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Special Collections and Archives


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"Selections from Three Collections"

Representing student life on campus from the 1940s-1960s.

The student experience of campus life at Queens College is exemplified in three collections currently on display in the Benjamin Rosenthal Library. Showcasing the Queens College Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps Collection, The Joseph Brostek Collection, & The Queens College Photo Archive; each collection offers a glimpse into the variety that was campus life throughout the 1940s-1960s.

The Queens College Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps Collection (AFROTC) showcases materials from the program through the 1950s such as honorary plaques, photographs, and AFROTC brochures. Also included is a tribute to Lieutenant Alan Rea, a QC and AFROTC graduate, who tragically died in 1957 after his plane had crashed in the Netherlands. The AFROTC building on campus was re-named Rea Hall in his honor. In the early 1970s Rea Hall was demolished to make room for the Student Union parking lot, but the dedication plaque was rescued and is included in the exhibit.

The Salute to Alumni/Phi Alpha Omega exhibit showcases materials from The Joseph Brostek Collection. Brostek was a brother in the Phi Alpha Omega fraternity and in his later years Head of Alumni Relations. This exhibit includes photographs from the collection, fraternity paddles, and assorted alumni ephemera.
Both exhibits are currently on display in the Norman and Carole A. Barham Rotunda.

Located in the Charles J. Tanenbaum front window display case is a collection of assorted materials taken from various collections entitled "Buried Treasures from the Archives." Items included are several ground breaking ceremonial shovels and early designs for the Queen College seal.

Featured in the display cases adjacent to the Charles J. Tanenbaum room are photographs taken from The Queens College Photo Archive. In these photographs we see a glimpse of student life amidst the buildings on campus. Of particular interest are interior photos of Klapper Hall from the 1950s where it once served as home to the Paul Klapper Library. Included also are exterior photos of Walt Whitman Hall, the D Building, Jefferson Hall, and others.

Also featured in the display cases adjacent to the Charles J. Tanenbaum room are facsimile editions selected from our Print History Collections. Included are works such as the Gutenberg Bible and The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer.

These exhibits were curated by Institutional Archivist Dan Brenner, Civil Rights Archivist Thomas Cleary, and College Assistant Christopher Arena as part of our year-round work displaying the unique materials from the Queens College Special Collections & Archives Department.

Dan Brenner, Institutional Archivist, Special Collections and Archives / Queens College Libraries




PBS "Freedom Summer" Film Screening, pre-TV broadcast! And discussion with film-maker Stanley Nelson

Freedom Summer PosterThursday, March 13th
4:30 to 7:30 PM  
Rosenthal RM230

This film, which relied heavily on materials from the Queens College Civil Rights Archives, commemorates the 50th Anniversary of Mississippi Freedom Summer 1964.  One thousand  volunteers, including a number from Queens College, were invited by local civil rights groups – including SNCC, CORE, and the NAACP -- to help in Mississippi with voter registration and Freedom Schools. It became an historic moment in the ongoing Civil Rights Movement when the national spotlight was turned on the state after members of the Klu Klux Klan murdered three civil rights workers – two of whom had connections to QC.  Civil Rights Archivist Alexandra Dolan-Mescal and Fellow Whitney Bates provided research for the film, which premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Festival and will be shown on PBS in June.  A reception will follow the film and discussion.



Newspaperman Phillips Sends Papers to QC; Archive Makes Mark at Sundance, p. 5, Queens College FYI





"Archives Week at Queens College: Open House and Civil Rights Exhibit Opening"

StoryCorps QueensThursday, October 10, 2013, 4-7pm
The Department of Special Collections and Archives is proud to be a participant in Archivists Roundtable of NYC's Archives Week, a series aimed at promoting the rich and extensive archival collections of New York City. Please join us Thursday, October 10th from 4-7pm for an Open House and the opening of our Civil Rights at Queens College: 50 Years Forward Exhibit.  Materials from our diverse collections will be on display and two guest speakers will discuss the challenges and rewards of processing civil rights archives. A full announcement on the exhibit (and other departmental initiatives) will be featured in our forthcoming Fall Newsletter.

Event Details
Free and open to the public! Tapas, cheese, and refreshments will be served.
Please RSVP to
The event is located at the Benjamin Rosenthal Library, Main Floor.
Street parking is available. Bring an ID to enter library.



