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  Carrie Tuggle African American Experience in Birmingham
Browse subjects, search newspaper clippings, books, audios, and photographs, and view online exhibits covering Birmingham's African American life.

James A. Montgomery

Alabama Inventors
Newspaper clippings, pamphlets, and portraits in this collection supplement the patent information in the library’s Alabama Inventors Database. (http://bpldb.bplonline.org/db/inventors)

Alabama Theatre
Opened on December 26, 1927, and certified as a national historic landmark in 1979, the Alabama Theatre earned its nickname as the Showplace of the South with movie premieres, stage productions, and architectural extravagance. Among the images and text in this collection are photos of the theatre in its heyday and the complete souvenir program for the gala opening.
  Avondale Sun 1972 Avondale Sun
(From the B.B. Comer Memorial Library Avondale Mills Collection)

The Avondale Sun, a newspaper published by Avondale Mills for its employees, ran from 1924-2006. Over its 82 year history it published community and employee news, company information, and photographs.

Digital collection hosted by Birmingham Public Library.
  Birmingham Memory  Birmingham Memory
Birmingham Memory Project is an online history database of photographs created by community submissions and cataloged by the Birmingham Public Library. You are part of Birmingham's history; help us preserve it. The Birmingham Public Library is seeking your photographs covering the history and personal memories of our city.
Birmingham Iron Age Birmingham Newspapers
Birmingham Iron Age
Weekly Iron Age
Weekly Age
Pratt City Herald


Damaged house

Birmingham Storm, March 25, 1901
Each year Birmingham braces for the threat of violent weather. In 1901 a storm of unprecedented magnitude ripped through town leveling buildings and taking lives. This 26-page souvenir pamphlet from 1901 provides eyewitness testimony, estimates of damage, and photographs of the wreckage.

Exterior of the Birmingham Terminal

Birmingham Terminal (Ala.)
In 1909 Birmingham erected the most extensive train station built in the South at the time and in the 1970s demolished it. An article from a 1909 issue of American Architect and photographs through the years provide a picture of the building from its promising beginning to its demolition.
  Birmingham Zoo Birmingham Zoo
During the years 1954-2003, Birmingham Zoo employees created scrapbooks. These 33 scrapbooks contain newspaper a
rticles from local newspapers as well as a few brochures and pamphlets.
  Mardi Gras invitation detail Birmingham's Ill-Fated Mardi Gras
The mention of Mardi Gras brings to mind ancient rituals and masked revelers in old cities like Mobile and New Orleans. In those places the pre-Lenten carnival has been celebrated in various forms since the early 1700s. But for a few years as the nineteenth century came to a close, the still young city of Birmingham staged its own carnival.

  Shiloh Baptist Church  Booker T. Washington and the Shiloh Baptist Church Tragedy
In 1902 the National Baptist Convention met in Birmingham’s Shiloh Baptist Church with Booker T. Washington as the featured speaker. On the evening of September 19 over 3,000 people packed the building and a misheard yell of fire caused panic and a stampede for the door. Ten minutes later over 70 were dead and many more were injured. The final death toll was 120. This online exhibit with accompanying book and newspaper articles describes the tragedy.

Masonic building in downtown Birmingham

Buildings in Birmingham
These images depict some of Birmingham’s prominent historic landmarks, pop culture palaces, businesses, churches, government buildings, and gathering spaces. While some of these structures have survived to the present, others are only memories. These photos form a composite portrait of the city over time.

Bermans in downtown Birmingham

Business districts in Birmingham
The Birmingham business district once flourished downtown near the intersection of 20th Street and 1st Avenue North. In this collection are scenes of the commercial buildings and businesses that lined the downtown grid of streets, images of the historic black business district that prospered in the era of Jim Crow, and early photos of emerging commercial districts outside of the city center.

Portrait of Mr. Tutwiler

Businessmen in Birmingham
These historic portraits show the faces of men whose names may be more familiar. These individuals were the builders of industry, banking, and commerce in the early days of Birmingham. Today their names remain on businesses, institutions, buildings, parks, and streets.
  Map of North America Cartography Collection
The Cartography Collection contains regional and historical maps and atlases from the 16th through the 20th centuries. While the emphasis of the collection is on the area of the globe occupied by Alabama, the historic maps retrace the development of the region over centuries and illustrate the evolution of mapmaking. Featured in this online collection are many of the library’s notable and important maps.

  Central's East Building  Central's 25th Anniversary
In September 2009 Central Library's East Building celebrated its 25th anniversary. Historical photographs and articles that document the library's planning and construction, along with videotaped memories from staff involved in the process, tell the history of the East Building.


Coal mine shaft

Coal mines and mining in Alabama
Alabama’s natural resources include much that is underground. This collection offers a glimpse of the mines, mining process, and people associated with the industry. It is a complement to the library’s database Alabama Coal Mine Fatalities 1898 – 1938. http://bpldb.bplonline.org/db/coalmine   


East Lake pamphlet advertising the new Birmingham suburb in the 1890s.
The East Lake Land Company issued this 31-page pamphlet in 1890 to promote East Lake, a suburban community developed just five miles from the center of Birmingham. Text and engraved images describe the advantages of suburban living east of town and far from the grime and grit of the furnaces in the west.

