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Long Island Collections


Long Island The Sunrise Home Land, 1929.


Our Long Island collections are premier sources for the study and research of regional history. A primary collecting focus of Special Collections, our extensive Long Island book, manuscript, and map collections are highly regarded and attract researchers from the university community to international scholars.

The collections include primary and secondary source material on the history of Long Island from the earliest settlers through the present, with a strong emphasis on the period of the American Revolution through the War of 1812 (1764-1812).​


Special Collections has been honored by the New York Board of Regents and New York State Archives with the awarding of the “Annual Archives Award for Program Excellence in a Historical Records Repository.” The Board of Regents and theNew York State Archives present this award annually to an organization in the state that exemplifies excellence in an archival program. Christine Ward, New York State Archivist, commended Stony Brook “for its outstanding archival program that contributes significantly to understanding the region’s history.” 

Additionally, the department’s guide to digital Long Island documents and books was lauded by The Scout Report, a division of the National Science Foundation’s National Science Digital Library (NSDL) Project.

In May 2023, Special Collections and University Archives was presented the Kate Wheeler Strong Memorial Award by the Three Village Historical Society “in recognition of significant contributions toward the fostering of interest in local history and a fuller appreciation of the rich historical and cultural heritage of this community” on May 17, 2023. Each year the Three Village Historical Society Board of Trustees and Award Committee awards local businesses, residents, homeowners, society members and youth who have made significant contributions in helping to preserve the heritage of the Three Village area. Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn presented a proclamation from the Suffolk County Legislature, stating in part: “Special Collections & University Archives has been a source for inspiration and guidance and for historical information highlighted during numerous Three Village Historical Society events” and its work “ensures this community has a direct link to its past, captures its present and enriches the future.” A Certificate of Congratulations was received from the Brookhaven Town Board and presented by Councilman Jonathan Kornreich, District 1.

Support and Advance our Long Island Collecting and Preservation Activities

In 2009, Special Collections established the "Long Island Historical Documents Fund" to support the acquisition and care of Long Island books, papers, and maps. With contributions from donors, we have been able to acquire several new collections and conserve priceless manuscripts and maps. Please consider making a financial gift to help us grow and preserve our esteemed regional collections.


Our Long Island book (more than 2,000 volumes) and historical map collections can be searched using our online discovery  catalog. To refine your results, narrow the "Library" to "Special Collections. "Digital Collections" feature the department's manuscript materials and books.


George Washington Spy Letters
Spies do exist in the archive! The Three Village Area including Stony Brook and Setauket was central to intelligence gathering activities during the American Revolution. Special Collections, a division of Stony Brook University Libraries (SBU Libraries) owns and curates two American Revolutionary War-era, Culper Spy Ring letters authored by George Washington. Significant to regional and national historical narratives, SBU's letters were composed in 1779 and 1780 and document espionage activities right here in our community.

Samuel Hopkins Miller 
A collection of original account books, diaries, ledgers, correspondence, and land deeds dating from 1705 to 1967 that document several generations of the Miller, Tuthill, and Tillotson families on Long Island, New York primarily in the areas of Miller Place and Rocky Point in the Town of Brookhaven. Andrew Miller (1634-1717) of East Hampton settled in “Miller’s Place,” later named “Miller Place” on Long Island in 1679.

Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection
Detailed pencil drawings of Long Island Rail Road tracks and surrounding geographic areas (Kings, Queens, Nassau, Suffolk), with explanatory notes by Emery; over 5,000 identified photographs and postcards of construction, employees, trains, depots, and other scenes; 262 timetables; and other material relating to the railroad (ca. 1885-1974).

Long Island Land Deeds
Collection of deeds (ca. 1759-1851). Surnames include: Wells, Downs, Swezey, Howell, Ferry, Corwin, Tuthill, Hallock, and Youngs.

Long Island Legal Documents
Legal records, including bail pleas, licenses, notices of court appearances, court minutes, subpoenas, lists of jurors, and petitions, ca. 1784-1846. Surnames include Kissam, Nicolls, Roe, Sammis, Smith, Titus, Townsend, Van Wyck, Wickes, Willet, and Wyckoff.   

Richard Welch Collection
Extensive photograph collection of colonial gravestones; manuscripts; journals; correspondence, and published works.

Brookhaven Town Land Deeds
Land deeds and documents pertaining to Brookhaven, New York, ca. 1780-1929. Surnames include Helme, Rose, Hawkins, Myhr, and Mott.


Long Island Documents featuring George Washington Letters
Special Collections acquired two exciting American Revolutionary War-era letters authored by George Washington that document spy activities in Setauket, NY during 1779 and 1780. The purchase of these letters was made possible with a generous gift from Dr. Henry and Marsha Laufer and laid the foundation for the establishment of a Long Island Historic Documents Collection. The collection includes primary and secondary source material on the history of Long Island from the earliest settlers through the present, with a strong emphasis on the period of the American Revolution through the War of 1812 (1764-1812). Visit the LibGuide for George Washington and the Culper Spy Ring for more information and resources about this topic

Digitized Long Island Book Collection
A curated collection of the department's scarce books about Long Island.

Digitized Edition: Long Island Historical Journal
The print edition of this peer-reviewed, scholarly journal founded by Roger Wunderlich at Stony Brook University has been digitized and indexed. Search and freely access thirty-two issues (1988-2008) of substantive, original scholarship about the history of Long Island - Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties - set in a regional, national and global context. In 2009, the LIHJ was renamed the Long Island History Journal.  

Long Island Postcards
View postcards dating back to the late 19th century of Long Island scenes, landmarks, and homes.

Stony Brook University Archives
Research the history, people, and traditions of Long Island's largest research university. 

Specula Yearbooks
Access PDFs of Stony Brook University's yearbook, which was published from 1961 to 2006.