The Thomas R. Bayles Local History Room, located in the Adult Department, is a room full of local history. Most of the books, pamphlets, postcards and photographs were donated by Mr. Bayles in 1976. The collection was dedicated in his honor on October 4, 1980. The portrait of him by Audrey Swanson Marlow that hangs in the room was donated by his wife, Gertrude Bayles and his son, Donald M. Bayles.
Mr. Bayles lived in Middle Island all his life. He was born February 4, 1895 and died June 29, 1977. He spent most of his life working for the Long Island Rail Road. He got his start in the freight office at Camp Upton during World War I. His father, Richard M. Bayles, had been a Suffolk County historian who wrote several books on the history of Suffolk County. When Thomas retired in 1958, he wrote a local history column for years entitled “Footnotes to Long Island History” for the Long Island Advance. He also published over 50 pamphlets on the history of Long Island. Several were published by the Town of Brookhaven during the Bicentennial.
The Bayles Local History Room houses the following collections:
- Bayles photographs and family files
- Cemetery transcriptions
- Local population censuses
- Genealogical reference books
- House histories
- Long Island Forum
- Manuscripts, clippings and scrapbooks
- Maps and atlases
- Minutes of library and some school board meetings
- Town records
- War histories
Photocopies may be obtained from a staff member when no damage will be sustained by the material and if the material is in no other way restricted or protected. Librarians are prepared to respond to research requests. Routine questions will be answered without charge. Click here to ask a local history reference question.
Make history! Help the library preserve the community's past in a public history project, the Longwood Collective. Every two months the local history librarian chooses a different topic for photo submissions. Visit the online archive to see what has been submitted to date.