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Special Collections at Hofstra

"The Long Island Studies Institute, a cooperative endeavor of Hofstra University and Nassau County, is a major center for the study of Long Island local and regional history. The Institute's research facility—which is open to scholars, teachers, students, and the general public—includes:
  • Archival Collections
  • Books
  • Photographs
  • Newspapers
  • Maps
  • Census Records
  • Genealogies
  • Government Documents
  • Manuscripts
  • Audiovisual Materials
The various collections within the Institute include the Nassau County Museum's Reference Collection, Hofstra University's James N. MacLean American Legion Memorial Collection, as well as other collections donated by individual Long Island families and businesses. These resources constitute a rich repository for local history research."

Authors Collection, 1795-1974

The collection, which spans the years 1795 through 1974, consists of correspondence with some manuscript materials, printed materials, and photographs. Among the authors represented in the collection are Edmund Blunden, William Cullen Bryant, Joseph Conrad, Albert Einstein, E.M. Forster, Robert Francis, Robert Frost, John Keats, Archibald MacLeish, Ellsworth Mason, H.L. Mencken, Bertrand Russel, Siegfried Sassoon, George Bernard Shaw, Upton Sinclair, Edith Wharton, Virginia Woolf, and W.B. Yeats.

Binnian, Jacqueline Collection, 1923-2004

Jacqueline Binnian dedicated over 40 years of her life to the preservation of the environment of the North Shore of Long Island. She founded and/or was a member of numerous groups, including Concerned Citizens for 25A, Alliance for the Preservation of Coindre Hall Park, and ACTION. Her greatest passion, however, was the preservation of trustee lands in the Town of Huntington, a cause she remained dedicated to until her death in 2005.

Carman Family Collection, 1679-1942

The collection is comprised largely of the papers of William G. Carman’s Birdsall and Garner family ancestors, many of whom were farmers and merchants in Jerusalem (present-day Wantagh), N.Y. Ancestors from other notable Long Island families—including the Jacksons, Langdons, Powells, Seamans, and Smiths—are also represented in the collection.

Davidson, Bernice and Reuben. Collection, 1946-2004

Bernice and Reuben Davidson were humanitarian and political activists on Long Island. They organized community movements, reached out to political leaders, worked with other non-profit organizations, public and government institutions and utilized the media to promote their messages. Most of the collection centers around their involvement during the Vietnam War era and the presidency of Richard Nixon.

Dunn, Stephen, 1939- . Collection, 1947-2009

The Stephen Dunn Collection at Hofstra University consists of the personal and professional papers of Dunn, including various publications in which he appeared throughout his career. These are in the form of volumes, magazines, and articles. Also included is correspondence with other poets, in which they discuss Dunn’s poetry or the correspondents’. The collection also includes personal correspondence with friends and colleagues regarding topics other than poetry, as well as fan mail. A large part of the collection consists of early versions of his poetry, many of which are handwritten or notebook versions. There is also memorabilia from the Pulitzer Prize celebration and a scrapbook of that event.

Engerer Family Papers, c.1920-1964, 2008

Captain Ernest Engerer immigrated to the United States from Germany circa 1914, where he settled on Long Island and worked as an animal trainer and animal act performer for fifty years, running a kennel and dog training academy as well as a small circus that traveled both regionally and abroad.

Freese, Walter C. (1903-1968) Collection, 1920-1996

Dr. Walter C. Freese graduated from the University of Buffalo School of Medicine in 1926. Soon after, he moved to Baldwin, N.Y., and opened a home office. In the early 1940s, he became a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS). In 1949, Freese was named the head of the division of general surgery at Nassau Hospital. He was also attending surgeon at Meadowbrook Hospital and Mercy Hospital. During the 1960s, he became one of nine police surgeons in Nassau County. He held this position until his death, and was always very proud of the police badge that he carried. In addition, Freese served as vice chairman of the First National Bank of Freeport, NY, where he was also president of the Finance Committee.

