Albert Gayer (1897-1976) moved as a young child to Schenectady, NY, living not far from the banks of the Erie Barge Canal. He and his parents had emigrated from Hungary in 1903. Family tradition says that Gayer soon became fascinated with canal life and lore. By the 1950s he was collecting historical canal-related manuscripts, photographs, books and other artifacts. He was among the first directors of the Canal Society. His collections of historic postcards and photographic glass negatives are among the most outstanding resources on New York State canal history.
This large collection of historic glass and film negatives, prints, and postcards (both printed and real-photo) documents life along New York State’s canals, including the Erie Canal, Black River Canal, and Champlain Canal. The collection covers all of New York, with a heavier emphasis on the eastern half of the state, from the 1830s to the 1960s.