Search Our Catalog

The FRANK Library Catalog is the most comprehensive tool to search for resources and collections, including those not available online, within the Museum’s Research Library.

You can also explore an array of digital collections and projects from the Research Library below.

175 Years: Celebrating the Incorporation of the City of Buffalo, 1832-2007

Selected documents and images from our collections, designed to transport you back to Buffalo in the 1830s.

Adventures in Western New York History

Short, readable booklets on 25 important topics in Buffalo history, including the Buffalo grain elevators, the Pan-American Exposition, and Erie County in the Civil War. All online in full text.

Ansley Wilcox Scrapbook, 1901

Digitized by the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site as part of an initiative sponsored by the Theodore Roosevelt Center in North Dakota, this is the scrapbook compiled by Ansley Wilcox in 1901. Theodore Roosevelt took the oath of office in Wilcox's mansion after the assassination of President William McKinley. The original scrapbook remains in our collection. Portrait courtesy of Wikipedia.

Offline

Architectural Records

A WorldCat list of items in our collection

Atlases for Buffalo & Erie County

Listed here are atlases that show individual buildings or land owner names in Buffalo and Erie County, with links for those which have been digitized. These atlases are key for house & building research. Sanborn map of Lafayette Square courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Offline

Bethune, Louise

A Google Doc of items in our collection

Bethune’s Daughters: Women Architects in Buffalo, NY

This slide show features current women architects in or from Buffalo, NY. We produced it in 2011 as part of an exhibit on Louise Bethune, America's first professional woman architect.

Offline

Birge, M.H. Company Records

Inventory now online at the Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative

Offline

Black History in the Buffalo Area: A Bibliography

Listed here are books, manuscripts, theses, and dissertations about African-American history in the library: biographies and autobiographies, organizations, activism, professions. This list is at WorldCat.

Black Rock & Riverside: A Bibliography

Once a town in Erie County, Black Rock was annexed by the City of Buffalo in 1854. Today it is a neighborhood in the northwest part of Buffalo, proudly retaining its identity 150 years later. All items listed here are in our library. This list is at WorldCat.

Offline

Breweries, Temperance & Prohibition

A WorldCat list of items in our collection

Offline

Bryant, William Clement Papers

Inventory now online at the Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative

Buffalo Address Books & Family Directories

Published from 1883-1915, these directories list middle & upper income households, with a reverse address section that lists mostly west side houses. These directories might help you determine when your house was built.

Buffalo Architecture Index

Drawn from primary and secondary sources in our collection, this Google spreadsheet shows the architect and date for 1,300 addresses in the Buffalo area.

Offline

Buffalo Bibliographies & Indexes

There is nothing like a good bibliography to open your eyes to books and articles that you never knew existed on your research topic. The bibliographies listed here all have something to do with Buffalonians or the Buffalo/Niagara area. We also added indexes and inventories to major local manuscript collections. This list is at WorldCat.

Buffalo Churches in 1901: A Google Map

In 1901, the Charity Organization Society of Buffalo published a map showed the location of every church in Buffalo, NY. Intern Peter Malia replicated that map here. Churches are color-coded by denomination.

Offline

Buffalo Corrugated Container/ Fibre Factory Company Records

Inventory now online at the Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative

Buffalo Drinking Map, 1828 to the present: A Google Map

A thorough map of everyone involved in the production of alcoholic beverages in the greater Buffalo area. We color-coded the locations of 90 breweries, 60 malt houses, 60 distilleries, 7 wineries, and 15 cider houses, with logos for currently operating businesses.

Offline

Buffalo Federation of Women’s Clubs Records

Inventory now online at the Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative

Buffalo Filmography

A detailed and thorough spreadsheet of feature films, documentaries, and television productions either filmed or set in the Buffalo area. We are still adding to it. Illustration courtesy of Pixhere.com.

Buffalo Grain Elevators: A Google Map

A thorough map of all known Buffalo grain elevators, past and present, including elevators that were on land that has since been excavated to enlarge the Buffalo River.

