Criminal Trial Transcripts of New York County Collection (1883 - 1927)

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About the Trial Transcript Collection

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:

  1. Court of General Sessions 1886-1927  - transcripts #1-3106B
  2. Supreme Court of New York County 1896 - 1922 - transcripts #3107-3267
  3. Court of Oyer and Terminer  1886 -1895 - transcripts #3268-3296
  4. Tribunals in Police Court, City Magistrates Court, Sheriffs Office, Coroner's Office 1883 - 1907, 1926 -transcripts #3297-3323
  5. Unspecified Courts 1905, 1914, 1918 - transcripts # 3324-3326
  6. Incomplete transcripts and unidentifed pages, undated - reels 423-424
  7. Appeals Bureau of the New York City Criminal Court, Stenographer's Minutes through 1929 - reel 425

all of the above are searchable on our index - except reels 423-425.

These transcripts are on 425 reels of microfilm, less than 20 % of the collection has been digitized, available as search-able PDF files linked to the web-index. 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.

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 online index. The transcripts can be consulted three ways:

  1. A selection of transcripts are digitally available (less than 20% of these transcripts have been digitized).
  2. 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.
  3. Make an appointment with the special collections librarian 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.

Background and Related Collections:

Created as part of the 2007 Crime in New York 1850-1950 Digital Project, the digital index (above) offers browsing 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.

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.