RCHS manages and administers the largest local history library, archives and research center in Rensselaer County. These collections, comprising more than 33,000 items, are the fastest-growing and most well-used at RCHS. All collections are non-circulating.

Our library is frequented by researchers of all ages and interests. From genealogists who come to fact-check and legitimize their journal articles to local Trojans curious about the history of their homes, we offer an extensive collection of volumes, documents and artifacts to support your studies. Many a storyteller has camped out in our stacks, gathering details to animate their books and films. We also welcome primary and secondary school students who utilize our research library for research as part of their curriculum.

RCHS is also the repository for the Rensselaer County Surrogate Court Records, 1791-1915. These documents are often a great asset to researchers. Records from 1915 to present day and later records are at the Rensselaer County Surrogate Court. 

Brief Index to Historical Records at RCHS

Primary Sources – 19th and 20th centuries
    •    Diaries
    •    Letters
    •    Scrapbooks
    •    Business Records
    •    Ephemera

Secondary Sources – 19th and 20th centuries
    •    City Directories
    •    County Histories
    •    Family Histories
    •    Labor History
    •    Social History
    •    Town and Village Histories


Maps/Atlases – early 19th century – 1990
    •    19th and 20th century maps of towns – a printed guide exists to this collection
    •    Sanborn Maps: 1903 – 1914, 1942, 1954


19th through 21st centuries, representing various photographic processes
    •    Aerial Views
    •    Agriculture
    •    Animals
    •    Architecture: churches, commercial buildings, monuments, residences, schools, social and civic buildings, street scenes, details. Click here for information on local architecture.
    •    Cemeteries
    •    Disasters: blizzards, floods and fires
    •    Foreign Locations
    •    Group Portraits
    •    Individual Portraits
    •    Landscapes
    •    Objects: Burden Water Wheel, equipment, commercial products, plaques and trophies
    •    Panoramic Views
    •    Parades
    •    Recreation and Sports
    •    Special Events
    •    Transportation: air, land, water
    •    Waterways and Bridges

Special Collection Highlights
    •    Cluett, Peabody & Co. Papers, Troy, NY
    •    Congressman Dean P. Taylor Papers
    •    Organizational Papers such as Troy Chromatics, Thursday Morning Club, Troy Day Home
    •    Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing Papers
    •    Hart Family Papers (owners of the Hart-Cluett House)
    •    Papers of Rensselaer County families
    •    Cable Flax Mill Papers, Schaghticoke, NY
    •    Burden Iron Company Papers, Troy, NY
    •    Marshall Mills Papers, Troy, NY

Surrogate Court Records