Summary Information

  • Repository

    • Sojourner Truth Library, Special Collections – College History Collection
  • Collection No.(s)

    • CHC 2001:1IMG
  • Creator

    • Dennis O’Keefe, Sojourner Truth Library
  • Title

    • SUNY New Paltz Postcard Collection
  • Inclusive Dates

    • 1880 – 2000
  • Size

    • 370 Postcards


The collection consists of 370 postcards which chronicle the history and development of New Paltz, NY, from the late 19th century to the present. Three major areas of development are chronicled by the collection:the evolution of the State University of New York at New Paltz, the evolution of the village of New Paltz, and the evolution of the Huguenot Street national historic district.

Administrative Information

  • Acquisition Information

    • The collection was processed and scanned while on loan from Mr. Dennis O’Keefe during the 2000/2001 and 2001/2002 academic years.
  • Processing Information

    • Collection processed by Byron Preston, Sojourner Truth Library Student Intern – Fall/Spring 2000/2001
    • (funded by 2000 New York Library Association ASLS/Ridley’s Book Bindery Student Internship Grant award)
    • Database Design &Production by Christopher Raab, Electronic Resources Librarian – Spring 2001
    • Finding Aid compiled by Byron Preston and Christopher Raab – Summer 2001
  • Electronic Format

  • Copyright

    • The following image database is for historical reference and non-commercial use only. For-profit publication of these images is strictly prohibited without written permission from the Sojourner Truth Library.

Historical/Biographical Information

History of New Paltz

New Paltz was founded in 1677 by French Huguenots who had taken refuge in what is now Mannheim, Germany for a short period before coming to America. Mannheim was then capital of the area know as the Rheinpfalz or Rhenish Palatine.

New Paltz was dominated for over 150 years by the 12 partners and their heirs, referred to as the Twelve Men or Duzine, who had acquired a royal patent of over 33,000 acres stretching from the Shawangunk Mountains to the Hudson River. The French name of the town was Nouveau Palatinat, as given in the founding record of the local Reformed Church of 1683. Over time, more land was added, and eventually the patent was legally divided among the twelve partners, their relatives, and friends. Farms were primarily found east and west of the Wallkill River, which at first was referred to as the Palse River.

The twelve patentees were Louis DuBois and his sons Abraham and Isaac, Christian Deyo and his son Pierre, Simon and Andries LeFevre (brothers), Jean and Abraham Hasbrouck (brothers), Antoine Crispell, Louis Bevier, and Hugo Frere. Other families, with names like Elting, Schoonmaker, Terwilliger, Ean, and Schlecht, were part of the community from its earliest days. They built wooden homes that were later replaced by sturdy, stone structures. For 200 years after they first settled, New Paltz remained an isolated, small farming community.

The community was clustered on the east shore of the Wallkill River, which is today known as Huguenot Street. Many of the seventeenth century stone buildings still stand today and have been designated a National Historical Landmark, often referred to as “the oldest residential street in America.”

The population slowly crept from the Wallkill to what is now Main Street, and beyond. Areas which are now parts of the Towns of Lloyd, Shawangunk, Esopus and Gardiner split off from the Town of New Paltz between 1843 and 1853. The Village of New Paltz was incorporated in 1887.


Huguenot Street, a National Historic Landmark since 1985, is located above the banks of the Wallkill River in the Village of New Paltz. The site includes a collection of historic house museums and non-museum buildings with construction dates ranging from 1692 to 1894. The earliest houses were built by a group of several refugee Huguenot families who founded New Paltz in 1678. For additional information on Huguenot Street, please link to the Huguenot Historical Society’s website at

