Local History

The Pruyn Collection of Albany History is the local history collection of the Albany Public Library. It is housed in the Albany History Room, which is opposite the Edgar Tompkins Memorial Computer Lab on the second floor of the Main Library. Albany’s long and fascinating history can be explored through books, pamphlets, clippings, newspapers, and photographs. The lives of citizens can be discovered through city directories, census records, and newspapers. While the primary focus of the collection is on the history of Albany City and County, there are also materials relating to other communities in the Capital District.


The Pruyn Collection Hours:

Mondays from 4 to 7 pm -- Every week

Wednesdays from 9 am to 1 pm -- First and third Wednesday of each month

Fridays from 2 to 5 pm -- Every week

Saturdays from 1:30 to 5 pm -- Second and fourth Saturday of each month


City Historian Tony Opalka will be available in the Albany History Room to assist the public with their local history research on:

1st, 3rd and 4th Monday of the month from 6 to 7 pm

2nd Saturday of the month from 2 to 4 pm


For more information, contact the Main Library's Reference Desk at 427-4303, or email localhistory@albanypubliclibrary.org for more specialized assistance.

Pruyn Collection - A list of local history and genealogical materials available for use in the Albany History Room.

Online history & genealogy resources - Useful web links and research databases.

Finding Birth, Death, and Marriage Records

Albany Public Library Now Accepting Yearbook Donations

In an effort to better assist Albany Public Library patrons who frequently seek out high school, college, elementary school, and parochial school yearbooks ,we are now accepting donations of yearbooks from current and former schools in the city of Albany.  Yearbooks should be in good condition but can have signatures and messages written in them.  Please drop off your yearbook donations during normal library hours at the first floor circulation desk, the basement reception desk, or the second floor reference desk of the Main Library, 161 Washington Ave., Albany NY.

Although we cannot assess the value of the yearbooks you donate, we can provide you with a form indicating how many yearbooks you donated to us.  For more information, please call Albany Public Library’s Reference Department at 427-4303 or email localhistory@albanypubliclibrary.org.

The Pruyn Collection on New York Heritage

Albany Public Library’s digital collection on New York Heritage contains a sample of our local history holdings. "Views of Albany" draws from our collection of 1,500 black and white photographs. “A Bicentennial of Albany Views: 1963-1967 and 1974-1975 Compared” is an album of photographs and captions that was handmade in 1976 by Florence L. Powell, a historical research assistant for the city of Albany. "Residential Albany" contains photos and illustrations of streets and structures where people lived, from small apartment buildings and mansions in Albany’s oldest neighborhoods to single family houses in the newer parts of Albany. Check it out here.

Mobile App: Albany: Then & Now

Android - iPhone/iPad/iPod

This app provides a map for a walking tour of Albany's amazing architecture and more than 100 historic photographs of Albany streets. Produced through the cooperation Troy Web Consulting and the Historic Albany Foundation.

The Story of My House Program

Slides from a presentation on how to research your property's history by the Albany City Historian and the Historic Albany Foundation's Director of Presentation Services (June 1, 2013).

Last updated: September 26, 2014