Annual Report

October 2001-September 2002

of the

Buffalo Museum

located at

453 Porter Avenue
Buffalo, New York  14201
(716) 885-4139

A Gift to the City of  Buffalo

Message from the Director





Space Renovations


Thank You


-- A Gift to the City of Buffalo -- 


The Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum


Benefits to the Buffalo Community



  • A major cultural facility giving the public access to some of the nation's and the world's most important documents and manuscripts

  • An educational facility supplementing the curriculum of area schools (elementary to college level) through a range of outreach services

  • An institution committed to informational programs for community groups

  • A source of primary materials for scholars

Architectural / Historical

  • A program that has saved, and restored, the architectural beauty of one of Buffalo's historical buildings, the Plymouth Methodist Church.  (External views)

  • A increasingly important source of  documents and manuscripts related to Buffalo's  history and architecture


  • A quality institution offering free admission to its facility, programs and services 

  • A museum that is privately funded, thus providing benefits to the community at no cost to the taxpayer

  • A quality facility available to community organizations for cultural, educational and social events

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Karpeles Museum

Hours of Operation


Monday - Saturday

10 am - 5 pm



1 pm - 5 pm


Open 52 weeks a year



 Open to the public


 Free admission




Hours open per week

46 Hours



Message from the Director


The 2001-02 exhibition year at the Buffalo Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum proved to be the most successful and exciting to date.  This is reflected by the quality and scope of its exhibits,  new permanent exhibit space, solid growth in the number of visitors, continuation of  educational services to students in the Western New York and Southern Ontario areas.


In addition to our rotating exhibits, the Buffalo Karpeles Museum was very proud to have been selected and be one of the first cities in the nation to host "Missing--Last Seen at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001."  This traveling exhibit was a stunning and emotional program that moved the 9/11 tragedy from being a story of fire, collapsed  buildings, and statistics to one of humanity, love, and hope.  The collection of flyers also reflected the amazing diversity of this nation, an achievement which we must not forget and in which we must take great pride.  Over 4,000 visitors came to the Buffalo Karpeles Museum to see this special exhibit


For those who were here in the beginning (1995), the current state of the Buffalo Karpeles Museum's physical plant is a wonderful testament to hard work, engineering, architectural artistry and financial commitment.  This year we added two permanent exhibit areas:  The William McKinley Room and the Buffalo State Room.  Currently we are renovating an additional 2,000 square feet for exhibition space.


Double-digit percentage increases in the number of visitors to this Museum continue.  Although the events of September 11 slowed the rise in the last September-December 2001 quarter, estimates for 2002 indicate our momentum has been regained.  General attendance numbers for 2002 are back in the 30% range.


In accordance with the vision and educational commitment of the Museum's founder, David Karpeles, the Buffalo Karpeles Museum continues to provide School Tours and Mini-Museum programs at no cost to any level of school requesting to participate in these programs.   We welcome contact from any school or other community organization interested in availing their school or group of the educational services of the Buffalo Karpeles Museum.  Contact information is listed in the "Administration" section of this report.


We now look forward to another year of progress and achievements for the Buffalo Karpeles Museum.  


On behalf of the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museums we appreciate your interest in the Buffalo Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum.


 Christopher Kelly



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Christopher Kelly


Karpeles Manuscript

Library Museum


Buffalo Museum













The Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum preserves  the world's largest private holding of important, original documents and manuscripts.  Currently it contains  over 1.1 million documents, and 15,000 rare books.  Included are  documents of importance in the fields of History, Music, Literature, Art, and Science.  By comparison, the privately funded Morgan Library  (New York City) contains approximately 230,000 manuscripts and documents.  The Newberry Library (Chicago) has a collection of 5,000,000 manuscript pages.  However, although it also is a private museum, the Newberry is funded by an endowment and funds coming from a variety of sources.      


Founded by David Karpeles and Marsha Karpeles, the first Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum was established in Montecito, CA in 1983.  They then established a nationwide system of Karpeles museums.


