Jean B. Lang Western New York Historical Collection

About the Collection

The collection was organized in 1964 by Jean B. Lang, who was the curator until 1991, and contains historical and genealogical information from the Western New York area, with an emphasis on Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Monroe, and Steuben counties. This special resource was officially renamed the Jean B. Lang Western New York Historical Collection in February, 2002. The room is open for research during library hours. The materials housed in this collection must be used in the Library. Photocopying is available.

Books and Archival Materials

  • Use the library's online catalog to find books, audiovisual, and archival materials in the collection
  • Call numbers starting with "Hist" are in this collection


  • The Alfred Sun is available from 1884 - 1970 in microfilm format, and from 1973--date in hard copy. Some indexing is available. For an index to personal names in the Alfred Sun, consult: Hist AI 21 A47 1973-1987. Much of the Sabbath Register and the Sabbath Recorder is also available on microfilm, with a partial index. These two newspapers list many marriages and deaths of Seventh Day Baptists from 1840 to the present.
  • The Patriot (Cuba, NY) is available from October 1972 - June 8, 1977.
  • The Whitesville News is now located in the Whitesville Public Library, and the Andover News (1887-1958) is on microfilm and now available at the Andover Free Library.

Atlases, Maps, and Census Materials

Early area atlases are stored on the oversize shelves under the bound newspapers. Historical and topographical maps are in the map case. Census material is cataloged under: Hist HA 201.. and Hist F 118...

Vertical Files

The vertical files contain clippings, pamphlets, documents, etc. filed by subject. A genealogy file contains genealogical papers arranged alphabetically by family name.

The Library has material related to the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Protest ("Bump the Dump" that took place from 1988 to 1992). In 2001, the NYS Documentary Heritage Program awarded a grant to the Allegany County Historian's Office, Herrick Memorial Library at Alfred University, and Hinkle Memorial Library to document existing material related to the protest. The complete archive of this important protest movement may be found at the Herrick Library, Alfred University, as part of their Archives & Special Collections.

Film and Video

The collection contains about two dozen videotapes, including copies of films about life in Alfred made from the 1930's to the 1960's by Varick Nevins; and "Souvenirs and Heirlooms Today," a 1979 series that profiles the hobbies and interests of several elderly Allegany County residents.


Main Street, Alfred, NYOver 3,000 photographs are indexed by subject and name. The collection also includes slides, transparencies, and postcards of the Western New York area. The collection of photographs includes everything from glass plate negatives to postcards and polaroids. Items of interest from the collection are presented here grouped by subject, and include photos of Alfred, NY, Alfred State College, and Alfred University. Also included are photos of the Celadon Terra Cotta Company, as well as buildings such as the Terra Cotta and the Steinheim Museum. Unfortunately, most of the photographs in the collection lack dates and detailed descriptions. Some images of the collection have been made available online. This is a work in progress, and we look forward to making more photographs available online. View images online.

Artifacts and Costumes

The collection includes a limited selection of artifacts, quilts, and costumes for display purposes.

Genealogy Research

Geneological researchers will be interested in:

  • The Brownell Collection: information on primarily Andover and Allegany County, New York families arranged by last name and including obituaries from the Wellsville Daily Reporter, 1966-1973
  • Eldridge Collection: notebooks arranged alphabetically by last name and by counties in New York State
  • Indices of Eldridge family source material: names found in the New England Historical and Geneological Register
  • Surname index for vertical files
  • Tree Talks, published quarterly by the Central New York Genealogical Society

Internet access is available in the Hinkle Library. Patrons may wish to link to genealogical sites such as:

Please note that an in-depth genealogical research assistance is not available. Reference help is generally available during business hours (8 a.m. - 4 p.m.) or by calling 607-587-4313.

National Register of Historic Places

The library has compiled a list of properties in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Livingston, Steuben, and Wyoming counties as supplied in the State and National Registers of Historic Places. For more information, see the National Register of Historic Places.


Copies of paper material and microfilm may be made for 10 cents per exposure.

Library Hours

Visit our library hours page. Note that during summer and college vacations hours vary. It is always a good idea to email or call the library 607-587-4313 before coming.

For More Information

Contact David Haggstrom
Special Collections Librarian