Harbor Hill, Mackay/Hechler Collection 1900-2000

Harbor Hill was a Gold Coast estate located in Roslyn, Long Island, New York, and owned by the Mackay Family. The property on which the estate was built was given to Clarence Mackay and Katherine Duer Mackay as a wedding gift in 1898 by Clarence’s famous parents, John W. Mackay and Marie Louise Hungerford. The house was the site of many elaborate parties, including grand celebrations honoring the Prince of Wales, and Charles Lindbergh. Charles Hechler was the superintendent of Harbor Hill from 1907-1938. The estate was eventually demolished in 1947.

Hispanic/Latino Collection, 1951-current

The collection was established with the help of grant funding from the NYS Archives’ Documentary Heritage Program. It is comprised of materials that document the rich history and culture of Long Island’s diverse Hispanic/Latino population. Included among those who have contributed materials to the collection are social workers, service providers, immigration lawyers, artists, teachers, athletes, filmmakers, civic leaders, and members of dance and music groups.

Hull, William D. (1918-1984) Papers, 1906-1984

The William D. Hull collection at Hofstra University consists of the personal and professional papers of Hull, who was a professor at Hofstra from 1946 until his death in 1984.

Lent, Norman F. (March 23, 1931 - ). Collection, 1971-1992

The Congressman Norman F. Lent Collection is comprised of documents from Lent’s public service in the New York State Senate, and the United Stated Congress as a representative for New York State’s Fourth and Fifth Congressional Districts. The collection was donated by Congressman Lent and consists of scrapbooks constructed by Mr. Lent during his tenure as congressman, from September 1962 to June 1992. It focuses on local, state, and federal policy and the effects of legislation on Long Island. The scrapbooks contain election materials, congressional records, newspaper and magazine articles, official government letters, photographs, White House event invitations, keepsake items and photographs. This collection is organized chronologically in the form of scrap books. Noteworthy items include White House event invitations, Presidential inauguration event materials, photographs, congressional polling material, election materials, and congressional district surveys.

Mitchell, Broadus (1892-1988). Collection, 1926-1975

The Broadus Mitchell Collection at Hofstra University contains family correspondence, professional correspondence and organizational correspondence which detail the events in Mitchell’s life. Also included are print materials, manuscript materials, a small amount of financial documents and personal items. Mitchell taught economics at Johns Hopkins from 1919 to 1939. He ran for Governor of Maryland in 1934 on the Socialist Party ticket. He spent successive years at Occidental College in California from 1939 to 1941 and at New York University from 1942 to 1944. He also taught at Rutgers from 1949 to 1958. Mitchell came to Hofstra’s New College in 1958 and retired in 1967 at 75; he received an Honorary Degree from Hofstra in 1967. In Tarrytown, New York he died at the age of 95.

Physicians for Social Responsibility (Nassau County Chapter) (1982-1997). Collection, 1948-2000

The Nassau County Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR-NC) was an organization which protested nuclear war in the ’80s and ’90s. The group gave lectures, held fundraisers, led protests, as well as other events, in order to educate the general population on the topic of nuclear war and to promote world peace.

Pinter, Harold. Collection, 1960-1971

The Pinter Collection is comprised of clippings, correspondence, theatrical programs, scripts, and interviews including documents and audiovisual materials. The items in the collection relate mostly to Harold Pinter’s work as a playwright and screenwriter. The bulk of the collection include scripts and programs from Pinter’s plays that were performed in the 1960s and 1970s.

Places of Worship. Collection, 2000-2002

In the year 2000, Hofstra University alumnus Robert L. Harrison began his quest to photograph all the places of worship in Nassau County. Eighteen months and over 3000 miles later, he had completed a stunning visual record of the religious diversity in this rapidly changing area of Long Island. This collection contains all of the images captured by Harrison during his photographic odyssey.(Note: Harrison added a small number of photographs to the collection in 2002. Also, the collection does include some photographs of places of worship located in Suffolk County).

Popular Culture Collection, Comic Books and Publications, 1875-current

The term “popular culture” evades easy definition. For some, it is any aspect of culture that is aimed at and appreciated by a large segment of a society. Some conceive of it as inherently unsophisticated, standing in opposition to higher forms of culture. Others consider it to be necessarily commercialized, and primarily existent to make money. This collection includes comic books, graphic novels, newspapers, magazines, realia and books.

