The College Archives was officially established in 1973 and exists primarily to collect and preserve materials that reflect the biography of John Christopher Hartwick and the educational institutions bearing his name – Hartwick Seminary, Hartwick Academy and Hartwick College. In addition, the Archives houses over thirty special collections.
The Gerry Family Papers encompass several generations, and certain series are extremely well documented and rich with historical significance. The searches, land deeds and correspondence are of particular interest to scholars of land development in upstate New York. The majority of these properties are pieces of the original Hardenburgh Patent granted to Robert Livingston in 1749. It was the largest single patent ever granted in the American Colonies. The memorabilia holds the strongest research value in Cornelia Harriman's diaries of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the four volume scrapbooks of Cornelia's son, Elbridge T. Gerry II, which documents not only his impressive achievements as a polo player, but the entire culture of early 20th century polo. The collection as a whole represents the awesome prestige of well-known and powerful families from the Early American Republic to the mid-twentieth century, and glimpses at their elite culture and society. The collection has been arranged into the following series: I. Land Deeds, Legal Papers, Maps II. Lake Delaware III. Family Wills IV. Memorabilia
Peter Christoph and his wife Florence, both of whom are Hartwick College Alumni and who now reside in Selkirk, New York, donated this collection to the archives in the fall of 2006. The Christophs were married in the city of Oneonta by the Reverend Louis Van Ess, who was a history professor at the college while they were students at Hartwick College. The finding aid below is based on the family history written by Peter and Florence Christoph, who also arranged the collection.
The collection includes postcards, photographs, one small weaving, newspaper clippings and publications ranging from 1917 to 1965. These include publications by the Tonawanda Indian Reservation, papers by William Ritchie of the New York State Museum, and pamphlets and articles on Native American textiles, basketry and beadwork.
The collection includes Synod constitutions, proceedings, convention minutes, and yearbooks. Notable items in the collection include - the Franckean Constitution of 1849; the March 1927 New York Synod proceedings approving the establishment of Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York; and the minutes of the 1969 New York Synod Convention reporting on Hartwick College's disaffiliation with the Lutheran Church. This collection has been divided into the following twelve series:
The Willard E. Yager Collection has been arranged into four series: I. Personal and Business Life 1874-1928 II. Archaeological Endeavors c. 1900-1928 III. Manuscripts and Publications c. 1900-1929 IV. Artifact c. 1928 Throughout the collection there is overwhelming evidence of Mr. Yager's eccentric personality, pensive life-style, and meticulous work habits. The first series, reflecting Yager's personal and business life, is weak and by no means tells a clear story. Nevertheless, it contains some very interesting correspondence to his parents during his college years and to his friends in later years. There is also a good collection of material on the Oneonta Normal School, including the original draft of the Oneonta Normal School Bill written March 14, 1887. However, the strength of this first series lies with the travel postcards of the Southwestern United States Indians and Yager's sightseeing maps and journals. The latter often indicate exact travel routes and detail Yager's observations. The large collection of personal notes, which are found in the second series, are very tedious and frequently so brief as to be unintelligible. In addition, Yager's handwriting is small and difficult to decipher. Once again, however, the notes and their organization reflect his meticulous research habits. Willard Yager was a prolific writer and published three books: Medicine in the Forest, 1911; The Red Man as Soldier, 1912; and Non-Combatants, 1927. The Manuscripts and Publications series reflects his work on these publications as well as what appears to be his ultimate goal in writing a book to have been entitled, "The Forest in War Time." The manuscript for this work is outlined as follows: Introduction: The Forest in Peace Book One: Of Preparedness Book Two: Custom of War Book Three: How a War Was Fought A more detailed outline is included with the box inventories. Non-combatants and The Red Man as Soldier are sections of this lengthy manuscript. Douglas Earl Bailey edited some of Yager's hand-written manuscripts and published them in 1961 as The Oneota. Orite - A Journal of Johannes Van Dyck 1634-35* was also published after Yager's death. However, the majority of both the hand-written and typed manuscripts that comprise "The Forest in War Time" are unpublished. Although the Yager Collection is not an easy collection to work with, it has its gems and can be extremely rewarding as it reveals the depths of this extraordinary man.
This small collection is arranged into three categories: 1) John Burroughs as author, 2) works written about John Burroughs, and 3) memorabilia. Items in this collection give only a periphery view of different aspects of Burroughs life. Certainly one of the most interesting pieces in the collection is a photo of John Burroughs sitting in his Ford. The automobile was a gift from Henry Ford, and Burroughs learned to drive it at the age of 75.
The eclectic items from the Telfer family is most extensive in its collection of over one hundred postcards, which supplement the New York Regional postcard collection also held in the archives. Although there are only a dozen letters of correspondence, some of them make reference to farming both in America and in Scotland. Grace (Michaels) Telfer's eccentric scrapbook depicts the turn-of-the century culture in art and advertising.
The documents in this record group span the years 1739 through 1940. The records were not received in a specific order and many were accessioned at different times. Thus, they have been arranged to best reflect the organization and history of the seminary. They are divided into twelve series: I. Dudde Collection II. H.C. Collection III. Day Collection IV. Yale Collection V. Board of Trustees VI. Course Records VII. Societies VIII. Publications IX. Memorabilia X. Hartwick Academy XI. Photographs, Maps, Graphics XII. Bibliographical Information The first four series contain related letters and land deeds during John Christopher Hartwick's years in America and the establishment of the institution after his death, with the bulk of the material dating between 1796 and 1878. The remaining series document life at the seminary. Although the records are not always complete they do delineate a clear picture of the struggles and growth of the seminary and the flavor of campus life.