Buffalo Historical Society Publications

Well, we didn't digitize them, Google & others did. But we collected the links in chronological order so you can read them online. This series includes the ever popular Picture Book of Earlier Buffalo (1912) and a wealth of scholarship on the Holland Land Company, the War of 1812, Native Americans, Millard Fillmore, our by-laws, and much more.

Buffalo Historical Society, 1930

An illustrated pamphlet with scenes of museum interiors & exhibits. It was published in 1930 to commemorate the expansion of our original 1901 building. Architect George Cary (1859-1945) designed the building and the additions. Library call number F116 .B83 B84 1930.

Buffalo in the War of 1812

Selections from our vast War of 1812 holdings, including original and published letters, journals, artist's conceptions, diaries, scrapbooks, reminiscences, news clippings, and other ephemera.

Offline

Buffalo in World War I

A WorldCat list of items in our collection

Buffalo Jazz Clubs, 1945-1970: A Google Map

Includes the addresses, years of operation, and some of the owners during the years when these clubs were in business. Researched and developed by Kanisha Greaves, student intern in the Research Library, Fall 2012.

Buffalo Ku Klux Klan Membership List

In 1924, the KKK had a short-lived chapter in Buffalo. Here is a list of members with a short essay on how the Klan managed to get a toehold on the Niagara Frontier.

Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority Maps, 1935

Digitized by Library volunteer Brenda Myc, MLS, these maps were selected from an atlas which documented slum conditions in Buffalo during the Great Depression. Individual maps show the distribution of ethnic and immigrant groups; the density of population; the incidence of crime, juvenile delinquency, and venereal disease; and other social conditions. Maps also show Buffalo ward boundaries and councilmanic districts. Several are hand-colored.

Buffalo Newspaper Search Engine

One custom Google search engine drills into these free and fee sites:

  • Buffalo News, 1996-present, via Highbeam.com [$]
  • Chronicling America: newspapers digitized by the Library of Congress
  • FultonHistory.com
  • New York Times, 1851-1980
  • NYSHistoricNewspapers.org
Image courtesy of needpix.com.

Offline

Buffalo Newspapers on Microfilm

A Google Doc listing all of the newspapers we have on microfilm, starting in 1811 and ending around 2012.

Offline

Buffalo on Stage & Screen

Movies, TV shows, scripts, plays, musicals, all chosen because the story was set in the Buffalo area or the production was filmed in the Buffalo area. Includes documentary films as well as feature films, plus works on Buffalo theater buildings. All of these items are in the Library collection of The Buffalo History Museum. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Buffalo Postcard Collection

From our 7,000 or so postcards, we selected and scanned some rare cards that we haven't already seen online, with historical notes on each one. This project is online at NYHeritage.org.

Offline

Buffalo Protest Collection

Inventory now online at the Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative

Offline

Buffalo True Crime

A WorldCat list of items in our collection

Offline

Buffalo-Area Directories

A WorldCat list of items in our collection

Buffalo’s Bethune: America’s First Woman Architect

Panel designs from an exhibit held from 2011-2012 on Louise Bethune, the first professional woman architect in America. Some objects on the panels were not available for online use. Many thanks to Brian McAlonie and Kelly Hayes McAlonie for co-curating this exhibit.

Offline

Business Records

A WorldCat list of items in our collection

Online

Offline

Cemetery Records on Microfilm

A Google Doc with links to some online records

Offline

Census Indexes

A WorldCat list of items in our collection. We have federal and state censuses for Erie County and they are on microfilm

Cholera Deaths, 1854

Buffalo suffered several outbreaks of cholera. In 1854, Dr. James Newman kept a ledger of the deaths that occurred in Buffalo, which is now in our collection. Here is an index of about 1,000 names in that ledger, generously compiled by Roseanne Higgins, PhD.