The Buffalo Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum was established in 1995.  Its first provisional exhibit was installed in December 1996.  The site went into full operation in 1998.  The building has Local Landmark registration status.


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 -- Total  holdings-- 

documents manuscripts 

1.1 million


-- All holdings are -- 

privately owned



Samples of the treasures in the 

Karpeles Manuscript Library 

Vision Statement

A letter from the founder

As a child I remember a world filled with hope and pride. Those who had pursued their goals, whether successfully or not reflected their pride and fulfillment. One could feel their excitement in their desire to follow their new and future goals. Those of us too young had hope and looked to the inspiration of our predecessors to give us purpose.


The world is no longer so filled. There is little hope and little pride. Our children have no sense of purpose and few goals. They make no commitments for fear that they will make mistakes and fail. They see our mistakes but are blind to our accomplishments. Their emptiness spreads over us all.


I for one, will not accept this. I wish to renew that feeling I had as a child; that hope, that pride, that sense of purpose. I believe that we learned those feelings by our exposure to the accomplishments of our predecessors. We studied history; we studied literature, we studied government, science, philosophy, art and music. Our children have not. They do not know who is Simon Bolivar, Rudyard Kipling, Immanuel Kant, Franklin Pierce, Sir Walter Raleigh, Virginia Dare or Queen Isabella. They are hardly aware of the Quest for the Indies, the Origin of the Species, the discovery of vaccines, the Reformation, the Black Plague, Esperanto, the Peer Gynt Suites, the Rubaiyat, the Magna Carta.


It is to cure this lack and thereby fulfill my own desire to renew the sense of purpose for our children and ourselves that the Karpeles Manuscript Library has been created.


David Karpeles

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Founder David Karpeles



To create a museum to stimulate an interest in learning, especially in children










Mission Statement

The Karpeles Manuscript Library is dedicated to education by the preservation of the original handwritten letters and documents of the great men and women of the past who have changed and shaped history.

The most important aspect of the examination of original manuscripts is the determination of the first thoughts of the author which were subsequently crossed out.  Conversely, what were the author's second thoughts that were later penned between the lines?

--Why Preserve Manuscripts?

Karpeles brochure

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"False starts" and "new directions" reveal the thought processes of the author and may lead to discoveries previously overlooked.   

--Why Preserve Manuscripts?

Karpeles brochure



Goals / Objectives



Increasing public access to the thousands of documents in the Karpeles Manuscript Library collection   


This goal has been partially achieved through the establishment of a system of   Karpeles Museums  across the country to showcase the collection's documents.  The museums are located in Santa Barbara, CA; Jacksonville, FL; Duluth, MN; Buffalo, NY; Newburgh, NY; Charleston, SC; Tacoma, WA.


The current objective is to increase access through an aggressive expansion of the main Karpeles Manuscript Library website.  In addition, the site will be made interactive.   The site will represent the single best learning resource available today.



The Buffalo Karpeles seeks to expand its role in the community. 

For its first objective,  Buffalo Karpeles will increase its school outreach programs.  The Museum will work with schools to develop programs and funding that benefit the educational experience of the children.  Success will be measured by the increase in Mini-Museum and School Tour statistics. 


For its second objective, Buffalo Karpeles will increase its holdings and exhibit space that focus on topics and events related to the Buffalo area (e.g., the Seneca Nation, War of 1812).  Therefore by the end of 2003, the Buffalo Karpeles will have completed basement renovation that will provide an additional 2,000 square feet for the local-oriented, permanent exhibits.


