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.
The Collections
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Gaines, Charles
Papers, 1965-1980
Charles Gaines was born in 1942, in Florida. He graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 1963 and earned an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa in 1967. Gaines served as director of the federal Title III Operation Arts program in Green Bay, Wisconsin for two years before accepting a position as associate professor of creative writing at New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire in 1970. He resigned in 1976 to take up writing full time. Gaines' writing explores the psychology and practice of sports, especially body building. His first novel, Stay Hungry (1972), is set in Birmingham and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Gaines later co-authored the screenplay for the 1976 film Stay Hungry. Gaines's other books include Pumping Iron (1974), Staying Hard (1975), Dangler (1976), and writing for Esquire, Playboy, Geo, Harper's, Outside, Architectural Digest, Fly-Fisherman, and Sports Illustrated. The papers include correspondence, notes, photographs, and manuscripts of the novels Staying Hard, Stay Hungry, Pumping Iron, and Dangler.
Size : 7 linear feet (7 boxes)
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Gee's Bend Project
Papers and Related Documents, 1930s, 1941, 1980s
Situated within a deep bend of the Alabama River in Wilcox County, the African American community of Gee’s Bend remained unchanged and relatively free of outside influence for decades. Hoping to document this community’s history and way of life, in 1980 the Birmingham Public Library commissioned Alabama writer Kathryn Tucker Windham and photographer John Reese to interview and photograph residents of the Bend. In 1994 the library produced Looking Back at Gee’s Bend using photos selected by Reese. This collection contains photographs, oral history interviews and a narrative history of the community written by Windham.
Size : 2 flat boxes, 12 linear feet, (21 boxes)
Collection Guide Available : Yes (online)
Gillespy, James McAdory
Diaries and Family Papers
The diaries of James McAdory Gillespy, 17 volumes covering the period 1890 to 1920, chronicle the everyday activities and concerns of a middle class white family in Birmingham, Alabama. In the diaries Gillespy discusses family life, local politics, travel, sporting events, church life, weather, and the activities of his friends and neighbors. Gillespy was an avid reader and often discusses books that interest him. Gillespy's diaries for the years 1890 to 1910 have been transcribed and published.
Size :
Collection Guide Available : Yes (online)
Glen Iris Garden Club
Scrapbook, 1937-1940
Size : 1½ linear feet (1 volume)
Collection Guide Available : No
Grace Bible Church
Church Bulletins
These files contain the Sunday church bulletins from 1972 until 1995, not inclusive and some miscellaneous items.
Size : 1 box
Collection Guide Available : Yes (online)
Grace Episcopal Church, Woodlawn at Birmingham
Records, 1905-1998
Established as a mission in 1889 to minister to workers and their families from the nearby textile mills, foundries, and blast furnaces, Grace Episcopal Church has served a diverse community in Woodlawn and the Birmingham area for over 100 years. The collection includes minutes from vestry meetings and annual parish meetings, monthly treasury reports, correspondence, church bulletins, newsletters, membership directories, newspaper clippings and photographs. Financial documents detail several building programs, memorials, donations, and stewardship campaigns.
Size : 20 linear feet (21 boxes)
Collection Guide Available : No
Grace Family
This collection of photocopied typescripts includes autobiographical and biographical material on Francis Mitchell Grace and Bayliss Earle Grace, both prominent figures in 19th century Jefferson County, Alabama. The collection also includes a number of historical writings by Francis Mitchell Grace, such as his recollections of the Civil War and his narrative “Jefferson County, Alabama, 1872.”
Size : ¼ linear foot (1 box)
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Grafman, Milton L.
Papers, 1907 – 1995
Milton L. Grafman was born in 1907, in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Pittsburgh. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati, earned a Doctor of Divinity Degree from Hebrew Union College, and was ordained in 1933 as rabbi of Temple Adath Israel in Lexington, Kentucky. Grafman came to Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham in 1941. He was active in the civic and community life of Birmingham. Grafman was a founder of the organization Spastic Aid of Alabama and helped establish the Institute for Christian Clergy, an organization established to promote understanding and cooperation between Jewish and Christian ministers. Grafman was one of the eight white clergymen that Martin Luther King, Jr. famously replied to in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Though a racial moderate, Grafman was grouped with racial reactionaries and received death threats and hate mail for the rest of his life. Grafman retired from Temple Emanu-El in 1975and died in 1995, in Birmingham. This collection contains files kept by Grafman during his tenure as rabbi at Temple Emanu-El, including copies of The Serviceman, a newsletter published by Grafman for members of the Temple Emanu-El congregation serving in World War II. Funeral sermon files contain biographical information on members of the congregation who died during Grafman’s tenure. Subject files contain correspondence, clippings and other material relating to Jewish life, particularly in Alabama. Office files consist of correspondence, clippings, photographs and other items concerning civil rights controversies of the 1960s and 1970s, the nation of Israel, the administration of Temple Emanu-El, and Jewish education, organizations, and practices.