Online

Offline

Church Records on Microfilm

Church records are often the only surviving proof of births, marriages, and deaths. We have a large collection of Buffalo-area church records on microfilm and in print. Some are being digitized, mostly by FamilySearch.org. We add links when we find them. Image of St. Louis Roman Catholic Church from The Catholic Church in the United States of America: Undertaken to Celebrate the Golden Jubilee of His Holiness, Pope Pius X, 1914, vol. 3, p. 487.

Offline

Civil War Collection, 1830-1929

Inventory now online at the Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative

Cleveland, Grover: A Bibliography

The items listed here are all in our collection. This list is at WorldCat.

Cleveland, Grover: A Google Map of Sites in Buffalo

According to his biographers, period newspaper accounts, and Buffalo city directories, here are places where Grover Cleveland worked (blue pins), lived (red pins) or dined, visited, spent leisure time, gave speeches, etc. (yellow pins). Extant buildings & sites are marked with stars.

Cleveland, Grover: An Index of His Papers

President Cleveland's papers are in the Library of Congress. When they microfilmed them, we acquired a set of the films. Thanks to the Library of Congress, here is a searchable index of his papers, featuring the names of people with whom he corresponded.

Offline

Cleveland, Grover: Papers on Microfilm

Grover Cleveland's papers are in the Library of Congress. When they microfilmed them, we acquired a set of the films. This is their guide to the contents of the films.

Cleveland, Grover: Top Five Urban Legends

Several claims have been published recently about Buffalo places where Grover Cleveland lived or liked to hang out. Are they true?

Crystal Beach

Selected period photographs from the beloved amusement park in Fort Erie, Ontario.  Now online at NYHeritage.org.

Offline

DeForest, Marian: An Inventory of Her Papers

Inventory now online at the Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative. Portrait courtesy of Wikipedia.

Offline

Dobbins, Daniel Papers (1800-1849)

A guide created by the Research Library

Offline

Donovan, William J. Papers

Inventory now online at the Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative

Early Settlers Index

A list of over 3,000 names of adults who settled in Buffalo, mostly prior to 1840. Be sure to click on Sources, which shows where we found these names. We add names from time to time if we find a good list.

Echando Raices: Hispanics Building a Life & Legacy in Western NY

In September 2014, we unveiled our first-ever exhibit on Hispanic history in Buffalo, The original exhibit panel designs from Echando Raices are shown here. Many thanks to Mr. Casimiro Rodriguez and the Hispanic Heritage Council for their assistance.

Erie County Prisoner Identification Cards

Names of 1,025 inmates at the Erie County Penitentiary from 1896 to 1914. The majority of the pictures date from 1899-1905. The photographs have warped over the years, are not digitized or online, and may be seen by visiting in person. A Scholar Pass is required to use this collection.

Offline

Esenwein & Johnson Records and Richard Goehle Papers

Inventory now online at the Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative

Esenwein & Johnson: An Online Exhibit

Examples of the work of Buffalo's premier Art Nouveau architects, best known for designing the first Statler Hotel (later the Hotel Buffalo) and the Temple of Music at the Pan-American Exposition.

Offline

Fillmore, Millard: A Bibliography

President Millard Fillmore (1800-1874) returned to Buffalo after his political career and devoted himself to civic efforts. He was the first president of the Buffalo History Museum (formerly the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society). Listed here are Fillmore-related books and manuscripts in our library, including items pertaining to his family. This list is at WorldCat.

Offline

Fillmore, Millard: Guide to Papers

Fillmore's papers are on 66 rolls of microfilm. This guide explains what is on each roll.

Offline

Food, Restaurants & Cookbooks

A WorldCat list of items in our collection

Offline

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender History in the Buffalo Area

A WorldCat list of items in multiple libraries

Offline

Genealogy Basics at the Buffalo History Museum

An online slide show/tutorial about what to expect if you plan a family history research trip to our Library. Illustration courtesy of Wikimedia.

