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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: 185
    Collection Length: 0.25ft
    1898 to 1900

    S.L. Clark and Son was a barrel manufacturing and lumber mill business located in Parishville, New York from approximately 1870 until 1908.  The primary item manufactured at the mill was butter tubs.  According to Curtis’s Our County and Its People (1894), the factory employed as many as 125 men in summer and built up to 350,000 butter tubs a year in 1894.  S. L. Clark was born in Hermon, NY in 1844.  After service in the Civil War, he married Mary Keeler and had four children.  He relocated to Parishville and was engaged in several businesses before acquiring the lumber company.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS 185fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 108
    Collection Length: 1.00ft
    Period: 1802

    St. Lawrence County is the largest county in New York State and has the longest frontage on the St. Lawrence River. St. Lawrence County is bordered on the north by the St. Lawrence River, the south by Lewis, Herkimer and Hamilton Counties, on the east by Franklin County and on the west by Jefferson County. The county has approximately 47 towns and villages and 1 city with the county seat in Canton.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS108fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 40
    Collection Length: 30.00ft
    1907 to 1960

    The idea of a "seaway" dates back to 1892 when U.S. Rep. John Lind of Minnesota sponsored a resolution in Congress for a joint U.S.-Canadian investigation into the possibility of building a deep-draft waterway from the head of Lake Superior to the Atlantic Ocean. In 1921 the International Joint Commission recommended that the U.S. and Canada enter into a treaty for a joint power and navigation project on the St. Lawrence River and Roosevelt recommended it again in 1943 but each time was rejected by the Senate.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS40fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 194
    Collection Length: 10.50ft
    1978 to 2010

    This collection documents the activities of Save The River, from its founding in 1978 to present, although some of the earliest years have gaps. The original order of the records is uncertain, reflecting the early evolution of the organization. The collection has been arranged into series in consultation with the current administration of Save The River.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS194fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 61
    Collection Length: 40.00ft
    1960 to 1985

    Seymour Siegel was born September 12, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois. He was educated at University of Chicago, received his M.H.L. in 1951 and D.H.L. in 1958 from Jewish Theological Seminary, New York City where he was a professor of Jewish Ethics and Theology. He was the author of hundreds of articles, editor of two books, lecturer, and was an authority on religious law. He served as Director of the United States Memorial Holocaust Commission, opened the door for the ordination of female rabbis, and articulated the Conservative view on abortion.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS61fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 7
    Collection Length: 0.50ft
    1816 to 1847

    Silas Wright, Jr. was born in 1795 in Amherst, Massachusetts, the fifth child of Silas and Eleanor (Goodale) Wright. After graduation he studied law at Sandy Hill, New York and was admitted to the bar in 1819. Silas Wright Jr. began his law practice in Canton, New York where he lived with his father's friend Medad Moody whose daughter, Clarissa, he married in 1833.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS7fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 16
    Collection Length: 1.75ft
    1536 to 1985

    Sol Feinstone, philanthropist, collector of Americana was born in Lithuania in 1888 immigrated to the United States in 1902 at the age of fourteen and died in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania on October 17, 1980. With no elementary or high school education he first entered the University of Missouri, transferred to Syracuse University where he received a bachelor's in 1915 and master's in 1916, degrees in Forestry and spent two years at the University of Pennsylvania in their graduate chemistry department.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS16fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 76
    Collection Length: 0.50ft
    1845 to 1987

    Solomon Barrett Jr. was born in Washington, Mass. April 1, 1800 and died in Madrid, N.Y., November 19, 1882. He was a teacher and an author of several grammars including Barrett on the Languages and The Principles of English Grammar. He traveled extensively in the United States and Canada but returned and lived most of his life in Madrid, N.Y. The collection consists of newspaper and magazine articles on Solomon Barrett, two copies of his book Principles of English Grammar, and a manuscript subscription book he used when selling his work in New York State and Canada.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS76fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 22
    Collection Length: 0.25ft
    1833 to 1968

    The Southworth family in St. Lawrence County goes back to Rev. Constant Southworth, minister at Brick Chapel, Canton, who came from Vermont in 1820. In 1836 the family returned to Vermont but Egbert Henry Southworth, a young boy, remained with the Leonard family. He had various jobs throughout his life; a merchant selling from a cart between Plattsburg and Utica, a clerk for Ebenezer Miner in Canton, a sawmill operator, as well as jobs in the butter and cheese industry, before he turned to farming. He was known as a progressive farmer by building modern barns and using modern methods.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS22fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 192
    Collection Length: 1.50ft
    1972 to 2002

    While the St.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon mss192fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 64
    Collection Length: 1.00ft
    Period: 1992

    The "St. Lawrence and North Country Studies Award" collection was started in 1992 and was renamed the "Josephine G. Mentley St. Lawrence and North Country Studies Award" in 1995. The competition is sponsored by the Friends of Owen D. Young and Launders Libraries for the purpose of supporting and encouraging student research projects on institutional or regional topics.

