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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Jackson, Emory O.
Letters to Anne Rutledge, 1940-1975
Anne Rutledge was a student of Jackson's at Westfield High School. They remained friends and corresponded with each other for 35 years. Rutledge earned degrees from Alabama State University, Tuskegee, and Alabama A&M and made her career as a teacher, including 19 years as a history and political science professor at A&M. She retired in 1986 and lives in Huntsville, Alabama. Rutledge has published several books of poetry including Double the Pleasure in 1988. These letters from Jackson address a variety of issues including Jackson's career and involvement in the Civil Rights Movement and Rutledge's career as an artist and a teacher. The collection also includes a poem by Jackson called "I am the Negro Press" and a newspaper clipping on Rutledge.
Size : 1 box
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Jackson, Emory O.
Papers, 1965-1975
Emory Overton Jackson was born in Buena Vista, Georgia in 1908. His family moved to Birmingham in 1919, and Jackson attended Industrial High School (now Parker High School). After graduating from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1932, Jackson taught at Carver High School in Dothan, Alabama, and at Westfield in Jefferson County. He served in World War II, and became the managing editor of the Birmingham World, Alabama's largest and oldest African-American newspaper, in 1941. He remained editor for the rest of his life. Jackson promoted voter registration, equal job opportunities and education for African Americans, and served on many boards and agencies, including Birmingham's Industrial Development Board. He was one of the founders of the Alabama Conference of NAACP Branches, and he served on the board of directors for the Fourth Avenue YMCA and the Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity. Jackson died in Birmingham on September 10, 1975. The bulk of this collection is made up of material related to Emory Jackson's death. The collection also includes some personal correspondence, awards, honors, citations, membership cards, college and fraternity material, photographs, and editorials from the Birmingham World. Significantly more material relating to Jackson is found in the collection Birmingham World Office Files (AR 1102).
Size : 1¼ linear feet (3 boxes)
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Jacobs, Leroy R. and Family
Papers, 1912-1941
Leroy R. Jacobs grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, graduated from Harvard University, and then worked for the Birmingham News until the United States entered World War I. In 1917, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. A year later Jacobs went to Europe where he fought in the Second Battle of the Marne. After receiving treatment for an injury he sustained during the battle, Jacobs was granted an honorable discharge. He returned to Birmingham and worked as a reporter for the Birmingham News and the Age-Herald. Leroy Jacobs died in 1936. The bulk of this collection centers on Leroy R. Jacobs’ participation in World War I, including letters (1917 to 1918), newspaper clippings, and military documents. The remainder of the collection relates to other members of the Jacobs family and consists of postcards, letters, and several unidentified photographs.
Size : ⅓ linear foot (1 box)
Collection Guide Available : Yes (online)
Jefferson County Alms House and Jefferson County Home
Records, 1885-1964
The Jefferson County Alms House, later the Jefferson County Home, was operated by the county government to house and serve the needs of indigent and mentally ill people. The records include monthly reports for the period 1913 to 1964; three volumes entitled “Record of Inmates of Poor Farm” for the period 1885 to 1942; two volumes entitled “Record of Inmates Jefferson County Home” for the period 1942 to 1964; and three volumes entitled “Record of Insane Jefferson County Home” for the period 1934 to 1963.
Size : 1 linear foot, 12 flat boxes
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Jefferson County Board of Education
Directory: Jefferson County Public Schools, 1950-1976
This collection contains directories published by the Jefferson County, Alabama Board of Education for the years 1950 to 1976. The directories list teachers by name, giving addresses and schools where each teacher is employed; names of officers and department heads in the school system; principals and department heads at each school; and school calendars. For the years 1950 through 1964 white and Negro schools are listed separately.
Size : ⅔ linear foot (2 boxes)
Collection Guide Available : Yes (online)
Jefferson County Board of Education
Faculty Integration Papers, 1965-1973
This collection contains correspondence, reports and court papers relating to the racial integration of faculty in the Jefferson County public school system.
