Local History


The Mary Van Sickle Wait History Room was established at the library in 1973 by James Reynolds Wait in memory of his wife, Mary Van Sickle Wait. In 2016, the History Room expanded to become the Mary Van Sickle Wait History Discovery Center.  Ms.Wait had an avid interest in local history, and this generous gift in her memory has provided resources to researchers for almost five decades.

Our purpose


Seymour Library’s Local History Discovery Center preserves, makes accessible and interprets items which document the history of the greater Auburn area.

The History Discovery Center’s mission is to create personal connections and community engagement with local history.

The History Discovery Center will provide research assistance to those seeking local history and genealogical information. Our resources will help your historical and genealogical interests come to life.

Take a virtual tour of the History Discovery Center

Our hours

Updated Hours of Operation for the History Discovery Center

The History Center is closed during December and January to allow staff to inventory collections.  The  HDC will reopen on February 1st. We look forward to helping with your research in the new year!

Our collections

Our collections include maps, pamphlets, images, books, and other documents for discovering local and state history and genealogy. We also have an extensive collection of Auburn newspapers on microfilm and print.

We also offer access to special equipment to aid with research and preservation. This equipment includes a slide and negative converter, and a Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner, both available for checkout. A Canon Selphy 4×6 photo printer and a Scan Snap contactless scanner are available for in-library use.

For research

The History Discovery Center offers in-person assistance with local history and genealogy research.

For out-of-room research assistance, contact us by phone, email at localhistory@seymourlib.org or complete the Research Request Form and mail it to:

Seymour Library
c/o History Discovery Center
176-178 Genesee Street
Auburn, NY 13021

Please note: a limited amount of staff research can be conducted for requests via phone, email or mail. For more extensive research requests, a $15/hour research fee will apply.

Exhibits, workshops & lectures

Our changing exhibits discuss local objects and events within their broader historical context. Visitors are encouraged to discover more through experiential and hands-on activities.

Workshops on genealogical and house history research and image and document preservation are offered throughout the year.

Lectures by local historians will be presented at various time throughout the year and open to the community.

Contact us

For comments, questions or more information, contact us via email or phone (315.252.2571).