  • Collection Number: 188
    Collection Length: 2.00ft
    1792 to 1814
    1792 deed between Samuel Ogden & Henry Knox

    This collection contains letters, maps deeds and other documents describing land speculation, purchases and other transactions in parts of St. Lawrence County prior to 1815.


    Finding Aid: PDF icon mss188fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 141
    Collection Length: 2.00ft
    1847 to 1850

    Lists of births, deaths and marriages recorded in the Town Clerk's offices of all 25 St. Lawrence County towns then organized between the years of 1847 and 1850. The collection is organized alphabetically by town. The collection was given to St. Lawrence University by Mary Smallman.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS141fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 51
    Collection Length: 1.25ft
    1953 to 1975

    The St. Lawrence Figure Skating Club was established May 5, 1953 and has its headquarters at Appleton Arena, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY. The purpose of the club is to encourage instruction, practice and advancement of the members in school figures, free skating, dancing, and all types of figure skating. The St. Lawrence Figure Skating Club is affiliated with the United States Figure Skating Association. This collection consists of correspondence, financial statements, minutes of meetings, rules and regulations of the club, its constitution and by-laws.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS51fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 147
    Collection Length: 0.25ft
    1942 to 1946

    The Stage Door Canteen was started by the American Theatre Wing in 1942 and ended in 1946. Its location was the basement of the 44th Street Theater in New York City. Caterers and local merchants provided food and beverages while performers entertained the crowd. There were about 1,700 performers and service staff members who were in charge of keeping the Canteen in operation even during black-outs and curfews. About 3,000 to 4,000 servicemen from all over came to the Canteen to sing, dance, eat and drink before they went off to war.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS147fa_1.pdf
  • Collection Number: 187
    Collection Length: 0.50ft
    Period: 1910
    Stereoscopic photo card of Scraggy Club

    The collection consists of eight stereoscopic  photo cards depicting activities related to a moose hunt by members of the Oh You! Scraggy Club in 1910.  None of the people in the photos are identified but five of the three-dimensional images have some writing on the back.  The collection also includes a viewer for the images called a Holmes stereoscope.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon mss187fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 65
    Collection Length: 0.50ft
    1944 to 1958

    The Stillwater Club, an Adirondack hunting club, occupies 14,600 acres on the North and Middle Branch of the Grass River in the town of Clare, St. Lawrence County. It was founded by a group of men from Canton, New York on May 13, 1893, as a hunting and canoeing club; from its first days, the club showed an interest in conservation as a way to preserve its deer herds for future hunters and its trout for future fishermen. This collection has mainly two types of materials: photographs and notebooks.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS65fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 54
    Collection Length: 0.50ft
    1978 to 1982

    The first known meeting to discuss the idea of a federal prison in the Lake Placid area occurred in May, 1976. In January, 1977 the Office of Management and Budget (part of the Executive branch of the federal government) approved plans for the Bureau of Prisons to build the prison. On March 22, 1977 at a meeting of the NYMPC (New York Moratorium on Prison Construction) the NMPC (National Moratorium on Prison Construction) agreed to formally establish and co-sponsor S.T.O.P. (Stop the Olympic Prison). This collection was donated to St.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS54fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 123
    Collection Length: 0.50ft
    Period: 1898

    William F. Sudds (1843-1920) was born in England but grew up in Gouverneur, N.Y. He attended Boston Conservatory and composed musical scores published by Oliver Ditson & Co. as well as others. The family had a summer home in Chippewa Bay, N.Y. Photos show family portraits, interiors and street scenes in Gouverneur, N.Y. as well as river scenes in Chippewa Bay, N.Y. May also include Todd family photographs.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS123fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 126
    Collection Length: 0.75ft
    1861 to 1867

    Darwin W. Sunderland and John R. Sunderland, brothers from Rensselaer Falls, NY, were the sons of Albert and Prudence Sunderland. Both served in the Union Army during the Civil War. This collection consists of 65 letters (64 originals & 1 photocopy, .75 linear feet)

    Letters describe camp life, battles, hospitals, and medical care during the Civil War.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon mss126fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 100
    Collection Length: 0.50ft
    1979 to 1987

