Edwin G. Michaelian, Westchester County Executive, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower at Westchester County Airport, 1960 Source: PMC115

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.

African American Advisory Board Records, 1998-2009
Series 402
3.5 cubic ft. Arranged chronologically. View box and folder list.

Since 1998, the African American Advisory Board (AAAB) has been committed to developing effective policies, legislation and services to eliminate discrimination and improve life opportunities for members of the African American community and their families. To ensure that all issues are given attention, the board has organized multiple sub-committees who focus specifically on researching and addressing their given concerns. These sub-committees focus on areas such as children and families, health (physical and mental), housing, employment, education and economic advancement. Through discussions, events and working closely with public officials the board provides feedback on such issues affecting the African American community, directly to the County Executive and Board of Legislators.

Materials include meeting minutes from January 2000 to June 2008 and correspondence from November 1998 to December 2000. As well as membership lists, contact information for the board and its sub-committees and for local businesses ranging though various years. Sub-committee information including statistics, plans and responses and policies are included. The files contain records of departmental events such as the annual Trailblazers Awards and past nominees, the creation of the Heritage Trail and the planning leading up to it, and the creation of the John Jay Homestead and Heritage Center, including its addition to the Heritage Trail. The files also contain copies of publications including multiple issues of SANKOFA (also found in Government Publications), Trailblazers commemorative pamphlets, and catalogues of the extent of the Heritage Trail.

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, 1933-1973 (bulk 1939-1972)
Series 346
65.5 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. View box and folder list.

Subject 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). There are access restrictions on some materials in this collection; see box and folder list for details. 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, the 1960s, and the early 1970s. Covered are themes such as civil defense, youth delinquency, veteran affairs, aging, transportation and roads, sewers, parks and 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, and the County Executive’s role in Westchester County Government. The box and folder list for this series 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.

Michaelian, Edwin G. Collection: Speeches and Proclamations, 1958-1973
Series 394
.75 cubic ft. Arranged Chronologically. View box and folder list.

This collection is made up of various proclamations, speeches, and remarks made by Edwin G. Michaelian throughout his tenure as Westchester County’s County Executive from 1958 to 1973. Included are Michaelian’s speeches and statements made to the Junior League of Westchester, the National Association of County Officials (NACO), the League of Women Voters, the Republican Convention, and the 1969 graduating classes of Westchester County Community College and Somers’ John F. Kennedy High School. Statements and remarks address a variety of topics, including the Indian Point nuclear power plant; water and air pollution; Westchester County’s budget, population, public health, and taxes; and the beautification of Westchester and the Hudson Valley.

Proclamations made by Michaelian show appreciation to and honor many services and organizations throughout Westchester County. Some in the collection celebrate Civil Service Day, Salvation Army Week, Cleaner Air Week, Engineers Week, Westchester Family Week, League of Women Voters Week, B’nai B’rith Membership Month, Recreation Month, Social Workers Month, Adoption Service Month, and Public Transportation Day.  

Related records:  Series 26, Michaelian, Edwin G. Collection: County Executive Records, 1958-1984 (bulk 1958-1973); Series 100, Michaelian, Edwin G. Collection: County Executive Records, Invitations and Thank-Yous, 1958-1974

Office of Communications Newspaper Clipping Files, 1997-2009 (gaps)
Series 330
Arranged alphabetically (1997-June 1999; 2000-2009 (gaps) paper versions) and chronologically (1999-2009 electronic versions). Electronic versions are currently being indexed for in-house use only. View box and folder list for paper versions (29.25 cubic ft.).

Articles from Westchester [bulk] and New York City newspapers dealing with issues affecting Westchester County as a whole and/or County government / personnel that were collected by the Office of Communications, during the last year of the administration of County Executive Andrew O’Rourke (1997) and during the administration of County Executive Andrew J. Spano (1998-2009). These records are useful in understanding other records available for the O’Rourke and Spano administrations, such as the videos of Spano’s press conferences and other public appearances by Spano included in Series 306, Westchester County Government Videos and DVDs, and the forthcoming administrative records for the O’Rourke administration. The electronic portion of this collection (1999-2009) 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.

O’Rourke, Andrew Administrative Files, 1978-1988 (bulk 1982-1987)
Series 392
26 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. View box and folder list.

This collection is made up of four subseries: County Executive Administrative Files; Boards and Commissions; Non-County Organizations / Subject Files; and Deputy County Executive Ed Gibbs’ Subject Files. A fifth subseries consists of oversized items taken from folders within the other four subseries; they were listed out separately only because they had to be given their own “A-number”. Many documents include a routing slip (or photocopy of a routing slip) indicating to whom the County Executive’s staff directed the materials for handling and any instructions they were provided. Administrative files provide insight into operations of county departments during years covered (with some gaps in coverage), boards and commissions and non-county organizations / subject files subseries provide more limited date coverage (perhaps only a year or two) for particular boards and organizations operating in Westchester County during the 1980s, while Ed Gibbs’ subject files are more project oriented. See the box and folder list for complete list of topics and years covered.

Within each subseries, the box and folder lists have been organized alphabetically, with cross-references provide both within and between the subseries. The alphabetization was done based on the primary topic within each folder title, not necessarily the first word in the folder title. In some cases, for example – “County Executive – Office for the Aging”, the folder was alphabetized under the actual subject (Aging in the case) rather than under “County Executive.” The exception is those instances when the subjects related to the operations of the Office of the County Executive – for example, “County Executive – Pictures”; in which case they were grouped under the term County Executive. The records in this collection were not in any particular order to begin with, and even within folders materials are not necessarily filed chronologically.

“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.

Youth Services Division Records, Office of the County Executive, 1959-1975 (bulk 1962-1972)
Series 376
18 cubic feet. Arranged alphabetically. View box and folder list.

The Youth Services Division was created in 1962 as a division of the Office of the County Executive for the purpose of “coordinating the activities of established County Departments . . . providing services to interested and responsible public, private and voluntary agencies concerned with the Youth of Westchester County” (Policy Statement, June 4, 1963). The records in this collection (including correspondence, memoranda, minutes and agendas, reports, agreements, news releases, news clippings, brochures, photographs, and publications) document the functions and activities of the division during the administrations of four special assistants to the County Executive—Marion S. English (1963-1966), John R. Lambrosa (1966-1970), Vito Giordano (1969), and John W. Thomas (1970-1974). An Advisory Committee along with the Youth Services Steering Committee assisted in directing studies and work of the division. The Youth Services division was the predecessor of the Westchester County Youth Bureau (created in 1975).

A significant number of folders in this collection document the Youth Services Division’s effort to educate and work with the Westchester County community, organizations and schools on drug abuse and narcotic addiction issues of its youth. Items and information on these topics resulted in the publication and dissemination of booklets on drug abuse; educational forums, workshops, conferences and educational sessions held in the county; and the creation of a film. Other materials in the collection document work in youth education programs; county-wide youth boards and local youth services; federal and state funding of youth employment opportunities; and juvenile delinquency and crime. A highlight of the collection is copies of student essays, their photographs and the announcement of the essay winner at the Annual Youth Conferences of Public and Private Agencies; these materials are filed numerically at the end of the collection. Another item of interest is the Central Index Project Report that compiled monthly and annual data on juvenile delinquency and youth crimes in Westchester.

Related series: Series 367, County Executive, Subject Files, 1933-1973; Series 300, Board of Supervisor/Board of Legislators: Subject Files; Series 304, Del Bello, Alfred B. Subject Files, 1969-1981; Series 26, Michaelian, Edwin G. Collection: County Executive Records, 1958-1984 (bulk 1958-1973).