Where I Work showcases people who work in Rye. The feature is inspired in part by exploring how the pandemic has impacted our work environment and part by wanting to understand how and where people work inside the City of Rye.
Today we meet Rye Historical Society’s archivist Jake Griffith Rosenberger.
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Your Name: Jacob (Jake) Griffith-Rosenberger
Your Company: Rye Historical Society. We lease the Square House on the Village Green, an 18th century inn and tavern and former city hall, from the City of Rye to house our museum and offices. We own the Timothy Knapp House at the corner of Rye Beach Avenue and Milton Road, the oldest extant house in Westchester County, which houses our archives.
MyRye.com: What do you do?
Griffith-Rosenberger: Archivist. I care for the Rye Historical Society’s archival materials and historical records, including personal papers from local people and families, as well as business and government records from local businesses, nonprofits and other charitable or activity-based organizations, and the Town, Village, and City of Rye. These materials have been donated to us overtime for safe-keeping and to ensure public access. I enable access to these materials by fielding research inquiries, describing our collections, and increasing our digital tools and presence. Our research library shares space with our archives, so I am also responsible for our library books. I also fulfill the role of a registrar, the person in a museum who accessions and catalogs new acquisitions.
Where do you work?
Griffith-Rosenberger: I work from my office in the Knapp House Archives at 265 Rye Beach Avenue, the corner of Rye Beach Avenue and Milton Road. The oldest part of the Knapp House dates to the 1670s and possibly earlier. Our archival storage occupies the most recent addition to the house, built in the 1920s. I started as the archivist at the Rye Historical Society in March 2021 and work at an L-shaped desk.
Describe your desk and office.
Griffith-Rosenberger: Each room has its own color and my office is the blue room, with doors, windows, fireplace mantel, and bookshelves painted a light blue. When the Rye Historical Society’s archives and research library opened to the public in Knapp House in 2001, this room, the parlor, was redesigned to serve as the Reading Room. It features a corner China cabinet with genealogical materials, a long, low bookshelf filled with books related to the history of Rye, a small bookshelf with three-ring binders containing old inventories and reference materials, a vintage filing cabinet, and dark brown supply cabinets. A picture rail near the ceiling runs all around the room and from it hang framed maps, documents, and artwork related to Rye and Knapp House.
I sit at a wooden desk with an all-in-one desktop computer with wireless mouse and keyboard, along with office supplies, plentiful scrap paper for notes, and generally no less than two notebooks at any one time. Next to me are a small scanner, a few items from current projects and tasks, a foam board model of Knapp House from the late 1990s, and a framed print of Knapp House that we recently received as a gift for our collection. A printer, pencil sharpener, Wi-Fi router, and cordless phone stare at me from across the room.
I’ve always been interested in commemorative objects and ephemera, so I keep a commemorative paperweight that we recently found in Knapp House on my desk. It was commissioned by the Sanborn Map Company in 1976 to celebrate its 100th anniversary and the United States’ bicentennial. Sanborn once held a monopoly on fire insurance maps used by insurance underwriters that are very useful for historical research. I’m inspired in my stewardship of Knapp House and the Rye Historical Society’s archives by the framed materials in this room, including an interesting ballot for New York’s 16th congressional district in the 1896 presidential election.