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.
Birmingham Public Library History
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Birmingham's first library was organized in 1886 for the public schools. In 1891 it became a subscription library for the general public. In 1908 The Birmingham Library Association was founded to establish a free public library and by 1909 had abolished user fees. The City created an independent Library Board in 1913. For decades the library was housed in various locations including the old City Hall where it was destroyed by fire in 1925. In response libraries from throughout the U.S. sent books to rebuild the collection. Local civic-minded citizens raised funds to build a new library, which opened on April 11, 1927 and served as the city’s main library until 1984. Today the library operates a central library, research library and 18 branches.
The Collections
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Alabama Association for the Blind
Minutes, 1915-1924
AR772
Founded in 1915 as the Birmingham Association to Provide Recreation and Aid for the Blind, this organization sponsored readings for the blind, circulated Braille books through the Birmingham Public Library, taught Braille classes, sponsored a lecture by Helen Keller, and employed a teacher to instruct blind children in their homes. The collection contains minutes of meetings, list of members, constitution and by-laws and a brief history.
Size : ¼ linear foot (1 box)
Collection Guide Available : No
Birmingham Public Library
Annual Reports and Director’s Reports, 1910-1952
AR408
Birmingham’s first library was organized in 1886 for the public schools. In 1891 it became a subscription library for the general public. In 1908 The Birmingham Library Association was founded to establish a free public library and by 1909 had abolished user fees. The City created an independent Library Board in 1913. For decades the library was housed in various locations including the old City Hall where it was destroyed by fire in 1925. In response libraries from throughout the U.S. sent books to rebuild the collection. Local civic-minded citizens raised funds to build a new library, which opened on April 11, 1927 and served as the city’s main library until 1984. Today the library operates a central library, research library and 19 branches. This collection contains reports on library activities and development.
Size : 1 linear foot (3 boxes)
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Birmingham Public Library
Board Minutes, 1913-1989
AR511
Size : 9 reels microfilm
Collection Guide Available : No
Birmingham Public Library
Bookplate Collection
AR1062
This collection, gathered by the staff of the Birmingham Public Library, contains vintage bookplates from throughout the United States and other countries. The bookplates are arranged in three series (libraries; families, individuals, and organizations; and designers) and arranged alphabetically within each series. The collection also includes a small number of publications relating to bookplates.
Size : 5 boxes
Collection Guide Available : No
Birmingham Public Library
Branch Library Closing Controversy Scrapbook, 1981
AR689
Newspaper clippings compiled by the staff of the Birmingham Public Library’s Southern History Department on the controversy surrounding an attempt to close several library branches. Also contains material on the bond issue to fund the construction of a new Central Library building.
Size : 1 flat box
Collection Guide Available : No
Birmingham Public Library
Charge-Out Book, 1902-1909
AR1040
One volume containing hand-written circulation records. Library patrons are listed by name, and the books checked out are indicted by a number, but not by title, along with date of check out and return.
Size : 1 volume
Collection Guide Available : No
Birmingham Public Library
East Lake Branch Library Vertical Files, 1923-1973
AR684
These files contain material relating to the history and activities of the East Lake Branch Library.
Size : Fiche and Negative
Collection Guide Available : No
Birmingham Public Library
Scrapbooks, 1913-1985
AR1325
The collection consists of articles from various Birmingham newspapers about the Birmingham Public Library. The articles cover such events as the fire which destroyed the original library, the building of the new Central Library in 1927, the opening of the first branch library in Alabama for African Americans and other branch libraries, exhibits, acquisitions and programs.
Size : 8 linear feet (36 volumes)
Collection Guide Available : No
Birmingham Public Library
Seventy-fifth Anniversary Greeting Cards, 2002
AR1783
During the spring and summer of 2002 the Birmingham Public Library celebrated the 75th anniversary of the opening of the 1927 central library building, now the Linn-Henley Research Library. In April, as part of this celebration the library sponsored a children’s birthday party for the building. Children from Advent Episcopal School and St. Paul’s Cathedral School brought greeting cards to the party and these cards were placed in a fifty-year time capsule.
Size : ¼ 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 Public Library. Woodlawn Library
Scrapbook, 1949-1950
AR458
This scrapbook contains newspaper clippings, photographs and other material relating to the construction and grand opening of the Woodlawn Branch Library.
Size : 1 box
Collection Guide Available : No
Birmingham Public Library. Wylam Branch
Wylam History Files, 1898-1967
AR324
Wylam, Alabama, to the west of Birmingham, originated as a mining town housing employees of the nearby coal mines and steel mills. It was incorporated in 1900. It later became part of the City of Ensley and in 1910 was incorporated into the City of Birmingham. The material in this collection was compiled by librarians at the Wylam Branch Library of the Birmingham Public Library. The first half of this collection contains materials recounting the history of several institutions and churches in the Wylam community. The second half is devoted to material relating to World War II. Most of the items are photographs and newspaper clippings.
Size : ½ linear foot (1 box)
Collection Guide Available : Yes (online)
Brown, Virginia Pounds
Birmingham Public Library History Research Files
AR832
Virginia Pounds Brown is a Birmingham author and historian. This collection contains material collected for a proposed history of the Birmingham Public Library, including correspondence and other material relating to some members of the library board, some library branches and special collections, library directors and a draft of the history.
Size : 1 box
Collection Guide Available : Yes
East Lake
Library, 1950, 1953, 1957, 1961, 1963
AR685
These files contain material relating to the East Lake Branch Library.
Size : Fiche and Negative
Collection Guide Available : No
Parke, Thomas Duke
A Scrapbook of Newpaper Clippings on Birmingham Public Library
AR1346
Thomas Parke was a Birmingham physician and health officer who served as an early member of the Birmingham Public Library Board.
Size : 1 volume
Collection Guide Available : No
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Page Last Modified: 1/23/2014 4:21 PM