Clipping the History of Buffalo

clipping the history of buffalo_cropped

Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Clippings, 1966-67. Buffalo Evening News, March 11, 1967.

“Serious students researching a local subject may find that the library is way ahead of them” touted a Buffalo Evening News article from 1967.

Indeed, the  Scrapbook Collection in the Grosvenor Room has helped many by providing a significant slice of history ready for researching or browsing.

One of the most frequently used, and unique resources, the scrapbooks began at the former Buffalo Public Library around 1900.  According to library legend, they were meant to showcase Buffalo’s finer qualities for the upcoming Pan American Exposition.

Librarians selected newspaper articles, sorted by subject matter, and pasted them on leaves (pages), later bound and numbered.  The resulting volumes were then indexed in the Local History File.  In 1932, when the early scrapbooks were deteriorating due to low quality paper, WPA workers helped salvage the collection by removing and re-pasting articles.


Welfare work…projects in the Buffalo area, p. 109. Buffalo Times, Jan 30, 1939.

More than 600 volumes covering over 200 subjects comprise the collection, including art, architecture, streets, charities, industries, presidents, and even trees!  Many scrapbooks contain articles published before 1900; most were published between 1910 and the early 1970s.


Trees in and around Buffalo Scrapbook, p.51. Courier Express, July 30, 1939.

While the bulk of the material is newspaper articles and illustrations from the Courier Express and Buffalo Times, there are also a small number of programs from lectures and dinners, photographs, commercial engravings, and other ephemera.

The most frequently used are the Local Biographies series, which constitute about 100 of the volumes shelved in the Grosvenor Room.  Genealogists and local historians can search thousands of articles and obituaries, thanks to the librarians who had the foresight to collect and preserve these and other clippings.


Local Biographies, Scrapbook, v.1 , p. 76.

Scrapbooks of two of the most popular Buffalo history topics are now available online through New York Heritage: Pan American Exposition and New York Central Terminal.

You don’t have to be a “serious student” to enjoy browsing these and other captivating scrapbooks!  A new scrapbook guide by topic is now available on the Grosvenor Room publications web page.

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The “Best Atlas in the World”

Now on display in the Grosvenor Room:

NewCase_Close1Earth. Sydney : Millennium House, 2008.

1 atlas (576 p.) : col. ill. (8 folded), col. maps ; 61 cm. Foreword by David Bellamy ; chief consultant, Charles F. Gritzner .  No. 338/2000.  RBR G1021 .E2 2008

This limited edition hand-sewn atlas by Millennium House of Australia was 20 years in the planning stages and 2 years in production.  Named “Best Atlas in the World” at the International Cartographic Conference held in Santiago, Chile in 2008, it beat out over 500 entries from around the globe.

Earth (Blue Edition) contains more than 355 maps covering 194 countries, and includes more than 750 photographs and illustrations representing the work of over 100 international cartographers, oceanographers and geographers.  The leather cover is bound by hand and each copy is individually numbered and is accompanied by a signed Certificate of Authenticity.

This atlas complements the Rare Book Room’s collection of geography texts in the Milestones of Science Collection, notably the Blaeu atlas and the works of Ptolemy, as well as adds to the Grosvenor Room’s superior map collection.

NewCase_farIt is currently on display in the new wooden case just inside the Grosvenor Room entrance, which will house future genealogy, local history, and Rare book displays.  Be sure to stop in to see this and other ongoing exhibits!

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Where can I find…?


Family researchers often find themselves seeking a specific piece of information about an ancestor, such as birth date.  We might think that the only place to find this is the actual birth record of that person.  However, these alternate sources usually include birth information as well:

  • death record
  • marriage record
  • church baptismal, marriage records
  • naturalization papers

Other records may provide the important clue of birth year,  including Census, military records, and passenger lists.

Keeping track of where to look for particular information can be tricky, so we’ve created a handy “Record Selection Table” to guide you to key sources.  If you don’t have luck with the sources in the first column, be sure to try the alternate records listed in the second.

Those alternate sources just might help you break through your genealogy “brick wall!”

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Buffalo Bicycling History

Recent news on the auction of the Pedaling History Bicycle Museum collection sparked a search through our Sports Scrapbooks for more on Buffalo’s bicycling past.  Bicycles were hugely popular in the early 1900s, and Buffalo was home to several bicycle clubs that held races, rides, and picnics.  According to the article below, Buffalo was once known as “The Wheelman’s Paradise.”

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More information on Buffalo’s bicycling history can be found in the Grosvenor Room’s scrapbooks, Local History File, and Vertical Files.

Sources: “When the Bike was King in Buffalo.” Buffalo Times, Nov. 13, 1932, Sports in Buffalo Scrapbook, v.1, p.108.  “A Pioneer Buffalo Bicycler.” Buffalo Morning Express, June 4, 1905, Sports in Buffalo Scrapbook, v.1, p.106.  [Group on steps]. Courier Express, June 25, 1954, Sports in Buffalo Scrapbook, v.2, p.123 “Buffalo’s great road races.” Sports in Buffalo Scrapbook, v.2, p.118.

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Mt. Calvary Cemetery Records Now Available Online!

Recently the Mount Calvary Cemetery Group provided the Grosvenor Room with listings of burials from some of their cemeteries.  For quick access, these files are now available on the Grosvenor Room web page! Click here or use the links below:

Mount Calvary Cemetery Burials, 1925-Aug 2012

Ridge Lawn Cemetery Burials 1901-Aug 2012

United German & French Cemetery Burials 1903-May 2012

The records supplement the records the Grosvenor Room currently has on microfilm for these cemeteries. Additional Mount Calvary Group transcriptions, plot maps, and updates to the burials will be provided in the future.

Looking for the records of other cemeteries?  See the Cemetery Guide for information on the the over 100 WNY cemeteries in our collection!

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Census 101 Class

Are you interested in learning about the U.S. Federal Census for genealogy research?  Yes?  Then sign-up for our class being held this Thursday, October 18.  Here are the details:

Census Records 101

Skill Level: Advanced

Requirements: Mouse, typing, and Internet skills

This is an introduction to using U.S. Federal Census records for genealogy research.  Learn the basics of census records and an overview of census resources available through the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library System.

Time: 2-5 pm

Location: Central Library Computer Lab, 2nd Floor

Call to reserve your spot: 858-7132

Posted in Genealogy

National Hispanic Heritage Month: September 15 to October 15, 2012

During this time, we celebrate the rich history and culture of Americans whose ancestors came from Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.

Interested in discovering your Hispanic family history?  See our Latin American and Caribbean Genealogy guide for genealogy resources in the Grosvenor Room.

For information on Hispanic-American culture and history in the Buffalo area, see the books listed in the above guide, and the following selected websites:

History of Hispanics in Buffalo, NY

Hispanic Heritage History Project

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