Archivist Brian Jirout Assists with Tubman “History Harvest”

Dr. Brian JiroutSUNY Cortland Archivist and Instructional Services Librarian Brian Jirout recently assisted Associate History Professor Evan Faulkenbury’s “Introduction to Public History” Students when they co-hosted a “History Harvest” in Auburn, NY.

Their Mission? To collect artifacts for the newly created Harriet Tubman National Historic Park which will open open in Auburn later this year.

Dr. Jirout acquired needed scanning equipment and assisted the student in documenting artifacts for the project.

To read a longer article on this project, please click HERE.

Digital Commons @Cortland

Image from the Digital Commons @Cortland displaying a photo of an early Football team

Wondering what SUNY Cortland used to look like? Want to check out photos of your time suiting up as a Red Dragon? Many of SUNY Cortland’s historical photographs, documents, yearbooks and many other items are available online for free! Check out the SUNY Cortland Digital Commons to find out more!


The Archives

Image of the SUNY Cortland Archives

Wondering about SUNY Cortland’s history? The Archives in Memorial Library is open by appointment! It is home to collections of photographs, the campus yearbook Didascaleion (also called the ‘Did’), and many more books and manuscripts that tell SUNY Cortland’s story.

The Archives is located on the 3rd Floor B-side of the Memorial Library.

Be sure to check out the Libguide here to learn more:

Appointments can be requested Monday through Friday from 8am to 3pm. To schedule an appointment or ask questions email:


Grant Supports Mobile Archive to Document Diversity

A new grant will allow SUNY Cortland Memorial Library’s Archives and Special Collections and the Cortland County Historical Society to partner in documenting the local community.

The goal is to remember the histories of people from marginalized and underserved populations on the campus and throughout greater Cortland.

The $7,000 grant, from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), will fund a project called “The People’s Record: Using a mobile archive to document and preserve Cortland’s diverse stories.”

Memorial Library’s Archives and Special Collections and the Cortland County Historical Society will host a series of pop-up archive sites on and off campus to begin documenting and recording the memories of people from these populations. Community members will have the opportunity to bring in materials for donation or to have those materials scanned into the digital archives and retain ownership of the originals. Materials may include photographs, family histories, scrapbooks or any other type of document.

Pop-up archive events will begin on Tuesday, Feb. 15 in Memorial Library and are scheduled once per month through the spring semester. Individuals may also schedule alternate virtual or private sessions.

Pop-up events for Spring 2022 include:
Tuesday, Feb. 15: Memorial Library, tables near Bookmark Café, 2 to 6 p.m.
Tuesday, March 15: Cortland Free Library, 32 Church St., Cortland, 3 to 7 p.m.
Tuesday, April 19: BRU 64, 64 Main St., Cortland, private room, 3 to 7 p.m.

Organizers intend the project to be an inclusive opportunity for all participants to record meaningful conversations, preserve memories and give the community a public voice in the historical record. Stories may relate to family history, occupations, social justice, education or COVID-19, among many possible topics.

The project will be led by Jeremy Pekarek, SUNY Cortland’s archivist and instructional services librarian, and Tabitha Scoville, director of the Cortland County Historical Society. SUNY Cortland history majors MacKenzie Guernsey and Caleb Blaise are working as interns and will receive assistance on interview planning and implementation from Associate Professor Evan Faulkenbury.

Pekarek shared a quote from historian Howard Zinn, which appeared in the Midwestern Archivist in 1977, on the importance of documenting history from marginalized and underserved communities.

“We learn most about the rich, not the poor,” Zinn wrote. “The successful, not the failures; the old, not the young; the politically active, not the politically alienated; men, not women; white, not black; free people rather than prisoners; civilians rather than soldiers; officers, rather than enlisted men.”

Scanned materials and interviews will be preserved through SUNY Cortland’s Digital Commons and New York Heritage, an online portal for learning about the people, places and events that made New York state.

The project is sponsored by the Cortland County Historical Society, SUNY Cortland Memorial Library, South Central Regional Library Council and the university’s Cultural and Intellectual Climate Committee (CICC).

For more information, contact Pekarek or Scoville.

Participants are reminded to follow all COVID-19 safety policies on the SUNY Cortland campus, including wearing face coverings at all times while indoors. Details are available on the COVID-19 Safety Information page.

This article appeared in the Bulletin Online Newsletter on 02/08/2022

Women’s Suffrage Exhibit on Display in Library

Image of the Women's Suffrage Exhibit

An exhibit on “Recognizing Women’s Right to Vote” will be displayed in SUNY Cortland’s Memorial Library through the month of February.

