down the spread of the virus locally so our local health workers can continue to provide the best care to all patients. Many historians have been comparing the COVID-19 outbreak to the global influenza pandemic of 1918. In this instance however we have an opportunity to better document this pivotal time in our community than we've ever had before.

The History Center in Tompkins County and the Cornell University Archives are collaborating in creating ongoing archival collections related to the impacts of COVID-19. Cornell is focusing on the impacts nationally, while we at The History Center are focusing on the issues locally. To this end we need your help!

Please let us know how you are coping with these tremendous challenges. Write about your experiences with this virus and the impacts you are seeing in the local community. Capture pictures of ways community spaces have changed, and how you are practicing social distancing in our own lives.

If you are a local business that has been impacted consider sending us any materials you designed or developed to share this news with your patrons.

Teachers, this can also be an activity for students to pursue in their own way.

In this time of great urgency we are seeing many people step up to provide aid and comfort to those in need, such as our elderly and ailing neighbors. We are all in this together and sharing our stories can lighten our emotional load. Our stories are the first draft of the history our descendants will read when we're gone. To all of our community we send our best wishes to stay safe and well.

Please send all materials to Donna Eschenbrenner at with information about the date, time, and location of images and author attribution of any written pieces.



Media Folder

The Cornell Local History Research Library and Thaler/Howell Archives are located in the new location of The History Center in Tompkins County, within the Tompkins Center for History & Culture. Find full visitor information here.








 The Cornell Local History Research Library, named in honor of Ezra Cornell, is a place for discovery about Tompkins County's past. 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, for a fee, at the discretion of the archivist. 

Check back soon for The History Center's NEW AND REVISED Guide to Research Services. 

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

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