Reading Room

The Archives Reading Room is open to the public on Wednesdays from 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 1:30-3:30 p.m. by appointment only. If you do not have an appointment confirmation, you will not be able to visit the Archives Reading Room. For more information, read our Visitor Information page before planning a trip to the Archives.

Once you’ve scheduled your visit through No Wait Inside, we will send you a confirmation email before your appointment. Please let us know what you’re interested in seeing by responding to that email.

  • Is it a specific document? We can have that ready for viewing. For naturalization documents, marriage certificates, incorporation records, and other records from our online indices, simply provide us with the identification number.
  • Is there a topic you’re researching? Our stacks are closed for browsing, but we can prepare a selection of relevant materials for you to peruse.

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. Please review the Archives' online indexes and Guide to Collections, and the Westchester County Historical Society online catalog before your visit; if there a specifically material that you’d like to have ready for you, please submit all research requests to the Archives Reference Desk. Please arrive on time, as we cannot extend research sessions. A maximum of 3 patrons at a time will be allowed per session.

We are still available to assist you over the phone at (914) 231-1500 and email during the Archives' office hours: Monday through Friday, except government holidays, 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. If you have any questions or concerns, please 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.

The Archives shares a building and Reading Room with the Westchester County Historical Society, which was founded in 1874 as a member-based, not-for-profit agency incorporated by the State of New York to serve the citizens of Westchester County. Named as the official County Historian in 2006, the Society's mission is to collect and preserve books, pamphlets, maps, manuscripts, photographs, newspapers, periodicals, film, video and digital materials pertaining to the history of Westchester County, to promote the knowledge and understanding of that history, and to advocate for the preservation of the county's architectural heritage. Researchers interested in the WCHS’ material should contact their staff directly.

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 phone calls in the Reading Room are prohibited.
  • Only soft lead pencils may be used. Mechanical pencils are not permitted.
  • 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

Researchers are welcome to take pictures of documents with a camera or phone (with no flash). If you’re interested in a photocopy or a scan, the costs are:

  • $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)

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 

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. Please see our page on Naturalizations for more information.

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