Special Collections

Judicial Portraits

Throughout the library, in the attorneys' lounge, and in the hall between the lounge and courtrooms is an extensive collection of portraits maintained by the library. The collection includes many formats, including mid-19th century oil paintings, cabinet cards, engravings, silver gelatin prints, and more.

Nearly every portrait in the collection is available for viewing on New York Heritage, a website designed for libraries and archives to share their digital assets free of charge. The majority of the images posted to New York Heritage are high quality (600 dpi tiff) files from the court's digital archive.

William Rumsey

M. Dolores Denman
The collection includes portraits of nearly all Justices of the Fourth Department from its beginning in 1896 to the present, as well as Judges who served on the bench of the Seventh Judicial District from its inception until the 1950's.

Several Rochester Bench and Bar composite posters and a fantastic collection of group photographs of Fourth Department Justices from the 1920's to the present are also included.

A collection of original wire photos from the Chicago Sun-Tribune of Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson is a highlight of the collection, along with a portrait card signed by the entire 1949 bench of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Jackson Collection is not available online due to copyright restrictions.

Hundreds of portraits are displayed throughout the library and in other parts of the courthouse, but due to the size of the collection, many are in storage. Most of the photographic portraits on display are copies due to their unique nature and susceptibility to damage caused by environmental conditions. The original prints are stored in a special vault with environmental controls. If the images on display are damaged or lost, the digital archive can be used to create replacements.

The library also has a collection of images of some of the several current and former courthouses in the area. The collection was assembled from postcards, engravings, stereoviews, digital photographs, and even a rare carte de visite.

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