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On February 28, 2020 mixed-media artist Elizabeth Leader presented her new book, Discarded Ancestors, during the college’s Spring Archives Speaker Series event.

The book never would have happened without her curiosity and determination to finding out who had originally owned a photo album she discovered curbside on an East-side Buffalo street. It also would not have happened without the encouragement and research assistance of Canisius Librarian Lisa Sullivan.

Leader’s initial search included the creation of a haunting series of collages based on the neighborhood where she found the album. Out of those photos, she created art that brought new stories to life. It wasn’t until a chance meeting with a Sullivan, whose love of research, including genealogy, that the book came to life and a family was rediscovered.

The February 2021 edition of Buffalo Spree features Discarded Ancestors. It highlights Lisa Sullivan’s effort to help tell a personal story of Buffalo’s rich immigrant history, including the workplaces and urban landscapes filled with treasured legacies and secrets living among rubble.  Click here to read about it.

Submitted by: Kathleen M. DeLaney, archivist & special collections librarian, Archives & Special Collections