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About this collection

 The Jervis Public Library Association was incorporated in 1894 by an act of the New York state legislature. The Association took its name from prominent American civil engineer John Bloomfield Jervis, who bequeathed funds, property, and his personal collection of books and papers for the purpose of founding a library facility for the citizens of his home town, Rome, NY. Although a downtown site for a new library building was debated, in the end it was decided that the Jervis homestead would make an ideal location for Rome's public library. Melvil Dewey, inventor of the famous Dewey Decimal System for classifying books, helped draft Jervis Library's bylaws.


Jervis Drawings Collection

 John B. Jervis (1795-1885) was America's leading consulting engineer of the antebellum era (1820 - 1860). Jervis was a pioneer in the development of canals and railroads for the expanding United States. He designed and supervised the construction of five of America's earliest railroads, was chief engineer of three major canal projects, designed the first locomotive to run in America, designed and built the forty-one mile Croton Aqueduct (New York City's water supply for fifty years: 1842 - 1891), and the Boston Aqueduct. Jervis authored a book on economics, The Question of Labor and Capital (1877); helped found a local industry, the Rome Iron Mills; and, of course, is the founder of Rome's public library.

 The drawings collections of the John B. Jervis collection comprises 367 items of which 10 have been digitized and are available for viewing here.

 In the fall of 1986 the New York State Education Department, Division of Library Development, awarded Jervis Library a $10,300 Conservation / Preservation Discretionary Grant for the preservation of the drawings and papers of John Bloomfield Jervis. Assistant Director Keith Kinna wrote the grant and was the project coordinator.

 Project Consultant John Dean, Conservation Librarian, Cornell University, advised that Jervis’ drawings were in most urgent need of attention. Immediate flattening, cleaning, deacidification, and proper storage were required. This task was assigned to Patrick Reynolds, then Assistant Curator at the Rome Historical Society. Mr. Reynolds also annotated briefly, and classified, 378 of the drawings. Dr. F. Daniel Larkin, Jervis scholar and biographer at SUNY Oneonta, assisted Mr. Reynolds in classifying the drawings by project.

 The drawings have since been featured in exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Hudson River Museum, and other institutions; and used to illustrate numerous books, articles, and brochures.

 Slides and annotations of most of the drawings are available for inter-library loan. A digital index is available, and printouts from that are available upon request. For further information please contact the Assistant Director at Jervis Library.

 Read more about the John B. Jervis collection at the Jervis Public Library in Rome, NY here:


Reid Gallery of Prominent Citizens of Rome, New York

 The city of Rome, New York, began as a village named after its first Irish settler, Dominick Lynch, around 1796 near Fort Stanwix and along the Oneida Carrying Place, a Native American portage path which connected the Mohawk River to Wood Creek and Lake Ontario. Residents voted to rename "Lynchville" to Rome in 1819, and the New York State Legislature converted Rome to a city on 23 February 1870. Construction on the Erie Canal began in Rome on 4 July 1817, Jesse Williams erected the first U.S. cheese factory in 1851, and Revere Copper Products, Inc., was headquartered in Rome in 1928-29. Rome is home to the Griffiss Air Force Base, which hosted the Woodstock music festival in 1999.

 The Reid Gallery of Prominent Citizens at the Jervis Public Library in Rome, New York, contains "photographic portraits of prominent men who have in some way been connected with the history of Rome, or its vicinity, who have been born in Rome or have lived in Rome and who have attained prominence in the city of Rome or elsewhere," along with a "historical or biographical sketch" of the respective subject.

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