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Bringing the heritage of Schenectady County, New York to the world since 1996

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The Efner History Research Library:
Bridging over 300 years of history
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The library was founded by William B. Efner, Sr. and contains numerous maps, documents, books, photos and papers that were collected by Mr. Efner (for whom the Library is named) over a period of fifty years. This collection once occupied the upper floor of Mr. Efner's home, and was brought to the top floor of City Hall and placed in a room across from the elevator at the suggestion of the Mayor and members of the City Council. The Library was opened to the public on November 19, 1952.

However, the Efner History Research Library contains more than the above-mentioned material. Among our shelves and cabinets are some very special artifacts like Nicholaus' macaw, Loppa. Mr. Nicholaus once owned a very popular restaurant on the Canal at State St. We have handblown lightbulbs, the oldest of which was made in 1887, and these bulbs could conceivably work, as the filaments are still intact. Also among our collection of artifacts is a microphone once used by Franklin D. Roosevelt while giving his fireside chats during the 1930s.

Our Photo History Collection contains photographs dating as far back as the 1860s and will give you a tour of Schenectady through the eyes of the glass plate cameras, as well as through the magic of the computerized cameras of today.

Old maps and posters "talk" of days long gone, yet alive with the wonder of discovery. Newspapers dating as far back as 1786, stored in the Troop 72, B.S.A. Newspaper Room, let you get an actual account of the goings-on in our city while showing you what stories your grandparents and great-grandparents were reading when they were your age. All for the price of an hour or two of your time!

The Efner History Research Library is open to memberships in six different categories. For information regarding membership, to make an appointment or to get answers to your questions on the history of Schenectady, please send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:

The Efner History Research Library
Top Floor, City Hall, Room A-1
105 Jay Street
Schenectady, NY 12305-1938

The Library is open and staffed by Schenectady County Historical Society volunteers between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and by appointment. You may contact us by phone at (518) 382-5088 or e-mail at

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Copyright 2015 Schenectady Digital History Archive — a service of the Schenectady County Public Library