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Hofstra University Library Special Collections

Online Exhibits and Student Research Projects


This site features exhibitions created from the Special Collections departments' varied materials. The online exhibitions draw their inspiration and content primarily from the historic records in the collections that document the history of Hofstra University, as well as, the local and regional history of Long Island. These materials - photographs, manuscripts, newspapers, maps, artifacts, books, census records, and audiovisual materials - are crucial to a more complete understanding of historical events, people, and places in University history as well as local history. It is through the use of archival materials that social, cultural, and intellectual development can be examined. This site has been designed for both the scholar and the student, so that we might introduce you to the variety and range of the holdings of the Special Collections Department.

Archives Online Exhibits and Student Research Projects
  • Alpha Theta Beta Scrapbooks
    On December 4, 2012 alumni Peggy Braun-Laibach and Judy Cella-Gilligan, class of ’80 and classes of ’67 and ’72 respectively, meet with Hofstra University Archivist Geri Solomon to sign a Deed of Gift. The two alumni donated scrapbooks capturing over seventy years of Hofstra History – via their sorority Alpha Theta Beta. Both are very active alumni and give back to the University on a frequent basis, with Peggy Braun-Laibach serving as President of the Alpha Theta Beta alumni board, with Judy Cell-Gilligan holding the position previously. These scrapbooks and article will add to the extensive collection of Hofstra history.
  • An historical look at Axinn Library
    In celebration of Axinn LIbrary's 50th Anniversary this exhibit looks back at the buildings' brutalist architectural style, the construction, the dedication day and the time in which it was constructed.
  • Builders and Founders
    Photographs and brief sketches depicts 14 of the University's south campus buildings completed before 1965.
  • Civil Rights and Hofstra University
    Hofstra University and its students, staff, and faculty first had an influence on the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960’s.  Students from Hofstra attended marches, faculty participated in rallies, and administrators elected impressive individuals for the Board of Trustees and encouraged well known speakers to come to campus.  This exhibit focuses on the time period from 1965-1971, and the individuals who were making news.
  • Debate '08 Collection
    The material in the Debate ’08 Collection helps to document the events of one of the most remarkable years in the history of Hofstra University. Included in the collection are brochures, flyers, posters, DVDs, print material, ephemera and memorabilia. This exhibit features images of material related to the yearlong Educate ’08 initiative and the presidential debate held at Hofstra University on October 15, 2008. 
  • Debate 2012 Collection
    On October 16, 2012, Hofstra University hosted the second 2012 presidential debate, which was conducted in a town hall format in the David S. Mack Sports Complex and Exhibition Hall. (Hofstra University also hosted a presidential debate in 2008.) The participants in the debate were President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts.  The collection includes brochures, flyers, banners, posters, photos and print material that chronicle many of the Debate 2012 series events.  In addition, this collection contains debate memorabilia such as bags, decals, coffee mugs and water bottles, stationery, and campaign signage specifically designed to mark the celebration of this unique moment in American presidential politics. Preparatory events held by the university in anticipation of this occasion, the debate, and post-election news, were captured in both online and print media form and are part of the collection.
  • Debate 2016 Collection
    The material in the Debate 2016 Collection documents the months leading up to the 2016 Presidential Debate at Hofstra, as well as the debate itself. Included in the collection are brochures, flyers, photographs, posters, print material, ephemera and memorabilia. This exhibit features images of material related to the preparation for the event and the presidential debate held at Hofstra University on September 26, 2016.
  • Dr. Harold Yuker: Eliminating Barriers
    Dedicated to Dr. Harold Yuker: 1924-1997. This exhibit contains information on Dr. Yuker's life and his contributions to Hofstra University.
  • "First of the Firsts" Digital Project
