This page is to guide the researcher in understanding the contents of the local history materials in the Binghamton University Libraries' Special Collections.
Local History Resources focus on the history of Broome County and surrounding areas and offers a variety of materials. Contained within this resource are materials such as postcards, oral histories, ephemera, artifacts, records of organizations, Civil War letters and diaries, and printed material.
For more information see the Special Collections page
Archival collections are created or received by a person, family, or organization, public or private, in the conduct of their affairs and preserved because of the enduring value contained in the information they contain or as evidence of the functions and responsibilities of their creator. Archival collections contain many different types of materials such as documents, photographs, memorabilia and artifacts, audiovisual materials, such as sound recordings, films, and videos.
For more local history resources visit, https://www.binghamton.edu/libraries/about/special-collections/research-and-collections/
The Local History Resources include books, VHS and DVDs that cover the following topics:
Searching for these resources in the Library catalog website
Follow these steps:
Step 1: On the Libraries’ website, click Our Catalog and the click on Advanced Search below Search box
Step 2: For material type, select Books or Videos
Step 3: Enter your search terms, for example, Binghamton, New York and churches
Step 4: Click Search
Step 5: Click on the Library/Collection drop down and select Special Collections
A plat map is a document drawn to scale, showing the divisions of a piece of land. It gives the legal descriptions of pieces of real property by lot, street, and block number. It shows the land as subdivided into lots showing the location and boundaries of individual parcels with the streets, alleys, easements, and rights of use over the land of another. Usually a plat map is drawn after the property has been described by some other means, such as a government survey. Once a plat map is prepared, property descriptions are defined by referring to the appropriate map.
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps were created to help insurance companies determine the potential risks when underwriting fire insurance policies for buildings. These maps contain detailed information about buildings. Today they are utilized for historical research, social and cultural history, researching the built environment, historic preservation, urban planning and genealogical research.
They are organized as follows:
a decorative title page
an index of streets and addresses
a ‘specials’ index with the names of churches, schools, businesses etc.
and a master index indicating the entirety of the mapped area and the sheet numbers for each large-scale map (usually depicting four to six blocks)
general information such as population, economy and prevailing wind direction
The maps include:
composition of building including:
building use (sometimes even particular room uses)
names of most public buildings, churches and businesses
house and block number
outlines of each building and outbuilding
the framing, flooring, and roofing materials
the location of windows and doors
indications of sprinkler systems
street and sidewalk widths
natural features (rivers, etc.)
locations of fire hydrants
location of water and gas mains
facilitate the study of urban growth and decline patterns
to study historic urban planning designs
to study historical evolution of buildings, including their historic uses and building materials in conservation and rehabilitation efforts
to study the evolution of historic sites and districts
to study patterns of growth and migration of populations
to locate the residences and workplaces of ancestors
Digital Sanborn Maps available from the Library of Congress
Include a collection of maps
Provides names of property owners
Includes street names
Tracts of land and name of tract
Has a business directory
The local newspapers are in three formats - original documents, microfilm, and online. The original documents are housed in Special Collections and the microfilm is located in the Newcomb Reading Room.
A selection of periodicals from local businesses, industry and organizations.