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University at Buffalo Libraries

Charles B. Sears Law Library SUNY Buffalo Law School

Selected Special Collections on Indians & N.Y.S. available in the Western New York region


Howard R. Berman Collection

Located at the Charles B. Sears Law Library, University at Buffalo. Howard Berman, an attorney and professor of American Indian law and rights of indigenous peoples, worked closely with the traditional Haudenosaunee [Six Nations, Iroquois Confederacy]. He was an avid collector of rare books on New York history and Indian affairs, and wrote extensively on indigenous rights and international law. There is an online index to his personal papers as well as a bibliography of his publications.

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Iroquois Books of Marilyn L. Haas

Located in the Charles B. Sears Law Library, University of Buffalo. The collection is rich in historical, anthropological and cultural sources. Researchers interested in cross-cultural issues in the legal context, human rights, or simply local historical background for legal disputes will find it useful.

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Onondaga Nation Land Claims Records, 2005-2008

Materials from the ongoing litigation of Onondaga Nation land claims in central New York State, Onondaga Nation v. New York, et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York, Docket 05-CV-0314 include expert historical reports, an oral argument transcript, news articles, and papers filed with the court. The Nation does not seek eviction of landholders or damages but a declaration that New York illegally took the land from the Onondagas in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The Nation's expressed motivation is to participate in and encourage full environmental clean-up of Onondaga Lake and the surrounding area. A finding aid is available online.


Seneca Land Claims Records, 1994-2005

Located in the Charles B. Sears Law Library, University at Buffalo. This collection includes official court filings and decisions, expert reports and maps, and background research materials prepared during the New York Attorney General's defense of the Grand Island and Oil Springs Reservation land claims. A finding aid is available.


Seneca Indian Collection

Located in Reed Library, State University College at Fredonia.

Special Collections at Reed Library collects all types of materials relating to the Seneca Indians. The Allegany and Cattaraugus Reservations of the Seneca Nation of Indians are included in the geographical collecting areas for the Local History Collection.


Seneca Indian Land Claims Collection Compiled by Paul G. Reilly

Located in the E.H. Butler Library Archives & Special Collections at Buffalo State College.

The original papers have been microfilmed. Paul G. Reilly was New York City attorney for the Seneca Nation and the Tonawanda Band of Seneca before the Indian Claims Commission between 1948 and 1970. Included are petitions, motions, responses, and opinions presented during federal judicial proceedings before the Indian Claims Commission, 1953-1971. The bulk of the collection consists of historical documents, including treaties, leases, legal proceedings, letters, and maps copied from the National Archives and historical repositories throughout the United States and Canada, and range in date from the early 18th century to the early 20th century.


Genesee Valley Historical Collection

Located in Geneseo College Libraries, State University College at Geneseo. In addition to a large number of books on the Iroquois, the collection includes a fully indexed microfilm collection of primary source materials.


Holland Land Company Archives

Located in Reed Library, State University College at Fredonia.

This microfilm collection contains material relating to the United States investment activities of the Holland Land Company, an early 19th century Dutch corporation and spans the years 1879 to 1869. Included are field notes, correspondence, and maps. An inventory is available online. A digital collection of Holland Land Company Maps (digital collection) is available at http://www.nyheritage.org/collections/holland-land-company-maps

19th Century Monographs on the History of Western New York

A digital collection from Niagara University. Chapter IV of the History of Buffalo and Erie County covers the Iroquois.


Papers of George P. Decker (1861-1936)

Located in Lavery Library, St. John Fisher College. George Decker was a Rochester attorney who represented the Onondaga, Seneca and Tonawanda Seneca Nations and was involved in land claims by the Senecas and Cayugas in New York and Canada.


Papers of Erastus Granger (1765-1826)

Located in the Penfield Library at the State University of New York at Oswego in the Marshall Family Papers. Erastus Granger was an early Federal Indian Agent (1803-1819) and Democratic political figure in western New York. Charles M. Snyder's book, Red and White on the New York Frontier: A Struggle for Survival (E 78 N7S7 1978), summarizes and reprints some of the papers from this collection.


Sir William Johnson Papers

Located in the Manuscripts and Special Collections in the New York State Library, the collection is available digitally at http://purl.org/net/nysl/nysdocs/423659.

Johnson served from 1755 to 1774 as the British Superintendent of Indian Affairs in New York. His papers are primary documents from the colonial era which provide insight on the relations between the British, French and Haudenosaunee (Iroquois).