Eastwood Mall logo

Eastwood Mall
When Eastwood Mall opened its doors in 1960, newspapers hailed it the city of the future. It was the first indoor, air-conditioned shopping center in Alabama with shops, restaurants, a theater, and even sidewalks under one roof. This collection illustrates in articles, photographs, and links to additional resources the development and decline of Eastwood Mall.
  Gees Bend Baptism Gee's Bend
Before their stunning quilts became a national treasure, the people of Gee’s Bend shared a unique history and culture that was cultivated in isolation over time. From the early 1800s until WWII, the remote community was secluded in a deep bend of the Alabama River in rural Wilcox County. Gradual changes after the war accelerated in the 1960s, and in 1980-81, the Birmingham Public Library undertook a project to preserve the record of Gee’s Bend in photographs, recordings, and oral histories. This digital collection includes some of the 450 images that photographer John Reese captured for the exhibit Looking Back at Gee’s Bend as well as oral histories collected by Kathryn Tucker Windham.

Theodore de Bry engraving

Indians of North America engravings by Theodore de Bry
In the sixteenth century Theodore De Bry produced engravings to convey his impressions of the New World to the Old. This collection of images represents a portion of the library’s complete set of the prints that were included in De Bry’s monumental work Grand Voyages and that are the subject of the BPL publication Discovering America’s Southeast.
  Jemison Magazine November 1913 Jemison Magazine
Jemison Real Estate and Insurance Company developed the cities of Fairfield (Corey) and Mountain Brook. The company also built several neighborhoods, hotels, apartments, and office buildings in Birmingham. In order to promote their real estate ventures the Jemison Company published Jemison Magazine. This serial covers the years 1910-1914 and 1926-1930. It provides numerous photographs, architectural plans, biographies, and articles which will enhance the knowledge and appreciation of the Birmingham metro area.
  Miss Fancy Miss Fancy
Photographs and newspaper articles about Birmingham's most beloved elephant, Miss Fancy.
  Movie Theaters

Movie Theaters
Once upon a time movie theaters brought the glitter of Hollywood to towns and cities all across the country. For most Americans, “going to a show” was a special occasion. Ushers lit the way to the seats, news and cartoons preceded the feature film, and audiences mingled in the lobby to see and be seen during the intermission. As this collection shows, Birmingham’s old theaters ranged in elegance and style. To their audiences, all of them were worth the price of admission.

  Dedicated citizens boost Crestwood Neighborhoods in Birmingham
Newspaper articles and photographs covering most of the neighborhoods in Birmingham.

Grand home in Birmingham

Old Homes in Birmingham
Photos from the early 20th century show some of the grand homes of Birmingham in their prime. Descriptions from the 1910 city directory provide names and occupations of the homeowners and the addresses and street names of the period.

  Pig Iron Rough Notes 1940 Cover Pig Iron Rough Notes
In November, 1926, the Sloss-Sheffield Steel and Iron Company began a monthly publication titled Pig Iron Rough Notes. It's primary goal was to contribute to the advancement of the foundry trade and serve as an educational and technical tool for the workers. Over 90 digitized issues (1926-1960) highlight the steel industry, the men involved, and new techniques in the trade.
  Yearbooks School Yearbooks


Broken stained glass window in Sixteenth Street Baptist Church

Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing (Birmingham,  Ala.)
On September 15, 1963, the Ku Klux Klan bombed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and killed four little girls. These powerful images show the immediate and widespread destruction of the tragedy and heartbreak that inspired a movement. Sixteenth Street Baptist Church is located at the intersection of 16th Street and 6th Avenue North.

Street railroad car

Street railroads in Birmingham
Before cars and gasoline became kings of the road, Birmingham’s street railroads moved the masses. These images show the road and rail network in the early 1900s and the business and power sources that ran them.

  Bull Connor Theophilus Eugene "Bull" Connor Papers, 1951; 1957-1963
The papers, which consist of letters, memoranda, clippings, photographs and reports, are the office files kept by Theophilius Eugene "Bull" Connor during his last five years as Commissioner of Public Safety. The papers from Connor's earlier years in office have not been found and are assumed to destroyed. The filing system and file headings used by Connor's office have been maintained. In some cases material from different years was filed together. Files indicated as "empty" came to the archives empty.

Book cover of Views of Birmingham

Views of Birmingham, with a glimpse at some of the natural resources of the Birmingham District and the industries based there on ;(1908 pamphlet)
This pamphlet from 1908 is reproduced in its entirety. Images of business and industry as well as homes and recreational sites express visually the rapid growth and development that characterized the young city of Birmingham and earned it the nickname – The Magic City.
  Vulcan at the fairgrounds Vulcan
The cast-iron statue of Vulcan, a mythological symbol of fire and forge, overlooks Birmingham from Red Mountain in Vulcan Park. At 56 feet high, it is the largest cast-iron statue in the world and the second largest statue in America. Commissioned by the Commercial Club for the St. Louis Exposition of 1904, sculpted by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Moretti, and cast in a Birmingham foundry, Vulcan symbolizes the city’s ties to iron, steel, and coal. After a four-year restoration project, Vulcan reopened in 2004.

Lucille Douglass, 1896

Women artists of Birmingham
This collection includes photos of artwork and pictures of a group of women artists who challenged the status quo of the first half of the 20th century. The images come from the library’s extensive collection of photographs and memorabilia. Additional information on these extraordinary women is in Art of the New South: Women Artists of Birmingham, 1890-1950 by Vicki Leigh Ingham.

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