    Using photographs from many different collections within the University Archives, this project describes how Hofstra University has evolved in 75 years. It depicts how different Hofstra community members have contributed to our history. This project also shows the origins of many Hofstra traditions and accomplishments as well as identifying many notable Hofstronians!  This exhibit was curated by Wallens Augustin.
  • Frank G. Zarb Collection
    Frank Zarb has been a cabinet member or an advisor to five United States Presidents. He is a graduate of Hofstra University (BA 1957 and MBA 1962) and has served in the US Army. He may be best known, however, as the “Energy Czar” when he worked in the US Energy Department and played an integral part in the US fuel allocation program during the oil crisis of the 1970’s or, as the Chairman of the NASDAQ stock exchange in the late 1990’s.  The collection webpage includes biographical information about Frank G. Zarb, the finding aid to his collected materials in the Special Collections Department of Hofstra University’s Library, a digital scrapbook of photographs and captions created from materials in the archival collection, a link to Mr. Zarb’s papers in the Gerald Ford Presidential Library and a series of excerpts from Oral Histories taken over the course of a year which examine Mr. Zarb’s many contributions to both US and New York State history. The full oral history interviews are also available in the Special Collections Department.
  • Gerrit P. Judd, IV Collection:  A Pictorial History of Hawaii
    On August 21, 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state. The Gerrit P. Judd IV Collection at Hofstra University consists of the professional papers of Judd, who was a professor at Hofstra from 1950 to 1971. He was a direct descendant of Gerrit P. Judd I, a medical missionary who played a key role in the early development of the Hawaiian kingdom, and who later served as the key minister in the Hawaiian cabinet from 1842 to 1854.
  • History Unfolding: Preparing for Hofstra's 75th Anniversary
    Pulse magazine is a student-run magazine at Hofstra University. All reporting, writing, editing, photography, lay out, web development and promotion for the magazine is performed by the students in the Department of Journalistm, Media Studies, and Public Relations. View this special Fall 2009 issue of Pulse dedicated to Hofstra History in preparation for Hofstra's 75th Anniversary.
  • Hofstra's Own Tuskegee Airman
    Information on Lt. Col. Charles Dryden.
  • Hofstra University Remembers
    On November 28, 2001 a Memorial was held for the victims of the September 11th attack who were members of the Hofstra University family.
  • Hofstra University Special Collections Thanks the Nassau County American Legion Posts
    This exhibit was prepared as a special thank you to mark the 65th anniversary of support received from the Nassau County American Legion Posts to Hofstra Special Collections. It shows a sampling of some of the very special historical items that have been acquired over the years through the generous funding by Nassau County American Legion Posts for the Long Island history collections.
  • Interesting Facts about Select Hofstra Buildings
    This exhibit features historical facts, statistics, photographs and miscellaneous pieces of information about buildings on the Hofstra campus.
  • Mr. & Mrs. Hofstra Founding a University
    Learn about the Hofstras and how the University was established. This exhibit is divided into 4 sections entitled, "The Beginning", "The Hofstra Home", "Mrs. Hofstra's Cats", & "Creating the University".
  • Shakespeare Festival at Hofstra
    Using photographs from the Drama Collection within University Archives, this project depicts the beginning of the Shakespeare Festival at Hofstra.  This project also describes the origin of the John Cranford Adams Playhouse at Hofstra University.  The exhibit was created by Barbara Guzowski, Special Collections. 
  • Student Unrest: National Turmoil at Hofstra's Doorstep
    As the War in Vietnam continued to claim ever more lives, racial tensions flared across the country, and indignant youths rebelled against the monotony of their parents' generation, the Hofstra University community found itself deeply embroiled in the social unrest period of the late 1960s and early 1970s
  • What to Save and How: An Introduction
    Hofstra University Assistant Dean for Special Collections and University Archivist Geri Solomon recently filmed a short video for the New York State Archives titled What to Save and How: An Introduction.  In the video, she offers instruction to Margie Miller, wife of 9/11 victim Joel Miller, on how to preserve her precious mementos of him.  The video is one in a series aimed at addressing the concerns of those who have 9/11-related materials that they wish to save.