On loan from the South Central Regional Library Council, the exhibit may be viewed on the first floor between the Advisement and Transition Office and Bookmark Café.

It celebrates the right of women to vote and covers an era of American, and particularly, New York, history from pre-revolutionary times to the passage of the 19th amendment in 1920.

“This is an important exhibit demonstrating the movers and shakers of the women’s suffrage movement in New York,” said Archivist and Instructional Services Librarian Jeremy Pekarek. “This exhibit is typically in high demand around our region. We could not reserve it for Women’s History Month but decided to display it during the month of February.

“We have local activists who took part in the national movement such as Amelia Jenks Bloomer,” Pekarek said.

The famed early women’s rights advocate was born in Homer in 1818 and fought for women’s suffrage, national dress reform and founded The Lily newspaper, providing a voice for women during that era, he said.

“Lydia Strowbridge, who came to live in Cortland, was a pioneer of medicine who advocated for abolition and women’s suffrage.”

Pekarek noted several local pioneers in women’s rights issues who are not featured in the exhibit but deserve recognition, including:

Helen E.A. Timko ’38 was elected as the first female student council president at the Cortland Normal School in 1937.
In 1941, Susan West became the first woman elected to the County Board of Supervisors for Cortland County.
Margaret Dexter was elected as a Cortland City Council alderperson in the 1950s, the first woman to hold this title.
Mary Ruth Boone Jacobus ‘65 created the first Cortland chapter for the League of Women Voters and participated in numerous events, especially regarding the 26th Amendment debate on raising the voting age.

For more information on this exhibit, contact Pekarek at 607-753-2759. Visitors are expected to follow SUNY Cortland’s COVID-19 safety policies, which include wearing a face covering at all times while in indoor spaces.

Learn more about the exhibit from New York Heritage’s digital collections website.

This article appeared in the Bulletin Online Newsletter on 02/08/2022

Virtual Exhibit: Documenting Diverse & Multicultural Milestones in SUNY Cortland’s Past

Front page of the The Dragon Chronicle March 5, 1996

This virtual exhibit attempts to highlight some important moments in SUNY Cortland’s past where actions reflected various forms of diversity and inclusion that helped shape the campus. Evidence of campus activism can be seen through clubs/organizations, curriculum and programming, the establishment of new offices, committee work or task-forces, plus individual student efforts.

Check it out at

October is National Archives Month

Here is one project the College Archives are currently working on…

We are looking to preserve your stories!

The College Archives is seeking to document the different experiences of faculty, staff, students, and alumni at SUNY Cortland during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The project is titled COVID-19: The SUNY Cortland Stories. These experiences will be preserved by the College Archives and made available on Digital Commons@Cortland publicly. We are interested in learning more about your stories. Experiences related to COVID-19 may include personal and professional reflections or even photographs. However, these materials must be original work, reproductions or third-party materials are prohibited from being submitted. It is important to preserve these materials so that in the future we may reflect on this unique and difficult time.

Guidelines on how to contribute to this project

  • You may submit using this form.
  • File size for submission is 25MB.
  • There is no immediate deadline. This is intended to give you time to submit something organically in the moment, or it allows you to take time to reflect on this situation and submit at your leisure when you are ready.
  • No page count required, but keep in mind the file size of 25MB.
  • Submissions may be written documentation (saved as PDF’s or Word documents preferred), as well as photographs (JPEG’s or TIFF’s preferred).
  • We are not accepting video or audio materials currently.
  • Upon submitting, you must check an agreement allowing the archives to preserve and make your materials available online at Digital Commons@Cortland.
  • Submissions must be original work, reproductions or third-party materials are prohibited.

Contact and Questions

If you have questions on this collection or having trouble submitting your responses, please email the College Archives at


Library Resources during COVID-19

Looking for Resources during COVID-19? Thinking about returning materials that you have borrowed from Memorial Library or through Interlibrary Loan?

Before you you do anything, check out our LibGuide –

Here you can find information on Library Resources; Research Help; Archives; Teaching Materials Center; Testing Center; Digital New York Times, Wall Street Journal & Chronicle of Higher Education; Holds & Checked out Books; Interlibrary Loan Availability; Recommended Library Materials; Freely Available Videos; Temporarily Available Resources; and COVID-19.

College Archives Open House

College Archives Open House
Wednesday, November 6, 2019, from 3-5 p.m.
Third Floor of Memorial Library Room B-305

Memorial Library will be hosting an Open House event for faculty, staff, students and the community to learn more about the College Archives and what we have to offer. Members of the College Archives Steering Committee will be discussing different projects and sharing their experiences with the collections.

Light refreshments will be served.