STATEN ISLAND HISTORY
BOOKS IN THE COLLECTION:
A SELECTED ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY
Compiled by Dr. James Kaser, Archivist, in September 2003.
N.B. Copies of these works are shelved in both the Special Collections reserve collection shelved in the CSI Library’s first floor and in Archives & Special Collections in Room 216, unless otherwise noted. If an item is only available in one location, the location is noted after the item's call number.
Items shelved in the Special Collections reserve collection may be accessed through the Circulation Desk on the Library’s first floor. These materials are restricted to in-Library use, and may be borrowed for a two-hour period with a valid CUNY ID.
Items shelved in Archives & Special Collections may be accessed through the Archives & Special Collections Reading Room in Room 216 on the Library’s second floor. The Reading Room is generally staffed Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm, when the Library is open.
• Bayles, Richard M. History of Richmond County (Staten
Island), New York: From Its Discovery to the Present Time. New York:
L. E. Preston, 1887.
— F 127.S7 B3
This one-volume history includes introductory chapters on geology, geography, and natural history. The history of Staten Island is broken into four periods: “Settlement,” “Colonial,” “Revolutionary,” and “The Republic.” The rest of the subject is covered under the following chapters: “Civil Divisions and Civil Officers,” “Churches and Religious Organizations,” “Education and Literature,” “The Professions of Law and Medicine,” “Old Families and Prominent Individuals,” “Charities and Public Works,” “Mutual Associations,” “Transportation and Traffic,” and “Industries.” No index, but the chapter sub-headings are relatively detailed.
• Clute, J. J. Annals of Staten Island, from Its Discovery to the
Present Time. New York: Press of Charles Vogt, No. 114 Fulton Street,
1877. Reprint: Interlaken, NY: Heart of the Lakes Pub., 1986.
— F 127.S7 C6 1986 (Special Collections Reserve Collection)
Clute’s narrative history of about 136 pages is supplemented by over 334 pages of appendices. His history focuses on the Revolutionary, Colonial, and pre-European settlement periods. Although he refers to documentary sources and includes some of them in his appendices, much of what he has written is based on tradition (some of it oral tradition he received directly from living people who had been on Staten Island during the Revolution.) The 1986 reprint includes a personal name index.
His appendices are entitled:
Civil List (office holders from the earliest form of government through 1876)
Extracts from Old Records (documents copied randomly due to their age)
Anecdotes (from the Revolutionary period)
Government (of the Colonial Period)
Staten Island 200 Years Ago
Villages (New Brighton, Port Richmond, Edgewater)
Noted Localities [Toad (sic) Hill; Watchogue; The Rose and Crown; The Bull’s Head; The Clove—The
Finger-board road; Holland’s Hook—Morning and Blazing Stars; Kill Van Kull—Arthur Kull—the Old Place]
Hospitals (The Sailor’s Snug Harbor; The Retreat; Seamens’ Children’s Home; The S.R. Smith
• Davis, William T. The Conference or Billopp House, Staten Island,
New York. Staten Island, NY: Staten Island Historical Society, 1926.
— F 127 S7 D18
Davis brings together transcriptions of a variety of materials, including letters, wills, military documents, and articles that appeared in the popular press to tell the story of the Billopp house. The first chapter deals with the Revolutionary War peace conference held there; following chapters deal with each successive owner of the house until the time of the Revolution; and the final chapter treats the house itself as described in various sources.
• Du Bois, Theodora McCormick and Dorothy Valentine Smith. Staten
Island Patroons. New York: Staten Island Historical Society, John Frederick
Smith Publication Fund, 1961.
— F 127.S7 D8
This thirty-three page essay describes the system of patroonships that controlled Staten Island during the seventeenth century. The authors discuss the activities of Michael Pauw, David De Vries, and Cornelis Melyn. Although not footnoted, the work is based on documentary materials, both published and unpublished, that are listed in a source list.
• Eberlein, Harold Donaldson. Manor Houses and Historic Homes of
Long Island and Staten Island. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1928.
