Public Research Center - Donate to our Collections
Research Center Our Research Center is visited by a wide variety of patrons. We have vast holdings for genealogists. We have historical records and early photographs for people looking for architectural information. College students use our records to find early city maps and gazetteer images. Writers research background locations for their novels. Civil War buffs can pour over boxes of photographs of battle scenes taken during the war. We have an amazing variety of files and folders. Our photograph collection covers everything from early daguerreotypes to tin types, glass negatives, paper negatives and aerial photography. Copies suitable for framing may be ordered of any of our prints through our Photograph Store . Come and visit. There is something here to amaze everyone.

Tools of the TradeLocation: 321 Montgomery Street, 2nd floor, Syracuse, NY 13202
Phone: 428-1864 ext 325
Fax: 315-471-2133
Hours: The Research Center is open to the public from Wednesday through Friday 10:00 to 2:00 and Saturday 11:00 to 3:30. We are closed Sunday, Monday & Tuesday.
Fee: Admission is free for OHA members, $7 for non-members and $4 for students.

Research services for our remote patrons is available at $30 per hour, with a $15 minimum, payment received in advance. To contact research center personnel by email, click here.

Descriptions of most of our manuscripts and archives holdings can be viewed on the New York State Archives' online catalog, Excelsior, and the Library of Congress online National Union Catalog (RLIN). Enter Excelsior. Type Onondaga Historical Association, the word and, and then your search terms. For example, type Onondaga Historical Association and salt or Onondaga Historical Association and Civil War. Select Historical Document Inventory as the library.


The historic documents available at the Richard and Carolyn Wright Research Center at Onondaga Historical Association are vast and varied. They pertain almost exclusively to the history of Syracuse and Onondaga County. The most often used collections are a Reference Collection of over 25,000 individual files and an Archive & Manuscript collection of over 1600 discreet collections.

The reference collection is organized by subject and contains mainly printed material such as newspaper clippings, pamphlets and monographs. Subjects include a wide variety of topics such as businesses, industries, city block and ward files, events, associations, individual citizens, families and many more. If it pertains to the area’s past, we likely have something about it. Here's our Research Finding Aid to help you find what you are looking for in the Research Center. There are separate photography reference collections with subjects that correspond to the above-mentioned files and contains many thousands of images dating from the mid-19th century to the present. Here's our Research Center Photography Finding Aid. This aid gives you an idea of the many types of photos you will find here.

Gloved HandsThe Archive and Manuscript Collection has in recent years been professionally catalogued, submitted to the New York State Archives’ Historic Document Inventory and is now more available and useful to researchers than ever before. Using the accepted organizing criteria of provenance and original order, they shed light on to local families, individuals, businesses, industries, associations and groups. For example, a researcher might choose to use The H.A. Moyer Carriage Company Records, 1881-1928, Asa Danforth Papers, 1777-1812 or The Syracuse Athletic Club Records, 1873-1896. Aggregating collections such as The Onondaga Lake Collection, The Salt Miscellany Collection or The Sports and Recreation Collection are compiled from various sources and continue to grow. A mixture of materials may be found together in one collection such as photographs, diaries, personal correspondence and business records.

HydrometerfilesOf course, there are many other resources in OHA’s Research Center that often prove useful to the researcher. A city directory from the mid-19th century might tell you where your relative lived and even his occupation. Historic maps and atlases are often helpful to document changes in a specific location over time. Newspapers, censuses, cemetery listings scrapbooks, diaries, videotapes and even sound recordings and films are all represented in our holdings. Contact us or stop in for a visit to see if OHA’s Research Center has the information you need!

Research Tools

Onondaga Historical Association
321 Montgomery St.,  Syracuse, NY. 13202
Phone 315-428-1864, Fax: 315-471-2133