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Special Collections

This area contains 200 manuscript collections, comprising nearly 1800 linear feet of material, plus a number of individual manuscript items. Each of these collections is described in brief on ODYsseus the Libraries’ online catalog. Additionally, many have detailed finding aids, searchable here. Others will be added to this list as they are completed. If you find you have questions about the collections after you have read the catalog entries or finding aids, please contact us.

Mark McMurray, Curator of Special Collections and University Archivist Voice: (315) 229-5476 e-mail:

Paul Haggett, Assistant to the Archivist Voice: (315) 229-5956 e-mail:

  • Collection Number: 191
    Collection Length: 0.25ft
    1861 to 1864

    Lewis Murray of Morley in St. Lawrence County, was a soldier for the Union during the Civil War. He served as an orderly in Company K 6th, New York Calvary. His entries start in December of 1861 and end in January of 1864.

    The booklet is a 25 page document summarizing Lewis Murray’s time in the 6th NYS Calvary.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon mss191fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 75
    Collection Length: 0.40ft
    1862 to 1945
    The Thundering Herd, Eighth Armored Division

    This unprocessed collection consists of primarily the correspondence between William Murray to his wife Beatrice (Fulton of New York City) during World War II. Also included is a Civil War Diary of a Lewis Murray, miscellaneous items (dog tags, military buttons, bracelet, etc) of William and Mary's as well as a notebook William kept while in the Armored Force School, and material while he was in Officer Candidate School in Fort Knox, Kentucky. St. Lawrence University received this collection from Roger Duvall, heir of Murray family, of Ogdensburg, New York in April, 1998.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS75fa_0.pdf
  • Collection Number: 47
    Collection Length: 0.40ft
    1952 to 1970
    Photographs from the Nathaniel Burwash Collection

    The collection consists of photographs of African pottery making, post cards of African Art, broadsides and articles on the American Artist Leonard Baskin.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS47fa_0.pdf
  • Collection Number: 171
    Collection Length: 0.40ft
    1979 to 1990
    Natural Farmer's Cooperative of the St. Lawrence Valley

    The Natural Farmers Association (later, Co-operative) of the St. Lawrence Valley formed in late 1977 as the result of a number of organizational meetings among small farmers, gardeners and homesteaders in St. Lawrence County. The group’s aims were to foster and promote natural, organic and alternative farming, to promote a local food economy and act as a support system to small rural farmers and homesteaders. Almost immediately it became apparent that a major focus of the group would be direct marketing of local produce.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon Mss171fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 33
    Collection Length: 0.25ft
    1933 to 1938
    A variety of propoganda from the Nazi Literature Collection

    The collection was donated to St. Lawrence University library by Dr. Mary Saleski, a member of the Modern Languages Department. The common word "Nazi" is a contraction of the German word Nationalsozialismus, or National Socialism, a political movement that emerged after W.W.I. The party was founded in 1920 and led almost from the outset by Adolph Hitler. In 1933 the party gained control of the German state and established a dictatorship, embarking on a program of domestic reconstruction and foreign conquest that culminated in W.W.II.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS33fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 21
    Collection Length: 1.00ft
    1787 to 1928
    Transcript of New York and Ontario Power Company hearings from 1918

    William S. Connolly of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, was president of the New York and Ontario Power Company. The company applied in 1918 to the International Joint Commission for approval for "...the obstruction of the waters of the St. Lawrence River at Waddington, N.Y." Connolly was also a manager of the Bank of Montreal for 40 years (1890-1930) and spent most of his earnings to gain control of the land in the area that he believed to be, because it was the narrowest part of the river, the logical spot for a power dam. The dam was never built in this location.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS21fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 28
    Collection Length: 0.25ft
    1797 to 1803

    These documents, written in French, concern land transactions in Castorland, N.Y.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS28fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 30
    Collection Length: 5.25ft
    1867 to 1932
    Newspaper photo of Edward J. Noble in his gyroplane in 1938

    The Noble family was from Gouverneur, New York (St. Lawrence County). Harvey H. Noble and Edna Wood Noble had three children: Katherine L. Noble, Robert N. Noble and Edward J. Noble (born August 8, 1882). Harvey ran a coal, wood and building supply business and served as an agent for the Rome and Watertown Railroad,. Robert attended Purdue University and studied engineering and Edward attended Yale. Katherine taught school in Weedsport and married Alger Conger.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS30fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 167
    Collection Length: 0.40ft
    1897 to 2011
    The Rushton canoe Punkie

    The North Country is that region of New York State north of the Mohawk and south of the St. Lawrence Rivers, east of Lake Ontario and west of Lake Champlain. It includes the Adirondack Park, the Tug Hill Plateau, the Thousand Islands, and the St. Lawrence River Valley. Within this area are over 2700 lakes, dozens of rivers, and thousands of ponds, streams and brooks. From the earliest times of human habitation boats have played an important role in the history, early settlement, and later development of this region.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon mss167 fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 122
    Collection Length: 4.25ft
    1895 to 1925
    An image from the North Country Glass Plate Negative collection