— F 127 L8 E2
Eberlein’s book includes attractive photographs and brief chapters on the following Staten Island subjects: the land grant of Cornelis Melyn, Vanderbilt House (Port Richmond), Dongan Manor (Castleton), Austen House (Clifton), Perine House (Dongan Hills), Kruzer-Pelton House (West New Brighton), Christopher House (Willowbrook), and Bentley Manor House (Billopp House, Tottenville).
• Ferrer, Margaret Lundrigan. Richmond Town and Lighthouse Hill.
Dover, NH: Arcadia, 1996.
— F 127 .S7 F47 1996
• Lundrigan, Margaret and Tova Navarra. Staten Island. Dover, NH: Arcadia Pub., 1997.
— F 127.S7 L86 1997 (Special Collections Reserve Collection)
• _____. Staten Island, Volume II, A Closer Look. Dover, NH: Arcadia Pub., 1999.
— F 127.S7 L86 1999
• _____. Staten Island in the Twentieth Century. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 1998.
— F 127.S7 L86
The books of Lundrigan and Navarra have all of the appeal and the frustrations of a family photograph album. Images from the Staten Island Historical Society, private collections, and Staten Island photographers are given brief captions and gathered into broad subject arrangements (i.e., “The Wild West,” “Island Life”). Each volume does include a brief bibliography, but no index. Although evocative of Staten Island’s past, the works are challenging to use as research tools.
• Hampton, Vernon B. Staten Island’s Claim to Fame: “The
Garden Spot of New York Harbor.” Staten Island , NY: Richmond Borough
Publishing and Printing Company, 1925.
— F 127 .S7 H2
In the first twenty-nine pages of his book, Hampton presents his arguments for Staten Island’s claims to fame: “an untapped suburban empire”; the attractive and healthy landscape; a location at the gateway to New York offering excellent shipyards, piers, and drydocks; industries, including paper and cardboard boxes, white lead for paint, a dyeworks, linoleum company, and the Proctor and Gamble soapworks; and the commuting distance to Manhattan. He also notes that the Island held the first Flag Day, hosted Benjamin Franklin and John Adams (during the peace meeting at the Billopp House during the Revolution), and was the first national headquarters of the Republican Party (during the Fremont campaign in 1856). Most of his book discusses the famous people connected with Staten Island. For many of the people he lists, the connection was a visit to the Island. Although the book is not indexed, the table of contents lists all of the people he discusses.
• Hine, Charles Gilbert. History and Legend of Howard Avenue and
the Serpentine Road, Grymes Hill, Staten Island. Staten Island, NY: Privately
— F 127 .S7 H5 (Archives & Special Collections, Room 216)
Part celebration of a view and neighborhood, the text also provides an account of the houses and families that lived in the area in the early twentieth-century. Photographic illustrations from 1914 are of interest, as are two property maps. The volume has no index, but the text is laid out with marginalia to guide the reader.
• Hine, Charles Gilbert. The Story and Documentary History of the
Perine House: Dongan Hills, Staten Island, Headquarters of the Staten Island
Antiquarian Society. Staten Island, NY: Staten Island Antiquarian Society,
— F 127 .S7 H68 (Archives & Special Collections, Room 216)
Documents the history of the oldest house on Staten Island and in doing so presents genealogical information about the Britton, Perine, Stillwell, and Tysen families that occupied the house. An appendix contains transcriptions of documents including wills and deeds.
• _____. and William T. Davis. Legends, Stories and Folklore of
Old Staten Island, Part I—The North Shore. Staten Island, NY: The
Staten Island Historical Society, 1925.
— F 127 .S7 H67
The volume focuses on communities and houses along Richmond Terrace, including St. George, West New Brighton, New Brighton, Port Richmond, and Mariner’s Harbor. The text consists of short entries on a wide variety of subjects, without any formal arrangement. In some cases, newspaper and manuscript material is excerpted without full attribution. In addition to printed materials, the authors drew upon the oral tradition of residents. An index is included.
• Holden’s Staten Island: The History of Richmond County.
