About the Trial Transcript Collection
Approximately one-third of the collection is now digitially available in two collections. We offer searchable database of most of the digitally available content [over 500 transcripts] in our Digital Collections This content overlaps with a browse-able list of 125 transcripts digitized 2006–15 You can view a long list of all 3,369 trial transcripts in this collection. There is also a paper version of the index which has been digitized into several searchable PDFs. Here's more information working with our trial transcripts.
All transcripts are available on microfilm by appointment in the library or by interlibrary loan (see below for information).
The Lloyd Sealy Library's The Trial Transcripts of the County of New York 1883 - 1927 collection includes the verbatim typewritten proceedings of 3,326 court cases, held in various courts of New York County, which included Manhattan and The Bronx until 1914. Specifically the transcripts originate from:
- Court of General Sessions 1886-1927 - transcripts #1-3106B
- Supreme Court of New York County 1896 - 1922 - transcripts #3107-3267
- Court of Oyer and Terminer 1886 -1895 - transcripts #3268-3296
- Tribunals in Police Court, City Magistrates Court, Sheriffs Office, Coroner's Office 1883 - 1907, 1926 -transcripts #3297-3323
- Unspecified Courts 1905, 1914, 1918 - transcripts # 3324-3326
- Incomplete transcripts and unidentifed pages, undated - [reels 423-424]
- New York City Criminal Court, Stenographer's Index 1883-November 1920 [reel 425] - Now digitally available note: this handwritten volume indexes - by stenographer number - more transcripts than those in our collection - providing numbers linking to court materials and DA files in the Municipal Archives of New York
all of the above are searchable on our index - except reels 423-425.
These transcripts are on 425 reels of microfilm, as of 2019 we have digitized approximately 35% of this collection (see links above). All of the transcripts are available by appointment at the Lloyd Sealy Library and by interlibrary loan ordered by reel number through your home library.
For more information on researching these court records and many others please see our Research Guide to New York Criminal Courts
How to Access the Transcripts:
Anyone interested in these transcripts may see them. Once you have established that the transcript you are looking for is in our collection by consulting the index. The transcripts can be consulted three ways:
- A selection [currently around 1/3rd] of transcripts are digitally available here and here.
- Order by interlibrary loan by reel number through your home library. Be sure your library has a microfilm machine. Tell your library's I.L.L. dept. to request the reel through Illiad or OCLC [our ID is: VVJ and the OCLC number for the collection is 25107755 or email libill [at] jjay.cuny.edu.
- Make an appointment with the special collections librarian by emailing libspcoll [at] jjay.cuny.edu to consult the transcript in the Lloyd Sealy Library. We have a digital microfilm reader, with which you can make a PDF of your transcript. This option is not yet available to non-CUNY researchers during ongoing COVID restrictions as of 2021.
Background and Related Collections:
Created as part of the 2007 Crime in New York 1850-1950 Digital Project, the digital index (currently unavailable) offers indexing to this collection by defendants, judges, attorneys and charges. And a keyword search and a keyword name search. The three volumes of the original index, arranged by court name and date of trial, are also available on paper at the Lloyd Sealy Library Reference Desk. While our index is down, we can search this index for you if you send an inquiry to libspcoll [at] jjay.cuny.edu.
For additional records of the Court of General Sessions, New York County and other New York City Courts, please contact the Municipal Archives of New York. please note that they hold Court Records and Manhattan D.A. case files . We also suggest consulting the Criminal Court Records at the New York State Archives in Albany. For suggestions of other collections and resources on criminal trials, please see this page. Lloyd Sealy Library has digitized several other trial transcripts in our collection. We also have an extensive collection of published criminal trial transcripts, most of which are in pamphlet form and in our rare book collections.
These transcripts contain primary material important not only in the study of the interaction between persons accused of crimes and the criminal justice system but in the study of immigration patterns and urban development during this period. The Court of General Sessions was a lower criminal court under the jurisdiction of NY State to try defendants charged with breaking NY State Law within the borders of New York County (1st Judicial District). For a history of the New York City courts, see The Encyclopedia of New York City, ed. Kenneth T. Jackson (New Haven: 1995), pp. 290-95.
For more information about the Trial Transcripts Collection, read: Faber, Eli and Rowland, Eileen. (1989). Trial transcripts of the County of New York, 1883-1927: a historical introduction with an index to the microfilm collection. New York: John Jay Press.
The nature of this Collection, gaps, corrections and collations with trial materials in other NYC repositories are discussed in: Kleinhans, Elysabeth (1985) Transcripts of criminal cases in New York City. These titles are also available on paper at the Lloyd Sealy Library Reference Desk.
Questions about the Trial Transcript Collection, and requests to see any transcripts, or any of our Special Collections should be directed to libspcoll [at] jjay.cuny.edu.