    Thomas John Carlisle was born October 11, 1913 in Plattsburgh, N.Y. and died August 17, 1992. He was educated at Williams College, Union Theological Seminary, and was ordained as a United Presbyterian minister in 1937. He was the author of a number of books of religious poetry, as well as a tutor and teacher various colleges. He wrote the lyrics to "Rise Up, My Love, My Fair One" and "Two Famous Men", and contributed more than 1500 articles and poems to newspapers, religious and literary publications and magazines.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS100fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 91
    Collection Length: 0.25ft
    1809 to 1819

    Thomas Purves was born on September 28, 1785 in Whitebank, Scotland. He brought his family to the United States in 1819 hoping to work for the Parish family at the iron works in Rossie, NY. He received a cold reception from Parish's agent and instead went to work for Governor Ogden in Waddington, NY as a gardener. He died January 12, 1853 in Waddington. The collection consists of two manuscript notebooks written by Purves donated to St. Lawrence University in 1989 by Allegra Fourtanati (relative of Purves) of California.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS91fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 109
    Collection Length: 0.50ft
    Period: 1875

    The Thousand Islands are located on the St. Lawrence River between the United States and Canada, just east of Lake Ontario. The actual number of islands is actually closer to two thousand, with the official count standing at 1,793. The larger islands are inhabited throughout the year but a few are too small to be inhabited, most of the islands feature summer homes ranging from rustic cottages to mansions, and a couple of castles (Boldt and Jorstadt). This region has the longest undefended international boundary on earth.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS109fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 97
    Collection Length: 0.25ft
    Period: 1870

    A tintype photograph of a Native American in traditional dress about 1870.

  • Collection Number: 46
    Collection Length: 1.50ft
    1844 to 1933

    On April 12, 1843 Colton became the 27th town of St. Lawrence County. In 1842 Colton village was called Matildaville when Abel Brown and his son James moved from Parishville to the west side of the Racquette River. Colton is named for Jesse Colton Higley, a pioneer who settled on the east side of the Racquette River and was instrumental in the formation of the township, serving in every public office available. Colton was the site of many sawmills, a potato starch factory, and one of the largest tanneries in the state.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS46fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 18
    Collection Length: 1.00ft
    1933 to 1985

    The United States Presidential Inauguration collection was donated to St. Lawrence University by J. Harold Launders, class of 1932. Mr. Launders was a member of the Inaugural Committee for several years during which time he collected the materials. The collection consists of materials from the U.S. Presidential Inaugurations of 1933 to 1985 (excluded are the inaugurations of 1945, 1953, 1965, and 1977).

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS18fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 3
    Collection Length: 15.00ft
    1837 to 1858

    Nathaniel Hawthorne, American novelist was born July 4, 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts and was educated at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. He married Sophia Amelia Peabody in 1842 and settled in Concord, Massachusetts. In 1846 Hawthorne became surveyor of the Salem customhouse and in 1850 he moved to Lenox where he wrote House of the Seven Gables in 1851. In 1852 he became the consulate in Liverpool, England for four years and lived in Italy for a couple of years before returning to the United States.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS3fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 52
    Collection Length: 2.50ft
    1910 to 1940

    Ulysses Sumner Milburn was born in Black Lick, Ohio in 1865 and attended St. Lawrence University, graduating from the Theological School in 1891. He served 47 years in active Universalist ministry in Ohio, Maryland, New York, Missouri and Massachusetts. He married Alice Dinsmore Milburn in 1910 and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from his Alma Mater in 1927. U.S. Milburn was most famous for his large collection of books, manuscripts, letters and other items of the 19th century American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne, which was donated to the University in 1949.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS52fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 58
    Collection Length: 1.50ft
    1797 to 1991

    Universalism was brought to America by John Murray who preached his first sermon September 30, 1770 in Potter's Meeting House in Murray Grove, New Jersey. In 1779 Murray occupied the pulpit of the Independent Christian Church of Gloucester, Massachusetts, which was the first organized Universalist church in America. John Murray is often referred to as the "Father of Universalism in America". St. Lawrence University was founded in 1856 as a Theological Seminary with the corner stone of the first building laid by the eminent Universalist, Horace Greeley.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon MSS58fa.pdf
  • Collection Number: 197
    Collection Length: 0.50ft
    1890 to 1980

    Cranberry Lake is a lake on the east branch of the Oswegatche River in St. Lawrence County, New York. It is the third largest lake within the Adirondack Park and took its name from cranberry bogs that were located there in the mid 1800s. Approximately 75 percent of the shoreline of Cranberry Lake is state owned land, including the Five Ponds Wilderness Area and the Cranberry Lake Wild Forest. The unincorporated communities of Cranberry Lake and Wanakena are the main population centers of this sparsely populated area.

    Finding Aid: PDF icon mss197fa.pdf