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Archives & Special Collections

Staten Island's Response to 9/11 Documentation Project

Angel Statue FDNY Sign  

The Archives & Special Collections of the CSI Library, building on a mission to document recent history on Staten Island, has embarked on a public information and archival documentation project to preserve historical resources that will aid future researchers to understand the immediate response of Staten Islanders to 9/11 and the subsequent creation of memorials.

9/11 had a significant impact on Staten Island. A large percentage of the Island’s population works in lower Manhattan and many were at work or on their way to jobs in and near the World Trade Center on 9/11. The number of victims from the Staten Island community was disproportionately high and most people on Staten Island knew one or more of the victims or victims’ families. In addition, the large population of police and firefighters on Staten Island contributed to the tremendous local impact of the tragedy. For months after the event and memorial services, 9/11 remained a Staten Island story as Staten Island’s Fresh Kills Landfill accepted the debris of the destroyed buildings.

Angels' Circle In Memory plaque  

This documentation project has revealed the depth of the Staten Island community’s response. Large, public memorials have been funded and built. At the same time schools, churches, and other community-based organizations have made an effort to maintain the spontaneous memorials their groups created in response to this event. Preachers sermonized in an attempt to heal their congregations and schools created videos and held assemblies to help the children cope with this life-altering event. The phrase “Never Forget” was, and continues to be pervasive throughout the borough, on murals, stained glass windows, gardens, billboards, storefronts, car window stickers, and tattoos.

With funding from the NYS Archives Documentary Heritage Program, CSI’s Archives and Special Collections surveyed documentation, established relationships with community organizations, and educated the public on the importance of recording, documenting, and preserving the materials related to Staten Island’s response to the events of 9/11. The Archives has received materials from public memorials such as the Garden of Healing at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Angels Circle – a spontaneous memorial that has grown into a permanent memorial for the victims from Staten Island, and the World Trade Center Cross at Mount Manresa Jesuit Retreat House. In addition, the Archives and Special Collections has collected materials from schools and churches, local elected officials, and community groups. Photographs, speeches, programs from memorial events, and newspaper clippings make up the rest of the collection. In addition to the Guide to Resources Documenting Staten Island’s Response to 9/11 at the CSI Library, the project also included the creation of a Guide to Resources Documenting Staten Island’s Response to 9/11 at Other Institutions.

Collections Include

  • Speeches by Dr. Lucia Bove at the Garden of Healing/World Trade Center Tribute Center
  • Angels Circle – Newspaper clippings, photographs (52)
  • Mount Manresa – photographs, newspaper clippings, program of memorial dedication
  • Street re-naming lists
  • Photographs of memorials
  • Response by religious institutions – memorabilia, programs, text of sermons
  • Responses by students – crafts, memorabilia, gardens, photos, poems
  • Video created by students and staff of P.S. 22
Aerial Shot Angels' Circle poster