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E. H. Butler Library, Buffalo State, The State University of New York

Archives & Special Collections: Paul G. Reilly Indian Collection [1948-1976]

Descriptive Summary

Title: The Paul G. Reilly Indian Collection

Date Span: [ca. 1800-1980; bulk, 1948-1976]

Acquisition Number: N/A

Creator: Paul Reilly; Eric Brunger; John Aiken

Donor: Paul Reilly

Date of Acquisition: Stored in E. H. Butler Library, 1973; transferred to Archives & Special Collections, 1982

Extent: Original 48 boxes currently stored in 14 containers; 16 linear ft.

Language: English

Location: Archives & Special Collections Department, E. H. Butler Library, SUNY Buffalo State

Processed: Initial item-level inventory provided upon transfer to Special Collection, 1982

Information on Use

Access: The Paul G. Reilly Indian Collection is open for research. 

Reproduction of Materials: 
See Archivist for information on reproducing materials from this collection, including photocopies, digital camera images, or digital scans, as well as copyright restrictions that may pertain to these materials. 

Even though all reasonable and customary best-practices have been pursued, this collection may contain materials with confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the SUNY Buffalo State assumes no responsibility.

Preferred Citation: 
[Description and dates], Box/folder number, The Paul G. Reilly Indian Collection, Archives & Special Collections Department, E. H. Butler Library, SUNY Buffalo State.

Biographical Note:
Paul G. Reilly served as attorney of record for the land claims initiated by the Seneca Nation of Indians and the Tonawanda Band of Seneca before the Indian Land Commission between 1948 and 1976. This collection is unique because it is the most complete collection of primary source materials on the Iroquois/Seneca Indians treaties and agreements found in one location. It contains materials culled from primary and secondary sources by Reilly, Fleming and Reilly, Counselors at Law between 1948 and 1970.

Mr. Reilly in preparing for these legal cases, over a period of forty years, collected a great volume of photocopies of treaties between various Indian nations and the Various Indian nations and the United States Government, chapters from history books, maps and other supporting materials. These photocopies were made from the original materials held at the National Archives, libraries and other depositories across the United States. Some of the materials that were collected and cited in the briefs for the Seneca Indian Land case of 1971 are not included in this collection. All those documents cited in the case can be found at the National Archives. 

Professors Eric Brunger and John Aiken, members of the History Department at Buffalo State College and both experts in western New York history, were requested by Paul Reilly to assist him in evaluating the lands involved in the Seneca Indian land claims case. Their work entitled "The Big Tree Cession of 1794" was presented as part of the Senecas’ brief before the Indian Claims Commission in September of 1970. 

As a result of their work which also included testifying before the Indian Claims Commission, Mr. Reilly upon his retirement from the law, after the conclusion of the case in 1971, offered the papers to the two professors. They accepted the papers in 1973 for the college and requested that the papers be housed in E. H. Butler Library. The papers were transferred to the Archives & Special Collections Department in 1982 for use and preservation.

Scope and Contents:
The collection originally contained 48 boxes when delivered to SUNY Buffalo State. During reprocessing these 48 boxes became 14 containers; the items were rehoused and retain all original documents. A guide to boxes and container contents can be found in the front of the collection inventory. The vast majority of documents in the collection are photoduplications/photocopies of original documents located in other repositories throughout the United States.

Inventory: Please see separate inventory for content listings.

Downloadable Finding-Aid

*due to collection size, please contact an Archivist to access inventory listings.

Sources for Additional Research

A collection of print materials accompanied primary source collection materials. These monographs were integrated into the E. H. Butler Library Special Collections, and Stacks and can be accessed below.

Additional Print Materials

General Classifications of Documents

  • Agreements with Indian nations prior to 1789
  • Agreement with Indian nations after 1789
  • Bibliographies on Indian history
  • Federal and State court cases involving Indian Affairs
  • Iroquois/Seneca Indian treaties
  • Legal documents before the Indian Claims Commission
  • Map relating to Indian Affairs
  • Seneca Indians - constitution, oil leases - 1897 - government documents and pamphlets
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