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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Special Collections - Lloyd Sealy Library: Criminal Trial Transcripts Collection

This is a guide to the Manuscript Collections, Rare Books and John Jay College Archives in the Special Collections at the Lloyd Sealy Library of John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Criminal Trial Transcripts of New York County 1883 - 1927

For more information on the Lloyd Sealy Library's Collection of Criminal Trial Transcripts of New York County 1883 - 1927, please go to this page. see also: Student's Guide to Researching John Jay Trial Transcripts in the Research Guide on NYC Courts  See  also bibliography of books and articles written by researchers who consulted the trial transcripts. 

Some of these transcripts are digitally available are found  by searching by trial number on the Library Digital Collections. If you do not have a trial number, find it in our Criminal Trial Collection Index which is arranged by court and date of start of trial - please scroll down the page to find the names indexes of defendant/judges/attorneys if you are researching an individual.

We plan to digitize another batch of reels in the future - get in touch to let us know the reel number you'd like to have digitized.

We suggest the following format for citing one of our transcripts:

Transcript of, People of the State of New York V [defendant] Court of General Sessions of the County of New York [date]. Case [number]. Criminal Trial Transcripts Collection, Special Collections, Lloyd Sealy Library, John Jay College.

Resources with Additional Information about These Trials

Nexis Uni (formerly LexisNexis Academic) A database of official records of New York State and other court cases.  Should cases in the Court of General Sessions be appealed, records of these later cases might be found here. 
Tales from the Criminal Court offers duplicate access to a few of the transcripts in our collections as well as photos, information and quotes from other sources.

New York Times Historical File (CUNY use only) The New York Times from 1851 – 5 years ago. Court schedules and newsworthy cases were reported on here. This is a very good resource for determining which court and on what date a trial was heard, as well as additional information about the crime, investigation and trial.

Annual report of the Chief Clerk of the District Attorney's Office, county of New Yorkfreely available on HathiTrust Library.

These encyclopedias give good backgrounds on the history of law and definitions of criminal charges in the United States:
Lehman, J., & Phelps, S. (2005). West’s encyclopedia of American law (2nd ed.). Thomson/Gale.Reference Law KF154 .W47 (also available as a searchable ebook)
Hall, K., & Clark, D. (2002). The Oxford companion to American law . Oxford University Press. Reference Law KF154 .O96 2002 (also available as a searchable ebook)

New York State Case Reporters

Case Reporters are not trial transcripts but rather the official report on the case and the court's decision.  The NY State 3rd (1980 - present) is available freely online all decisions of the Court of Appeals and the Appellate Division, as well as selected opinions of the lower courts, are included.

All are also available Nexis Uni (formerly LexisNexis Academic) (CUNY use only). It is best if you know the exact citation to the trial.

Learn more about researching cases and other legal resources in our Legal Research guide

Other Trial Transcript Collections

Lloyd Sealy Library Special Collections has an extensive collection of rare published pamplets reporting on proceedings of criminal trials, with an emphasis on NYC and NY State. Search CUNY+ [keyword subject: Trials and New York is suggested]

Notable 19th century trials heard in NY County are  reported in the NY City Hall Recorder which is available online and by appointment in the special collections room.

For additional records of the Court of General Sessions, New York County and other New York City Courts, please contact the Municipal Archives of New York. This repository also holds the grand jury indictment records for many trials in the John Jay Collection, accessible by our stenographer number in our index. There are more state court resources at the New York State Archives. There's also a collection of records relating to the Court of General Sessions of NY County at the NY State Archives .

Many federal trial transcripts are held by the National Archives (NARA), which has a branch in downtown New York City. New York City is in the Southern District of New York of U.S. District Court. The records of this court are available at NARA - NYC.

 New York State Court Libraries with Trial Transcript Holdings:

Some Kings County [Brooklyn] trial transcripts are held by the Kings County Supreme Court Library.

Some New York County trial transcripts are held by the NY County Supreme Court Library.

Some Bronx County trial transcripts may be held by the Bronx County Supreme Court Library (Bronx county was separated from NY County in 1914)

Some Queens County trial transcripts may be held by the Queens County Supreme Court Library.

Other NY State Court Libraries may also have trial transcript holdings.

It is advisable to call ahead and make an appointment with the above libraries before visiting.

see also: Guide to New York Court Records on Family Search.