Long Island Studies Institute Online Exhibits and Student Research Projects
  • Collection Guide for Goosby, Dorothy L., c. 1939- . Collection, 1980-2008.
    The explanatory information for the Goosby Collection was created by Hofstra University's Fall 2018 “Mathematics of Elections” First-Year Seminar.  The students in that seminar included: Sarah Baum, Edward Gardner, Nilab Pazhmon, Samantha Bellofatto , Cecilia Gray, Randy Resendez, Leah Chiappino, Thomas Marcotte, Logan Ricciardi, Andrew Fernie, Benjamin Morawek, Zevan Shuster, and Rowen Thaure.  The Professor for this course was Johanna Franklin, Department of Mathematics.
  • Jacqueline Binnian (1923-2004)
    Jacqueline Binnian dedicated over 40 years of her life to the preservation of the environment of the North Shore of Long Island. She founded and/or was a member of numerous groups, including Concerned Citizens for 25A, Alliance for the Preservation of Coindre Hall Park, and ACTION. Her greatest passion, however, was the preservation of trustee lands in the Town of Huntington, a cause she remained dedicated to until her death in 2005.
  • Selections from the Bernice and Reuben Davidson Collection
    Bernice and Reuben Davidson were a married couple from Oceanside, Long Island, who were actively involved in humanitarian and political activities from the 1960s to the 1990s. Their commitment to humanitarian and political activities began in 1967 during the Vietnam War and continued until the Gulf War in the 1990s. This exhibit focuses on their early efforts and activism.
  • Frenal Mezilas
    Frenal Mezilas is a Haitian American artist living on Long Island. He has won multiple awards, and his work has been exhibited in various art galleries in Haiti, Mexico and the United States. He also enjoys teaching painting, drawing and pottery. This exhibit features images of some of the paintings done by Mezilas from 2008 through 2015.
  • From City to Suburbs on Long Island
    When did people move from New York City to Long Island?  Why did they move?  This brief exhibit looks at some of the reasons why New Yorkers came to the suburbs.
  • Gillott Family: A Brief History
    A brief history of the Gillott Family researched by Hofstra student Lisa Castrogiovanni (a family member). 
  • Hart Nichols Collection - A Selection of Family Records and Artifacts
    This collection of family records and artifacts is from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. The women in the Hart and Nichols families were responsible for saving and preserving the family’s rich history. The range of topics that can be found in the collection include farming, religion, slavery, women’s issues, the Gold Rush of 1849, and the Civil War.
  • Hart Nichols Collection - The Civil War - Letters Home
    The Hart Nichols Collection 1730-1930 includes uncensored Civil War letters from brothers Ambrose Burnham Hart (1844-1909) and Walter Nichols Hart (1842-1884 ), the bulk written by the latter and dated from 1863 to 1866.  The women in the Hart and Nichols families were responsible for saving and preserving these letters.
  • Hart Nichols Collection - Louisa Adelia Nichols (1818-1892) - Vignettes of her life
    Louisa Adelia Nichols life’s work was preserved in the Hart Nichols Collection 1730-1930. It includes personal letters, art work, textiles, recipes, short stories, poems and ephemera.  Louisa was the fifth child of Gideon and Elizabeth Nichols of Hempstead, New York.  She never married or had any children.  The women in the Hart and Nichols families were responsible for saving and preserving these items.
  • Long Island Estates
    Long Island’s Gold Coast era, a time of unimaginable splendor, ran from around the turn of the twentieth century through the 1930s. During this time period, a veritable who’s who of America’s rich and famous built opulent homes, many of which were on the North Shore in communities such as Sands Point, Glen Cove, and Kings Point. This exhibition features student research papers about the Gold Coast estates, accompanied by images from various Long Island Studies Institute collections.
  • Long Island: From Sea Shells to Suburbia
    A short pictorial history of Long Island development.  All materials in this exhibit are from the collections at the Long Island Studies Institute.
  • Main Street Views