Edited and compiled by Richard Dickenson. New York: Center for Migration Studies,
— F 127 .S7 D53 2002
Originally created by Edna Holden in 1964 as a textbook and resource guide for the public schools, the Staten Island Borough Historian created this update in 2002. The book can serve as a good starting point for ready reference and further research since it mostly consists of paragraph long entries on a variety of topics related to Staten Island history. The “Index and Sketches” section has numerous notes on index entries. The reader will also find a 1971 essay by Mrs. Evelyn Morris King entitled, “The Black Man on Staten Island” and excerpts from Dickenson’s “African-American Census Occupations on Staten Island.”
• Leng, Charles and William T. Davis. Staten Island and
Its People, a History, 1609-1929. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing
— F 127.S7 L53 v. 1-5
The writers of this, the most extensive work ever published on Staten Island, were founders of the Staten Island Institute for Arts and Sciences and the Staten Island Historical Society. The first volume recounts the history of the Island through World War I and includes material on natural history and prehistory. The second volume examines Staten Island’s cultural institutions, recounting the history and achievements of religion, education, law, medicine industry, banking, and transportation. Charitable institutions, social organizations, and journalism are also discussed, along with “Old Families and Their Homes.” The second volume also contains a bibliography and an index for the first two volumes, which were considered the “Historical” volumes. The remaining three “Biographical” volumes consist of essays on people who were or had been residents of Staten Island. These biographical volumes are separately indexed. The work is illustrated throughout, although the majority of illustrations are in the biographical volumes.
• McMillen, Harlow. A History of Staten Island, New York
During the American Revolution. Staten Island, NY: Staten Island Historical
Society, The John Frederick Smith Publication Fund, 1976.
— F 127 .S7 M34
This forty-page essay narrates the events of the American Revolution connected with Staten Island in a readable format. Essay contents are not footnoted (even when sources are excerpted) and there is no list of sources.
• Mershon, S.L. The Major and the Queen. New York:
R.R. Beam & Company, 1915.
— F 127 .S7 M57 1915 (Archives & Special Collections, Room 216)
Mershon, a director of the American Title and Trust Company of Wilmington, Delaware, which had acquired the property rights and interests descending from the Lancaster Symes Staten Island Land Grant, attests that England was always the legitimate European claimant to ownership of Staten Island. Nearly a third of his ninety-plus page book presents evidence; the rest of the volume relates the history of Major Lancaster Symes who was granted approximately half of the Island by Queen Anne in 1708. His loyal service to the crown in the Colonies had been rewarded by grants of thousands of acres of land in what are now Westchester, Orange, and Rockland counties in New York State. As a public relations piece defending the legitimacy of a title claim, the work’s accuracy is open to question, however, the biographical information about Symes remains useful.
• Morris, Ira K. Morris's Memorial History of Staten Island,
New York. New York: Memorial Pub. Co., 1898-1900.
— F 127.S7 M8 v. 1-2 (Volume 2 is only available in the Special Collections Reserve Collection)
According to the author’s preface, this extensive compendium took him fifteen years to prepare. He prided himself on his reliance on documentary sources some of which were not in public hands (“Many an old garret and secluded nook, too, where had been collected the papers, letters, books and documents of succeeding generations of Staten Islanders, have become familiar haunts to the writer”). The work is unindexed, but the section headings listed below guide the reader. Both volumes are illustrated.
The Native Indians
Discovery of the Island
Settlement of Staten Island
The Dutch at Oude Dorp
The Waldenses at Stony Brook
Story of the Huguenots
Under Dutch Rule
English Colonial government
Establishment of the Courts
Staten Island Separated from New Jersey
Staten Island in 1676
The Story of the Dongans
Official List of Office-Holders (from the first Provincial Congress through 1897)
The Billopps and Their Home
The French and Indian War
Approaching the Revolution
Preparing for the Struggle
Commencement of the Revolution
The Crisis on Staten Island
Hostilities on Staten Island
Simcoe and the Queen’s Rangers
Skinner’s Brigade of American Loyalists
The Jersey Prison Ship
Margaret Moncreiffe on Staten Island
The New Dorp Dueling Ground
Incidents of the Revolution
The American Loyalists
Old Locations—Names and Nicknames
Under the Republic
Staten Island Militia
The War of Eighteen Hundred and Twelve
In the Old Slavery Days
The Whipping-Post at Richmond
Old Staten Island Families
The Vanderbilt Family
Aaron Burr—Soldier, Lawyer, Politician
Old Staten Island Structures
Old Hotels of Staten Island
Distinguished Residents and Guests
Three Centuries of Politics
Old Post Routes and Ferries
Freemasonry on Staten Island
The Dutch Reformed Churches
The Presbyterian Churches
The Moravian Churches
The Methodist Churches
The Episcopal Churches
The Baptist Churches
Lutheran and Congregational Churches, Etc.
