Our Library buildings may be closed, but the Center for Local History has a wide variety of digitized materials that are an excellent resource for local research.
Whether you’re diving into a new project, continuing down a longstanding research path, or just browsing for interesting material, here is a round-up of some of the great materials we have available online:
Oral histories are used to understand historical events, actors, and movements from the point of view of real people’s personal experiences.
The Center for Local History has hundreds of oral histories in our collections, with many of those transcripts available online. These are rich primary sources featuring interviews with civic leaders, government officials, and business owners, painting a vivid picture of what Arlington was like through many decades and perspectives.
Start exploring with interviews from civil rights leader Dorothy Hamm, renowned bluegrass musician Roy “Speedy” Tolliver, or civic activist and beekeeper Floyd A. Hawkins, or any of the many other interviews available.
- Browse a list of the online transcripts.
- Read our Arlington Voices blogposts, which feature excerpts from the oral history archive.
Newspapers are a great first stop for delving into a given time period. The Center for Local History has copies of the Northern Virginia Sun-Gazette available digitally:
Front page of The Sun from November 5, 1936, after the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt to a second term. Available in the CLH’s Community Archives.
The newspapers are accessible by individual issues, and you can browse by an exact date or keyword. (For future use, the Library of Virginia will eventually have these newspapers in their digital collections with extended search capabilities, but this addition is still forthcoming.) These papers are robust resources for Arlington news and other events in the broader NOVA/Washington area.
Our online collection includes copies of the Sun-Gazette from 1935-1978. More recent editions of the Sun can also be found online at insidenova.com.
Ancestry Library Edition is currently available with your library card number and PIN, and includes a wide variety of genealogical sources. Ancestry also offers a series of free research guides for those getting started.
Other resources available for genealogical research with your library card include HeritageQuest, and newspaper databases including:
Many of our photographic collections have been scanned for online viewing. These visual materials are an excellent way to see how Arlington has changed over the years.
The photos in RG 21 feature the work of the Arlington County Department of Health, 1938-1973. Arlington's Department of Health was the first of its kind in the nation.
Peruse the colorful and creative posters in RG 188, which features about 90 posters made by students at Wakefield High School, primarily from the 1969-1970 school year.
Explore the full list of photographic collections available in the Center for Local History's Community Archives.
The Center for Local History has compiled numerous resources around topics relevant to Arlington history in the form of digital exhibits.
Project DAPS is both an online exhibit and searchable database that looks into the desegregation of Arlington Public Schools, with almost 2,000 scanned primary source materials the focus on many aspects of desegregation, including news coverage, legal proceedings, and reactions to this historic event.
The Nauck/Green Valley Heritage Project features a large selection of primary sources, focusing on the history of the Green Valley (formerly Nauck/Green Valley) neighborhood. The goal of this digital repository for images, memories, and documents is to make the history of the neighborhood available to the community.
Through objects donated to the Community Archive, Women’s Work: Stories of Persistence and Influence is an online exhibit that tells the stories of Arlington women and women’s groups who contributed to our community.
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