    The Long Island Studies Institute has a sizeable collection of postcards covering different aspects of Long Island history. The postcard images of Long Island main streets in this Flickr exhibit cover the time period from c. 1900 to 1912 and represent towns throughout the entire island during a period of transition between rural and industrialized societies. We invite you to find what has changed in these Long Island streets and what—if anything--has remained the same over the years. This exhibit was curated by Natalia Sucre.
  • Mrs. William Levitt's Scrapbook
    On October 26th Scott Rechler, the CEO and chairman of RXR Realty, gifted the personal scrapbook of Mrs. William Levitt to Hofstra University. Receiving it on the behalf of the university were Larry Levy, Executive Dean of the National Center for Suburban Studies, and Geri Solomon, Assistant Dean of Special Collections & University Archivist. Special Collections’ Long Island Studies Institute will properly preserve the scrapbook and make it available to researchers. 
  • The New York World's Fairs: The "World of Tomorrow" Celebrated Today
    This exhibit contains original memorabilia, print materials, photographs, and ephemera from The New York World's Fairs of 1939 and 1964.  It was created to commemorate and celebrate the 75th and 50th anniversaries, as of Spring 2014, of these two monumental events that both shaped Long Island history and reflected the issues and innovations of their times.
  • Over There! Over Here!
    Military artifacts from Hofstra University Special Collections
  • Places of Worship Collection (Long Island Memories)
    In the year 2000, Hofstra University alumnus Robert L. Harrison began his quest to photograph all the places of worship in Nassau County. Eighteen months and over 3000 miles later, he had completed a stunning visual record of the religious diversity in this rapidly changing area of Long Island. This collection contains all of the images captured by Harrison during his photographic odyssey.(Note: Harrison added a small number of photographs to the collection in 2002. Also, the collection does include some photographs of places of worship located in Suffolk County.)
  • PRIDE - Celebrating the Art of the Backstretch Workers of Belmont Park and Aqueduct Racetrack
    On June 6, 2012, Hofstra University’s Axinn Library hosted the exhibit, “PRIDE - Celebrating the Art of the Backstretch Workers of Belmont Park and Aqueduct Racetrack,” a joint effort between the Library’s Special Collections department and the Backstretch Employee Service Team (B.E.S.T.), a non-profit dedicated to meeting the health and social needs of the almost 3,000 workers of the major horse racing tracks in New York State.
  • Queens, N.Y., School Photographs
    Sample Photographs from the Queens, Ny.Y. SChool Photographs collection, which includes 160 black and white panoramic photographs, all of which were taken in schools (mainly public) in Queens, N.Y., from 1924-1936
  • September 11th Project
    The Long Island Studies Institute is collecting materials relating to Long Island's response to the attack on the World Trade Center and the tragic events of September 11th, 2001. The collection includes: personal accounts (e-mails, reflections), photographs, publications, artistic expressions, and the responses of local government, religious and educational institutions, businesses and school districts. These materials are being preserved for future study and inquiry for both scholars and the Long Island community.
    Collection Promotional Video
  • Slavery on Long Island
    This exhibit focuses on the experiences and history of African-American slaves on Long Island. The exhibit uses original documents from the African Americans on Long Island Collection, as well as other print resources located in Special Collections. Although many people understand the ramifications of slavery to some degree, many do not realize the extent of slavery in the North, or, on Long Island.
  • The Art of Destruction: Superstorm Sandy, 2012 on Long Island
    These photographs were collected by Hofstra University’s Department of Special Collections after Superstorm Sandy, 2012. Chosen from the over 300 photographs that were donated to our department, this exhibition was first shown during the Sustainability Conference the following spring.  The title, “The Art of Destruction” was chosen because it describes the complicated feelings of the viewer. The photographs not only depict the destruction that occurred but also the amazing force of nature and the ability of each photographer to capture something beautiful in the aftermath.
Rare Books & Manuscripts Online Exhibits and Student Research Projects
