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Archives & Special Collections

Guide to Staten Island Research Materials at Other Institutions

New York City Hall Library
Department of Records
31 Chambers Street, Room 112
New York, New York 10007

Monday through Friday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm except public holidays

The City Hall Library is the official depository library for all New York City official reports and studies. Each city agency is required to submit four copies of each report it issues to the library. The library also selectively collects state, federal, and commercial publications that relate to New York City. Record holdings are not available online; a card catalog is located in the reading room. The card catalog includes books, government reports, pamphlets, and vertical file folder headings. Useful subject headings are: “N.Y.C. Neighborhoods—Staten Island,” “Staten Island,” “Richmond, Borough of,” and “Staten Island, City of [Proposed].” The Library maintains “Neighborhood Files,” which are vertical files containing materials from 1960 to the present. Most of the materials are news clippings, but there are also printed ephemera and pamphlets.

New York Municipal Archives
NYC Department of Records and Information Services
31 Chambers Street, Room 103
New York, New York 10007

Monday through Thursday, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm and Friday 9:00 am to 1:00 pm

Collections holdings may be searched on the Municipal Archives Web site.

The Archives has many records relevant to Staten Island research. However, to uncover them, one must figure out where to look. For instance, you may need to know which municipal agency or deputy mayor would have been dealing with the matter in which you are interested (sometimes this will involve gaining a knowledge of the structure of city government at the time, which may be different from today’s structure).

The Municipal Archives does have material for Staten Island prior to 1898 (the year of consolidation into New York City), but it is scattered and filed by individual community.

Some record series that definitely have Richmond County information are listed below.

County Clerk’s Office (Richmond County)
1. Magistrate’s returns, judgements, etc. ca. 1800-1925. 300 cubic feet.
2. Naturalization records. Ca. 1880- . 125 volumes.
3. Naturalization papers. 1820-1900. 40 cubic feet.
4. Building loan contracts. 12 volumes.
5. Lis penden (action pending) records. 100 volumes.
6. Register of professionals (i.e., physicians, architects, nurses, etc.). 25 volumes.
7. County Court Special Proceedings. 1935-1940. 75 cubic feet.
8. Court cases. 1929-1947. 350 cubic feet.
9. County court—rough minutes. 20 volumes
10. Misc. volumes (i.e., rough minutes, census statistics, etc.). 25 volumes.
11. County census. 1855-1925 (decennial).
12. Conveyance registers. 1686-

Department of Docks and Ferries
Folder level listings for the series is available.

Department of Parks and Recreation
Subseries VI. Borough of Richmond. 1936-1966.

Mayor’s Papers
Check correspondence files for specific individuals or issues.

New York State Census, Richmond County
1855, 1865, 1870, 1875, 1880, 1915, 1925 (not indexed).

Old Town Records. Richmond County
Records that were turned over to the city at the time of incorporation in 1898.

1. Board of supervisors’ minutes.
2. Tax records.
3. School administration.
4. Dept of Public Health.
5. Roads and Public Works.
6. Sewers.
7. Tax assessment rolls.
8. Treasurers records.
9. Records for specific towns (Castletown, Middletown, Edgewater, Southfield, New Brighton, Northfield, Port Richmond, and Westfield).
10. Vital Records.
11. Birth records, 1898-1909.
12. Death records, 1898-1948.
13. Marriage records, 1898-1937.
14. Matrimonial records (divorces, separations, annulments), 1861-1933.
15. Town and village vital records, 1847-1849 and 1881-1897.
16. WPA Tax Photographs. (Images of every building on Staten Island in 1939/1940 on microfilm; St. George Branch, NYPL, also has this material. Use instructions may be found at

New-York Historical Society
2 West 77th Street
New York, New York 10024


The Society’s holdings include over 350 collections and items related to Staten Island in all formats ranging in date from the 18th through 20th centuries. There are online catalogs, finding aids, and other research aids on their Web site, although some material may still only have onsite card catalog access.

New York State Archives
Cultural Education Center, Room 3043
Albany, New York 12230


Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Collection holdings may be searched on the New York State Archives Web site.

Record series that contain information about local communities that is accessible by jurisdiction (e.g., city, town, village, district) or by geographic location are listed below.

