The Cold Spring Harbor Clippings Collection

The following is another post in our series highlighting the collections that are being processed through the NHPRC Basic Processing Grant.

The Cold Spring Harbor Clippings Collection is a compilation of newspapers, magazines and trade journals relating to the scientists and events both at CSHL and the scientific community at large.  The Collection dates from 1903-2012.  From 1924, if not earlier, CSHL or the Biological Laboratory, as we were then known, employed a clipping service to keep track of newsworthy mentions.  Answering the age old question, “Which came first the chicken or the egg?” was certainly a top story.

Note the two newspapers here: The Torrington Connecticut Register and the Worcester Massachusetts Post. The Torrington Register is now out of commission and is replaced by Register Citizen which covers Litchfield County and regional Northwest CT news, including Torrington. The Worcester Massachusetts Post (actually the Worcester Evening Post) expired in 1938.  No searchable archive exists.

Discoveries and inventions were popular citations, as were obituaries.  Below is the obituary of Eugene Blackford from the New York Times. Blackford was one of the founders of the Biological Laboratory and president of the Board of Managers from its inception in 1890 until his death in 1904. 

Other early obituaries of note were: William Henry Nichols, Walter Jennings and Reginald Harris.

Some of the more interesting finds in the Clipping Collection were not so much what was clipped or saved but from whence they came.  When possible I noted the newspaper cited.  This showed the wide breadth of the Lab’s outreach, notable for the pre-internet, pre-television days.

A student of Long Island Suburban History could use these files to track the growth and decline of the small town newspaper.  Today, many of those smaller newspapers have either closed or merged with a neighboring town’s press.  In addition, publishing groups have bought up many of the local papers and created “families” such as the Anton Community Newspapers (Farmingdale Observer, Floral Park Dispatch, Garden City Life, Glen Cove Record Pilot, Great Neck Record, Hicksville Illustrated News, Levittown Tribune, Manhasset Press, Massapequan Observer, Mineola American, New Hyde Park Illustrated News, Oyster Bay Enterprise-Pilot, Plainview-Old Bethpage Herald, Port Washington News, The Roslyn News, Syosset-Jericho Tribune, Three Village Times, The Westbury Times) and the Herald Community Newspapers (Baldwin, Bellmore, East Meadow, East Rockaway, Elmont, Five Towns, Franklin Square, Island Park, Long Beach, Lynbrook, Malverne, Merrick, Oceanside, Rockville Centre, Valley Stream, West Hempstead)

Whether an independent newspaper such as the Locust Valley Leader, or part of a conglomerate such as Richner Communications which owns the Herald Community Newspapers listed above as well as the Oyster Bay Guardian, what they all have in common is the lack of an indexed searchable archive.  A few newspapers are available at local libraries on microfilm, but most are not. A researcher does not have any way of searching through past issues other than prevailing upon the altruistic nature of the publisher to manually go through the stacks.  Therefore, the Clippings Collection becomes extremely important in studying the local events in CSHL history such as the community conflict over the widening of Route 25A and the proposed Lab building expansion plans in the late 1990s.  The situation and extenuating circumstances were not widely covered by Newsday and the New York Times (n.b. the Newsday Archive only goes back until 1985 although the paper has been in published since 1940).  The Clippings Collection is the only substantial record of those events and it cannot be reconstructed through on-line sources.

At this time, the Clipping Collection dwindles through the 2000s and peters out with a few clippings in 2011 and one article for 2012.  Given the above circumstances of no searchable local news archive for the foreseeable future, I recommend that the Archives maintain a collection of local newspapers.  Newspapers to include are: Huntington News, Locust Valley Leader, Long Islander, Oyster Bay Enterprise Pilot, and the Oyster Bay Guardian.

Below is a list of New York Newspapers found in this collection:

Adirondack Daily Enterprise
Albany NY Times Union
Amityville Record
Ardsley, NY Sun
Babylon NY Beacon;
Bayshore NY Suffolk
Bethpage Tribune
Brooklyn Eagle
Brooklyn Standard Union
Cloversville, NY Leader
Farmingdale Observer
Floral Park NY Gateway
Garden City News
Great Neck News
Haverstraw NY Messenger
Huntington NY Bulletin
Independent Voice Oceanside NY
Irvington NY Gazette
Jamaica NY Press
Locust Valley Leader
Long Islander
Malverne NY Herald
Massapequa Post
Mineola American
Mt. Vernon NY Argus
New York American
NYC American
NYC North Side News
NYC Oil Reporter
NYC World
New York Herald
New York Sun
New York Telegram
New York Times
Noticias Del Mundo NYC
Olean NY Herald
Oyster Bay Enterprise
Oyster Bay Pilot
Patchogue NY News
Pleasantville NY Journal
South Shore Tribune
Suffolk Bulletin
Utica NY Dispatch
Wall Street Journal
Westbury Times
White Plains NY Republican

- Amy Driscoll, Project Archivist

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