Seamen's Church Expanding Merchant Marine Oral History Project, Professional Mariner

METRO's Queens College Innovative Intern Shares Experiences, Metropolitan New York Library Council




"Remembering Robert"
A Celebration of GLBT and AIDS activist Robert Rygor's Life & Papers 

Robert Rygor Flyer

Wednesday, April 18, 2012, 12:15 - 1:45pm

Robert Rygor was deeply involved in the gay rights and AIDS advocacy movements of the 1980s and 1990s. His extensive collection of personal and activist papers now resides at the Queens College Civil Rights Archive. Join the archive and the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Alliance (GLASA) for an exhibit, film screening, and a Q/A to discuss lessons from Robert's life for today's generation of students.

Where: Queens College, Rosenthal Library, Presidential Conference Room 1 on the 5th Floor
What: Featuring the film "Remembering Robert" and Q/A with the director, Brendan Faye.

Click here to view a slide show of pictures from the event.


Throughout the City, Finding Traces of the Titanic, The New York Times

Titanic Tragedy in New York: Seamen's Church Institute and the First Memorial Service, Huffington Post

Queens College Acquires Collection from Aftermath of Titanic's Sinking, NY1

'Positively Black' Martin Luther King Day Program, WNBC

Breaking Barriers: Queens College's Place in Black History, The Knight News

Union Members Commemorate Freedom Summer with Archival Collection, AFT on Campus

Librarian Says 'Let There Be Sound': Oral History Project Wants to Hear From You, Queens Chronicle

MLK's Legacy Extends To Queens: Remembering The Dream, Queens Tribune



StoryCorps QueensQueens Memory Project Launch and StoryCorps' Queens Week

October 28 - November 2, 2011, 5 pm

A formal program of invited speakers will be followed by an open house where you and other guests will be able to see and hear highlights of the collection first-hand through listening stations featuring a selection of images and interviews This event will also kick off StoryCorps' Queens Week (Oct. 28th - Nov. 2nd). It's dedicated to recording and preserving the stories of Queens residents. We are proud to be able to host such a distinguished partner in association with the Queens Memory Project. StoryCorps is a national non-profit organization most notably affiliated with the Library of Congress and with their regular broadcasts on National Public Radio.

Vamp and TrampArtists' Books: When the Goblet Becomes the Wine

November 10, 2011, 7 pm

What happens when book and art couple? The offspring is an artists' book, where the physical book becomes an indispensible part of the expressive experience.

Join us on Thursday, November 10, 7pm at the Queens College Library when Vamp & Tramp will present a show-and-tell about the world of contemporary Book Arts.

Vicky and Bill Stewart of Vamp & Tramp, Booksellers LLC (, represent over 300 unique contemporary fine presses and books artists. They exhibit at selected book fairs, and drive their minivan (a movable feast of Book Arts) around the US putting the works they represent into the hands of potential customers.

StoryCorps QueensJulian Bond on the Legacy of James Forman: Looking Back, Moving Forward

February 17, 2011

The Queens College Civil Rights Archive co-sponsored (along with the Africana Studies program, the SEEK program, and several student organizations) a premier event in recognition of Black History Month. To a packed auditorium, civil rights leader Julian Bond electrified the crowd with a speech on the legacy of the civil rights movement and its lessons for today's world. The program celebrated the Department's recent acquisition of the personal library of civil rights leader James Forman (1928-2005). Bond was joined by members of the Forman family and a panel of Queens College students, including Special Collections Fellow David Gary. Additionally, Archives Assistant Annie Tummino used her knowledge of the College's growing Civil Rights Archive to curate an exhibit, "Selections from the James Forman Library," that was displayed outside of the lecture hall throughout Black History Month. To see digitized selections from the collection online go to:


Occupy Wall Street is History, Marketplace Mid-Day Update

Queens Memory Project Sets Stage to Capture, Preserve Borough's Past, Queens Tribune

Civil Rights Leader Visits QC, The Knight News

Book Arts: A Travelling Gallery, The Knight News

Real talk about boro: Oral history project needs you, Daily News

Creating Digital Memory Enriches International Exchanges, Renmin University, China

Far North of Selma, an Allotment of Civil Rights History, The New York Times

Armenian Genocide focus of QC exhibit, Little Neck Ledger

Archiving News (James Forman Collection), Daily News

SUNY Binghamton Special Collections "Cool Site of the Month" (SCI), Binghamton Library

Seamen's Church Institute, Congregational Library (Boston, MA) Blog



Remember When…? (Queens Memory Project), Daily News

Collecting Queens Memories, The Queens Courier

Rosenthal Library Uncovers Its Dormant Treasures, The Knight News



Freedom Still Rings, Daily News


 Office Information

Department of
Special Collections and Archives

Queens College Libraries, CUNY
Benjamin Rosenthal Library RO317

65-30 Kissena Blvd.
Queens, NY 11367-1597

Phone: 718-997-3650

Open 10 am - 4 pm, Monday - Wednesday. Please e-mail for an appointment.


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