    The collection consists of glass plate negatives by unknown photographer(s) depicting people, places, and activities in the North Country (NY) between 1895-1925. Series 1 divided into groups and individuals (most unidentified). Series 2 consists of activities such as: children's games, dramatic groups, bicycling, boating and social gatherings. Series 3 consists of interiors and exteriors of homes - most unidentified.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS122fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 70
    Collection Length:
    Period: 1853
    1880s map of the village of Canton

    Maps relating to the North Country, NY. The collection consists of, but not limited to, maps of St. Lawrence, Franklin, Jefferson and Lewis Counties ; St. Lawrence River, St. Regis Mohawk Reservation, Ogdensburg, Macombs Purchase, Adirondack Mountains, and New York State railroads.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS70fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 151
    Collection Length: 0.25ft
    1852 to 1970
    Newspaper account of an early 1900s murder in Franklin County

    This collection contains newspaper clippings, photocopies of news articles and other accounts of various murders committed in the North Country. Folders are organized alphabetically by the victim's last name.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS151fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 45
    Collection Length: 2.50ft
    Period: 1839
    Share certificate from the Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad Company

    The North Country Railroad collection is an on-going collection of materials relating to railroads in the North Country of New York. It was acquired over many years by gift and purchase from a number of sources. The collection consists of stock certificates and bonds, photographs, broadsides, timetables, and business papers and ledgers of railroad companies.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS45fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 144
    Collection Length: 2.00ft
    1933 to 1968
    Cover of American Nudist Leader Magazine, April 1955

    An extensive collection of magazines that explore all aspects of nudism including philosophy, lifestyles, camps, and societal issues. Titles include American Sunbather, American Nudist, American Nudist Leader, Nudism Today, Sunbathing Annual, Sunbathing Review, Sun Love, and a number of foreign titles. The collection was donated to St. Lawrence by William Hull of Canton in 2006

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS144fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 143
    Collection Length: 2.00ft
    1798 to 1890
    Letter from Oliver Seymour Phelps collection

    Oliver Seymour Phelps (1816-1902) was the son of Oliver Phelps (1779-1851) who was a leader in the Welland and Erie Canal Projects. Oliver S. married Hester Anne Dexter (1816) of Lockport who died in 1848. Later he married Eliza Rebecca Lawton (1831-1888) also of Lockport, New York. Phelps then relocated with his family to St Catharines, Ontario where he had a brief political career. Later, he returned to the United States where he controlled a large part of the shipments of grain along the Erie Canal.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS143fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 206
    Collection Length: 0.50ft
    1957 to 1959
    Ceremony celebrating completion of the Moses-Saunders Power Project

    Norbert S.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon mss206fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 84
    Collection Length: 0.25ft
    1864 to 1865
    Letter from the Orson Leroy Reynolds correspondence from 1864

    Orson Reyonlds of Bombay, Franklin County, New York, enlisted in the 6th New York Heavy Artillery. The collection consists of 25 letters written to his wife

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS84fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 87
    Collection Length: 500.00ft
    1874 to 1962
    Owen D. Young pictured with Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    Owen D. Young was born on October 27, 1874 in VanHornesville, New York, educated at St. Lawrence University and Boston University. He died July 11, 1962 in St. Augustine and is buried in VanHornesville, New York . The Young collection documents five decades of national and international business and political history, including the post World War I reparation period which saw Young as the key figure in the Dawes Plan of 1924 and the Young Plan of 1929 with its provisions for the still existing Bank of International Settlements.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS87fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 5
    Collection Length: 38.00ft
    1807 to 1816
    Images of David Parish and Joseph Rosseel

    David Parish arrived in America (Philadelphia) in 1805 from Antwerp. In 1807 Gouverneur Morris, a family friend, told Parish of the property in northern New York that was for sale. In 1807, with Joseph Rosseel as his land agent, he began purchasing land in St. Lawrence and Jefferson counties. Parish with Rosseel's help proceeded to make Ogdensburg into a main forwarding station on the St. Lawrence River and built sawmills, gristmills and help set up farmers and businesses in the area. He developed the iron and lead industry, opened shipping trade on the St.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS5fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 42
    Collection Length: 8.75ft
    1929 to 1951
    Cover of Parrish Wells book Dangerous Journeys 1757

    Parrish Wells was born November 12, 1890 in Johnstown, New York. He was educated at the University of Rochester and graduated as a Civil Engineer. Mr. Wells worked as a hydraulic engineer in Rochester, New York and in 1946 he moved his family to Plattsburgh, New York where he remained until just before his death in October 1963. He had for many years a great interest in the French and Indian War and did research all over the state.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS42fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 74
    Collection Length: 3.75ft
    1948 to 1990
    Uneven Ground book cover

    Paul Fletcher Jamieson was born on August 8, 1903 in Iowa. He was educated at Drake University, Columbia University and taught English at St. Lawrence University from 1929 to 1965 when he retired. Jamieson, a crusader for the opening of the Adirondack waterways for recreational use, has been involved in hiking, canoeing, showshoeing and camping in the Adirondacks for over 50 years. He is an acknowledged expert on the Adirondacks and a member of the Adirondack Forty-Sixers by virtue of climbing all peaks of 4000 feet and more.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS74fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 163
    Collection Length: 2.25ft
    1990 to 2006
    North Country Gardener newsletter

    Philip Harnden, a community activist and passionate gardener, was a founding member of two organizations whose papers are part of this collection. Alternatives to War and North Country Gardener, and the founder of North Country Garden School.