Offline

Genealogy Collections: An Overview

A brief overview of our genealogy greatest hits: censuses; church records; city directories; death, obituary and cemetery records; marriage indexes; military service indexes; social directories; telephone directories; and voter registration lists. Image courtesy of PublicDomainVectors.org

Offline

Genealogy in Buffalo & Erie County: A Bibliography

A list of of the best books for those researching ancestors and family history in Buffalo and Erie County, NY. Omitted are single-name books, microfilms, and other non-book items. Some titles appear twice because of being issued in different editions or versions. We tried to focus on works available in Buffalo area libraries, but some are owned only by out-of-town libraries. This list is at WorldCat.

Offline

Goodyear, A. Conger – Personal Papers

We're very sorry, but this collection is restricted until further notice

Offline

Goodyear, A. Conger: War of 1812 Manuscripts

Anson Conger Goodyear (1877-1964) collected letters and documents from the period and donated them to us. An inventory of his collection is now online at the Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative. Map courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Offline

Grain Elevators in Buffalo

A WorldCat list of items in our collection

Offline

Green & Wicks

A WorldCat list of items in our collection

Offline

Hispanic/Latino History in Buffalo

A WorldCat list of items in our collection

Historic Markers in Buffalo & Erie County: A Google Map

This map shows historic markers in Buffalo and Erie County that have been submitted to the Historic Marker Database. In 2017, they graciously provided a file of the Erie County markers and allowed us to upload it to our own Google map.

Offline

Holland Land Company and Joseph Ellicott

A WorldCat list of items in our collection

Offline

House History at The Buffalo History Museum

An online slide show/tutorial, newly revised and expanded

Offline

House History Handbooks

A WorldCat list of items in our collection

Index to Buffalo Artists’ Register

Published in 1926, the 460-page Buffalo Artists' Register is essentially a biographical dictionary of local painters, sculptors, designers, architects, musicians, dancers, singers, actors, playwrights, photographers, poets, and teachers in these fields. What we are able to offer online is just the index, so you can look up specific names.

Index to Men of Medicine in Erie County

When Jane Woodward published her 1971 book, Men of Medicine in Erie County, it lacked an index. In 1982, Sharon Keller produced an index. The book is offline but here is the index. The book covers not only prominent physicians, but the history of hospitals, epidemics, and medical advances in Buffalo and Erie County, NY. Illustration from Buffalo Medical Journal, 1914.

Offline

Irish-American & Buffalo’s Old First Ward

A WorldCat list of items in our collection

Offline

James, Meadows and Howard – Airport Renovation and County Stadium Projects

Inventory now online at the Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative

Offline

Larkin Company

A WorldCat list of items in our collection

Larkin Filmstrip from ca. 1930: Mrs. James Brown Starts a Larkin Club

This is one of 3 filmstrips produced by the Larkin Company around 1930 to recruit women to join Larkin buying clubs. Filmstrips were essentially the slide shows of the period, with black & white still images that were narrated by a live speaker.

Offline

Levine, Adeline: Love Canal Collection

Dr. Adeline Levine (1926-2015), a professor of sociology at the State University of New York at Buffalo from 1968 to 1990, studied the sociological aspects of the Love Canal disaster. She donated her papers to us in 1994. The inventory of this extensive collection is now online at the Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative. Photo courtesy of the New York State Department of Health.

Offline

Lyman, Duane and Associates, Architects

Inventory now online at the Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative

Maris B. Pierce Papers

Born on the Allegany Reservation in 1810, Pierce graduated from Dartmouth, making him one of the first Seneca Indians to get a college education. After college, he settled on the Buffalo Creek Reservation and fought against the removal of Seneca from their lands. All 800+ of his letters and papers are now digitized.

Maritime Buffalo: Paintings and Artifacts from the Buffalo History Museum Collections

Some of our finest pieces have to do with commerce and shipping on the Erie Canal and Great Lakes.