Papers of Samuel Kirkland (1741-1807)

Located in the Burke Library Archives at Hamilton College.

Samuel Kirkland was a missionary to the Oneida Indians and founder of Hamilton College. Collection includes: correspondence; diaries; fragment of an autobiography, 1764-65; and census of the Six Nations, 1789. Correspondents include James Bowdoin, Joseph Brant, Israel Chapin, Henry Knox, Andrew Oliver, Timothy Pickering, Philip Schuyler, Peter Thatcher, the Rev. Stephen West, Eleazer Whellock, Edward Wigglesworth, and Joseph Willard.

Index: The Correspondence of Samuel Kirkland, indexed by James Freeman, John Hinge, & Christopher Barton. (K 62 C6 1979 - available only in the Burke Library Archives).

See also:The Journals of Samuel Kirkland, 18th Century Missionary to the Iroquois Walter Pinkerton, editor. (E99 I7 K5 1980).


Papers of Colonel George Morgan, Indian Agent, 1774-1778

Located at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in the Craig Manuscript Collection. Morgan was the first Indian Agent for the Continental Congress and was sent by Washington in 1776 to Onondaga with a great peace belt with 13 diamonds.

Other papers located also at :
Center for Indigenous Arts & Cultures
2300 W. Alameda, A-7,
Santa Fe, NM 87507.
Phone: 505-473-5375; FAX: 505-424-1025;
email: Indians@nets.com

See also:

Gregory Schaaf's The Morgan Papers : the impact of George Morgan and George Washington in formulating Indian policies at the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1776; his article, "Discovery of the Morgan Papers Adds to the Evidence," in Indian Roots of Indian Democracy, special issue of the Northeast Indian Quarterly, 1988 (E 99 I7 I385 1988) and his book, Wampum Belts & Peace Trees: George Morgan, Native Americans, and Revolutionary Diplomacy(E 93 M83 S33 1990).


Lulu Stillman Papers

Located in the Manuscripts and Special Collections in the New York State Library, the collection is available digitally at http://purl.org/net/nysl/nysdocs/sc20652.

Lulu Stillman was the stenographer for Assemblyman Edward Everett who chaired the New York State Indian Commission from 1919 to 1922. The Everett Report documented the signing of a treaty with the U.S. in 1784 and concluded that the original six million acres of land ceded to the Indians reflected their current land status. The report was not accepted by the Legislature and lay unpublished until 1971 when Mrs. Stillman made the only remaining record available. Helen Upton, a researcher at Russell Sage College who wrote The Everett Report in Historical Perspective, added her own papers to this collection.


The Wadsworth Family Papers

Located at the Geneseo College Libraries, State University of New York at Geneseo.

"The Wadsworth Collections concern the first and continued settlement of land in the Genesee region known as the Phelps and Gorham Purchase. They consist of approximately 50,000 items from land offices of two branches of the Wadsworth family and cover the years 1790 to about 1950...include business correspondence, voucher, business ledgers, copies of deeds, and maps."



For Further Research

  • National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections - Library of Congress

    Easy to search for specific names or subjects, e.g., kirkland, samuel; or Iroquois Indians, etc.

  • New York State Archives' Guide to Records Relating to Native Americans
  • Historical Records Repositories in New York State

    New York has over 2800 historical records repositories and over 4300 local governments. This on-line directory provides address and telephone information for organizations and governments that have reported that they hold historical records.

  • Historical Document Inventory

    Search catalog records for more than 25,000 archives and manuscripts collections housed locally at repositories throughout New York State (libraries, historical societies, and other organizations with established archives). The search excludes the holdings of the State Library and the State Archives. NOTE: The HDI collections are NOT housed in the State Library; for a list of participating repositories see the Repository Locator On-Line Directory above.

  • Albany Institute of History & Art

    The Albany Institute's library is one of the area's most outstanding regarding the history, art and culture of the upper Hudson Valley region from the 17th century to the present. A non-circulating library, the library collection of more than one million items includes extensive collections of primary source material such as photographs, manuscripts, architectural drawings, broadsides, ephemera, maps and scrapbooks in addition to more than 14,000 history and art reference volumes and 125 periodicals and newsletters.

  • Archive Finder

    Archive Finder is a database that provides information on primary source materials from over 4,800 archival and manuscript repositories in the United States. Leads to repository and collection records that include NIDS and NUCMC records, links to online finding aids, information on repositories and links to repository home pages.