Rochester's central branch library is located in the Rundel Memorial Library building which was completed in 1936. As the library collection grew, funds were dedicated to expand the building and in 1977 the adjacent Bausch & Lomb library building became part of the central branch. The library is home to the Local History and Genealogy Division of the library which offers thousands of documents, photographs, manuscripts, and historic newspapers.


  • A library page discovered this photograph of Rochester's most influential resident, Frederick Douglass, in a library scrapbook in 2016.
    A library page discovered this photograph of Rochester's most influential resident, Frederick Douglass, in a library scrapbook in 2016.
  • The Rundel Memorial Library Building
    The Rundel Memorial Library Building

In 2016, library page Kristy Hoffman researcher discovered a photographic portrait of Frederick Douglass within a scrapbook in the Rochester Public Library Local History & Genealogy Special Collections. With the aid of curators from the George Eastman Museum, the photo was confirmed as authentic and dated to sometime around 1873. Beyond the obvious historic value of being a portrait of Douglass, the actual process of finding the photo serves as a reminder that history can be found in the most unexpected of places. 

Rediscovering Frederick Douglass, City of Rochester. http://www.cityofrochester.gov/frederickdouglass/.