Oct. 10, 2012

Library celebrates grand opening of Geneseo Special Collections


Milne Library Director Cyril Oberlander stands in the Geneseo Special Collections display area. The area is home to collections of books, papers and other materials that cover diverse subject areas such as college and regional history, founding families of Geneseo and transcendentalism. The campus community celebrates with a grand opening reception on Oct. 11 at 5 p.m. /PHOTO BY KEITH WALTERS '11


For Geneseo students, Milne Library is a second home on campus for study and scholarly pursuits. It is also home to rare, historical and unique collections that are resources for such diverse topics as college and regional history, Henry David Thoreau, and publications authored by faculty, staff and alumni, and more.

On Thursday, Oct. 11, from 5 to 6 p.m., Geneseo will celebrate the collections and the newly opened College Archive and Special Collections display area.

"Geneseo Special Collections provides an engaging collection of primary and local resources, opening opportunities for research, as well as new study rooms equipped to serve as teaching and learning labs for academic and community researchers and students," said Cyril Oberlander, Milne director.

Oberlander and President Christopher C. Dahl will lead remarks at the reception. The event marks months of work by Milne staff and student assistants, who moved, sorted and compiled more than 238,000 items to make the new Geneseo Special Collections a reality.

Milne is also celebrating its first digital publishing venture. As part of Milne's mission to transform scholarly communications, Milne reprinted "The Recollections of 3 Rebel Prisons," by Col. G.G. Prey, a book by a Civil War Wadsworth guard who survived three prisons. It is the first in a series of Genesee Valley Historical Reprints for Milne, said Oberlander. Those who utilize the collections, he says, bring new life to local history and research with rare books.

"What is special to the collection is determined by readers. Some may see the treasure in local history, while others along the edges in paintings, detailed artistic covers, or in the international rare books," said Oberlander. "

The new area houses:

  • The Genesee Valley Historical Collection — covering eight counties surrounding the Genesee River
  • The College Archives Collection — history of SUNY Geneseo from 1871 to present
  • The Geneseo Authors Hall — publications of Geneseo faculty, staff and alumni
  • The Wadsworth Family Papers — materials from the land offices of the prominent Wadsworth family, who settled in the local area
  • The Walter Harding Collection — writings by world-renowned Henry David Thoreau researcher Emeritus Walter J. Harding, on Thoreau and transcendentalism.
  • The Carl Schmidt Collection — historic architectural materials
  • Rare books— a variety of rare books in several languages

The reception is in the lower level of Milne Library at the Special Collections area. It is open to the public