On this Web page you will find information about special projects on which Archives & Special Collections is focusing.
Kerner’s research on William Gamble grew out of her project to transcribe and research the content of over 100 letters, many of which have references to William’s younger brother Major Thomas Gamble (c. 1735-1821), who served in the British Army during the American Revolution. After Thomas retired to Little Gaddesden England, a very wealthy man, he maintained acquaintanceships and friendships with Americans, including Aaron Burr, and Benjamin Franklin’s son William. She plans to publish her work in 2022.
The College of Staten Island’s Archives and Special Collections is building a collection of materials documenting the “unofficial” history of the Willowbrook State School. The records constituting the official history (memos, reports, financial records, legislative materials, etc.) are in the hands of the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disability and the New York State Archives.
We are collecting materials that reflect the experiences of residents, staff members at all levels, and parents and caregivers. This unofficial history is an important resource for historical research and could include correspondence, event posters, newsletters, flyers, photographs, newspaper clippings, or notes. Those with materials of memories to share can contact the archives. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to us at:
Archives & Special Collections, 1L-216
College of Staten Island Library
2800 Victory Boulevard
Staten Island, NY 10314
The history of the Willowbrook State School is crucial to understanding the history of the treatment of people with developmental disabilities. The College of Staten Island, as the institution that has come to occupy the site of the school, has a unique opportunity to make information available about the school’s history.
How to Find Patient Information
Some people contact us concerning specific patients. Access to records of patients is held by state repositories and is indefinitely restricted. However, former Willowbrook residents, their legal representatives, immediate family members and descendants may request this information.
Requests should be communicated to:
As a reflection of The College of Staten Island Archives and Special Collections commitment to documenting the Willowbrook story, the archives is using a New York State Documentary Heritage Planning Grant to look at the disability rights movement in New York City. The disability community is diverse, but civil rights and social inclusion are shared goals. The project team is reaching out to a broad group of stakeholders, some of whom have previously gathered to discuss the need for a central archive of disability rights history for the New York City metro area and an institutional partner for the undertaking. Discussion participants have ties to 504 Democratic Club, American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today (ADAPT), Camp Jened (Hunter, NY), Disability Independence Day March, Disabled In Action (DIA), the NYC Department of Education, District 75, and The Arc. With the College of Staten Island as an institutional partner, the grant-funded project will build on earlier efforts and expand outreach to independent living centers throughout the five boroughs and disability-specific organizations. The project is committed to making certain that documentation for the disability rights struggle be preserved and available to researchers.We are currently conducting community outreach to determine the scope of the project. If you have materials that should be a part of this archive, please read this announcement and fill out a brief form.