Richard H. Handley (1848-1914) was a wealthy businessman and resident of Hauppauge. In 1921 his widow, Mary
Osborn Handley, loaned his extensive book collection, containing many rare and valuable items, to the Smithtown
Library, and in 1926 the collection was given to the library outright, along with a fund for its maintenance.
For many years, the collection was available only to researchers, but was finally made available to the public
Through the years, the collection has been preserved and augmented and, in January 2000, relocated into its present
quarters in a new reading room and climate-controlled vault. It has grown to include over 8000 books and pamphlets
on Long Island history and genealogy; over 750 maps; nearly 100 archival boxes; many historical account
books (including whaling logs); an extensive vertical file; photos; scrapbooks; audio and video tapes; and a
collection of newspapers and other periodicals.
The Library now has access to the Long Island Historical Journal: Digital Edition
through SUNY Stony Brook.
The Smithtown Patch (www.smithtown.patch.com) published an interview between editor Amanda Fiscina and Long Island Room
librarians Cathy Ball and Caren Zatyk about the Long Island Room collection and their work, including a five-minute video clip
on Tuesday, September 14, 2010. Click here to read the article and view the video.
Be sure to see the exhibits in the Long Island Room display cases, which feature highlights of our holdings related to the programs.
The collection is open to the public during all library hours. Come in, sign our register, and take advantage
of our unusual collection.