Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Library’s Archivist Visits England to Speak on Historic Birmingham Collection

Hill Ferguson Collection

Birmingham Public Library Head Archivist Jim Baggett was selected to present a paper on the Library’s Hill Ferguson Collection in Alton, England, last week at “Collectors and Collecting: Private Collections and their Role in Libraries.”

The Birmingham Public Library was chosen as the only public library among institutions worldwide holding noteworthy collections compiled by individuals. Yale University, the National Library of Scotland, and the British Library were among the participating institutions.

Speakers included archivists, librarians, and scholars from the United States, Britain, Canada, Spain, the Czech Republic, Finland, and Greece. The conference was jointly organized by Chawton House Library in Alton, the University of Southampton English Department, and Goucher College, Baltimore.

The Hill Ferguson Collection is named for Birmingham collector William Hill Ferguson—who compiled over 150 scrapbooks tracing the city’s history from its founding in 1872 to the mid-1960s. Brother-in-law and business partner to Birmingham’s prolific real-estate developer Robert Jemison, Jr., Ferguson was a civic leader whose social connections no doubt influenced the material he collected. Mr. Ferguson died on September 18, 1971.

The Hill Ferguson Collection can be found at the Birmingham Public Library’s Department of Archives & Manuscripts, located in the basement of the Linn-Henley Building at the Central Library.

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