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About this collection

The Research Library supplements the diverse and world renowned collections at Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum. Our broad focus includes New York State with an emphasis on Otsego and nearby counties, American and Native American history, art, and material culture. The Library's Special Collections include rare books, manuscripts and archival collections, trade catalogs, pamphlets, broadsides, and ephemera.




All Digital Collections  (unsorted)


Belva Lockwood Manuscript Collection

Belva Ann Lockwood (1830–1917), a noted lawyer and a National Equal Rights presidential candidate, was a native of the Town of Royalton, Niagara County, New York. She ran for president of the United States in the election of 1884, becoming the first woman to run a full-scale presidential campaign. The Belva Lockwood Manuscript Collection contains original drafts of Lockwood’s speeches. Manuscript pages are accompanied by full-text transcriptions. Lecture titles illuminate the author’s thoughts on topics like: “The New Woman,” “Equal Rights,” “Suffrage,” “On Marriage” and “Women in Professions.”


Otsego Lake Historical Collection

The Otsego Lake Historical Collection is a selection of primary resources from the Library’s collection that illustrate the landscape and historic importance of Otsego Lake in Cooperstown, NY. This digital gallery was created to  accompany an extensive bibliography of secondary sources and Museum objects published by Fenimore Art Museum Library. Digitization and creation of the Otsego Lake Historical Collection & Bibliography was made possible by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. The collection includes postcard and map images of the lake and historic markers, ephemera illustrating lake-related transportation during the 19th and 20th centuries, manuscripts relating to the Sullivan-Clinton Expedition during the American Revolution, and a publication with annotations on how Otsego Lake figured into the novels of James Fenimore Cooper.


Murder Pamphlet Collection Covers and Full Text

These pamphlets range from publication dates in the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth century, with the bulk published in the 1800s. Many of the books and pamphlets in this collection are listed in The Annals of Murder: a bibliography of books and pamphlets on American murders from Colonial times to 1900, compiled by Thomas M. McDade. This collection is comprised of the covers of 124 pamphlets and the full text from 37 of these.


Smith & Telfer Photographic Collection
The online Smith and Telfer photographic collection shows 300 of 500 printed images from a collection of over 53,750 glass plate negatives. The photographic work of Washington G. Smith (1828-1893) and Arthur J. Telfer (1859-1954) documents life in Otsego County, New York, for almost a century.


Manuscript Finding Aids
Since its founding, Fenimore Art Museum has developed a noteworthy manuscript collection housed in the Special Collections Department of its Research Library.  The letters, journals, family papers, business papers, and military records at the Library are good source materials for the social history of New York State.  To provide detailed access to the materials in these collections, finding aids have been created listing the contents of the boxes in each collection to the folder level.  Nearly fifty of the finding aids to the most significant of these collections have been put into electronic format and are available here.  


Octagon Houses Collection

The New York State octagon house files were gathered for use in "Octagon Buildings in New York State" compiled by Ruby M. Rounds of NYSHA. The original publication of this compilation was in "New York History" Vol. 33, nos. 2 and 3, April and July 1952, edited by Janet R. MacFarlane.


John J. Burger Railroad Collection

The John J. Burger Railroad Collection consists of extensive research material related to the Southern New York Electric Railway and other New York State railraods. Included in this digital gallery is a selection of photo albums compiled by Burger, as well as his unpublished manuscript "The Leatherstocking Trolley."




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