Explore Collecting Areas

Civil Rights and Social Justice * CollectionS

Queens College students and faculty have a rich history of participation in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, as well as other struggles for social justice. Starting in 2009, the department began collecting materials from alumni, faculty, and community members involved in these movements. The collections document projects like the Virginia Student Help Project in 1963, Mississippi Freedom Summer in 1964, and the Summer Community Organization and Political Education project in 1965, as well as local, New York-based campaigns of the NAACP, Congress of Racial Equality, and Students for a Democratic Society. The department continues to expand in this area, documenting a broader array of voices, organizations, and time periods.


After Queens College’s founding in 1937, the music program (now the Aaron Copland School of Music) quickly grew into one of the most distinguished in the country, with graduates becoming chairs at Harvard, Princeton, and Yale; successful Broadway composers; as well as thriving performers, music editors, and accomplished school music teachers. Building on this history, the department has collected materials from prominent faculty and alumni, as well as other New York based musicians and scholars.

Print History and CulturE * COLLECTIONS

The department collects original materials and reference works that support research into material history and print culture. Processed highlights include 17th and 18th century monographs and contemporary zines and restaurant menus. We are also working on a project to conserve and catalog a rare books collection of over 6,000 volumes from 1382 to the present day in a variety of genres, formats and languages.


The department collects records, publications, photographs, and ephemera documenting the administrative, scholarly, and social history of the campus from the college’s founding in 1937 to the present day, as well as papers of prominent alumni, faculty, and administrators.

Political Papers

The department holds the political papers of several elected officials, including Congressman Benjamin Rosenthal, Congressman Gary Ackerman, Speaker of the New York State Assembly Saul Weprin, and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. These collections are partially processed and the department is seeking grant and/or private funding to make these collections more accessible.

Seamen’s Church Institute * COLLECTIONS

The Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) has operated in the Port of New York since 1834, providing ministry and aid to seafarers and port workers for nearly two centuries. SCI’s records have been on loan at the department for teaching and research purposes since 2011. The collection includes correspondence, photographs, minutes, printed material, scrapbooks, journals, registers, reports and ephemera related to the day-to-day operation of the Institute, as well as the working waterfront of New York City.