Gary Ackerman, Former U.S. Congressman, Donates His Papers to the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library at His Alma Mater, Queens College

— Collection Documenting Ackerman’s Over 30 Years in Public Office Will Be Made Available to the Public for Research Purposes; Ackerman Will Also Contribute Oral History to the School —

Queens, NY, December 13, 2017— Former U.S. Congressman and Queens College alumnus Gary Ackerman (photo attached) announced the donation of his personal papers to the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library at Queens College at a December 1 alumni reception in Washington, D.C. The papers and material will be arranged and described by Queens College archivists and made available to researchers as one of the school’s growing number of Special Collections.

The Ackerman collection includes 12 boxes of material containing personal and professional papers that tell the story of his political career; photographs, albums, and scrapbooks; original audio and video material in various formats; and other objects and artifacts, such as campaign memorabilia. Eventually the material will be digitized and made available online. (Some exceptions will be made based on privacy concerns.)

“Congressman Ackerman has mightily contributed to the best interests of our city, this borough and the college throughout a long and distinguished career in the roles of school teacher, businessman, newspaper publisher and media executive, elected official and alumnus. We are honored that he has chosen Queens College as the home for his personal and public papers so that this rich history of service and the city, state, and national political record will benefit future generations of students and researchers,” said Queens College President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez.

By placing his papers in the Rosenthal Library, Ackerman hopes to ensure that they will be studied by generations of researchers in the context of his political career in the borough. He will also do an oral history with the college to be included as part of Queens Memory, a joint Queens College/Queens Library project designed to collect stories, images and artifacts documenting life in the borough.

“As a child of immigrants, I benefited enormously from the opportunity to attend and graduate from Queens College. I can never fully repay the debt of gratitude to the college for equipping me for the challenges that were and still are to come. I am delighted to contribute my personal and professional papers to my alma mater with the hope that this at least satisfies the requirement of the papers that were overdue,” said Congressman Ackerman.

Congressman Ackerman’s materials will join an already noteworthy Personal Papers archive that preserves the history of the borough of Queens and the New York City region, with contributions from New York State Assembly Speaker Saul Weprin, Congressman Benjamin S. Rosenthal, and Queens College founder Judge Charles S. Colden. Among the other archives in the library’s Special Collections are the Civil Rights archive, which documents civil rights work of Queens College students during the early 1960s; and Seamen’s Church Institute archive, which focuses on maritime ministry, waterfront labor and New York City history, specifically the transformation of lower Manhattan from shipping hub to financial center. The college also houses and maintains a Louis Armstrong collection, which is owned and managed by the Louis Armstrong House Museum.

“These papers have a tremendous public research value, as well as pedagogical value to the Queen College faculty and students. We are thrilled with this gift and can’t wait to make the materials available to our community,” said Queens College Chief Librarian Kristin Hart.

Gary Ackerman, a representative of the country’s most diverse constituencies in Queens and Long Island’s North Shore, was reelected to the United States Congress 15 times before retiring from public service in January 2013. Prior to his career in politics, he was a New York City schoolteacher and the founder, publisher, and editor-in-chief of what would become the largest chain of community newspapers in Queens. Congressman Ackerman has served as a senior member or chair on several major committees, including the Financial Services Committee, the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, the House Committee on International Relations, and the Panel on Asia and the Pacific.

Congressman Ackerman has also played pivotal roles in passing the US-India Civil Nuclear Energy Agreement and the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, and in negotiations with North Korea. He was also responsible for spearheading an unprecedented relief effort by New York’s schoolchildren for children affected by the Ethiopian famine. Congressman Ackerman was elected to the New York State Senate in 1978 and to Congress in a special election in 1983, where he served for 30 years. He is a graduate of Brooklyn Tech High School and Queens College. Read Congressman Ackerman’s full bio here.

About the Queens College Special Collections and Archives
The Queens College Special Collections and Archives part of the Benjamin Rosenthal College Library comprises 4,500 cubic feet of primarily college records from 1937 to the present. Collecting began formally in the late 1960s.

About Queens College
Queens College enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs. With its graduate and undergraduate degrees, honors programs, and research and internship opportunities, Queens College helps its over 19,000 students realize their potential in countless ways, under the guidance of an accessible, award-winning faculty. The college was recently ranked tenth among U.S. public colleges by the Chronicle of Higher Education for upward social and economic mobility. The Center for World University Rankings placed Queens College in the top 3.5% of schools worldwide, based on the quality of its education and faculty, the number of its alumni who find employment, and other factors. Located on a beautiful, 80-acre campus in Flushing, the college is cited each year by the Princeton Review as one of the nation’s 100 “Best Value” colleges, and is routinely ranked a U.S. News & World Report Best College and Forbes Magazine Best Value College, thanks to its outstanding academics, generous financial aid packages, and relatively low costs. Visit our homepage to learn more.

A leader in preparing future educators, Queens College graduates the most teachers, counselors, and principals in the New York metropolitan area. It also contributes to New York City’s talent pool as a powerful economic engine and a leader in tech education, with more undergraduate computer science majors than any city college. Students from across the country and around the world come to Queens College’s Aaron Copland School of Music. Its renowned faculty and alumni include nationally recognized composers, conductors, and performers who have received over 40 Grammy Awards and nominations over the past 40 years.

For more about Queens college, visit

Maria Matteo
Office of Communications
Assistant Director, News Services