Special Collections acquired two exciting American Revolutionary War-era letters authored by George Washington that document spy activities in Setauket, NY during 1779 and 1780. The purchase of these letters was made possible with a generous gift from Dr. Henry Laufer and laid the foundation for the establishment of a Long Island Historic Documents Collection. The collection includes primary and secondary source material on the history of Long Island from the earliest settlers through the present, with a strong emphasis on the period of the American Revolution through the War of 1812 (1764-1812).
George Washington letter, September 26, 1780
The university’s James Jay letter (1808) is featured in the August 2, 2012 edition of The Village Times Herald. James Jay (1732 -1815), American physician and politician, and elder brother of John Jay, supplied medicines to George Washington during the American Revolutionary War and developed an invisible ink used by Washington, Thomas Jefferson, his younger brother, John Jay, and members of the Culper Spy Ring.
Historian and author Beverly C. Tyler writes, “With the acquisition of an 1808 letter…Special Collections and University Archives at Stony Brook University has again acquired a valuable Revolutionary-War era document.”
Special Collections and University Archives at Stony Brook University select, acquire, preserve and provide access to rare, valuable, and scarce primary and secondary materials in a variety of formats in support of the educational and research endeavors of Stony Brook University's students, faculty, and staff.
The department also extends its services to researchers in the wider geographic region, nationally, and internationally.The collection includes: books, manuscripts, and maps dating from the 17th century; the University Archives; audio/visual materials; and a digital repository. All are welcome to explore the library's unique collections. For more information about the collections, visit the department's website.
LibGuide by Kristen J. Nyitray: Associate Librarian; Head of Special Collections and University Archives; and University Archivist at Stony Brook University Libraries. Last update: April 2015.