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Digital Collections

The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library is proud to provide digital access to unique and interesting materials from our rich collections. Select from one of the collections below to being exploring our digital collections of historical photographs, scrapbooks and books, local newspapers, and more.

Featured Collection: Buffalo Never Fails: the Queen City and World War I   175th Anniversary of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library

Buffalo Never Fails: The Queen City and World War I Opens

World War I Posters

World War Through the Stereoscope

Edward J. Schranz Diary

Curtiss Aeroplane Company ​Photographs

Peyton Randolph Campbell Diary

Caroline Hickman Photos of and Correspondence with Soldier Relatives


175th Anniversary of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library

The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2011, tracing its roots back to the year 1836 when the Young Men's Association (YMA) was established. This collection of photographs progresses throughout the Library’s early history to the mid-1970s.

1825, A Pivotal Year on the Niagara Frontier   1911 diary of Francis G. Barnes, M.D.

1825, A Pivotal Year on the Niagara Frontier

This collection features seven images covering 1825, a pivotal year on the Niagara Frontier. This year saw a visit from General Lafayette to the Buffalo area; Major Mordecai Manuel Noah purchasing land on Grand Island, N.Y., to create a city, Ararat (Arrarat), for "Jews of all nations"; the trial of the three Thayer Brothers for the murder of John Love; and a view of Buffalo from that time.


1911 diary of Francis G. Barnes, M.DHandwritten diary kept in 1911 by Francis G. Barnes, M.D. of Hamburg, NY. Brief daily entries detail: personal and professional meetings, medical practice notes, weather, and financial matters.

A Journal : In Part Describing the Battles of Lexington and Concord and Bunker Hill   Ann Montgomery's Little Harlem Club
A journal : in part describing the battles of Lexington and Concord and Bunker Hill


This journal, "kept by Lieutenant Williams of His Majesty's Twenty-third Regiment, 1774-1775," includes details of the battles and lists of casualties for the Revolutionary War. This journal also includes a description of the use of signal lights from the church belfries (pages 114-115), and several charming watercolor miniatures created by Wiliams who was a talented artist and map maker.

  Ann Montgomery's Little Harlem ClubThe Little Harlem Club/Hotel on Michigan Avenue in Buffalo was owned and operated by Ann Montgomery from the 1930s through early 1960s, during which time Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and others performed. While this club coexisted with the Colored Musicians Club and other clubs like it in its time period, Ann Montgomery was the distinguishing factor. Montgomery’s style and business sense and the fact that she was an African-American businesswoman were the rare combination then that made her and the Little Harlem unique.
Buffalo Central Terminal Scrapbook   Buffalo City Directories 1832-1913

Buffalo Central Terminal ScrapbookrThis scrapbook contains local newspaper clippings and photographs relating to the Central Railroad Terminal in Buffalo, New York, from 1929-1931.


Buffalo City Directories 1832-1903	*Collection currently undergoing maintenance. Some years may not be available. We apologize for any inconvenience.

The Buffalo City Directories are a valuable source of information for local history and genealogical researchers. City directories contain listings of the city residents and businesses along with useful historical information in the front of each edition.

Buffalo Criterion   Buffalo Photograph Collection: Lantern slides, circa 1890-1910

Buffalo CriterionClick here to view select issues from 1952-1973.

Click here to view select issues from 1978-present.

The Buffalo Criterion is the oldest continuously published African American newspaper in Western New York. Founded in 1925 by Frank E. Merriweather, Sr. and his wife, Camilla Merriweather, the newspaper has been a major voice in recording the history of African Americans with a focus on Buffalo and the Western New York area.  Today, the Buffalo Criterion is still published by the Merriweather family, for whom the Frank E. Merriweather, Jr. Branch of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library is named.


Buffalo Photograph Collection: Lantern slides, circa 1890-1910The Buffalo Photograph Collection of lantern slides contains glass plate images of cityscapes, street views, events, and architecture in turn-of-the-century Buffalo. Some of the locations featured in this collection include the Buffalo Harbor, Lafayette Square, Main Street, and the Washington Street Market.

Buffalo Public School Buildings, 1908   Civil War Diary, 1863 Jan. 1-Sept. 20.
Buffalo Public School Buildings, 1908These 83 photographs of Buffalo Public Schools were taken in 1908 for a building survey. Included are 53 primary schools, Central, Lafayette, and Masten Park High Schools, and the Normal School teacher’s college.  As most of the buildings in these photographs no longer exist, this collection is a snapshot of educational architecture in the early 20th century. Notable architects include Louise Blanchard Bethune, Esenwein & Johnson, and M.E. Beebe & Son.​  

Civil War diary, 1863 Jan. 1-Sept. 20.

Chester Sternberg enrolled in the 21st New York Volunteers, 13 May 1861 at Buffalo to serve 2 years. Mustered in as lieutenant, wounded at Bull Run, Va., 30 Aug. 1862, received promotion to lieutenant colonel, 8 Dec. 1862, mustered out at Buffalo, 18 May 1863. Details of duties, weather, and travels between Buffalo, Washington, D.C., and Aquia Creek, Va.

Community History Projects   Early Buffalo Newspapers
Community History Projects	The B&ECPL has been building a “Digitized Commons” for Community History Projects through collaborative relationships with community partners. This website features the Hispanic Heritage History Project, a unique project being conducted by the Hispanic Heritage Council of WNY, Inc. to collect materials such as oral history interviews and historical photographs from community members relating to local Hispanic heritage. This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (LG-07-12-0551-12)​.  

