The White Plains Public Library is a prime site for community memory and we hold a rich set of materials in the White Plains Collection. The collection includes books, photographs, maps, oral histories, pamphlets, clippings, and ephemera that help us understand the past in White Plains and build a richer context for our own time. The landscape, appearance, and population of White Plains changed drastically since the late 19th century, when the earliest of our photographs date from. Mainly through suburban development and urban renewal, White Plains went from a village along the New York and Harlem Railroad to the political and economic center of Westchester County. Although our collection focuses on White Plains, we also hold material relevant to surrounding communities and Westchester County as a whole.
The White Plains Collections contains many fascinating and informative photographs of buildings, people, events, and landscapes. While there are some photographs included in our general collection, many are part of special collections like the John Rosch Collection, featured here. Rosch owned a photography studio in White Plains and was the first City Historian. This collection contains photographs attributable to him as well as photographs he collected or reprinted. Coverage is generally from the 1870s to the mid-1940s. Rosch was interested in the history of White Plains as well as civic life, and this is reflected in his coverage of dedications and parades.
The White Plains Collection is here for people to use. We assist people–regardless of their level of experience–with historical and genealogical research. We encourage you to contact the Librarian for White Plains History and browse our website for help with your research.