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Long Island Biological Association Collection

Identifier: LIBA

Scope and Content

The Long Island Biological Association (LIBA) Collection at CSHL Library and Archives is composed of material that were created, amassed and maintained by various individuals connected to LIBA. The papers and ledgers cover the time span from LIBA’s inception in 1923 to its transition to CSHL in 1962. The materials provide some insight into the administrative, financial and fundraising practices of LIBA. The collection includes correspondence, meeting minutes, fundraising ideas, financial materials and ledgers.

The collection is arranged into 7 series:

Series 1: Administration. 1900-1962

This series is comprised of annual reports, correspondence, meeting minutes and reports that document the development of LIBA from 1923-1962. It also contains, materials relating to the acquisition of land in the Laurel Hollow area, issues pertaining to summer lectures and research, and fundraising notably the membership drives. The materials in this series are organized alphabetically.

Series 2: Development. 1923-1941

This series contains papers that pertain to the land and building development at LIBA from 1923-1941. Some of these records are maps that provide some information into the subdivision of the land and road developments at LIBA. Some correspondence with issues relating to plumbing, zoning and heating are included in this series. The materials are organized alphabetically.

Series 3: Financials. 1923-1962

This series contains some court documents detailing the transfer of funds from The Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences (BIAS) to LIBA. It also contains materials that pertain to contributions and gifts made to LIBA from members and other sources. Information for scholarship funds set up by benefactors, funding some of the scientific research, and for the purchase of equipment is also included in this series. Some records from the Internal Revenue Service and State Department can be found here. A significant part of this series is comprised of numerous ledgers and record books. The papers are organized alphabetically and the ledgers are organized chronologically.

Series 4: Fundraising. 1923-1947

Documents in this series are comprised of correspondence from LIBA to its members and prospective members requesting contributions. Additionally, some materials for other forms of fundraising, notably dinner parties, are included. The material are organized alphabetically.

Series 5: Science and Research. 1925-1957

This series contains papers detailing some of the science and research that was being conducted in the time span of 1925-1957. Some of the materials are comprised of correspondence between scientists and literature about the work that was being conducted at LIBA. The records are organized alphabetically.

Series 6: Photographs. 1929-1959

This series contains photographs that were taken at the Long Island Biological Association from 1929-1959. Course photos make up the majority of the series.

Series 7: Publications and History. 1923-1940

As well as containing issues of the periodical "The Biological Laboratory," this series also has items that help paint a historical image of the association.


  • Creation: 1900 - 1962


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Some restrictions apply, see Archivist for details. Access is given only by appointment, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Use Restriction

Archival materials must remain in the archival reading area. Item duplication is to be done by archivists. Fees are applied to copies made. Digital photography is permitted by users. Due to the very fragile nature of some materials in this collection, some are available through photocopies; others must be used under the supervision of an archivist.

Historical Note

The Biological Laboratory in Cold Spring Harbor, New York was formerly a department of the Brooklyn Institution of Arts and Sciences (BIAS). Due to an increased demand by biologists and neighbors upon the laboratory for adequate facilities and equipment, BIAS approved the plan to transfer the control of the laboratory to a group of scientists and prominent local citizens that formed the Long Island Biological Association (LIBA). In 1924, BIAS transferred land, buildings, monies and funds to LIBA. LIBA took over the administrative duties of the laboratory. LIBA employed various means of fund raising that were successful and resulted in increased revenue for the laboratory. Membership support from the community and friends was the most successful of the fund raising endeavors. In 1962, due to the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s decision to discontinue its Genetics department at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a new organization was formed called The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory of Quantitative Biology. Its control and sponsorship were governed by various universities and other scientific institutions. Under the new leadership, LIBA became one of the sponsoring institutions. LIBA continued its role of maintaining and acquiring membership support from the community and associates; however, gave up its management role of the Biological Laboratory.


18 Boxes


The Long Island Biological Association Collections contains papers and ledgers of the members of the Long Island Biological Association from the years 1923-1962. The materials consist of correspondence, meeting notes, financial papers, fundraising papers and development plans.

Arrangement Note

Materials for this collection were found generally unorganized. The boxes were largely unlabeled. They were not from the creator of these records. The ledgers had previously been looked at; however, they were not placed in any perceivable order. LIBA materials from the BIAS collection whose folders contained LIBA records were incorporated into this collection. Further, any materials that preceded 1923 (BIAS) were weeded out along with materials that were post 1962 (CSHL) during processing and placed in their respective collections. A logical arrangement was imposed upon the collection by the archivist.

The records were arranged in 7 series. With the exception of the ledgers, all materials in these series were arranged alphabetically. The ledgers were arranged chronologically.


Documents within the collection identify these records as those belonging to the Long Island Biological Association. During most of its existence the organization shared directors, certain staff and buildings, with three related peer institutions: 1) Carnegie Institute of Washington 2) Eugenics Record Office (established as a separate entity in 1910, but whose building, files and records were donated to Carnegie Institution of Washington in 1918); and 3) The Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences The Biological Laboratory (see Related Collections; see Cold Spring Harbor Organization Timeline.) This shared leadership created an intermingling of these institutions’ administrative files. Where folders were clearly identifiable as belonging to another institution as determined by date, person, or subject, the processing archivists removed the folders for placement in the relevant Related Collections. Where folders contained material which overlapped multiple collections, the folder was kept in this collection and reference notes added. It is recommended that this collection be researched in conjunction with Related Collections. This collection was processed in June 2012.

Related Materials

The following collections at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives house materials related to Long Island Biological Association Collection: Carnegie Institution of Washington at Cold Spring Harbor Administrative Records; Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, The Biological Laboratory Collection; the Reginald Harris Collection; the Charles Davenport Collection; and the Carnegie Institution of Washington - Eugenics Record Office Collection. These can be accessed through the CSHL Archives Digital Collections Database (

Scholars should also refer to other institutions including the American Philosophical Society for several collections related to the history of the Carnegie Institution of Washington at CHL including; Albert F. Blakeslee Papers, Charles B. Davenport Papers, Milislav Demerec Papers, Papers of the Eugenics Record Office at Cold Spring Harbor. The Carnegie Institution of Washington maintains the Administration Records Collection of the departments of the institution.


This project “Arrangement and Description of the Hidden Collections of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Legacy Institutions, 1890-1974” was made possible in part by a grant from the Documentary Heritage Program of the New York State Archives, a program of the State Education Department.

Long Island Biological Association Collection
Finding Aid Prepared by Mona Ramonetti.
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives Repository

Library & Archives
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
One Bungtown Rd
Cold Spring Harbor NY 11724 USA