The Roman Catholic Churches
The Bench and Bar
The Medical Fraternity
Staten Island Journalism
The Schools of Staten Island
The Quarantine Hospitals
Staten Island During the Rebellion
The Bicentennial Celebration
The Sailors’ Snug Harbor
The Island’s Poor and Their Home
-Staten Island Villages:
[Oude Dorp (Old Town); Stony Brook; New Dorp; Cucklestown (Richmond);The Public Highways—Past and Present
Long Neck (New Springsville); Fresh Kills (Green Ridge); Rossville; Linoleumville; Tompkinsville; Stapleton; Clifton; Concord; Castleton Corners; Garretsons; Grant City; Giffords; Eltingville; Annadale; Huguenot; Prince’s Bay; Pleasant Plains; Richmond Valley; Kreischerville; Woodrow; Bogardus’Corner; Graniteville; Bull’s Head; Willow Brook; Old Place; Chelsea; Travisville; Egbertville; Prohibition Park (Westerleigh); Edgewater; New Brighton; Port Richmond]
Staten Island Banks
Staten Island Railroads
Staten Island Industries
The Fire Departments
The Police Department
Social and Beneficial Organizations
The Borough of Richmond
• Sachs, Charles L. Made On Staten Island: Agriculture,
Industry, and Suburban Living in the City. Richmondtown, Staten Island,
NY: Staten Island Historical Society, 1988.
— HC 108 .N7 S23 1988
This exhibition catalog provides brief, thoroughly researched articles on most of the industries that were located on Staten Island from the Colonial period through the 20th century. Excellent bibliography and attractive illustrations feature materials from the exhibition.
• Smith, Dorothy Valentine. Staten Island; Gateway to
New York. Philadelphia: Chilton Book Co., 1970.
— F 127.S7 S59 1970
Smith’s work covers the Island’s history up to 1970. She is able to draw upon a great deal of 20th century research and sometimes openly corrects Morris’ Memorial History, as well as oft-repeated legends. Her tone is elegiac; she begins her book and ends her book with observations on the Verrazano Bridge and concludes: …by 1980—the “new” Staten Island is expected to emerge. The “old” Staten Island, having lost its flavor and character, will be no more. Includes a list of “Old Place Names” and a bibliography and index
• _____. This Was Staten Island. Staten Island, NY:
Staten Island Historical Society, 1968.
— F 127.S7 S6
An indexed volume of photographs, primarily of building exteriors, with some interior shots. All but six of the photographs are in the collections of the Staten Island Historical Society and were taken between 1866 and 1956. Although Smith lists photographers whose work is included in her introduction, the photographs themselves only have brief descriptive captions.
• Steinmeyer, Henry George. Staten Island, 1524-1898.
Staten Island, NY: Staten Island Historical Society, 1950 (c.1961).
— F 127.S7 S78
• _____. Staten Island, 1524-1898. Revised edition. Richmondtown, Staten Island, NY: Staten Island Historical Society, 1987.
— F 127.S7 S78 1987
In approximately eighty pages, Steinmeyer presents a narrative history that focuses on the Colonial period, Revolution, burning of the Quarantine, Civil War period unrest, and transportation developments at the end of the 19th century. His readable account has no footnotes, although he does include a bibliography and index. Also included are a list of place names, historical chronology, and images of historic Staten Island buildings, many of which are no longer standing. The images have no attributions, but are, presumably, from the collections of the Staten Island Historical Society.
College of Staten Island, CUNY