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Expanding access through the internet



Rotating Exhibits


Each year four, curated exhibits are rotated among the various Karpeles Museums.   Each is designed to focus on no more than 25 documents relevant to the topic.  Exhibits often contain 100% primary material and not less than 90-95%.  For the 2001-2002 exhibition year, the Buffalo Karpeles Museum hosted the following exhibits:



Nursery Rhymes

October 1 -- December 31, 2001


The work of the late 19th century English illustrator L. Leslie Brooke was the focus of this exhibit.  He is particularly well known for his interpretation of Mother Goose rhymes.    The exhibit, therefore, highlighted his original illustrations for such well known verses as Humpty Dumpty; Baa, Baa Black Sheep; and Jack and Jill.


Star Trek

January 2 -- March 31, 2002


A "must see" event for any Trekkie.  The "Next Generation" series was the focus of this exhibit supplemented by  items the original Star Trek series.  Gene Roddenberry, the creator, writer and producer of this cult series, is also an important element of this program.



First Long Distance Telephone

April 1 -- June 30, 2002


Hard to imagine life without long-distance connections.  The move to a two-wire circuit and the use of hard-drawn copper wire led to the first test of long distance telephone service in 1884 (Boston - New York).  Further developments included the reduction of interference and amplification.  By 1915 transcontinental service was available (New York - San Francisco).  (Encyclopedia Britannic.  Development of Long Distance Transmission)




World War II in the Pacific:  Beginning and End

July 1 -- September 30, 2002


Japan and the Pacific were the focus of this exhibit.  Original documents linked to many of the most important people (e.g., Franklin Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, General Doolittle, Emperor Hirohito) and events (e.g., Japanese surrender, attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese declaration of war) of the war were presented.  The "true" story of PT-109 is told by the original, signed testimony of the captain of the Japanese flagship that accidentally hit and destroyed the unit commanded by future President of the United States, John F. Kennedy.  John Kennedy refused to talk about this incident and records indicate that he was lucky not to have been court-martialed.


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Rotating Exhibits

Among the musical manuscripts owned by the Karpeles  Manuscript Library Museum is Effie Canning's Rock-a-Bye Baby.  [midi, audio file, 2:34 mins.]

Theme from Star Trek [midi, audio file, 1 min.]


Traveling Exhibit


Missing -- Last Seen at the World Trade Center 


 September 11, 2001

April 6 -- May 2, 2002

People are the story of this extraordinary traveling exhibit that rose from the tragic events of 9/11.  "Missing--Last Seen at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001"  puts a human face on the event by introducing viewers to those who died, those who cried, and those who were left behind. 

In the days after the World Trade Center was destroyed by terrorists, relatives and friends of people who were in the two towers posted thousands of fliers around lower Manhattan.  They desperately wanted to believe their loved ones had somehow escaped alive and were in hospitals or wandering the streets in a daze.


Long after those hopes faded, the leaflets remained on walls and fences.


Tom Buckham

“In Tattered Fliers, Signs of Terror’s Tragic Toll”

 BUFFALO NEWS, April 6, 2002



The “Missing” exhibit contained approximately 175 fliers collected by Louis Nevaer, a New York city author.  The organizer and sponsor was the human rights organization,  Mesoamerica Foundation




Approximately 4,000 visitors  

viewed this exhibit at the

Buffalo Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum



The Buffalo Karpeles Museum is very privileged to have been a part of the important, national exhibit.   See "Missing" for more details on the exhibit.


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Upcoming Exhibits


October 2002-December 2003



Theodore Roosevelt


October 1, 2002 -- December 31, 2002


It was in Buffalo, New York that Theodore Roosevelt  took the oath of office and became the youngest man ever to hold the office of President of the United States.  Governor of New York State, Nobel Peace Prize winner, consumer protection advocate, Founder of the NCAA, deputy sheriff in the Dakota Territory, author and, of course, Colonel of the Rough Riders are just some of the other accomplishments of this extraordinary man who is the center of  the first major exhibit of the 2002-03 season.  The exhibit is 100% primary material


Mars Exploration

January 2 -- March 31, 2003


The mysterious "red planet" exhibit will also include two "rocks" brought back to earth by astronauts from their voyage to the  moon.



Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution

April 1 -- June 30, 2003


The exhibit brings together letters and manuscripts discussing every aspect of  his Theory of Evolution in detail.  It includes pages from:  Origin of the Species and Descent of Man, Evolution versus Natural Selection.  Additional exhibit details.




July 1 --  September 30, 2003


Evita -- more than a musical.  Eva Duarte was an undistinguished stage and radio actress.  Then she met Colonel Juan Peron, played a key part in engineering his rise to the presidency of Argentina, and then became a revered and powerful, though unofficial, political force in the country.  Additional exhibit details.


The Huguenots:  Wars of Religion

October 1 -- December 31, 2003


The struggle for religious freedom is the heart of the violent religious wars between Catholics and Protestants.  It culminated in the tragic, nationwide massacre of Protestants in  1572.  Additional exhibit details.



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Rotating Exhibits

General Leonard Wood (1860-1927) speaking about Theodore Roosevelt

[audio file, 2:42 mins.]


Early films of Theodore Roosevelt [video file, 4:03 mins.]


Exhibit description

Conclusion page of Darwin's Origin of the Species


Permanent Exhibits


McKinley Room


This year, the Buffalo Karpeles established the William McKinley Room.  The permanent exhibit presents the story of the assassination of President William McKinley and the subsequent reactions to the event.  Key documents on display include:

  • Czolgosz's Signed Confession (the convicted assassin)

  • The Official Accident Report (lists McKinley's condition as "not serious")

  • The Official Arrest Report

  • Photos (including last known photo of McKinley before he was shot)

  • Contemporary Newspaper Accounts

The exhibit is an important link between the Buffalo community and one of our country's major historical events.



Buffalo State Room


This area  houses a rotating series of exhibits curated by the faculty and students of the Museum Studies Program at  Buffalo State College, one of the finest museum programs in the nation.    Here students have the opportunity to develop their skills in organizing displays and exhibits.  In turn, the Buffalo community has access to additional cultural and historical information and inspiration.  


Topics for the exhibits vary.  Past Buffalo State exhibits have included theatrical posters from Buffalo's sister city of Resnow, Poland; photo essay of the city of Buffalo; and the architecture in the city of Buffalo. 


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President McKinley Assassinated

Mob in front of the Temple of Music attempting to get at 

President McKinley's Assassin

  [video file, 1:13 mins.]


Execution of Leon Czolgosz  

[video file,  3:37 mins.]


Visitor Attendance


Since its opening, the Buffalo Karpeles has enjoyed an amazing and continuous increase in the number of visitors.  However the events of 9/11 impacted on that high rate of improvement.  Until that tragedy, Buffalo Karpeles was on track to another extraordinarily strong increase in attendance.  Preliminary numbers for 2002 indicate that Buffalo Karpeles is again on track.





% Increase



















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Visitor Attendance



School Outreach Program


The Buffalo Karpeles offers educational and school program services to educational institutions  from elementary level to college level.  Programs are presented either at a Karpeles Museum or in the schools.  Western New York and Southern Ontario schools have taken advantage of this community service.  Geographically the programs have included Western New York schools in Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Monroe, Wyoming and Genesee counties.  Canadian participation centers on schools in Fort Erie, Ontario.  All programs are free to the schools.



Mini-Museum Program


Upon request, Karpeles Buffalo will prepare  and set up at a school an exhibit on a topic  requested by the teacher(s) of the participating school(s).   This service includes reproductions of significant pieces relevant to the topic and the cases to display those items.  Karpeles professionals will also provide explanatory lectures to enhance student appreciation and understanding of these major documents.  The exhibits remain in place for approximately 60 days.


The Mini Museum Program has increased substantially since its birth in the 2000-01 academic year.  For the 2002-03 year, there is a slight decline to date.  However, through increased outreach efforts, we anticipate the program will be back in the positive growth column during the next academic year.


