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About this collection

The Port Washington Public Library-Local History Center

The Port Washington Public Library’s Local History Center collects and preserves archival materials relating to the history of our area. The Archive serves as the collective memory of the community, and as such, it contains historical records of enduring value, and includes photographs, manuscripts, maps, rare books, lantern slides, negatives and other ephemera. Many of these collections highlight Port Washington’s heritage and contributions to maritime, aviation and sand mining culture on Long Island.


Located on Long Island’s North Shore, “Port”, as its familiarly known, includes the incorporated villages of Sands Point, Manorhaven, Baxter Estates, and Port Washington North, a portion of the village of Flower Hill as well as an unincorporated area of the town of North Hempstead. One of Long Island’s oldest settlements, this picturesque community boasts rolling hills and a winding coastline cradled along Long Island’s scenic Manhasset Bay. Its connectivity to New York City, both by its proximity and direct water routes, made this harbor community a favorite among some of the wealthiest families of early 20th century America. This idyllic landscape, forever immortalized as “East Egg” in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece The Great Gatsby, brought Port both national and international fame. The Archive honors Port Washington’s cultural and historic significance through its various publications and ongoing digital projects. The Local History Center also presents exhibitions featuring items from its collection.


Visit the Port Washington Public Library's Local History Center website

Port Washington Library History Collection

The Port Washington Library History Collection contains images from the planning and construction of the library in the mid-1960s to life and library activities that have taken place since that time.

Port Washington Main Street Collection

The Port Washington Main Street Collection brings together photographs, postcards, and other historic materials that reflect the rich past of this community nestled between Manhasset and Hempsted Bays. Digitized items in the Main Street Collection are drawn from the following collections in the Local History Room:

  • The Fontaine Fox Collection
  • The Hewlett Family Papers
  • The Kenneth Markland Papers
  • League of Women Voters Collection
  • Long Island To-Day
  • Map Collection
  • Port Washington Photographs
  • Port Washington Postcard Collection
  • Port Washington Schools, Faiella Collection
  • of Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington
  • William Galloway Papers

Port Washington Maritime Collection

The Port Washington Maritime Collection features materials from the Local History Center that relate to the regions rich maritime history and traditions. Original items in this collection include digital reproductions of oral histories, various black-and-white and color photographs, postcards, a tintype and a number of other ephemera that reflect a town that has grown up on Manhasset Bay and Long Island Sound. Materials featured in this digital collection include items from the following larger collections which may be explored in our Local History Room:

  • A Centennial History
  • The Aviation Collection
  • Christensen Photographs
  • Dorothea Hahn Photographs
  • The Harold Rudd Papers
  • The Hewlett Family Papers
  • The Leiber Family Papers
  • The Long Island Collection
  • The Map Collection
  • The Maritime Collection
  • The McCann Photo Album
  • The Oscar G. Petersen Collection
  • The Port Washington Photographs
  • The Port Washington Postcard Collection
  • The Sand Mining Collection
  • The Sands Point Collection

The Virginia Marshall Martus Papers

Virginia “Ginger” Marshall Martus was born and raised in Port Washington, New York. She is the daughter of Raymond E. Marshall and Edith (Townsend) Marshall. Her father, Raymond E. Marshall (1898-1978), with his father, Albert Raymond Marshall (1868-1948), was the founder and owner of A & R Marshall, Inc., a marine service and supply business in Port Washington.

The Ernie Simon Collection

Ernest P. Simon was a former senior editor of the Port Washington News for over 30 years until his death in 1976. Often referred to as “Mr. Port Washington,” Simon was a prominent member of the community and advocate of local history. The Ernie Simon Collection includes his personal collection of “Port Remembered” articles as well as his personal papers, correspondence, writings, photographs and memorabilia.

The Mason-Malone Collection

The Mason-Malone Collection consists of images from the Mason Studio archive of prints and negatives dating from approximately 1881 to 1971. Among the images are historical scenes of Port Washington, as depicted in postcards, as well as local residents, the fire department, and the waterfront.

Plain Talk Magazine

Plain Talk (1911-1914) was a local Port Washington bi-weekly magazine edited by Henry K. Landis. It provides information about business, civic life, and social events.

Port Washington Public Library Oral History Collection

The Oral History Collection consists of audio recordings and transcripts of interviews that were conducted from 1980-2006.

The Oral History Program was founded in 1980 at the Port Washington Public Library to capture on tape the memories of those men and women who have shaped Port Washington’s history, and to preserve that memory for future generations.

The Oral History Collection now holds more than 200 interviews and 8,000 pages of transcript, each indexed and summarized. The interviews cover a broad range of topics such as African-American heritage, aviation and maritime history (among others). The collection also includes interviews conducted by the Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society from 1964.

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