Library Collections

Collections on EmpireADC

Several of our archival collections are now available to keyword search through the Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative (EmpireADC)! Please browse our collections through this link and make sure to check back often as updates are frequent! 

Manuscripts (1000+)
Letter Andries Coeymans Wrote to His Brother Samuel, 1726
Seventeenth century to the present
Collections consist of family, corporate, and organizational papers and records, account books, diaries, and miscellaneous single-item accessions.
* Please note, not all manuscript collections found in the library catalogue have finding aids.
For available manuscript collection finding aids, open links below:

Photographs (100,000+)

1840s to the present
Photographs are organized into collections, each with a finding aid (as downloadable PDFs). Images depict economic and social life, public and private buildings, businesses, industries, historic events, community organizations, urban, suburban and rural life, portraits of individuals, and the work of art photographers.

Main Photograph Collection

The Embossing Co., Church and Pruyn Street, 1910

The main photograph collection contains all types of photographic images, from daguerreotypes to contemporary inkjet prints from digital files. The collection also includes glass plate and cellulose acetate negatives. The images are organized into subject series. Most images relate to the people, locations, and events in Albany and other upper Hudson Valley communities. The collection also contains works by contemporary artists. [link to PDF]

Morris Gerber Collection, 1860-1970s

Louis Worthman and Harry Schurman at Menands Market, circa 1935

The Morris Gerber collection contains more than 10,000 photographic prints collected by Albany photographer and collector Morris Gerber. For thirty years, Gerber collected images of Albany and reprinted many with his mark “Old Albany.” The bulk of the collection consists of early- and mid-twentieth-century photographs. [Link to PDF]

Michael Buonora Photograph Collection of Capital Region, early 1900s-mid-1950s

The Michael Buonora collection contains photographs of street scenes, buildings, and persons from Albany, New York, and surrounding communities. Buonora, born in Albany in the late 1930s, collected photographs of the Capital District. Most of the photographs are black and white gelatin silver prints dating from the early to mid twentieth century. [Link to PDF]

Photograph Albums, 1862-1990

Albany Canal Basin Showing Barnum and Bailey Advertisement, circa 1890, from PA 26

Photograph albums depicting families, institutions, and businesses—mainly from Albany and surrounding communities—comprise the bulk of this collection. [Link to PDF]

Maps (350 items+)
Map of the City of Albany, 1833

Eighteenth century to the present
A wide variety of maps for Albany, surrounding communities, and New York state that include the following: city streets; neighborhoods; auction, patent, and property surveys; military maps showing fortifications of Albany and the Hudson River; canal, railroad, and highway systems; economic, commercial, and industrial districts; and geological surveys. [Link to PDF]

Architectural Plans and Drawings (6,500+)
Cathedral of All Saints Architectural Drawing (detail), circa 1883

Nineteenth and twentieth centuriesCollection includes plans and drawings of local buildings including residential, commercial, educational, and religious structures by architects Philip Hooker (1766–1836), Marcus T. Reynolds (1788–1864), Robert W. Gibson (1851–1927), William Schade (late nineteenth–early twentieth centuries), and more. Also included are blueprints for domestic structures listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places.

Robert W. Gibson Cathedral of All Saints Drawings (inventory) 

Schade Collection (partial inventory), 1882-1997 

Bibles (120+)

Seventeenth through twentieth centuries
Printed in English, Dutch, Latin, and German, the collection includes Bibles, psalm books, and prayer books, many with genealogical information for families from Albany and the upper Hudson Valley. [Link to PDF]

Deeds and Indentures (300+)
Indian Deed for Three Islands in Hudson River Opposite Green Island, May 31, 1664

1652 to the present
The collection contains land deeds, indentures, and legal transactions for the upper Hudson Valley.


Ephemera (600+ folders)
Summer Camp at Thompsons Lake, circa 1914

Eighteenth century to the present
Collection includes trade cards and catalogs, menus, postcards, brochures, souvenir programs, letterheads, billheads, and memorabilia. Link to finding aid.

Microforms (115+ items)

Twentieth century
This small collection includes microfilm and microfiche of newspapers, personal papers, scrapbooks, and government records including Thomas Cole papers and tax assessment rolls from 1799 to 1804.

Newspapers and Periodicals (270+ titles)

Eighteenth century to the present
Collection includes magazines, journals, newspapers, and newsletters covering international, national, regional, and local topics with an emphasis on art and history magazines and locally produced publications. [Link to PDF]

Certificates (100+)

Eighteenth century to the present
The collection includes awards, membership certificates, diplomas, testimonials, and commendations given to and received by individuals living in Albany and the upper Hudson Valley. 

Scrapbooks (150+)
1953-1963 Scrapbook from the Daughters of the American Revolution, Mohawk Chapter Records

1790s to the present
This collection consists of bound albums of newspaper clippings, ephemera, postcards, and photographs from Albany city government, families, organizations, and businesses. [Link to PDF]

Posters and Broadsides (700+)
Hair, The American Tribal-Love Rock Musical, Poster displayed at the Palace Theater in Albany, NY, April 16-21, 1971, PB 336
Hair, The American Tribal-Love Rock Musical, Poster displayed at the Palace Theater in Albany, NY, April 16-21, 1971, PB 336
Sixteenth century to the present
The main poster and broadside collection includes more than 400 examples for advertising, anti-rent wars, theater and musical society announcements, temperance meetings, and commemorative events. [Link to PDF]
The DeWitt Clinton broadside collection contains more than 100 examples collected by former New York State governor DeWitt Clinton and dating between 1775 and 1813. Most relate to New York State politics. [Link to PDF]
The World War I poster collection, dating 1916 to post 1918, contains posters, trolly cards, and magazine advertisements related to the war, Liberty Bonds, and anti-German propaganda. Albany Institute curator Cuyler Reynolds collected the materials during the war years. [Link to PDF]
The World War II poster collection relates to regional events, national political and social causes, and the war effort.
Almanacs (350+)

1732 to 1926
Almanacs include information related to astronomical events, the zodiac, calendars, government information, tide tables, distance logs, agricultural information, and weather. [Link to PDF]

Albany Institute Archives

1791 to the present
The museum archive consists of the official records of the Albany Institute of History & Art.

A/V Materials (350+ items)

Twentieth and twenty-first centuries
Collection includes motion-picture films, VHS videotapes, audio cassettes, compact discs, and other audio-visual materials documenting local events and culture, such as music, art openings, and community events, as well as commercially produced programs related to the art, history, and culture of the upper Hudson Valley.

Books, General (15,000+)

Nineteenth century to the present
The collection includes a selection of reference and research books with an emphasis on fine and decorative arts, as well as local, regional, and state history. Specialties include silver, Chinese export porcelain, and ancient Egypt. [Link to Library Catalogue]

Books, Special (3,000+)

Sixteenth century to the present
Collection includes books and pamphlets generally published before 1900, including Albany imprints, and books with notable provenance. [Link to Library Catalogue]

Directories (230+ items)

1813 to the present
Collection includes city and telephone directories from 1813 to the present and lists of Albany residents from 1756 to 1763.

Vertical Files (1280+)

Twentieth and twenty-first centuries
The Subject Vertical Files are arranged by subject and include newspaper clippings, research papers, genealogical records, and other information resources focusing on local topics. Also included are Biography Vertical Files on individuals and families from the region.