Westchester County

County Executive

Record Group 2 - County Executive

Letter dated December 10, 1973 from President Richard Nixon to Edwin G. Michaelian, Westchester County Executive. Click on the image to view the full image. Source: Series 26, Michaelian, Edwin G. Collection: County Executive Records, 1958-1973, A-0035 (22)L, folder 5

Between 1937, when the office of County Executive was first created, 1939 when it was first occupied, and today, eight individuals have served as Westchester County Executive. The processed holdings in this record group focus primarily on the life and tenure of Edwin G. Michaelian, County Executive from 1958-1973. Also included in this record group are materials from departments and offices that report directly to the County Executive.

County Executive’s Office: Collected Studies and Reports, 1937-1968 (bulk 1950s-1961)
Series 367
5.25 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically by subject. View box and folder list.

Reference files maintained during the administrations of the first four County Executives of Westchester County (William Bleakley, 1939-1941, Herbert Gerlach, 1941-1953, James Hopkins, 1954-1957, and Edwin Michaelian, 1958-1973), though primarily covering the 1950s-1961. This collection is an accumulation of consultant reports prepared specifically for the county and studying various aspect of operation of the county government as well as third-party studies, not specifically addressing Westchester County, but dealing with issues of interest to those who governed it. For example, the collection includes consultant Anthony Rourke’s 1956 study on Grasslands Hospital, as well as architectural studies on the Grasslands facilities; numerous studies from the late 1940s through 1960 by Barrington Associates on the levels of county personnel staffing and salaries. Other topics of consultant studies include parkway reconstruction, tolls and traffic; county parks and recreation areas; enrollments, facilities and budgets for Westchester Community College; and the needs of the Westchester County Penitentiary. Third party reports cover broader areas, such as the New York metropolitan region or New York State, and deal with topics such as civil defense, commuting patterns, and transportation requirements for urban areas. See box and folder list for complete list of subjects covered by collection.

Related Series: Series 346, County Executive Subject Files, 1933-1963 (bulk 1939-1961).

County Executive Subject Files, 1933-1963 (bulk 1939-1961)
Series 346
33.75 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. View box and folder list.

Subject files maintained during the administrations of the first three County Executives of Westchester County (William Bleakley, 1939-1941, Herbert Gerlach, 1941-1953, and James Hopkins, 1954-1957), and during the first four years of the administration of Edwin Michaelian, Westchester County’s fourth County Executive (1958-1973). There are access restrictions in this collection: Certain folders have definitive date restrictions and are not available until specified dates; other materials are restricted but available with advanced notice. See folder list for files with restrictions.

Upon accessioning by the Archives, two separate chronological series of subject files of the first four County Executive administrations were merged and processed as one single chronological group. The topics found in this series reflect the events and issues that affected Westchester County residents and governmental departments during the pre and post Second World War years, the Cold War era, and the early1960s. Covered are themes such as civil defense, youth delinquency, veteran affairs, aging, transportation and roads, sewers, recreation, social and health concerns, and unionizing by municipal employees. Materials in this series consist of correspondence and memoranda, annual and investigative reports, petitions, maps and blueprints, photographs, copies of acts and resolutions, telegrams, newsprint, news clippings, and copies of contracts, and court dockets.

The subject files primarily provide evidence of the activities of departments that reported to the County Executive, their work with other institutions, such as the United Nations and New York state agencies, and the County Executive’s role in Westchester County Government.  Also included in this series are initiatives the County promoted such as the creation of a public college in the 1950s, now known as the Westchester Community College. The folder list for this series further identifies the wide variety of issues addressed in this collection.

Related Series: Series 367, County Executive’s Office: Collected Studies and Reports, 1937-1968 (bulk 1950s-1961).

County Historian Files, 1987-1995
Series 289
10.5 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. View full finding aid or box and folder list.

This collection is divided into eight subseries: Bicentennial of the Constitution, County Executive, County Government, County Historian, Historic Preservation Advisory Committee, Municipal Historians, Westchester 2000 and Westchester County. The bulk of the collection is found in the County Government subseries, and includes committees the County Historian participated in, such as Budget, Women’s Advisory Committee, and Youth Board. In addition to correspondence and memoranda found throughout the subseries, there are some newspaper clippings and an occasional cartoon illustrating the prominent issues of the time. Some of these were the lack of affordable housing in Westchester County, the need for a greatly expanded airport and new roads, emerging women’s issues, and growing concerns about waste removal and ecological issues.

Also highlighted in the collection is the educational role Swanson sought to play as County Historian in promoting the American system of government, especially to young people. This role was highlighted during the celebrations related to the Bicentennial of the Constitution. Preserving Westchester’s heritage and history, including emphasizing the need for architectural preservation, was another focal point of Swanson’s time as County Historian. The collection includes information on promoting tourism along with publications showing Westchester attractions. Finally, included throughout are pamphlets and other samplings of Swanson’s published writings.

