An official website of Arlington County Government

Arlington Community Archives

The Arlington Community Archives collects and preserves historical documents that narrate the history of Arlington County, its citizens, organizations, and social issues. Researchers can find personal papers, photographs, and archival records of local organizations, clubs, and associations. The archives are an extension of the Center for Local History, the county’s local history collection located at Central Library.

Since the archives are located at an off-site facility, researchers need to allow two or three days for material to be retrieved and made available in the Center for Local History. You are encouraged to contact the archivist or Center staff prior to a visit.

Do you have ideas for possible donations?  Would you like to donate historical material?
Please contact the Archivist.


A portion of the Community Archives collections is cataloged. Researchers may search for for archival materials, but due to the limited nature of the cataloging, researchers are encouraged to contact the Archivist with reference queries.


The following subject areas are updated periodically, but remember not all material is cataloged yet.

Arlington Community Archives Research Usage Policies

  1. Material from the Community Archives does not circulate and must be used in the Research Room.
  2. Briefcases, backpacks, coats, and all items not needed for research must be stored in the lockers adjacent to the reference desk.
  3. Researchers must sign the register daily and present valid photo-identification.
  4. Prior to receiving access to collection material, researchers must complete a research application.
  5. Please exercise care and good judgment in handling collection material.
    • Use only pencil.
    • Use only one box or folder at a time.
    • Maintain the filing order of the materials within each file and box.
    • Do not trace or rub any portion of a map, photograph, or document.
    • Use gloves for handling original photographs, not protected in Mylar sleeves. White cotton gloves will be provided by the staff.
  6. A copy machine is available for patron use. Please obtain permission to copy archival materials.
  7. Photograph reproductions and scans of images in the collection are possible, with restrictions, for a fee. Patron-owned scanners are prohibited, and digital photography by patrons is prohibited except for oversized maps and plat books. Please speak to the staff for details and reproduction costs.
  8. The patron is responsible for obtaining any necessary copyright interests and/or literary rights from the owners/donors/heirs pursuant to publishing any work which cites, reproduces, or interprets non-published materials. The Library will not assume responsibility for infringement or libel.
  9. All published works, research papers, and exhibits which are based on, have reproductions of, or have been interpreted from Center for Local History’s non-published holdings must give credit to: “Center for Local History, Arlington Public Library”.