Size : 1 box
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Jefferson County Board of Equalization
Appraisal Files, 1939-1977
The Board of Equalization is the agency that appraises property in Jefferson County, Alabama for purposes of taxation. Established in 1938, the BOE maintains files on each piece of taxable property in the county. The appraisal files contain basic information on structures (such as whether the structure is wood frame or brick, the type of roofing, heating, plumbing, number of rooms, size of structure) and the accessed value of the property for various years (but not every year). The files usually include an exterior photograph of the façade of the structure and sometimes date the structure. The structures appraised include residences, commercial and industrial buildings, schools, and churches. Some files include references for deeds and mortgages. Structures built before 1938 are included if they were still standing at the time of the Board of Equalization's first appraisal (generally 1938 to 1940). Structures built after the mid 1970s are not included in these files. The files do not include interior photographs, floor plans or other architectural drawings, names of architects, or detailed information on owners or occupants of a structure. In some cases files for demolished structures were discarded by the Board of Equalization before these files were transferred to the Archives Department in 1981. The collection includes several thousand photographs showing African American homes, businesses, schools and churches.
Size : 1,460 linear feet (1,500 boxes)
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Jefferson County Citizens' Council
Records, 1964-1970
The first Citizens' Council was organized in Indianola, Mississippi in 1954, and eventually more than 60 Councils were organized in Alabama. A middle class alternative to the Ku Klux Klan, the Council used political and economic pressure to oppose racial integration. A substantial portion of the Jefferson County group came from the western areas of Birmingham and the western and northern areas of Jefferson County, including Bessemer, Warrior, Trafford, Gardendale, McCalla, and Fultondale. This collection contains minutes of meetings, membership lists, a copy of the guidebook and style manual The White Book of Citizens' Council Organization, and miscellaneous other material including a small amount of correspondence. The minutes and correspondence highlight the activities and concerns of the Citizens' Council, in particular concerns over the integration of schools. The group's activities included banquets and other events featuring guest speakers and campaigns to pressure politicians and business people to oppose racial integration. The records also show the decline of the Council movement in the late 1960s as the Jefferson County group lost membership and suffered near financial collapse.
Size : ¼ linear foot (1 box)
Collection Guide Available : No
Jefferson County Coordinating Council of Social Forces
Interracial Committee, 1950-1956
The Interracial Committee was established in 1951 by Birmingham white and African American leaders under the sponsorship of the Community Chest. The Commission was intended to facilitate communication between blacks and whites in Birmingham following a failed attempt to establish a local chapter of the National Urban League. The Commission was dissolved in 1956 after the Community Chest withdrew its support. The collection includes minutes of meetings.
Size : 2 reels microfilm
Collection Guide Available : No
Jefferson County Coordinating Council of Social Forces
Papers, 1922-1968
The Coordinating Council's Papers include minutes, records and other scrapbooks on Council activities, and annual reports (on microfilm) dating from 1939 through 1962. Aside from these annual reports, there are few records of the Council itself which date beyond 1951. The files of the Interracial Committee include minutes of organizational meetings, Executive Committee meetings, quarterly and annual meetings. Files of the Survey Committee, organized in 1951 to direct a survey of social and welfare needs in Jefferson County, include minutes, correspondence relating to the organization and staffing of a survey, and a report on preliminary recommendations for the scope of a survey. The collection also contains minutes of the Birmingham Service Organization, set up to provide recreation and other services for military men visiting or stationed in Birmingham. These minutes provide documentation of this group's activities, at least on a yearly basis, between 1952 and 1964, when it was disbanded.
Size : 1 reels microfilm
Collection Guide Available : Yes (online)
Jefferson County, Ala. Board of Health
Radio Talks on Personal and Community Health, 1930-1940
This collection contains scripts of radio programs prepared and presented by the Jefferson County Board of Health. The scripts deal with a variety of topics relating to medicine, dentistry, psychiatry and public health during the period of the Great Depression and World War II.
Size : 1 box
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Jefferson County, Ala. Commission
Jefferson Hospital Minute Book, 1941-1944
This minute book records proceedings of the county commission relating to the administration of the county’s hospital.
Size : 1 volume
Collection Guide Available : No
Jefferson County, Ala. Commission
Minutes, 1981-
Size : 1 reel microfilm
Collection Guide Available : No
Jefferson County, Ala. Election Commissioner and Registrar
Voter Registration Certificates, 1920
These voter registration forms were completed by women in Jefferson County following the passage of the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote.
Size : 4½ linear feet
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Jefferson County, Ala. Judge of Probate
Jefferson County Tract Books
These volumes contain maps of early Jefferson County subdivisions.
Size : 19 volumes
Collection Guide Available : No
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