Early Buffalo Newspapers


The Republic (1847-1848)

Buffalo Daily Republic (1848-1886)

Buffalo Daily Republic and Times (1858)

Evening Courier & Republic (1862-1875)

Evening Republic (1876-1885)

Buffalo Evening Post (1852-1886)

Erie County Poor House Ledgers   The Federalist: a collection of essays, written in favour of the new Constitution, as agreed upon by the Federal Convention, September 17, 1787
Erie County Poor House Ledgers
The Erie County Poorhouse of Buffalo, NY and succeeding institutions known as the Erie County Alms House, Erie County Hospital, and Erie County Home & Infirmary, operated as a social safety net for the region's poor and infirm. From 1851 to 1926, the Poorhouse was located on Main Street in Buffalo, the current site of the University at Buffalo's South Campus. The records consist of intake ledgers (children "bound out" 1863-1868, adults 1861-1864, 1871-1889, 1908-1923) and death registers (1897-1952).
  The FederalistRare Book Room's copy is one of Thomas Jefferson's copies, sent to him in Paris by John Jay, with an annotation in Jefferson's hand at the base of page 151 of vol. 1 (page 157 of digital).
George Nathan Newman Collection of Photographs of Vanishing Buffalo   Island Dispatch

George Nathan Newman Collection of Photographs of Vanishing BuffaloThe George Nathan Newman Collection of Photographs of Vanished and Vanishing Buffalo is a multi-volume photo album containing images of Buffalo's and the surrounding area's rich local history. The images are black-and-white reprints of Buffalo and the region primarily from the 1800s and early 1900s. The photos capture buildings (theaters, businesses, residences) and streets in Buffalo and the Niagara region that no longer exist or have changed beyond recognition.

  Island DispatchThe Island Dispatch has been a premier local newspaper for Grand Island, NY since 1944. The newspaper features community-focused content such as events and festivals, advertisements for local businesses, birth and marriage announcements, and sport results. Select issues from 1989-2008 are now available in digital format.
Lackawanna Newspapers   Nelson Fischer WWII Scrapbook, 1940-1944

Lackawanna NewspapersLackawanna herald. (Lackawanna, N.Y.) 193?-19??

The Lackawanna news. (Lackawanna, N.Y.) 19??-1933

Lackawanna press. (Lackawanna, N.Y.) 1949-19??

Lackawanna's steel city press. (Lackawanna, N.Y.) 1947-1948

Hundreds of issues from local Lackawanna newspapers are now available online through NYS Historic Newspapers. Select from one of the titles above to begin exploring this collection.



Nelson Fischer WWII Scrapbook, 1940-1944The Nelson Fischer Scrapbook was compiled by Thelma Fischer from 1940-1944 and donated to the Grosvenor Room of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library. Nelson Fischer served in United States Army during World War II, and his wife, Thelma composed this scrapbook containing official and personal correspondence, memorabilia, and newspaper clippings.

New York to Paris Race   Nye Park :  Buffalo's new residence section, overlooking the park lake in beautiful Delaware Park

New York to Paris RaceAt the dawn of the 20th century, automobiles were an infant technology with none of the infrastructure we take for granted today. Most people in the world had not yet seen a car in person. The 1908 New York to Paris Race, won by the made-in-Buffalo Thomas Flyer, changed that.

  Nye Park :  Buffalo's new residence section, overlooking the park lake in beautiful Delaware ParkPromotion material for residential real estate development in the area formerly occupied by the Pan American Exposition, 1901. Also includes a prospectus for sale of stocks and bonds. A list of use and construction restrictions on the properties, with minimum prices for various streets, laid in
Otowega Club Scrapbook : 1895-1905   Our Guests : [Martin Family guest book]
Otowega Club Scrapbook : 1895-1905“The Otowega Club, built in 1895 by the architects Green and Wicks, was located ... at the corner of Starin and Linden Avenues, in the Central Park District… The [scrapbook] contains 220 printed invitations, programs, flyers, handbills, announcements, menus, cards, and tickets, associated with the club's myriad social entertainment as well as items regarding its management, improvement, and membership.”--from original bookseller's description. Also includes a brochure for the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. "Otowega" is Seneca for "North People."  

Our Guest : [Martin Family guest book]A guest book owned by the Darwin Martin family, containing many signatures, dated 1907-1930. Includes signatures of Carl Sandburg, p. [19], and Frank Lloyd Wright, p.[24]. Bound by John F. Grabau.

Pan-American Exposition Scrapbooks   Poliphili Hypnerotomachia

Pan-American Exposition Scrapbooks

Contains 24 scrapbooks of newspaper clippings from 1897 through 1904 that chronicle preparation for the 1901 Pan American Exposition, the event itself, the assassination of President McKinley, and the Exposition's impact on Buffalo, New York.


Poliphili HypnerotomachiaPublished in 1499 by the distinguished early printer Aldus Manutius, the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili presents the “story/strife of love in a dream.” As an incunable text, meaning that it was printed during the first 50 years of moveable type, it is unlike most incunabula in that it is not a religious or Classical text at all--rather it is a book about dreams, love and architecture. It is also lavishly illustrated for a book of its time with 172 woodcuts and cryptically written in an amalgamation of Latin and Italian languages. The copy belonging to the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library is heavily annotated in multiple languages.​

War of 1812 Letters from the Young Men's Association    


War of 1812 Letters from the Young Men's Association

This collection features letters written during the War of 1812, as well as letters written after the war ended recalling wartime regional circumstances.