Offline

Martin, Darwin D. and Larkin Company Papers

Inventory now online at the Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative

Offline

McKinley, William: An Assassination Bibliography

In September 1901, William McKinley traveled to Buffalo, NY to tour the Pan American Exposition. While shaking hands in the Temple of Music on September 6, he was shot by Leon Czolgosz. He died on September 14, 1901, whereupon Theodore Roosevelt was summoned to Buffalo and hastily inaugurated. Czolgosz was found guilty and was executed on October 29, 1901. Shown here are books and manuscript material in our library. This list is at WorldCat.

Offline

Niagara County Records, 1808-1830

Inventory now online at the Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative

Offline

Offbeat Buffalo

A WorldCat List of items in our collection

Offline

Olmstead, Frederick Law

A WorldCat List of items in our collection

On This Day Calendar

On This Day in Buffalo History: A calendar of events in Buffalo-area history, compiled by the staff of the Research Library. Image courtesy of Pickpik.com.

Offline

Orphan Home Records: A List

These are the only items in our collection that identify children by name in any of Buffalo’s orphanages.  They are not digitized or online and must be used in person. The links provide greater bibliographic detail about each source. Image courtesy of Pickpik.com.

Offline

Pan-American Exposition Company Records

Inventory now online at the Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative. Stock certificate courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Offline

Pan-American Exposition: A Bibliography

Listed here are books, dissertations, pamphlets, scrapbooks, and even a few magazine articles and pieces of sheet music in our collection. Our Pan-Am photographic collections & albums are listed but not digitized, so an in-person visit is needed to see them. Not listed are our many Pan-Am drawings, posters, maps, and ephemera such as souvenirs, ticket stubs, brochures, and envelopes. This list is at WorldCat.

Pan-American Exposition: List of Prizes

We are often asked to verify if someone won a medal at the Pan-American Exposition. About 4,500 awards, medals, and honors were bestowed at the Pan-Am. Here is the only list that we know of, originally published in the Buffalo Morning Express, October 10, 1901. Awards are listed in order by category, not surname. This PDF is the most legible copy we could make.

Pearce & Pearce Collection: Index of Addresses

Pearce & Pearce was a company that built a lot of post-war suburban houses and a few commercial developments in Tonawanda, Amherst & Clarence. In 2017, we acquired their business records. If you own a Pearce & Pearce house, we may have the original paperwork from your home. Here's an index of the addresses for which we have files.

Offline

Picture Collections: A Guide

The Buffalo History Museum has been collecting visual material of all kinds ever since we were founded in 1862.  We have an estimated 200,000 images sorted into about 100 specialized collections.  Nearly all of these collections focus on the people, places, things, and events of the Buffalo/Niagara area.  This guide describes our major photographic collections, which are mostly undigitized and offline.

Picture Store

About 2,000 vintage Buffalo images from our collection are available as home or office decor, keepsakes, and high-resolution digital downloads. All proceeds support the care and housing of Museum collections.

Planning Your First Visit to the Research Library

An online slide show about our hours, policies, etc.

Offline

Porter, Augustus Papers

Inventory now online at the Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative

Offline

Porter, Peter B. (1773-1844) Papers

A guide to the microfilms in our collection

Presidential Visits to Buffalo: A List

Starting with James Monroe in 1818, a lot of U.S. presidents have visited Buffalo as candidates, during their terms, or after they left office. Here is our list. The illustration is courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net.

Offline

Protest, Radicalism & Social Movements in Buffalo: A Bibliography

Civil rights, labor strikes, riots, anti-war movements, socialism, communism, activism, reform, and protest of all kinds in the Buffalo, NY area.  Everything listed here is in our library. This list is at WorldCat.

Revolutionary War Veterans in Western NY

A list of about 150 names transcribed from a small, handwritten card file giving places of burial, plus a checkmark indicating if we have a photocopy of the veteran's pension file.

