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Manuscripts and Special Collections

Manuscripts and Special Collections

archival box open to show an old book with the cover missing; the page visible is marbled in red, blue and yellow

The Manuscripts and Special Collections unit was established within the State Library in 1881. Its responsibilities include the acquiring, preserving and providing access to the Library's collections of manuscripts and personal papers; rare books; and special collections including prints, posters and broadsides, and musical scores. These collections, which include some of New York's documentary treasures, relate the history of New York State from the 17th century to the present and provide insight into many topics related American history, literature, science and the arts.

Visiting Manuscripts and Special Collections

As of March 17, the State Library, State Museum and State Archives are temporarily closed to the public. However, the Library is currently providing remote services.

The Research Room for Manuscripts and Special Collections is on the 11th floor of the Cultural Education Center.

It is open for research Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, and on the second Saturday of each month from 9:30 am – 5:00 pm. The Library is closed all other Saturdays as well as New York State legal holidays.

The 11th floor Research Room is shared with the New York State Archives, but please note that the Archives' hours of operation may differ from the Library's.

Material is retrieved for research twice a day starting at 10:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and starting at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Saturdays that we are open. Some collections, however, are stored off-site and may require several business days to retrieve. Arrangements should be made prior to visiting the Library. See Research Room rules for more information about conducting onsite research.

Contact Us

Contact Manuscripts and Special Collections at:

Manuscripts and Special Collections
New York State Library
Cultural Education Center
222 Madison Avenue
Albany, New York 12230

Phone: (518) 474-6282
Fax: (518) 474-5786

Making Donations to MSC

Last Updated: April 6, 2021