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Local History


Local History Collections

The Local History Collections at SUNY Fredonia concentrate primarily on the history of the Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties, with additional holdings relating to bordering counties in New York and Pennsylvania. Consisting of an extensive collection of books, pamplets, serials, manuscripts and archival collections, iconographic materials, audio-visual materials, maps and atlases, and microforms, our goals is to document the local history of the Western New York region to not only serve as a repository for campus and public researchers, but also to foster an appreciation for the history and culture of the region in our students. The collections are well-suited for research by local historians and genealogists, with resources including census records, vital records, abstracts from local newspapers, cemetery records, church records and manuscript holdings, as well as county histories, newspapers (some 200 roles of microfilm) and reference files. To schedule a research appointment to work with the Local History collections at SUNY Fredonia, Please use this form.


Anna Clift Smith

Anna Clift Smith spent much of her life on Lake Erie. She traveled widely in the United States and possibly abroad. Although she was not a native of the area, and left for several years to see the West, she loved the locale so much that her heart always brought her back to this sometimes wild, always beautiful, spot on Lake Erie. During a few months of the winter of 1904, Anna composed and illustrated a charming literary work that seems to be a letter, or perhaps a diary or a journal, and in ways might be an adventure or a romance.

This slight, unbound, manuscript is one of several local documents on deposit in the Local History Collections at Daniel A. Reed Library. Its hand-written text, with delicate colored pencil and water-color illustrations, done on paper almost as thin as tissue, conveys the sometimes wistful, sometimes hale and hearty world view of this paradoxical young woman. Anna titled her little book Van Buren Life. It is the account of her daily experiences during that harsh winter on the Lake at the location of the then tiny summer community of Van Buren Point. 



Anna Clift Smith's Van Buren Life

The project digitized the journal, Anna Clift Smith’s Van Buren Life, which Fredonia owns, and set up access to a hosted website for common editing as well as community and campus use. The intent is to use a local author and local materials to encourage students within the county, both at the college and K-12 level, to use digital materials for learning, exploration, and creation.
Library Faculty involved in this project: Sara Parme, Kathleen Sacco, Cynthia Yochym & Kerrie Wilkes



Page modified 2/19/16