Colonial Period
A1895 Council minutes
A1894 Council papers
A0273 Applications for land grants

Adjutant General’s Office
13774 Town clerks’ registers of men who served in the Civil War, 1865-1867

L0054 Assembly Members' Books, 1911-1978. [39 c.f. (76 volumes)]
A1825 Petitions, correspondence and reports, 1780-1830

Board of Railroad Commissioners
B0296 Minutes of meetings, 1855-1907

Bridge and Tunnel Commission
A0051 Report, 1921

Bureau of Military Statistics
A4114 Accounts submitted by local officials regarding Civil War monies raised and expended, 1861-1866

Comptroller’s Office
13323 Annual financial reports of counties, 1961-1999 [121 c.f.]
13322 Annual schedules of real property taxes levied by county boards of supervisors-legislators, 1958-1999 [62 c.f.]

Council of Defense
A4234 Correspondence, 1917-1918
A4242 Administrative and correspondence files, 1917-1918
A4241 Subject correspondence files, 1917-1918
A4235 Correspondence of county home defense committees, 1917-1918 [2 c.f.]

Department of Civil Service
B0543 Rules and plans of municipal and county civil service commissions, ca. 1899-1975 [29 c.f.]

Department of Environmental Conservation
A1117 Statewide sewage disposal, water pollution, and discharge permit files, ca. 1900-1975 [177 c.f.]
A0743 Freshwater wetlands inventory maps, 1973-1975 [40 c.f.]

Department of Health
12205 Survey of discharges by businesses into state waterways, 1903 [2 c.f.]

Department of Transportation
12393 Annual reports of stagecoach and omnibus companies, and other common carriers, 1909-1980 [86 c.f.]
A4031 Topographical and geological highway and canal planning maps of New York, ca. 1900-1921 [2 c.f.]
A3229 State, district, county, and special highway maps, 1909-1955 [1 c.f.]

Division of Military and Naval Affairs
13774 Town and city registers of men who served in the Civil War, ca. 1865-1867 [28 c.f.]
A0389 Registers of officers and enlisted men mustered into federal military or naval service during the Civil War, 1861-1865 [6 c.f.]
A4114 Accounts submitted by local officials regarding Civil War monies raised and expended 1861-1866 [3 c.f.]

Education Department
A2017 Reports of academies, 1846-1848, 1884-1999 [9.3 c.f.]
B0494 Register of school district establishment, consolidation, and centralization, ca. 1860-1954 [.3 c.f.]
B0554 Legal files for establishment and alteration of school districts and vocational education and extension boards, ca. 1873-1971 [15 c.f.]
A0412 World War I veterans’ service data and photographs, 1917-1938 [33.4 c.f.]

Empire Development Corporation
B1109 Land use and natural resources inventory and land-related information system land use overlay maps, 1968-1977 [25 c.f.]

New York and New Jersey Joint Boundary Commission
A0782 Records, 1867-1885
A0040 Minute book, 1888-1889

Office of Children and Family Services
A1981 Annual reports of hospitals, 1873-1896 [2 c.f.]
A1988 Annual reports on poorhouses and almshouses, 1869-1896 [1.3 c.f.]
A1978 Census of inmates in almshouses and poorhouses, 1875-1921 [96.6 c.f.]

Office of Real Property Services
15085 Industrial property appraisal files, ca. 1948-1989 [160 c.f.]
15174 Utility property appraisal files, 1949-1982 [50 c.f.]

Public Service Commission.
B0298 Correspondence files pertaining to steam railroad and electric railway companies’ annual reports, ca. 1907-1933
B0302 Correspondence files pertaining to stage coach and omnibus companies’ annual reports, ca. 1910-1962
10093 Annual reports of steam railroad and electric railway companies, 1883-1975
13345 Annual reports of public utility companies, 1905-1980

L0056. Log of Senate Bills Received in the Assembly, 1911- 1980. [9 c.f. (56 volumes)]

State Board of Elections
A0510 Statewide general and special election results, 1900-1964