Post Family Collection, 1796-1935

The bulk of this collection is comprised of letters written to Long Island Quaker abolitionists Joseph and Mary Post between 1838 and 1888. Notable correspondents include the following: Lucretia Mott, abolitionist and women’s rights leader; Isaac Post (Joseph’s brother), abolitionist and spiritualist; Rev. George Truman; and Cyrus Peirce. Topics discussed are slavery, the Civil War, Christianity, Friends’ Meetings, theological matters, and general everyday life. Also included in the collection are artifacts, engravings, genealogy documents, general print materials, indentures, Monthly Meeting testimonies, pamphlets, photographic prints, poems, receipts, silhouette prints, sketches, song lyrics, survey diagrams, and a family photo album.

Rushmore Family Collection, 1811-1997

The Rushmores were a prominent Quaker farm family in Nassau County for over 250 years. They operated a dairy farm in Old Westbury from 1685 until the mid-1840s when they relocated to Roslyn Heights. They continued dairy farming until the late 1800s, and then switched to farming potatoes, corn, and root crops. The farm remained in operation until the late 1940s when it was sold to land developers Levitt & Sons.

September 11 Project Collection, 2001-current

The September 11 Project Collection, which is composed of material created by Long Island residents and businesses, consists mainly of records of September 2001 and the following months. Strong areas of the collection include e-mail documents, photographs and artifacts produced by or related to the events of September 11 and the recovery effort.

Smith/Wallace Family Collection, 1767-1996

The collection consists mainly of material from the Smith Family of Freeport, NY. The bulk of the material is comprised of personal correspondence between Marjorie Smith Wallace and Earl Stewart Wallace from 1914-1921, letters, calling cards, photographs (including daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, cartes de visite, cabinet cards, photographic postcards and prints), memorabilia (silver trophies, silver plates), artifacts, fabric materials and oil paintings.

Speno, Senator Edward J., 1920-1971. Papers, 1935-1973

Edward J. Speno was born on September 23, 1920 in Syracuse, New York. He moved to Nassau in 1949 and became involved in Republican politics. He married wife Audrey and they had four children: Edward Jr., Sara Rose, Thomas, and Amy.

Wachtel, Harry H., 1917-1997. Papers, 1950-1990

The Hofstra University Archives, through Trustee Emeritus Bernard Fixler and Mrs. Lucy Wachtel, were given Harry Wachtel’s Papers, The collection, encompassing approximately 15.0 cubic feet of paper documentation, with an additional 12.0 cf. of print materials, is arranged in seventeen series. The materials include information about a variety of Supreme Court cases, organizations such as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, many aspects of civil rights, and Wachtel’s trip with King and his supporters to Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

Weingrow Avant-Garde Art and Literature Collection

The Weingrow Collection of Avant-Garde is the gift of Muriel and Howard L. Weingrow. This collection consists of some 4,000 original illustrated books, manifestos, periodicals, catalogs, posters, prints, manuscripts, photographs, film, and records, which represent the Dada, Surrealist, and Expressionist movements. Also included are samples of many other movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries as well as selections from the second Avant-Garde movement of the late 1960s, and the movement known as the New Realism.

Woman's Forum of Nassau County Scrapbook Collection, 1957-1995

The Woman’s Forum of Nassau County was founded in 1944 by Elizabeth Bass Golding. Organized to discuss problems of common concern, the Forum hosted conferences, panel discussions, programs, meetings, etc., that dealt with topics such as alcoholism, aging, housing on Long Island, high school trade schools, town government, and the morality of Off Track Betting. The organization grew rapidly and eventually united more than 500 groups of different races, creeds, nationalities, and interests.

Zarb, Frank G., 1935- . Collection, 1948-2014

Frank Zarb has been a cabinet member or an advisor to five United States Presidents. He is a graduate of Hofstra University (BA 1957 and MBA 1962) and has served in the US Army. He may be best known, however, as the “Energy Czar” when he worked in the US Energy Department and played an integral part in the US fuel allocation program during the oil crisis of the 1970’s or, as the Chairman of the NASDAQ stock exchange in the late 1990’s.