Size : 8 boxes
Collection Guide Available : No
Graham, Needham Alexander
Civil War Diary, 1861-1862
Graham enlisted in Company H, 3rd Alabama Volunteers near Norfolk, Virginia in October 1861. He was involved in fighting at Malvern Hill, Seven Pines, The Wilderness and Chancellorsville, where he was wounded.
Size : 1 reel microfilm
Collection Guide Available : No
Grambs, Fred L.
Scrapbooks, 1882-1938
Fred L. Grambs was a music pioneer in early Birmingham, serving as director of his own band and as musical director at O’Brien’s Opera House and various religious institutions. These scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings and other material relating to Grambs and music in nineteenth and early twentieth century Birmingham.
Size : 12 boxes
Collection Guide Available : No
Graves, John Temple, II
Papers, 1903, 1908, 1929-1961
John Temple Graves, II was a Birmingham newspaper columnist and author. Following work in Washington on the Federal Trade Commission and in New York and Florida as a newspaper journalist and editor, Graves moved in 1929 to Birmingham, Alabama to work for the Birmingham Age-Herald. In 1946 he moved to the Birmingham Post, and following the merger of the two newspapers he worked for the Birmingham Post-Herald until his death. His daily column was syndicated to western and southern newspapers and he served as a correspondent for the New York Times. Graves was active in politics and was in demand as a lecturer, focusing much of his speaking and editorializing on southern ideology. Considered a southern liberal early in his career, Graves by the 1950s had become a spokesman for the White Citizens' Council, an advocate of States' Rights, and an opponent of federal intervention in the southern race question. He authored several books of fiction and nonfiction, including The Fighting South (1943). Graves died in 1961. The papers include correspondence, newspaper clippings, booklets, three scrapbooks, a manuscript of an unpublished novel (“The Ticket to Nowhere”), and typed drafts of his newspaper bylines and speeches. Graves corresponded with many leading newspaper editors and their letters to him address issues of race relations, the U. S. Supreme Court, states' rights, the change in voting laws, northern attitudes toward the South, and the southern economy.
Size : 2 boxes
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Graves, John Temple, II
Scrapbooks, 1929-
Newspaper clippings of Graves’ “This Morning” and “This Afternoon” columns written for the Birmingham Age-Herald, Birmingham Post, and Birmingham Post-Herald.
Size : 2 flat boxes (5 volumes)
Collection Guide Available : No
Graymont, Ala. City Council
Ordinances and Minutes, 1907-1909
Minutes of the Graymont, Alabama City Council and ordinances passed by the council for the period July 30, 1907 to October 5, 1908 and October 5, 1908 to December 31, 1909.
Size : ⅓ reel microfilm
Collection Guide Available : No
Green, W. Cooper
Papers, 1940-1953
W. Cooper Green was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1900. He was a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College and Columbia University. Green worked as a teacher and football coach, and as a real estate and insurance broker before being elected to the Alabama legislature in 1931. In 1933 he was appointed Birmingham’s postmaster, and elected president of the Birmingham City Commission, a position that also carried the title “Mayor,” in 1940. Green served as mayor until 1953 when he resigned to take a position with Alabama Power Company. He resigned from Alabama Power in 1959 to accept an appointment as president of the Jefferson County Commission, a position he held until 1975. Green served as president of the Alabama Chapter of the National Association of Postmasters, president of the Alabama League of Municipalities, president of the United States Conference of Mayors, and president of the Association of County Commissioners of Alabama. Cooper Green died in Birmingham in 1980. This collection contains the office files generated during Cooper Green’s terms as president of the Birmingham City Commission (Mayor). The files include correspondence, memoranda, publications, reports and other material relating to city government.
Size : 15 boxes
Collection Guide Available : Yes (online)
Green, W. Cooper
Scrapbooks, 1940-1970
Newspaper clippings relating to Green’s service on the Birmingham City Commission and the Jefferson County Commission.
Size : 10 reels microfilm
Collection Guide Available : No
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