Putting Local History on The Map: Culture in Transit’s third digitized collection now available on Digital Culture

by Caroline Catchpole, Culture In Transit Digitization Specialist, METRO

With METRO’s Culture in Transit project reaching its halfway mark, we’re pleased to announce the third digitized collection from the project is now available on the METRO Digital Culture site!

wppl_wpc_077.JPGThis collection comes from White Plains Public Library’s local history collection. The 246 images range in date from the mid-nineteenth century to the 1980s. The photos offer a glimpse into the rich and varied history of the local area, which serves as the county seat of Westchester. Almost half of the photos were taken by John Rosch (1854-1949), who was the unofficial town photographer for 24 years beginning in 1877. The collection represents important local, national and international events from the 1948 Parade of Progress, to soldiers marching through the streets of White Plains during World War One, to a visit from the Freedom Train in 1948.

White Plains is a perfect example of the tangible benefits we’re able to create for METRO members through Culture in Transit. The local history collection selected for digitization is available for patrons to use in the library for research, but as it is not currently cataloged, it’s not as widely accessible to patrons or other audiences as it could be. The library also does not currently have their own platform to publish digitized material online, and whilst time is set aside for a staff member to focus on scanning and metadata creation, the realities of working in a bustling public library make it challenging to plan and implement digitization projects from start to finish. Participating in Culture in Transit has allowed the White Plains Public Library to serve their patrons and researchers more effectively, while also reaching new audiences by making local history materials accessible worldwide via METRO Digital Culture. In addition, the CIT project will also arrange for the content to be made available in the Digital Public Library of America.

So, take some time over your lunch break to explore the history of White Plains through these newly digitized images, where you can explore nineteenth century White Plains all the way through to its urban renewal of the 1980s.

Note: Culture in Transit is made possible by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.


The image above depicts troops marching down Main Street, White Plains during Word War One, circa 1918.