  • An Exhibition of American Printers' and Special Presses Devices
    The revival of the special presses movement at the end of Nineteenth Century reprised the Late Middle Ages printer’s device, a small graphic logo denoting creative responsibility or ownership. This exhibit examines how American printers’ and special presses devices evolved from former models in several ways. Researched and written by Bronwyn Hannon, Hofstra University Library Special Collections.
  • Black Bodies, Black Ink: Black Male Representation in Visual Culture
    This exhibit was created by Rachel Davis for a Women’s Studies course (WST 198) and makes use of items from Special Collections’ Popular Culture Collection
  • Dr. Seuss & The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins
    This undergraduate student research project focuses on Dr. Seuss and why he appeals to both children and adults.  From the early prose of The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins to his later style using rhyme and made-up animals as narrators, Seuss developed a following that has lasted since the 1930's
  • Eclectic Selections from Special Collections
    This exhibit is meant to show off some truly eclectic books that are available in Special Collections. Some are interesting because of their genre, some are interesting because they are rare and some just because they are so, well, so eclectic.
  • EUCLID to e-books: ideal books moving ideas
    Bronwyn Hannon’s guest curator essay for the exhibition, EUCLID to e-books: ideal books moving ideas, has a series of surprises, and very telling is the link she emphasizes from Euclid to the digitized e-book of today.  That link is technology from theory to application. Most folks know that Johann Gutenberg used moveable type in his print shop in the 15th century, and while this increased the number of volumes available to the population, it also expanded the types of publications, which allowed the works of the past to be better preserved and disseminated, the works of the present to have a new format and the works of the future? Logarithms, digitalization and e-books were the next steps. And when Ms. Hannon shows what led to Gutenberg, readers (and viewers) have a set of enviably conceived connections complete in the text and its documentation. 
  • Fore-Edge Paintings
    Sometimes there is more to a book than initially meets the eye.  Sometimes there is something hiding between the lines or deep within the pages.  Beginning in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, artists began putting images on the fore-edge of books.  These hidden images are called fore-edge paintings.
  • Fraternal Masonic Sword and Sheath
    Photographs and information about the Masonic lodge sword of Bertram O. Drover, a Sir Knight of Cambridge Commandery No. 42, Cambridge, MA.
  • Illuminated Manuscripts
    What are illuminated manuscripts? Who created them? What did they look like? This exhibit explores the art and history associated with these beautiful manuscripts.
  • Memory Project: Al-Mutanabbi Street
    Learn all about the "Memory Project: Al-Mutanabbi Street" from Geri Solomon, Assistant Dean of Special Collections & University Archivist at Hofstra University.
  • Readers and Reading in American Education
    The exhibit features the Nila Banton Smith Historical Collection in Reading and traces the evolution of teaching methods and materials from the hornbook and battledore of the colonial period through the McGuffey Readers at turn of the twentieth century. Included in the exhibition are samples of different approaches to reading instruction -- Alphabet Method, the Phonic and Whole Word Methods, and the Sentence and Story Methods.
  • Weingrow Collection Undergraduate Research Project
    The Weingrow Collection Undergraduate Research Project is a selection of presentations that were created as part of the course work for History of Contemporary Art (AH 074), a liberal arts elective course, in the fall of 2005. Its principal aim was to encourage undergraduate primary research and critical dialogue. An integral component of the project was the engagement of students with Hofstra University's vital collections in support of the University's teaching mission, together with the thoughtful public presentation of the students' research. A further objective was the cultivation of intellectual relationships between various members of the general faculty in support of this student-focused research project.

