About the Local History Center

From its birth as a cooperative book club in 1892, to the first school district appropriation in 1892, to the present time, the Port Washington Public Library has always preserved and organized historic records of local organizations, individuals and institutions.

Today the Local History Center houses the Oral History Office, Special Collections, Archives, and Folk Arts Projects. The Center’s goal is to collect, preserve and manage historic and folkloric materials that are special or unique, with a strong emphasis on items of local interest.

To date 78 Special Collections have been donated, purchased or bequeathed to the Library. Materials arrive in a variety of formats: correspondence, administrative documents, accession books, ledgers, artifacts, postcards, photographs, manuscripts, audio and video tapes, maps, printed books, pamphlets, and scrapbooks.

Contributors to the Local History Center include cultural organizations (the Cosmos Club and the Play Troupe); civic groups (the Village Welfare Society, General Council of Homeowners, League of Women Voters of Port Washington/Manhasset, Beacon Hill Residents Association); official agencies (the schools, post office, police and fire departments); families and individuals (the Hewletts, Dodges, Zwerleins, Reids and Monforts, among many others), and local businesses (the Mason Photography Studio and Larsen Sailmakers, for example).

Our oral historian and consulting archivists are available during Local History Center hours. The Center has received funding from government organizations, private foundations, and local businesses. The public is invited to acquaint themselves with these fascinating collections.

For information about using these collections, please call (516) 883-4400, Ext. 167 or email us


Joan Bernhard

Robert Bracken

Elizabeth Young

Peter J. Zwerlein


The Local History Center of the Port Washington Public Library receives funding from national, state, and local government and private sources. They include: New York State Council on the Arts (Folk Arts program),  New York Council for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, Port Washington Public Library Foundation, as well as the New York State Archives and New York State Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund.


Do you have papers or photos that tell the story of your family or Port Washington? Help us to preserve Port’s history by donating materials relating to the many facets of life our community. We collect letters, photographs, postcards, family papers, business and organizational records, and ephemera. Gifts to the Local History Center can be made in many ways. For more information call the Port Washington Public Library Foundation at 886-883-4400.