War Council
A3084 Division of Civilian Mobilization. Correspondence with local war councils and volunteer agencies, 1942-1945 [12 c.f.]
A4279 Division of Civilian Mobilization. Local child-care organization and assistance files, 1942-1945 [16 c.f.]
A4301 Agencies and local war councils general report files, 1942-1945 [9 c.f.]
A4302 Annual reports and war agency directories, 1942-1944
A4303 Executive secretary’s correspondence with local war councils, 1942-1945
A4324 Division of Civilian Mobilization. Local war councils’ and field representatives’ city and county activity reports, 1941-1945 [1 c.f.]
A4330 Division of Civilian Mobilization. Local war council operating reports, 1942-1944 [2 c.f.]
A4357 Division of Civilian Protection. State Fire Administrator. Local personnel and equipment inventories, 1942-1945 [11 c.f.]
A4395 Division of Civilian Protection. War Transportation Committee. Omnibus and charter bus route request files, 1942-1945 [13 c.f.]

New York State Library
Manuscripts and Special Collections
Cultural Education Center
Empire State Plaza
Albany, New York 12230

Phone: (518) 474-6282

Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Established within the State Library in 1881, Manuscripts and Special Collections acquires, and preserves manuscripts, rare books, maps and atlases, prints and photographs, broadsides and posters, musical scores and ephemera. These collections document the history of New York State from the 17th century to the present and illustrate the history of many topics related to American history, literature, science and the arts.

Although records for some holdings and some finding aids may be found online, many materials can only be located through a card catalog and printed finding aids made available in the Research Room. Materials are retrieved twice a day (at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm). Retrieval requests are taken via telephone and e-mail.

New York State Library
Cultural Education Center
Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12230

518-474-5355 (reference desk)

Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

The Library was created to serve the New York State Legislature, however, general researchers are welcome to use the collections onsite and may borrow many items through interlibrary loan. Although holdings have a broader focus, material may be found on New York State history and culture, and many New York State government documents have been collected and cataloged for the collection. Bibliographic records are available electronically and may be searched online. Although efforts have been made to create a local history collection focused on communities in New York State, little material on Staten Island is included. However, a number of government documents in the collection deal with, or relate to, Staten Island.

The New York Public Library
Manuscripts and Archives Division
Room 328
Humanities and Social Sciences Library
Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street
New York, NY 10018-2788

212-930-0830 (reference desk)

Tuesday/Wednesday, 11:00 am to 6:00 pm; Thursday through Saturday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

The Division has few collections directly related to Staten Island, most of which are listed here. The best subject access is to use the card catalog in the Division under the heading “N.Y. (State)—Richmond County.”

Duane, James, 1733-1797 Estate Papers, 1750-1867
2 volumes and 2 boxes
Judge and mayor of New York City
Partition book and records of rentals have references to Staten Island properties, and three items relate to two properties on Staten Island (Bayard’s Farm and White Hall).

Johnson, Laura (Winthrop), 1825-89 Papers, 1862-89
Ca. 315 items
Correspondence and poems of Johnson, who was an author. Includes letters of William Templeton Johnson and Elizabeth W. Winthrop to Anna Adams Fields and James Thomas Fields. Subjects represented include family affairs, writings of Theodore W. Winthrop, current literature and literary men, current events, social life on Staten Island, activities of George William Curtis, Robert G. Shaw’s family, and travel in Europe (1869-71).

Metcalfe, Henry Bleeker Papers, 1781-1877
2 boxes
Legal papers and documents, collected primarily while Metcalfe was prosecuting attorney and county judge, Richmond County, New York. Includes: land papers, leases, mortgages, and conveyances.

Serrell-Odycke-Patrick Papers, ca.1828-1963
16 linear feet
Consists of land maps and surveys (with collateral papers) made by James E. Serrel (1820-1882), Henry G. Opdycke (1870-1938), the firm of Opdycke and Thomson, and by William R. Patrick, all of whom were city surveyors and civil engineers. Serrell was also a captain of the corps of engineers of the 11th Regiment of the NY State Militia. Included is a plan he drew of Camp Washington on Staten Island containing an inventory of military stores there; and Serrell’s “Engineer Drill Book.” The drill book contains a roster of members of the corps of engineers; drill instructions illustrated by pen and ink sketches of military figures; copies of orders issued; a roll for drills and parades; and instructions relative to military field maneuvers, the use of the semaphore, and the techniques of triangulation.