Grant Funded Student Research Projects
Research Paper
Student Author

Frank Buck - Bring 'Em Back Alive!
This student research project was generously funded by the Robert D.L. Gardiner Foundation and uses Long Island Studies Institute collections as the basis for the project.

Jillian Pallone Spring 2018

The Carman Family Collection
This student research project was generously funded by the Robert D.L. Gardiner Foundation and uses Long Island Studies Institute collections as the basis for the project.

Lauren Farmer Fall 2017

Welcome, One and All, Who Have Come to Witness the Dangerous, Thrill-seeking and Fantastic life of Ernest Engerer!
This student research project was generously funded by the Robert D.L. Gardiner Foundation and uses Long Island Studies Institute collections as the basis for the project.

Jillian Pallone Fall 2017

A Story of Elizabeth Bass Golding & Her creation of the Woman's Forum
This student research project was generously funded by the Robert D.L. Gardiner Foundation and uses Long Island Studies Institute collections as the basis for the project.

Dennis Belen-Morales Fall 2017

Blampied and the Occupation

This project was made possible by the generosity of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and specifically its "Enduring Questions" program, which supported the development of a course on Friendship taught by Prof. Simon Doubleday. It was within this course that the project was first conceived.  Megan Burnett researched  the friendship between Edmund Blampied, an artist who lived on the island of Jersey, and the lasting friendship he had with Harold Bailey, who was both an art collector and lawyer who lived in NY.

Megan Burnett Summer 2017

Welcome to the Life of Jeanne Carter-Tuthill

This student research project was generously funded by the Robert D.L. Gardiner Foundation and uses Long Island Studies Institute collections as the basis for the project.

Jillian Pallone Summer 2017

Pura Cruz

This student research project was generously funded by the Robert D.L. Gardiner Foundation and uses Long Island Studies Institute collections as the basis for the project.

Dennis Belen-Morales Summer 2017

Prof. Simon Doubleday's  HIST 102 "Friendship"

This course provided an introduction to historical research methods. The course focused on the history of friendship: a theme that is experiencing a surge of interest among historians and others today. Using archival sources in the Hofstra University Special Collections—such as personal diaries, letters, photographs, etc., as well as secondary sources and readings—the students developed an individual research project.

Each of the students chose a collection to work with from approximately 10 different Archival collections. They focused on a relationship between at least two individuals represented in the collection.

Research Paper
Student Author
Postcards of the Past: A Window Into the History of Communication Jacob Brickman Spring 2016
Friendship:  Smith Wallace Collection Karla Freire Spring 2016
Religion, Sportsmanship, and Comradeship in World War 1:  The Case of Walter M. Silkworth Alex Rawley Spring 2016
The Diaries of Quentin Unger Dylan Abbott Curry Spring 2015
The Smith-Wallace Collection: A Long Island Love Story Laina Milazzo Spring 2015
Smith-Wallace Family Collection Tiffany Vellis Spring 2015

Prof. Vimala Pasupathi's  English 291RA "Poetry in the Archives"  MA/MFA (Spring 2016 Semester)

Graduate students in this class examined various portions of the Stephen Dunn Papers to highlight what poetry collections look like in archival repositories. Each student then created an online exhibit that featured aspects of the Dunn Papers and their interpretation of what they found. Several students also examined the papers of additional poets that they found in Special Collections.

Exhibit Name Created by
Class Collaborative Exhibit Prof. Vimala Pasupathi along with the entire class
Sandel Children's Literature Archive Amanda Quashie
The Man Behind the Poet Dayna Troisi and Quescilla Brooks
The Path to the Pulitzer Leyna Figliozzi and Jennifer Southard
Revising Dunn Supreet Kainth and Kyle Pratt
Touching Across Letters Itiola Jones

Prof. Vimala Pasupathi's  "OMG#Literature: Reading in the Digital Age" (Fall 2014 Semester)

Professor Vimala Pasupathi brought her freshman first-semester students to Hofstra University’s Special Collections to “discover” rare materials and create OMEKA exhibits. Her class, “OMG#Literature: Reading in the Digital Age” chose a wide variety of items to research and write about. Using avant garde magazines, fairy tales, Disney books and the papers of a playwright the students created online exhibits featuring photographs, critiques and their thoughts about the material.

Exhibit Name Created by
Avant-Garde Collection Emily Ludrick and Nicholas Rizzuti
Disney Children's Books Brooke Tulley, Pooja "PJ" Jaisinghani, Reilly McKnerney, Kimberly Dossett
Fairytales and Fables Morgan Mecalianos and Sydney Jacoby
Harold Pinter Joseph Liebowitz and Philip Marchetti

Prof. Susan Yohn's HIST14S "The Stuff of Life"

During the Spring Semester of 2011, students from Professor Susan Yohn's History 14S created web exhibits using materials from Hofstra's Special Collections Department.  The course focused on material culture and was called, "The Stuff of Life".  Each web exhibit features a different object and provides a historical analysis of where that object "fits" into the era in which it was created.  These websites are:
1866 Smith & Wesson Revolver, Blackout Lightbulb, Fashion in the 1950's, Internment, Lacemaking, Long Island Railroad, Mourning Pin, Ping Pong Diplomacy, and Places of Worship