Long Island University Unveils Groundbreaking Project Offering Public Access to Digital Historic Documents


Students Conduct Research & Archiving Funded by $1.5 million Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation Grant

Brookville, N.Y. (June 3, 2021) – Long Island University’s Palmer School of Library and Information Science announced today the opening of “Digitizing Local History Sources,” a groundbreaking five-year project and website offering the public access to over 51,000 images from 40 participating historical societies across Long Island. The endeavor was funded by a $1.5 million grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation.

Ranked among the “Best Archival Science Programs” in the country by U.S. News & World Report, the Palmer School offered 105 master’s and doctoral students the ability to digitize the documents since the project launched in 2017.

“Students of the Palmer School have become world-renowned archivists, historians and librarians,” said Long Island University President Kimberly R. Cline. “I am proud that Long Island University can offer them a unique experiential learning opportunity that will forever preserve the history of our beloved Gold Coast region and beyond.”

The collection documents the breadth of life on Long Island: from the diary of a 1920s schoolgirl to the daily calendar of a World War II school superintendent; from the daily account book of an 18th century blacksmith to advertising scrapbooks from the quintessential Long Island department store; from 17th century deeds to 20th century real estate agent records; from photos of early 1900s automobile races to scrapbooks documenting the destruction caused by the Hurricane of 1938; and from the daily life of wealthy Gold Coast residents to the treasured photo albums of Fire Island community members.

“Long Island’s historical societies’ archival collections are among their most valuable assets. RDLGF’s partnership with the LIU Palmer School of Library and Information Science offers students hands-on archival training while introducing our historic stewards to the best practices in handling and accessing their incredible resources. Having these collections available online will now easily expand research capabilities into Long Island’s rich heritage,” said Kathryn M. Curran, Executive Director of the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation.

The “Digitizing Local History Sources” project can be accessed by visiting this link. Suggested search terms for beginning to explore the collection include:

Search Term Result
Whaling 3 journals from whaling ships
Girl Multi-volume handwritten diary of a high school girl, 1923-1927
Automobile racing Photo albums of races by William K. Vanderbilt II
Hurricane Photo album and scrapbook of the Hurricane of 1938
Blacksmith Blacksmith shop ledgers, 1900-1924
Land 18th century deeds and other items
Postcard Hundreds of images of postcards from across Long Island
Club Over 1,800 images relating to clubs of various kinds
Family Over 4,000 images related to families
Glass Plate Over 1,100 glass plate negatives
Landscape Over 1,000 images of landscapes, sketches, and notes
House Over 1,600 images related to houses and housing
Dog 46 images with dogs


For additional information, please contact Project Director Dr. Gregory S. Hunter at Long Island University’s Palmer School of Library and Information Science: greg.hunter@liu.edu

About Long Island University

Long Island University, founded in 1926, continues to redefine higher education, providing high quality academic instruction by world-class faculty. Recognized by Forbes for its emphasis on experiential learning and by the Brookings Institution for its “value added” to student outcomes, LIU offers over 250 degree programs, with a network of 270,000 alumni that includes industry leaders and entrepreneurs across the globe. Visit liu.edu for more information.