Academic Year



% of Change
2002 52 -8 -13%
2001 60 33 122%
2000 27 -


School Tours


The Buffalo Karpeles has been welcoming school group tours since 1998.  The program has been very successful, showing annual increases in attendance.  However, outside events have detrimentally impacted on this progress.   School budget cuts have practically eliminated  the transportation funding necessary to bring students to the Museum.  With the object of countering that trend, Buffalo Karpeles has proceeded on two tracks to meet its community outreach goal:   


1.  working with the schools to identify sources to which a school may apply for transportation funding, and 


2.  developing cooperative multi-site cultural/educational programs that grantors will find attractive.  For example, school tours would combine a visit to the Karpeles Museum with a visit to other cultural sites.  Such potential sites include Kleinhans Music Hall, Buffalo Science Museum, Historical Museum, Theatre of Youth or another other educational site of interest to the school or grantor.


 Academic Year



 % of Change


















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Mini Museum



School Tours



Community Events


Karpeles Buffalo is pleased to have been the site of many events sponsored by Buffalo area not-for-profit organizations.  These have ranged from lectures, meetings, receptions and recognition ceremonies.   In line with Karpeles policy, all the events were open to the public and free to all attendees. 


During 2001-02, the American Red Cross, Girl Scouts, Buffalo Writing Program (poetry readings), Preservation Coalition, National Coalition of Community and Justice (NCCJ) among other organizations took advantage of the Buffalo Karpeles location.  The Museum  averaged 10 events per month. 


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Karpeles Interior Space


Space Renovations


Upon purchase, the Buffalo Karpeles immediately invested over $2,000,000 in building repairs and renovations.   Although this first phase of rebuilding was completed in 1998, the Buffalo Karpeles Museum continues to develop and improve its physical plant.


This year, two permanent exhibit spaces were established:  The McKinley Room and Buffalo State Room.   Both reflect the Buffalo Karpeles Museum's commitment to Buffalo, its  history and education.  Currently, we are renovating the basement.  By the end of the year, this Museum will have an additional 2,000 square feet of exhibit space.  Again, the focus is to develop a collection that will be focus on the Western New York.


Upon completion of these renovations, the Buffalo Karpeles Museum will apply for registration in the  National Register of Historical Places.  The Museum already is listed  in the Buffalo area's Landmark Registry.


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2,000 sq. ft


Creating new exhibit space

10,000 sq. ft. 

Total Exhibit Space

250 sq. ft. 

McKinley Exhibit

1,000 sq. ft. 

Buffalo State College Exhibit




This year, Buffalo Karpeles increased its permanent staff to 5 with the addition of Jane Morris as Assistant Curator.  The new staff member will allow Buffalo Karpeles to have a constant, on-site professional at the Museum.  As a result, the Director and Curator now will be able to do more field outreach and educational services to the community.    



  Professional Staff


Director                                  Christopher M. Kelly


Curator                                   Kimberly Kroll


Assistant Curator                    Jane Morris


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Contact information


Tel:  716-885-4139




Thank you



One reason for the success of the Buffalo Karpeles is the support of the Museum's Board of Directors.  By sharing our goals and objectives, the members are a proven key source of advice, ideas, and direction for this institution.


Buffalo Karpeles would like to thank D'Youville College for its gift of a display case.  At 7' x 5', it  is the largest at the museum.  It has an estimated value is $10,000.  We very much appreciated receiving this unexpected addition to the Museum.


Finally, our thanks to you, the reader of this Annual Report, for taking the time to review our achievements and to learn about the goals, services, and activities.  Now that you know about us, please visit the Buffalo Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum.   If we can be of service to you, your community organization, or your school, please contact us. 


 Christopher Kelly





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This report was prepared by 

Audrey Koscielniak 



LIS 581 (Dr. John Ellison). 



The time, cooperation and willingness of

Christopher Kelly, Director of the

 Buffalo Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum 

to participate in this project is very much appreciated.


Modified:  11/02/2002 11:25 AM