Birmingham Public Library
2100 Park Place
Birmingham, Alabama 35203
http://www.bplonline.org
Archives & Manuscripts - Guide to the Collections
The collections of the Birmingham Public Library Archives contain more than 400,000 photographs and 30,000,000 documents, including government records, business records, maps, letters, diaries, scrapbooks and architectural drawings.
African American History and Life
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The Collections
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Ante Bellum Collection
Miscellaneous Documents, 1820-1859
AR308
This collection includes slave receipts, diaries, land sales and other documents collected by the library staff. The documents primarily relate to Alabama and Jefferson County.
Size : 2 linear feet (1 box)
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Birmingfind Papers
Papers and Related Materials
AR809
Birmingfind was a project funded in the 1980s by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to collect historical information on Birmingham ethnic groups and neighborhoods. This collection includes oral history interviews, clippings, publications, census data and other material relating to Birmingham’s Lebanese, Greek, Italian, African American, and Jewish communities and the neighborhoods of Brookside, West End, Wylam, Woodlawn, North Birmingham and Ensley. The project also published a series of booklets on the histories of ethnic groups and neighborhoods.
Size : 4 boxes
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Birmingfind Photos
Ethnic and Community Photographs
AR829
Birmingfind was a project funded in the 1980s by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to collect historical information on Birmingham ethnic groups and neighborhoods. This collection contains photographs showing individuals, families, businesses, churches, school groups and other subjects from Birmingham’s Lebanese, Greek, Italian, African American, and Jewish communities and the neighborhoods of Brookside, West End, Wylam, Woodlawn, North Birmingham and Ensley.
Size : 2 linear feet (6 boxes) (666 photographs)
Collection Guide Available : No
Birmingham Baseball
Photographs
AR1436
Photographs of players and games, primarily from the Birmingham Black Barons and the Birmingham industrial leagues. Many of these images come from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the Memphis-Shelby County Public Library, and permission from those institutions is required to copy or publish the images. Additional baseball photographs are available in the Archives’ collections Photographs: General Collection (AR 1556) and Lorenzo “Piper” David Photographs (AR 1700).
Size : 36 photographs
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Birmingham History Collection, 1868-1899
Miscellaneous Documents, 1868-1899
AR314
Clippings, publications, correspondence, diaries and other miscellaneous documents relating to the history of Birmingham collected by the Archives staff. An index is available in the Archives.
Size : 3 linear feet (6 boxes)
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Birmingham History Collection, 1900-1939
Miscellaneous Documents, 1900-1939
AR315
Clippings, publications, correspondence, diaries and other miscellaneous documents relating to the history of Birmingham collected by the Archives staff. An index is available in the Archives.
Size : 6 linear feet (12 boxes)
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Birmingham History Collection, 1940-1980
Miscellaneous Documents, 1940-1980
AR316
Clippings, publications, correspondence, diaries and other miscellaneous documents relating to the history of Birmingham collected by the Archives staff. An index is available in the Archives.
Size : 7¾ linear feet (16 boxes)
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Birmingham History Collection, 1981-2020
Miscellaneous Documents, 1981-2020
AR339
Clippings, publications, correspondence, diaries and other miscellaneous documents relating to the history of Birmingham collected by the Archives staff. An index is available in the Archives.
Size : ½ linear foot (1 box)
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Birmingham Public Library. Smithfield Branch Library
Clippings Files
AR1824
This collection contains photocopies of clipping files holding newspaper clippings, magazine articles, pamphlets, and other materials relating to Alabama African Americans, African American organizations, and events. The staff of the Smithfield Branch Library compiled these files.
Size : 1½ linear feet (3 boxes)
Collection Guide Available : No
Birmingham World
Office Files, 1939-1988
AR1102
This collection contains an extensive body of correspondence, clippings, publications, photographs and other material collected and created by the staff of the Birmingham World, the city’s longest running African American newspaper. Topics include civil rights organizations and their activities, sports, music, education, and politics.
Size : 62 boxes
Collection Guide Available : No
Birmingham, Ala. Board of Education
Photographs, circa 1920s
AR1078
Photographs showing students and teachers in classrooms, libraries, playgrounds, shops, lunchrooms and other areas of Birmingham city schools while classes are in session. The collection includes images from white and African American schools.
Size : 330 photographs
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Brown's Studio
Photographs, 1942-1963
AR1777
During the period of racial segregation, many businesses owned by African Americans such as banks, insurance companies, funeral parlors, and photo studios served an exclusively black clientele. One such photo studio, Brown’s, made the photographs in this collection. Located on 17th Street Norht, the studio was operated by Leon W. Brown from about 1938 until about 1968. This collection contains 36 images, a tiny fraction of the total number of images that a professional photographer like Brown would have created. The photographs in this collection are all group portraits showing the Birmingham Motion Picture Machine Operator’s Union, Fairfield Industrial High School students, Praco High School students, Madam C. J. Walker Beauty College students, and graduating classes from Parker High School and Ullman High School.
Size : 36 photographs
Collection Guide Available : No
Colvin, Lessie Beatrice White
Papers, 1934-1964
AR1334
Lessie Colvin was a 1934 graduate of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial School and a 1950 graduate of Alabama State College for Negroes. She taught in the Birmingham city schools. This small collection includes her diplomas, material relating to Council and Western and Olin schools and genealogical material.
Size : ¼ linear foot (1 box)
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Cunniff, J., Public Relations
Records Relating to A.G. Gaston, 1979-1983 and undated
AR1426
A.G. Gaston was a prominent African American businessman in Birmingham. Born in Demopolis, Alabama in 1892, the family relocated to Birmingham in 1905. Gaston served in the military during World War I and then worked in the mines of the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company. As a budding entrepreneur, Gaston sold lunches to fellow miners and then began offering burial insurance. His business holdings came to include the Smith and Gaston Funeral Home, Booker T. Washington Insurance Company and the Gaston Motel. Gaston was one of the business leaders who negotiated the end to civil rights demonstrations in Birmingham in 1963. This collection contains material relating to Gaston’s business activities and smaller amounts of material relating to his family. The bulk of the material relates to his radio station WENN.
Size : 2 boxes
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Davis, Lorenzo "Piper"
Photographs
AR1700
Lorenzo “Piper” Davis was born in the coal mining community of Piper, near Birmingham, in 1917. Davis played baseball in Birmingham’s industrial leagues and joined the Birmingham Black Barons in 1942. He became manager of the Black Barons in 1948 and later played for various minor league teams. He worked as a scout for the Detroit Tigers and other teams until his retirement in 1986. In 1993, “Piper” Davis was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. This collection contains photographs collected by Davis of himself and other athletes, including Willie Mays, Leroy “Satchel” Paige and Charlie Pride.
Size : ¼ linear foot (1 box) (29 photographs)
Collection Guide Available : No
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Page Last Modified: 1/23/2014 4:21 PM