Birmingham Public Library
2100 Park Place
Birmingham, Alabama 35203
http://www.bplonline.org
Archives Research

Planning a Research Visit

The Archives is open to the public Monday through Friday, 9:00 to 6:00. Appointments are not necessary, but if you are planning to conduct extensive research or travel from out of town we encourage you to contact us in advance.

Everyone who visits the Archives is asked to complete a brief registration and follow the department’s care and handling guidelines. These guidelines are designed to allow you to use our collections for research while also insuring that the collections will be protected and available for others to use in the future.

You should allow sufficient time to conduct your research. All guidelines must be followed regardless of time constraints.

Documents and photographs must be handled with care and in a way not likely to cause damage. The staff will instruct you on proper care and handing.

Food and beverages, including bottled water, candy and gum are not allowed in the Archives.

Cellular telephones may not be used inside the Archives. A place is provided for phone use.

Backpacks, computer bags, brief cases, purses and other enclosed containers; large coats and jackets; and books and other items not needed for your research may not be brought into the Archives Reading Room. Lockers are provided for you to store these items.

Pens, including hi-lighters, many not be used. Notes may be taken with a pencil or personal computer.

Digital cameras, without flash, are welcome to make reference copies of documents. Photographs may not be copied with digital cameras. Scanners may not be used.

All archival material must be used in the Archives. Archival material may not be checked out or taken to another part of the library.

The staff will retrieve all material for you. You are welcome to request as much material as you need but you will be limited to three files or items in the Reading Room at any time.

Most items in the Archives can be photocopied or scanned. All copying and scanning is done by Archives staff. There is a fee for this service. Because copying can damage documents and photographs, we ask that you take the time to carefully examine items, take notes when possible, and only request copies that you truly need. We reserve the right to not copy entire collections or substantial portions of collections. Copying will be done as staff time permits. Large requests may take several days or weeks to complete.

Citing Archival Material

Students often inquire about the correct format for citing archival material, and many style manuals do not address citations for primary documents. The examples below are based on the Chicago Manual of Style and the formats used by most publishers of historical books and articles.

Bibliographic Entries

Format

Name of collection (available on the Archives web site), name of archives.

Examples

Erskine Ramsay Papers, Birmingham Public Library, Department of Archives and Manuscripts

Birmingham, Ala. Police Department Surveillance Files, Birmingham Public Library, Department of Archives and Manuscripts

Endnotes and Footnotes

Format

Item, date, file number, name of collection, name of archives.

Examples

Letters

Thomas A. Harrison letter to Louisa C. Harrison, December 14, 1843, file #765.1.4, Faunsdale Plantation Papers, Birmingham Public Library, Department of Archives and Manuscripts.

Diaries

Diary of Charles C. J. Carpenter, March 26, 1951, file #241.19.23, Charles C. J. Carpenter Papers, Birmingham Public Library, Department of Archives and Manuscripts.

Scrapbooks

London, Edith Ward Scrapbook, file #96.14.1, Edith Ward London and Family Papers, Birmingham Public Library, Department of Archives and Manuscripts.

Memos and Unpublished Reports

Birmingham Police Department Inter-Office Communication, March 12, 1963, file #268.13.2, Theophilus Eugene ‘Bull’ Connor Papers, Birmingham Public Library, Department of Archives and Manuscripts.

Pamphlets, Brochures and Other Publications

Parke, Thomas D., Report on Coalburg Prison (Birmingham: Roberts and Son, 1895), found in file #21.2.5, Thomas Dukes Parke Papers, Birmingham Public Library, Department of Archives and Manuscripts.

Boutwell, Albert campaign brochure, 1954, file #45.1.13, Election Campaigns Miscellaneous Literature, Birmingham Public Library, Department of Archives and Manuscripts.

Interviews

Joe History interview with author, Birmingham, Alabama, January 14, 2008.

Nicholas Christu interview, file #809.1.42, Birmingfind Papers, Birmingham Public Library, Department of Archives and Manuscripts.

Census Records

1840 United States Federal Census, Alabama, microfilm roll 16, page 240.

Trial Transcripts and Jail Records

Alabama. Tenth Judicial Circuit Court, Alabama v. Robert E. Chambliss Trial Transcript, Birmingham Public Library, Department of Archives and Manuscripts.

Birmingham Jail Docket, April 12, 1963, Birmingham Public Library, Department of Archives and Manuscripts.

Newspaper Articles

“Big Storm Tonight,” Birmingham News, March 22, 1956.

“Birmingham to Build Zoo,” Birmingham Post, April 6, 1949, found in James W. ‘Jimmie’ Morgan Scrapbooks, Vol. 16, Birmingham Public Library, Department of Archives and Manuscripts.

“Schools Close Early,” Birmingham News, September 12, 1973, found in vertical file Education and Schools – Public – Birmingham – Board of Education, Southern History Department, Birmingham Public Library.

Page Last Modified: 1/23/2014 4:21 PM