For 70 Years, “Connecting the Past with the Present … Creating a Legacy for the Future”
The Bryant Library Local History Collection was officially opened to the public seventy years ago. As reported in the Roslyn News, “about seventy-five residents and others interested in local history” gathered on Sunday, May 31, 1953, for the unveiling of Frances Bryant Godwin’s plaque of her great-grandfather, William Cullen Bryant, and to view a display of “photographs, letters, newspaper clippings, early copy books, and account books, salvaged from attics and old houses, and now preserved for future generations” that were stored in a small cabinet on the balcony of the Library’s Reading Room. The small collection of materials on display that day forms the foundation of today’s expansive Local History Collection, housed in the Library’s Bryant Memorial Room, better known as The Bryant Room.
The important work of preserving Roslyn’s history has remained the focus of the Local History Collection over the past seventy years. In 1953, Marion Brower, then-Roslyn Village Historian and a Trustee of the Grist Mill Historical Society, called for village residents to add items to the collection so that they could be “preserved for the people of Roslyn and for future generations.”
Forty years later, then-Archivist Myrna Sloam penned a call for donations to the Collection, writing:
For many of us life in Roslyn is filled with wonderful memories. But what are memories if they are not shared? For more than 40 years the library’s Local History Collection has collected, preserved and shared Roslyn’s history and heritage. However, in order to continue this vital work your contributions are needed.
Local history is not a collection of facts and dates, peopled by anonymous figures. It is history made personal. It is your cherished photos, diplomas, letters and postcards which form the record of you, your family and your community. We all know that, as time passes, people leave the area taking with them or discarding the precious materials which document their lives.
So, we invite you to take part in the sharing of memories. Open your photo albums, dresser drawers, shoe boxes, closets and consider making donations to the Bryant Library Local History Collection so that, for your friends, neighbors and future generations, Roslyn will be remembered.
As we celebrate the Local History Collection’s 70th anniversary, we once again “invite you to take part in the sharing of memories.” We especially want memories of life in Roslyn during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. We encourage you to go into your attics, basements, or garages and to consider donating your photographs, family documents, and memorabilia from that period to the Bryant Library so that we can expand our knowledge of life in Roslyn during these decades of growth and change. By sharing materials that document the people, events, organizations, businesses, institutions, and social issues associated with the Roslyn community, you will ensure our ability to leave a legacy of memories and knowledge for future generations.
If you are interested in contributing to our archives, please visit our Donation Page for instructions and information regarding the gifting of materials to the Local History Collection.