City Archives / Efner History Center

Efner History Research Library - Schenectady City History Center and City Archives
The Efner History Center has been located in the attic of Schenectady City Hall for more than 50 years. It is named after Mr. William B. Efner, a Schenectady resident and eventual city historian who did extensive research and collected artifacts, photographs, books and papers on the history of Schenectady and its people. Efner donated his collection to the City when it outgrew his home in the Stockade. Over time, important municipal records as well as artifacts and papers from businesses, organizations and the general public have been added to the library.
The archives at the Efner History Center include:
  • City directory and scrapbook collections
  • Collections from local labor unions, civic organizations, public schools, and businesses
  • Military records
  • Municipal records
  • Over 500 maps, atlases, insurance maps and blueprints
  • Postcards and photographs
Woman standing next to stockade
Our Mission
The Efner History Research Library was established in 1952 as the Schenectady History Center. It is the official archive of the City of Schenectady. It is located on the third floor of Schenectady City Hall, a building on the Register of Historic Places.

Holdings of the library include:
  • Art
  • Artifacts such as post cards and flags
  • Blueprints
  • Books
  • Diaries
  • Ledgers
  • Letters
  • Manuscript files
  • Municipal records
  • Other materials of historical relevance
  • Personal papers
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
Our mission is to promote historical research by making our resources, especially its valuable primary source documents, available to the community at large, and to members of the government and other institutions that might require use of them in the pursuit of their occupations as government workers, archaeologists, educators or historians. Our aim is to collect, catalogue, preserve, display and make available to the public for study vital primary source documents and collections from our citizenry and city government that will help them ascertain the history of the people of City of Schenectady, especially their human and social conditions.

Our particular focus is with respect to the people's governmental, economic, cultural, educational, and civic pursuits. Our collections will reflect not only the achievements, but the problems and issues faced by Schenectadians, and the relationship of Schenectady's history to the histories of New York State, the United States, and the world.

Collection Policy
The Efner History Research Library will acquire items that relate to the people of the City of Schenectady with special attention being given to their governmental, economic, cultural, educational and civic pursuits.
Collection items include:
  • Bound volumes
  • Maps
  • Pamphlets
  • Periodicals
  • Photographs
  • Unpublished or unique records and papers
Materials may be acquired by gift or bequest. Other materials are acquired by governmental regulation that requires that the City Government maintain documents for specified periods of time, and the City Clerk deems these materials shall pass to the Archives. Materials from the public must grant title of the materials to the Efner History Research Library.

In order to maintain and improve the quality of the collection, materials that are not otherwise required by law to be maintained, may be removed from the collections of the Efner History Research Library if deemed by the archivist to be irrelevant to the Library's mission, or due to lack of space, duplication, irreparable condition, or better suitability in another historical/archival institution. When it is decided to remove such materials from the Library, the Library will offer the materials to other community organizations before destroying them.

The Library does not loan out its materials except by the expressed permission of the archivist.