Archives and Digital Collections

The Vanderbilt Museum Archives

The archives at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum collect, preserve, and make accessible the historic records and collections of William Kissam Vanderbilt II and select members of the Vanderbilt family. The Museum’s archives contain more than 13,000 unique items, including:

  • Over 6,000 black-and-white photographs capturing William Kissam Vanderbilt II’s travels in South America, Europe, and the South Pacific between 1926 and 1937.
  • 53 linear feet of materials concerning the operations of the Long Island Motor Parkway and the Vanderbilt Cup races.
  • The personal papers and photographs of Corneilius Vanderbilt IV, Muriel Vanderbilt, and Consuelo Vanderbilt Earl.
  • Over 280 architectural plans for the construction of William Kissam Vanderbilt II’s estates in Centerport, NY, and Fishers Island, FL, including drawings by Warren & Wetmore and Samuel Yellin.
  • Photographs and documents pertaining to the William Kissam Vanderbilt’s Idle Hour estate in Oakdale, NY, including materials from the Idle Hour Artists’ Colony and the Peace Haven cult of the Royal Fraternity of Master Metaphysicians.
  • And over 1,000 books on natural history, exploration, and the decorative arts.


The archives are open to researchers by appointment during the week. Please contact Killian Taylor, the Archives and Records Manager, to schedule an appointment or submit a research request.

Digital Collections

The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum provides access to its digital collections with support from community partners and organizations. All digital assets comply with FADGI technical guidelines for digitizing cultural heritage materials and are available for reproduction upon request. Search the Museum’s digital collections on New York Heritage and Preservica.

Donating Materials

The archives actively seek new materials related to the life of William Kissam Vanderbilt II and his immediate family. Historic photographs, letters, and ephemera from the Vanderbilts will be reviewed and accepted on a case-by-case basis. The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum does not accept donations of period antiques or natural history specimens from the general public.

Reproduction Policy

Written permission is required for the use and reproduction of archival materials maintained by the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum. The reproduction of certain items may be subject to a publication fee, depending on the nature of their intended use. The standard fees for the reproduction of archival materials are as follows:


Books, Commercial, or Advertising Purposes: $75

Magazines, Periodicals, etc

– Under 50,000 circulation: $75

– Over 50,000 circulation: $125


– Commercial: $125 / $200 worldwide rights

– Non-commercial Educational: $30 / Fee waived for Non-profits

Video Footage: $2.50 per second

Note: Reproduction requests for multiple images are presented at a discounted rate, depending on the number of images, use, and format.