Long Island University’s Palmer School of Library and Information Science recently announced the opening of “Digitizing Local History Sources,” a groundbreaking five-year project and website offering the public access to over 51,000 images from 40 participating historical societies across Long Island. The endeavor was funded by a $1.5 million grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation.
Ranked among the “Best Archival Science Programs” in the country by U.S. News & World Report, the Palmer School offered 105 master’s and doctoral students the ability to digitize the documents since the project launched in 2017.
“Students of the Palmer School have become world-renowned archivists, historians and librarians,” Long Island University President Kimberly R. Cline said. “I am proud that Long Island University can offer them a unique experiential learning opportunity that will forever preserve the history of our beloved Gold Coast region and beyond.”
The collection documents the breadth of life on Long Island: from the diary of a 1920s schoolgirl to the daily calendar of a World War II school superintendent; from the daily account book of an 18th century blacksmith to advertising scrapbooks from the quintessential Long Island department store; from 17th century deeds to 20th century real estate agent records; from photos of early 1900s automobile races to scrapbooks documenting the destruction caused by the Hurricane of 1938; and from the daily life of wealthy Gold Coast residents to the treasured photo albums of Fire Island community members.
“Long Island’s historical societies’ archival collections are among their most valuable assets,” Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation Executive Director Kathryn M. Curran said.
RDLGF’s partnership with the LIU Palmer School of Library and Information Science offers students hands-on archival training while introducing our historic stewards to the best practices in handling and accessing their incredible resources. Having these collections available online will now easily expand research capabilities into Long Island’s rich heritage.
Visit www.liu.access.preservica.com to access the “Digitizing Local History Sources” project. Suggested search terms for beginning to explore the collection include:
Whaling: three journals from whaling ships
Girl: Multi-volume handwritten diary of a high school girl, 1923-27
Automobile racing: Photo albums of races by William K. Vanderbilt II
Hurricane: Photo album and scrapbook of the Hurricane of 1938
Blacksmith: Blacksmith shop ledgers, 1900-24
Land: 18th century deeds and other items
Postcard: Hundreds of images of postcards from across Long Island
Club: More than 1,800 images relating to clubs of various kinds
Family: More than 4,000 images related to families
Glass Plate: More than 1,100 glass plate negatives
Landscape: More than 1,000 images of landscapes, sketches and notes
House: Over 1,600 images related to houses and housing
Dog: 46 images with dogs
—Submitted by LIU Post