SUNY New Paltz Timeline

Timeline 1828 – 2001

  • 1828 New Paltz Classical School founded
  • 1833 New Paltz Academy incorporated
  • 1840 New Paltz Academy enlarged
  • 1883 New Paltz Academy Trustees consider a second enlargement
  • 1884 New Paltz Academy destroyed by fire
  • 1885 Rebuilding campaign by trustees and local citizens a success
  • 1885 Newly raised building accepted by the state as New Paltz Normal
  • 1886 Eugene Bouton appointed first principal of the Normal School
  • 1889 New Paltz Normal enlarged
  • 1889 Frank S. Capen succeeds Bouton to become the school’s second principal
  • 1899 Myron T. Scudder succeeds Capen to become the school’s third principal
  • 1900 New Paltz Normal implements an experimental “school city”program
  • 1901 Cuban students arrive for study at New Paltz Normal
  • 1906 New Paltz Normal destroyed by fire
  • 1907 A new Main Building is constructed on the present hilltop campus
  • 1908 Principal John C. Bliss heads the new Normal School on the hill
  • 1911 New Paltz Normal celebrates its 25th anniversary
  • 1917 Auditorium added to the Main Building (present day Studley Theatre)
  • 1923 Normal School curriculum expanded to a three year program
  • 1923 Dr. Lawrence H. van den Berg becomes the fifth principal of New Paltz Normal
  • 1932 Completion of the Lawrence H. van den Berg School of Practice (Campus School)
  • 1938 A four year curriculum is instituted
  • 1942 School authorized to grant Bachelor of Science degree in teaching
  • 1942 New Paltz Normal becomes the State Teachers College at New Paltz
  • 1943 Principal van den Berg assumes the first presidency of the college
  • 1944 Dr. William J. Haggerty becomes the second president of the college
  • 1947Graduate courses leading to Master’s degree introduced
  • 1948 State University of New York established
  • 1951 New Paltz adds Art Education degree to its programs
  • 1957 College acquires 220 acre Ashokan Field Campus
  • 1959 College’s name changed to State University College of Education at New Paltz
  • 1960 College authorized to grant Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal arts
  • 1961 New Paltz Normal celebrates its 75th anniversary (Diamond Jubilee)
  • 1962 SUNY Construction Fund established ($1 billion)
  • 1964 President Haggerty announces Master Building Plan ($30 million)
  • 1965 Construction begins on Academic Concourse
  • 1966 Faculty unionizes – joins the American Federation of Teachers
  • 1966 President Haggerty resigns after 22 years of service to the college
  • 1968 Dr. Neumaier becomes the third president of the college
  • 1968 Equal Opportunity Program admits its first 20 students
  • 1969 Black Studies Department formed
  • 1969 Haggerty era construction completed (Dorm complexes and Academic Concourse)
  • 1970 College Senate proposed (accepted as Academic Senate in 1974)
  • 1970 Student Strike (occupation of Main Building)
  • 1971 General education requirement dropped by the college
  • 1971 Experimental Studies program formed (renamed Innovative Studies in 1975)
  • 1972 Administration and Student Union Buildings opened
  • 1972 President Neumaier resigns after four years
  • 1973 Dr. Coffman becomes the fourth president of the college
  • 1973 Women’s Studies program established
  • 1974 Summer Repertory Theatre Program established
  • 1976 The College at New Paltz Foundation is established
  • 1976 Asian and African Studies majors abolished
  • 1979 President Coffman retires after seven years
  • 1979 Dr. Chandler becomes the fifth president of the college
  • 1980 Computer Science program established
  • 1980 Nursing program established
  • 1980 Campus School closed
  • 1984 Engineering program established
  • 1987 Journalism and Accounting programs established
  • 1992 Campus reacts to PCB incident
  • 1993 General education curriculum reinstated
  • 1994 Hopfer Alumni Center opened
  • 1994 Fine Arts II and College Terrace Buildings opened
  • 1994 Campus renamed State University of New York at New Paltz
  • 1995 Piano Summer Institute formed at New Paltz
  • 1995 President Chandler retires after sixteen years
  • 1996 Dr. Bowen becomes the sixth president of the college
  • 1997 Women’s Studies Conference draws national attention
  • 1997 Resnick Engineering Hall opened
  • 2000 MBA program established
  • 2000 Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art opened
  • 2001 Esopus Residence Hall opened
  • 2001 President Bowen resigns after five years

Scope and Content Note

The historic postcard collection chronicles the history and development of New Paltz, NY, from the late 19th century to the present. Three major areas of development are chronicled by the collection:the evolution of the State University of New York at New Paltz, the evolution of the village of New Paltz, and the evolution of the Huguenot Street national historic district.

The collection consists of 3.5 x 5.5 inch postcards that have been scanned at 300 dpi using HP Precision Scan software. The scanned postcards were then saved and imported into an Image AXS Pro database.

A wide variety of postcard types and time periods are represented in the collection. Specific types include photographic, hand-colored, silk-screened, and novelty. Although the majority of postcards are in excellent condition, some show signs of fading, scratching, and bending due to poor storage conditions and mailing.

Postcards depicting the evolution of the college will be of particular interest to educational and architectural historians. The vast number of building photographs provide a unique visual timeline of the history of the college. Social historians and genealogists will find the New Paltz village postcards especially valuable. The postcards document downtown businesses, landmarks, civic institutions, and early modes of transportation. They also include names and addresses, greetings, and descriptions of local events.

In addition, conservation architects and local historians will find the Huguenot Street images extremely beneficial to ongoing efforts of conservation, and historical interpretation. The Huguenot Street postcards also chronicle the public perception and marketing efforts of the historic district over the past one hundred years.

The SUNY New Paltz Postcard Collection was generously loaned for scanning by Mr. Dennis O’Keefe during the 2000/2001 and 2001/2002 academic years. Access to the scanned collection is available by visiting the library’s web site at:

Modified 2018-04-19