Local History

Welcome to Colin T. Naylor Jr. Archives at The Field Library!

Peekskill History

Throughout its history, Peekskill has played an integral role in local and national events.  Located along the east side of the Hudson River about 50 miles north of New York City, Peekskill quickly developed an important role in manufacturing as early as the American Revolution, where the Continental Army established their headquarters in 1776.  Home to notable residents such as Hawley and Hariet Green, Henry Ward Beecher and William Sands, Peekskill was an important stop on the Underground Railroad through the American Civil War.  Continuing to grow after Reconstruction, foundries expanded, business diversified and infrastructure improved.  From 1609 when Henry Hudson anchored in Peekskill to the present, Peekskill has enjoyed a prominent place in the social, cultural and economic development of Westchester County.  


Local History and Special Collections 

The Colin T. Naylor Jr. Archives collects materials in a variety of formats including maps, manuscripts and letters, diaries, photographs and audiovisual materials, scrapbooks, newspapers and ephemera which pertain to the history of Peekskill and Cortlandt, Westchester County, and the State of New York.


Maps, Newspapers, Directories and Books 

Our collection features local maps from the 1700's to present, Peekskill newspapers from the 1800's to the current day, Polk City Directories, books on the topic of the Revolutionary War, local authors and rare books pertaining to the state of New York.   In addition to these resources, the archive keeps an extensive obituary database. 


Our collection includes the Franklin Couch Genealogical File, family histories, family bibles, rare books and resources devoted to helping patrons locate important documentation about their ancestors.

To submit a genealogical or a subject request click here.

Photographs, Pamphlets and Ephemera

We also hold an extensive collection of original photographs, glass plate negatives and contact prints from the Evening Star.  Organized in three collections, the photographic and audio-visual materials range from portraits, local events, architecture, moving images of local history, presentations, works of art and images of Field Library employees and patrons.   Our collection of pamphlets and ephemera offer a unique look at various periods of history in Westchester County, the Hudson Valley and the state of New York.   

Subject Files 

Subject Files on topics such as local businesses and industries, organizations, buildings, and notable citizens are also available to assist researchers: subject files 


Please contact Benny Gerwitz, bgerwitz@wlsmail.org for further assistance. 

Out-of-state requests for research by mail can be provided at the cost of $15.00 for the first hour, with a 1/2 hour minimum, and $15.00 for each additional hour. 

Photocopies are available at the cost of $1.00 for the first page, and $.25 for each additional page.

If you are planning to travel a long distance, we encourage you to call ahead and schedule an appointment.


For information on ordering local history and other library merchandise, click here.


Any information about St. Joseph’s Home can be obtained by emailing Sister Laura at slmfmsc@mail.com.  Please include St. Joseph Home Request in the Subject line.


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