    Alternatives to War described itself as "a coalition of people in northern New York who advocate a sensible and nonviolent approach to resolving national and international conflicts". It was formed shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the lead up to the war in Afghanistan.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS163fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 118
    Collection Length: 0.25ft
    1854 to 1857

    Logbook containing accounts, maps, and newspaper clippings for lots sold in Potsdam, N.Y. by W. M. Hitchcock. Also included is Trustee book for school district no. 6, 1842-1892.

  • Collection Number: 13
    Collection Length: 7.25ft
    1829 to 1893
    June 12, 1850 letter from the Preston King/Simeon Smith papers

    Preston King, politician, was born October 11, 1806 in Ogdensburg, New York. He was educated in Ogdensburg and graduated from Union College in 1827. He passed the bar after a study of law in Silas Wright's office. In 1830 he established the St. Lawrence Republican. From 1831-1834 he served as postmaster in Ogdensburg at which tine he was elected to the Assembly. From 1834 until 1847 he was a member of congress and also served from 1849 to 1853. Mr. King was involved in the Canadian Rebellion of 1837-38. In 1854 he left the Democratic party and joined the Republican party.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS13fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 193
    Collection Length: 3.50ft
    1992 to 1999
    The Prism Newsletter of the gay and lesbian concerns group of Northern New York

    North Country Prism is a Canton-based organization advocating for the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender community in Northern New York.  The organization formed in the early 1990s and produces a monthly newsletter, Prism.  The group’s website describes North Country Prism as a member organization for LGBT people that meets monthly and provides community members with a place to meet, communicate and promote self-identity and awareness.  It notes that meetings of the group are confidential.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS193fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 6
    Collection Length: 1.25ft
    1860 to 1965
    Portrait of Pryce Lewis

    Pryce Lewis was born in 1828 in Newton, Wales and emigrated to the United States in 1856. During the Civil War, he was employed by the Pinkerton Detective Agency and worked as a spy for the Union in Richmond, Va. He was captured and sentenced to be hanged but managed to escape death because of his British citizenship. After his release he served as bailiff and special detective officer of Old Capitol prison in Washington, D.C. until the end of the war. In January, 1868 he married Maria Thwaites. They had two children, Mary and Arthur.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS6fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 69
    Collection Length: 4.70ft
    1754 to 1970
    Photograph of the St. Lawrence County Courthouse in Canton

    Richard Collins Ellsworth, was born July 17, 1875 in Canton, N.Y. and died there on September 21, 1948. Ellsworth was a member of the St. Lawrence University Class of 1895, served for 26 years on the Board of Trustees (1922-1948) holding the office of secretary for 20 years (1922-1943) and as curator and founder of the Richard C. Ellsworth Museum. He was recognized as an outstanding authority on north country history, and had a particular interest in railroad and circus history.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS69fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 155
    Collection Length: 0.50ft
    1917 to 1919
    Letter from Robert Cottrell to his mother dated May 31, 1918

    Robert G Cottrell (1896-1958) a native of Gouverneur, NY attended area schools and graduated from Gouverneur High School in 1916. In 1917, he enlisted in the United States Army where he served in England and Germany during World War I. Robert received honorable discharge from the Army in August 1919. He returned to Gouverneur, NY and where he married Erdine Morris (1894-1983) in 1922. Mr. Cottrell worked several jobs after returning to civilian life. In 1944, he became village clerk and remained in that position until his retirement in 1952.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS155fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 95
    Collection Length: 0.25ft
    1862 to 1865
    Letter from Robert Gilmore to Richard Gilmore

    Robert Gilmore of Ellenburgh, Clinton County, New York, served with the N. Y. S. Volunteers 91st Regt., Company G. The collection consists of 13 letters; 2 small broadsides, and a used patriotic cover with cancelled stamp. Correspondence details Gilmore's army life at Fort McHenry, Hatches Run and his recovery at Campbell Hospital after he was wounded.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS95fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 203
    Collection Length: 0.25ft
    1944 to 1945

    Lt. Robert H. Van Slyke was born on February 20, 1925 in Little Falls, NY and enlisted in the U. S. Army following his junior year in high school at age 18, joining his three older brothers in the war effort. After basic training in Fort Dix, NJ and aviation cadet training in Alabama and Texas, he served as a bombardier and navigator aboard a B-26 Marauder, flying a total of 41 missions over Germany with the 454th Bomb Squadron. Van Slyke was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. After the war, he returned to Little Falls to finish high school and went on to St.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon mss203fa.pdf