Offline

Roberts-Sidway-Spaulding Papers, 1850-1936

The papers of James A. Roberts; Frank S. Sidway; the  Sidway, Skinner & Moore firm; and Elbridge G. Spaulding. Inventory now online at the Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative. Portrait of Elbridge Spaulding courtesy of Wikipedia.

Offline

Seneca Indian Collections

A Google Doc list with links to books that are now online in full text

Slideshare.net

We have several Powerpoint talks and tutorials online here: Genealogy, House History, Women Architects, Hispanic History, and planning your first visit to our library.

Tagpacker.com

Tagpacker.com is a social bookmarking tool. We use it to keep track of useful websites for Buffalo-area history & genealogy. We have over 1,500 links sorted into easy-to-understand categories or "tags." We add links all the time.

Offline

Talbert, Mary B. – Family Papers

Inventory now online at the Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative

The Album: Back Issues of Our Newsletter

Browse full-text copies of our colorful member newsletter, which is issued quarterly and features artifacts, events, and photos. To get free home delivery of The Album, we invite you to join as a member of the Museum.

Offline

Underground Railroad & Abolition in Buffalo & Upstate NY

There is no published book-length history of the Underground Railroad in Buffalo, NY. The closest we have is books about the Niagara Frontier and upstate/western New York in general, which are listed below. This bibliography features works owned by the Buffalo History Museum plus works owned by institutions other than us.  This list is at WorldCat.

Undertaker Records, 1883-1899

The Buffalo History Museum has ledgers from two Buffalo funeral directors, Henry Farwell and Theophilus Speyser. This is an A-Z list of everyone they recorded in their ledgers, over 3,100 names from 1883 to 1899. These are our only funeral home records.

Offline

War of 1812 in the Buffalo/Niagara Area: A Bibliography

This list doesn't include every possible source that mentions Buffalo, NY, but it does lead you to the most important ones about how Buffalo, Black Rock, and both sides of the Niagara River experienced the War of 1812. All of the items listed here are in the Library collection. This list is at WorldCat.

War of 1812: Register of Soldiers in the Williamsville Hospital, 1814-1815

Here are black & white scans of over 300 pages of handwritten notes on the soldiers admitted to the Williamsville Hospital during the War of 1812. The original register is in the collection of the U.S. National Archives. Scans were acquired and shared with us by the Cheektowaga Historical Association.

Wheels of Power

Buffalo, the 8th largest city in the United States at the time, was one of the first to benefit from commercial production of hydroelectric power in 1896. This exhibit from 2004 told the story of harnessing Niagara Falls and conserving its natural beauty, as well as the people who changed American life forever.

Offline

Women’s History in the Buffalo/Niagara Area: A Bibliography

Includes works by and about notable and ordinary women, including organizations, biographies, suffrage, professions, and more. We're limited to 500 items on these lists, so we have more than we were able to include. This list is at WorldCat.

Women’s History: A Google Map

To celebrate the centennial of women's suffrage in the US, we developed a map of over 75 sites in the Buffalo area associated with women's activities and achievements in business, education, politics, charities, the arts, and more. This map was begun by intern Amber Levias in 2019. We are still adding addresses.

Offline

Works Progress Administration (WPA)

In the Buffalo Area, a Google Doc

Offline

Works Progress Administration Historical Records Survey

Inventory now online at the Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative

WorldCat.org Lists & Bibliographies

This one is for those who do research in bricks & mortar libraries like ours. Here are lists of mostly undigitized, offline books & manuscripts on various popular Buffalo topics. Did you know that we have 150 items on the Pan-American Exposition? And over 450 having to do with women's history? We maintain 35 bibliographies at WorldCat.

Offline

Wright, Frank Lloyd in the Buffalo Area

A WorldCat list of items in our collection

Search Our Catalog

The FRANK Library Catalog is the most comprehensive tool to search for resources and collections, including those not available online, within the Museum’s Research Library.

You can also explore an array of digital collections and projects from the Research Library below.