Selected Individual Transcripts available digitally:

Rosenberg Grand Jury Transcripts (1950-51) at the Library of Congress

Lizzie Borden Murder Trial Transcript (Boston 1893)

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Trial Transcript (NYC 1911)

Nuremberg Trials Project, Harvard University (Nuremberg, Germany 1945-47)

Unofficial Transcripts of the O.J. Simpson Trials (1995 - 1997, Los Angeles)

Other Resources:

Trial Pamphlets, broadsides, and other publications guide

The Proceedings of London's Old Bailey Online

Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive , University of Virginia

A useful blog post on finding  18th - 19th century trial transcripts online  in Blogging Pedagogy

Famous Trials by Douglas O. Linder Univ. of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law 
NY State Library Records of the New York House of Refuge (1825 -1935)

How to obtain a Trial Transcript held by the Library

Anyone interested in these transcripts may see them. Once you have established that the transcript you are looking for is in our collection by consulting the online index. The transcripts can be consulted four ways:

  1. A selection of transcripts are digitally available (less than 20% of these transcripts have been digitized). Digitized transcripts are available here.
  2. Order by interlibrary loan  by reel number through your home library. Be sure your library has a microfilm machine. Tell your library's I.L.L. dept. to request the reel through Illiad or OCLC [our ID is: VVJ and the OCLC number for the collection is 25107755  or email libill [at]
  3. Make an appointment with the special collections librarian  to consult the transcript in the Lloyd Sealy Library. We have a digital microfilm reader, with which you can make a PDF of your transcript.
  4. Request to have a reel digitized - we plan to digitize another batch of reels in Fall 2021.

Special Collections Librarian Contact:

Other Trial Transcripts in the Library

In addition to our Trial Pamphlet Collection, the library holds a few trial transcripts outside of our Criminal Trial Transcripts collection For early 19th century New York City & County trials see

Daniel Rogers, The New-York City-Hall Recorder for the year.... Which reported on interesting cases that took place at the New York Court of Sessions and other NYC courts from 1816 (volume I) to 1821 (volume VI). This publication is available digitally andoriginal copies of vol.3:no.11 (1818:Nov.) and  vol. 4 (1819)-v.6 (1821) are available by appointment in our special collections room KFX2005 .N47

There are also early NYC court records at the Municipal Archives

We have made other Trial Transcipts in our collections digitally available on the Internet Archive:

The people of the state of New York, plaintiff-respondent against Ruth Snyder and Henry Judd Gray, defendants-appellants : case on appeal. (1927)

The people of the state of New York, respondent, against William Byers, also known as William Snyder, impleaded, etc., defendant-appellant : record on appeal from Court of General Sessions, New York County. (1955) Special Collections KF224.B9 B9

Ethel and Julius Rosenberg Trial.

Grand Jury Testimony (August 1950 through March 1951) is now digitally available from the U.S. National Archives.

John Jay Library also has the United States. Congress. House. Committee on Un-American Activities Investigation of Communist activities (the Committee to Secure Justice in the Rosenberg Case and affiliates) Hearing (Aug. 2-5, 1955).

Alger Hiss Trial (1950, 1952)

United States of America, appellee, against Alger Hiss, appellant: transcript of record, on appeal from the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York. (1950)

United States of America, appellee, against Alger Hiss, appellant: petition for rehearing. (1950)

Alger Hiss, petitioner against United States of America: petition for a writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. (1951)

United States of America v. Alger Hiss, defendant: affidavit. (1952)

United States of America against Alger Hiss, defendant: notice of hearing of motion for new trial: motion, affidavits. (1952)

United States of America against Alger Hiss, defendant: supplemental affidavits in support of motion for new trial. (1952)

United States of America, against Alger Hiss, defendant: second supplemental affidavit of Chester T. Lane in support of motion for new trial on ground of newly discovered evidence. (1952)

United States of America against Alger Hiss, defendant: memorandum in support of defendant's motion for a new trial under Rule 33 on the ground of newly discovered evidence. (1952)

United States of America, appellee, against Alger Hiss, appellant : appellant's brief on appeal from order denying motion for new trial. (1952)

New York State Prisoners' Records

Some State records have been digitized and are available free on a commercial site, A blog posting on the site describes the records