Westchester County

Archives Reading Room

Archives Reading Room

Archives Reading Room

The Archives is open to the public for research every Tuesday and Wednesday, except government holidays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  

 The Archives is located at 2199 Saw Mill River Road in Elmsford, New York, and is accessible by major highways, train and bus. Free parking is available. There are no food service facilities on-site, but many reasonably priced delis and restaurants are within easy access by car or bus. The Archives is handicapped accessible. 

For more general information, read our Visitor Information page before planning a trip to the Archives.

The Archives' offices are open Monday through Friday, except government holidays, 9:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. Use our Contact Us form for your simple informational questions. However, we cannot answer in-depth queries or requests for records submitted by e-mail or phone. Such research requests require a personal visit, submission of an Individual Record Request form, or the Archives’ staff will conduct Research by Mail for a fee.

Before You Arrive

Take a look at our online indexes and the Guide to the Collections to familiarize yourself with the records in the Archives. Most indexes are alphabetical by last name. Please call first to confirm the hours before you come. You may bring a laptop computer and digital camera into the Reading Room, but all other personal items will be placed in a locker during your visit. Free wi-fi is available to patrons only. 

Please note: If you are planning a group visit the Archives, please view our Groups and Tours Information page.

Reading Room Procedures

On arrival at the Archives, you will enter the Archives Reading Room. You will be asked to fill out a Research Application, review the Reading Room Rules (see below) and show a photo I.D. Return visitors need only show their researcher I.D. card.

All personal items, with the exception of any papers needed for research, are to be placed in a locker. No purses, briefcases, bags or outerwear can be brought into the Reading Room.

The Reading Room is the only room in the Archives accessible to the public. The storage areas are closed to public access for security and preservation purposes. Any materials needed by researchers will be brought to the Reading Room by a staff member or trained volunteer.

Researchers can access two collections in the Reading Room: the County Archives (government records), which includes wills, deeds, naturalizations, maps and photographs; and the library of the Westchester County Historical Society, which includes books and pamphlets on local history, maps, genealogical files, photographs and manuscripts.

You can identify records for use in your research in several ways, by looking through the Guide to the Collections (this can be viewed online before you visit), checking the online indexes, using series and container lists (in binders at the Reading Room Desk), and by looking through the card catalog of the Westchester County Historical Society.

Once you have identified records you wish to see, you will learn how to complete call slips for the materials. You may request up to three items at a time using one call slip per item. Items must be returned to the Reference Desk before new items can be requested.

Archives staff and trained volunteers are on hand at all times to answer questions and help direct your research using both collections.

The Reading Room closes promptly at 4 p.m. Last call slips for materials must be submitted by 3:30 p.m.

Reading Room Rules

  • Photo I.D. must be presented upon registration to do research.
  • All personal articles, including handbags and briefcases, must be placed in a locker. The Westchester County Archives and the Westchester County Historical Society reserve the right to examine all materials carried into and out of the Reading Room.
  • Smoking, eating, drinking and cell phone use are prohibited.
  • ONLY soft lead PENCILS may be used. Mechanical pencils are not permitted.
  • A call slip must be completed for each item requested. No more than three (3) items may be requested at one time. All items must be returned to the Reading Room Reference Desk.
  • Archival records may not be removed from the Reading Room.
  • The exact order of materials in a folder and folders in a box must be maintained at all times.  Reading Room staff should be informed if a mistake in arrangement is discovered.  Patrons should not attempt to rearrange materials themselves.
  • Nothing should be placed on top of records.  Books should not be leaned on.
  • The use of certain materials is restricted by statute, by the office of origin, or by the donor. The Westchester County Archives and the Westchester County Historical Society reserve the right to restrict access to records which are being processed, are not arranged, or are exceptionally fragile or valuable. In some cases, copies may be substituted for the originals. All restrictions conform to federal, state and local law.
  • Copies of Vital Records may be used for genealogical purposes only.
  • A “Request for Photocopying” form must be completed for all copies made.
  • A “Permission to Publish” form must be completed before records may be quoted beyond the limits of fair use.
  • No marks of any kind should be made in or on any records, books, etc.  
  • Alteration, mutilation, destruction, or theft of County records is a felony.

A copy of the Reading Room rules is provided when you sign in to do research. 

Photocopying Procedures and Charges

The cost of copying materials at the Archives is as follows:

  • $0.50/page for photocopies
  • $2.00/page for scans (minimum; price may increase depending on size of scanned material and/or desired output size)

Records cannot be borrowed or checked out, but you may request copies. You will be given a “Request for Photocopying” form. Copies will only be made by Archives staff or volunteers.

The extent to which copies can be made of items in any collection is at the discretion of Archives staff. The Archives may refuse to copy documents that may suffer damage as a result of the copying process. Large copy orders may not be completed on the day of your visit, but will be mailed as soon as they are completed. Payment is required when the order is submitted.

The making of a reproduction does not imply permission to publish any part of it in any form; please ask for a Permission to Publish form.

Copies of Vital Records may be used for genealogical purposes only.

The extent to which copies of Westchester County Historical Society materials may be made is at the discretion of the librarian.

Photographic Reproduction 

Photocopies or scans of photographs may be requested. A “Request for Photocopying” form should be completed, and the same restrictions for photocopies of documents apply to reproducing photographs (see above). 

Cost of duplicating photographs is as follows:

  • $0.50/photograph for photocopies
  • $5.00/photograph if digital file is available
  • $15.00/photograph if new scan is made