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Special Collections' local history collection includes material that focuses on the historical, political and cultural heritage of Oswego County or the surrounding Central New York region. This collection also includes items of genealogical significance, such as city directories and histories of local villages, towns and cities in Oswego County.

General Resources

Historical Local Newspapers

Note: Newspaper resources marked with a * are indexes only, and do not contain electronic full text. Full text can be obtained by visiting Special Collections or in some cases by contacting Special Collections with your request.

Local History Research Guide

This research guide lists books and a few other resources that are related to local history.

Specific Topics

College Archives

Special Collections has many resources relating to the history of SUNY Oswego, including yearbooks, information about buildings' names, and much more.

B. Burt Papers, 1745 - 1899

This student project digitized several of Bradley Benedict Burt's papers, including letters and hand-drawn maps of Lake Ontario.

Erastus Granger Papers, 1805 - 1827

These student projects digitized some of Erastus Granger's papers. Granger was an early Federal Indian agent and Democratic political figure in western New York.

Note: Some letters are duplicated between the two projects.

Orrin Stone Diary, 1814 - 1815

Orrin Stone was an Oswego County Pioneer. In 1814 he was establishing his own home and getting ready to be married.

Millard Fillmore Papers, 1817 - 1889

These student projects digitized some of Millard Fillmore's papers. Fillmore was the 13th president of the United States.

Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, 1832 - 1919

Dr. Mary Edwards Walker was the first woman ever to be awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor for Meritorious Service. She lived much of her life in Oswego.

Safe Haven

In August of 1944, 982 refugees from war-torn Europe were placed in an internment camp at Fort Ontario to await the outcome of the Second World War. The majority of these refugees were Jewish and had recently been liberated from the persecutions of Nazism in central Europe. The Emergency Refugee Shelter at Fort Ontario was established by a directive from President Franklin Roosevelt.

Lake Ontario @ Oswego Slideshow

student studying by Lake Ontario View slideshow

Snow Scenes Slideshow

people shoveling snow View slideshow


The Special Collections Department of Penfield Library is not a geneological library, however we do offer some genealogical resources.

Rare Books & Manuscripts

Special Collections' manuscript collection contains records, documents, correspondences, business papers, etc. of individuals, organizations, or of a specialized topic.