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 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Repositories >> Repository Record

The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

District of Columbia Public Library. Special Collections

901 G St. N.W.
Washington, District of Columbia 20001

Phone: 202-727-1213

Repository URL: External Link

Repository code: dwp

Repository description (extant): The District of Columbia has invested in Special Collections since 1905 when Library Director Dr. George F. Bowerman, founder of Washingtoniana, had the foresight to start collecting books and articles about the local community. Since that time, other special collections have been assembled and maintained as non-circulating collections. DC Public Library's special collections include . . .


Established in 1905, Washingtoniana is the largest Special Collection at the DC Public Library. It houses a comprehensive collection of material on Washington, D.C., from the late 18th century to the present, including the reference library, the photograph collections and the D.C. community archives . . . .

The D.C. Community Archives contain:

* More than 150 archival collections from individuals and organizations that have played a significant role in the political, social and artistic history of the District of Columbia
* The archives of the D.C. Library Association, the Special Libraries Association and the DC Public Library
* Collections of the Oral History Research Center
* The Washington Area Performing Arts Video Archives (WAPAVA), videotapes of local theater productions
* Using collections from the D.C. Community Archives requires an appointment. Contact Derek Gray, 202-727-2272

The Black Studies Center


The Black Studies Center, established in 1972 along with the opening of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, contains a wealth of information on the history, literature and culture of people of African descent, with a special focus on the United States. Primarily a monographic collection, it includes the Beatrice Murphy collection, the Sloan Williams collection and the Ira Reid collection. You can also find newspapers, periodicals and vertical file clippings as well as several important online resources . . . .

The Peabody Room

Named after 19th-century entrepreneur and philanthropist George Peabody (1795-1869), the Peabody Room became part of the library system when the Georgetown Branch Library opened to the public on October 5, 1935. Prior to that it was part of a private lending library established in 1876 by the Peabody Trust and located in the Curtis School on O Street N.W. This special collection houses historical and current materials related to the history, culture and economy of Georgetown. Found here are house histories (for most individual Georgetown addresses), subject vertical files, photographs, maps, neighborhood microfilmed newspapers, paintings, engravings and artifacts that document various aspects of Georgetown life. The Peabody Room is the only District of Columbia neighborhood special collection and is part of the Washingtoniana Division, located in the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. Since a fire heavily damaged the Georgetown Branch Library in 2007, the collection has been temporarily housed with the Washingtoniana Division. It will return to its new home on a newly constructed third floor at the Georgetown Branch Library when that building reopens in fall 2010. For additional information, contact Jerry McCoy at 202-727-1213 . . . .

The DC Public Library uses its extensive photograph and other collections to mount unique exhibits such as 'Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington' and 'Lincoln's Washington.' Special programs include an annual historical studies conference co-sponsored with other community organizations, local author talks, and black history presentations.

Repository type: Public Library


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 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Repositories >> Repository Record

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   May 15, 2015
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