New York State Artillery, 13th Regiment, 6th Brigade
The collection includes the Brigade’s General…orders, 1828-34, as well as a list of officers stationed in Richmond, County.

Staten Island Cricket and Tennis club Records, 1923-33
Ca. 150 items
Minutes of general meetings and of the board of governors, etc., lists of officers, committeemen, and members, report of the treasurer, and a few letters of resignation from members.

Swinburne, Harriette and others
Abstract of title of Harriette Swinburne, Stephen F. Shortland, and Michael N. Wiener, to premises formerly known as the Marine Hospital Grounds (SI). Davies & Work, Attorneys, etc. New York 1873? 7 leaves. Folio. Printed.
MS insert: Minutes of Board of Trustees of New Brighton (SI) Mar. 18, 1871, relative to highways near quarantine property. Transcript. 2 leaves. Folio.

The following holdings in the NYPL Archives document the history of libraries on Staten Island:

New York Public Library Agency History, RG-4
Free Circulating Libraries Records, 1880-1905
2.4 cubic feet
Staten Island had one of the 14 free circulating libraries during this period.

New York Public Library Agency History, RG-6
John Shaw Billings Records, 1885-1915
41 cubic feet
Billings was responsible for the creation of the branch library system. See also John Shaw Billings Papers, 1862-1913, 48 linear feet that is part of the Humanities Manuscripts Collection.

New York Public Library Agency History, RG-8
Branch Libraries
Annual and other reports and documents connected with the administration of the branch libraries on Staten Island.

New York Public Library Agency History, RG-10
New York Public Library Visual Materials, 1875-present
23 cubic feet
Images in a variety of formats that document NYPL buildings, programs, staff and predecessor institutions; images of Staten Island are included.

The New York Public Library
Milstein Division of U.S. History, Local History and Genealogy
Room 121
Humanities and Social Sciences Library
Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street
New York, NY 10018-2788

Tuesday/Wednesday, 11:00 am to 7:30 pm; Wednesday through Saturday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

212-930-0830 (reference desk)

The collection includes printed materials on Staten Island that may be found using the NYPL online catalog.

New York Public Library
St. George Library Center
5 Central Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10301


The largest branch library on Staten Island, the facility in St. George has a very modest collection of Staten Island related material that includes The Staten Island Advance on microfilm (1921-present) and complete holdings of The Staten Island Historian.

Staten Island Institute for Arts and Sciences
History and Archives Library
75 Stuyvesant Place
Staten Island, NY 10301


Tuesday through Thursday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, by appointment only
Admission Fee: $10 for 2.5 hours; $15 for 5 hours

Founded in 1881, the Institute originally focused on art and natural history in general, although most of the members’ natural history interests were Staten Island based. In the early 20th century, the manuscript and book collection began to include material on Staten Island history. Today more than 100 special collections focus on history, as does a percentage of the 15,000 volume library. On the whole, standard archival and bibliographic control has not been established, so researchers are dependent upon a library clerk to use the collections successfully. Synopses of the collections are available on the Institute’s Web site, but no online catalog is available. However, those manuscript collections for which records were contributed to the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections have been downloaded into a list by the New York Public Library at The library clerk will respond to general telephone information requests, but any request necessitating research is subject to a $20 per hour fee.

Holdings include: newspapers on microfilm; a news clipping file (1910-present); biographical files; Staten Island families subject files; copies of Staten Island muster rolls from the Revolutionary War through the Civil War; a photograph collection of over 50,000 images; copies of Richmond County government records prior to 1898; a map and atlas collection; a city directory collection; and some federal and state censuses for Richmond County.

The Staten Island Historical Society
441 Clarke Avenue
Staten Island, New York 10306


Tuesdays, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, by appointment only

The Society was founded in 1856 and its primary responsibility has evolved into the management of Historic Richmondtown, a 25-acre site with 33 historic structures. Like the Institute, the Society has a library and manuscript collection managed by a library clerk. An author/title card catalog is available for the book collection and a number of subject indexes for genealogical-related materials. Also like the Institute, the Society boasts a photograph collection of over 50,000 images. Finding aids, available in the reading room in three-ring binders, describe many of the collections in the 1,200 cubic foot manuscript repository. Manuscript collections for which records were contributed to the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections have been downloaded into a list by the New York Public Library at