Related records: Series 293, County Historian Videotape Collection, 1984-1994.

County Historian Videotape Collection, 1984-1994
Series 293
2.16 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. View full finding aid or box and folder list.

Videotapes created and collected by Susan Swanson during her tenure as Westchester’s County Historian (1984-1995). The most extensive part of this collection is made up of oral history interviews conducted by Swanson and others of individuals who held positions of leadership within Westchester County both currently and in the past. Interviewees include county executives, legislators, district attorneys, and department commissioners, among others. See finding aid for complete listing of individuals interviewed.  For some interviewees, interview notes used in preparation for and/or during the interview are also available, as noted in the finding aid.

Other videos in the collection include information about the Bicentennial of the United States’ Constitution (a subject covered in detail during Swanson’s time as County Historian); a 1948 documentary prepared by the United States Information Service about “County Government” extolling the virtues of democratic government which used Westchester County as its example; and a time-lapse film of the construction of the county courthouse in White Plains from 1972-1974. Seven additional videos on the subject of freedom of the press created by the Office of County Historian are located in Series 306, Government Videos and DVDs Collection, 1980s-present.

Related records: Series 289, County Historian Files, 1987-1995.

Del Bello, Alfred B. Subject Files, 1969-1981
Series 304

currently being processed. Series description forthcoming.

Michaelian, Edwin G. Collection: Audiovisual Materials, c.1980-1982
Series 30 
10 items. Unarranged. View box and folder list.

Film, cassette and VHS tapes, primarily reflecting Mr. Michaelian’s years as County Executive.  A separate photograph collection is also available. 

Michaelian, Edwin G. Collection: County Executive Records, 1958-1984 (bulk 1958-1973)
Series 26
12.5 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. View box and folder list.

Personal correspondence, memos, clippings, calendars and reports created during Mr. Michaelian's tenure as County Executive. Included are his annual messages, speeches and material related to various issues dealt with by his administration.

Related records: Series 25, Edwin G. Michaelian Collection: Pre-County Executive Records, 1895-1957;  Edwin G. Michaelian Photograph Collection, 1909-1984; Series 100, Edwin G. Michaelian Collection: County Executive Records, Invitations and Thank-Yous, 1858-1974.

Michaelian, Edwin G. Collection: County Executive Records, Invitations and Thank-Yous, 1958-1974
Series 100
2 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. See complete collection description. View box and folder list.

Copies of letters, newspaper clippings, greeting cards, and telegrams received and sent by Edwin Michaelian to organizations and individuals during his tenure as County Executive. Includes invitations, thank you notes, condolence letters, donation and contribution notes, congratulatory messages and materials regarding his inaugurations and campaign activities.

Related records:  Series 26, Michaelian, Edwin G. Collection: County Executive Records, 1958-1984 (bulk 1958-1973); Series 31, Michaelian, Edwin G. Collection: Scrapbooks and Clippings, 1939, 1949, 1951-1983

Michaelian, Edwin G. Collection: Memorabilia and Certificates, c. 1896-1983
Series 29
1.25 cubic ft. Unarranged. View box and folder list.

Diplomas, certificates, proclamations, medals and other memorabilia belonging to Mr. Michaelian and members of his family.

Michaelian, Edwin G. Collection: Post-County Executive Papers, 1974-1984
Series 27
4 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. View box and folder list.

Correspondence, memos, reports, clippings and other materials. Includes Mr. Michaelian's unfinished history of Westchester County, a history of Westchester County Courthouses, and files on the Institute for Sub/Urban Governance, founded by Mr. Michaelian at Pace University.  

Related records: Series 25, Edwin G. Michaelian Collection: Pre-County Executive Records, 1895-1957; Edwin G. Michaelian Photograph Collection, 1909-1984.

Michaelian, Edwin G. Collection: Pre-County Executive Records, 1895-1969 (bulk 1943-1957)
Series 25
Less than 1 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. View box and folder list.

Edwin Gilbert Michaelian (1906-1983) held a variety of elective offices, including Mayor of White Plains. Between 1958 and 1973 he served as County Executive. The papers in this series include correspondence, memos and clippings spanning the period from his childhood until his election as County Executive.

Related records: Edwin G. Michaelian Photograph Collection, 1909-1984; Series 26-Series 31

Michaelian, Edwin G. Collection: Scrapbooks and Clippings, 1939, 1949, 1951-1983
Series 31
6.5 cubic ft. Arranged chronologically.

Newspaper clippings and scrapbooks which record Mr. Michaelian's activities.

Related Records: Series 100, Edwin G. Michaelian Collection: County Executive Records, Invitations and Thank-Yous, 1858-1974.

Office of Communications Press Clippings Files, 1999-2009
Series 330
Arranged chronologically. Currently being indexed for in-house use only.

