Beginning in January the Birmingham Public Library’s Department of Archives and Manuscripts will open to the public one weekend each month. The weekend hours will be Saturday, 9:00-6:00 and Sunday, 2:00-6:00.
The Archives will open the following weekends in 2013: January 19-20; February 16-17; March 16-17; April 13-14; May 11-12; June 8-9; July 6-7; August 3-4; August 31 (BPL will be closed September 1); September 28-29; October 26-27; November 23-24; and December 28-29. Beginning in January 2014 the Archives will be open to the public on the second weekend of each month.
Established in 1976, the Department of Archives and Manuscripts collects government records, business records, maps, photographs, letters, diaries, scrapbooks, and other primary material documenting the history and development of Birmingham, Jefferson County and the surrounding area of Alabama known as the Birmingham District. The Archives collects material statewide relating to the Episcopal Church in Alabama, the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama, and Jewish history and life in Alabama. The department’s holdings include the papers of government officials, businesses and business people, civil rights activists, environmentalists, churches and synagogues, civic groups and study clubs, clergy, artists, writers, musicians, educators, athletes and homemakers.
Serving as the archives for the City of Birmingham, the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama and numerous organizations and institutions, the collection contains more than 30,000,000 documents and 500,000 photographs.
The collection is open to the public and draws thousands of researchers each year from throughout the Birmingham area, the United States and around the world. These researchers include local people investigating the history of houses and buildings; university students researching class papers, theses, and dissertations; scholars researching articles, books and museum exhibitions; and film makers working on documentaries and other motion picture productions. More than 300 books have been published using the Archives’ collections, including five recipients of the Pulitzer Prize. Documentary films and television series researched in the Archives have appeared on most major television networks and include recipients of the Academy Award, the Peabody and the Emmy.
Submitted by Jim Baggett