Newspaper articles from Westchester and New York City papers dealing with issues affecting Westchester County as a whole and/or County government / personnel that were collected by the Office of Communications during the administration of County Executive Andrew J. Spano. Useful in understanding other records related to the Spano administration, such as the videos of his press conferences and other public appearances included in Series 306, Westchester County Government Videos and DVDs. This collection is available solely in the Archives’ Reading Room as part of the Archives’ Digital Collections.

Office for the Disabled Records, 1975-1995
Series 273
2 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. View box and folder list.

Records collected by the Westchester County Office for the Disabled -- the first county-level office established for this purpose in the country --  from its inception in 1975 through 1995. Includes nearly complete sets of their publications, a thorough history on the Bee-Line ParaTransit system of Westchester County, and a unique collection of programs and events held in Westchester County for the disabled and for those who worked with them. Also included is a substantial amount of biographical information on Richard Manley, the second director of the Office for the Disabled. 

This series includes newsletters, press releases, photographs, publications and correspondence that give insight into the functioning of the Office for the Disabled, and how Westchester County and numerous other organizations became involved in enhancing the quality of life of the disabled in Westchester County.

This collection is complemented by the subject files in Series 363, which similarly document the activities of the Office of the Disabled during the same time period.

Office for the Disabled Subject Files, 1975-1995
Series 363
1.25 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. View box and folder list.

The Office for the Disabled, originally the Office for the Handicapped, was established in 1975. The purpose of the office is to provide information and services to the disabled community, advise the County Executive on issues pertaining to the disabled, coordinate public and private programs for the disabled and survey the disabled community to plan better services. This collection demonstrates the office’s mission, projects and programs since its inception in 1975 up until 1995.

Specifically highlighted in this collection are publications by the Office of the Disabled, including copies of their primary newsletter, their Camp Directories, Hard Copy Newsletter and In Focus Publications. There are also folders containing transportation pamphlets, injury prevention guides and a program accessibility guide. In addition to publications, there is also information about many of the office’s projects such as A Very Special Arts Festival and the Critical Needs/Creative Responses Housing Conferences. The office’s success is reflected in the NACO Awards materials, which lists and summarizes the office’s projects and programs. There are also copies of speeches and media relating to the office. There are also materials about the office’s advisory council, the Westchester Council for the Disabled, including meeting agendas and minutes, council projects, and nominees. Community outreach and education done by the Council is also included in the collection. 

This collection is complemented by the records in Series 273, which similarly document the activities of the Office of the Disabled during the same time period.

Office for Women, 1980-1995
Series 269
2 cubic ft.  Arranged chronologically in 3 subseries. View box and folder list.

The records of the Office for Women are divided into three subseries: Task Force minutes, and Office for Women correspondence and news releases (1980-1984); scrapbooks (1989-1995); and photographs (1985-1990).

The Task Force board minutes in the first subseries cover January to July 1980, which led up to the creation of the Office for Women in August 1980. The correspondence and news releases that follow cover meetings, events and programs, such as the Office’s Woman of the Year award and seminars that promoted the needs and concerns of women such as teen pregnancy, employment assistance, and health. There is also a separate grouping of folders that primarily contains correspondence between the director of the Office for Women and Westchester County Executives Alfred Del Bello and Andrew P. O’Rourke for the periods April-June 1982, July-August 1983, and January-August 1984.

The Office for Women’s scrapbooks house flyers, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, and photographs relating to the Office, its director, and issues related to their causes. These items include the Office for Women’s official bi-annual pamphlet “A Woman’s Place” listing all of the programs offered for the year and other pamphlets covering issues such as health care and domestic violence. Other scrapbook items include flyers for the Office’s Legal Awareness for Women lunchtime series of free mini legal clinics and the numerous free Lunch-N-Learn workshops that teach numerous personal and business improvement techniques such as assertiveness in the work place, stress management, resumes, coping in a drug environment, and assistance in learning how to speak in front of groups.

The photographic subseries includes both 5x7 and 8x10 images and 8x10 proof sheets of events, conferences, and award ceremonies such as the annual Woman of the Year award and the Health Fair conferences. Although most of the events themselves are identified, for the most part, the individuals in the photographs are not.

“Westchester County News” [Press Releases], April 1955-September 1961
Series 365
1.165 cubic ft. Arranged chronologically.

This collection consists of press releases from the Westchester County Executive’s Office, most of them called “The Westchester County News”. The collection runs from April 19, 1955 to September 29, 1961. Each folder contains an index of the press releases in it, listing document title and page number. Within each folder the press releases are individually numbered according to the index.

The press releases cover a variety of county topics and agencies, with many documents relating to certain groups and topics. There are many Board of Supervisors agendas and other documents related to the Board. The collection also contains many releases related to veterans, including several Veterans’ Radio Spot Announcements. There are also many documents about civil defense and service, as well as those covering the County Health Department. Most of the press releases are addressed to the whole county, but some are to specific committees and towns.