History, Genealogy, Travel and Social Sciences Department

(901) 415-2742

Explore the Department


Recommended Web Sites

Census Information

United States Census Bureau
This website allows users to use customized searches to retrieve population statistics from the 1990 and 2000 US Federal Censuses.
University of Virginia Library’s Historical Census Browser
This website allows users to search for information drawn directly from historical volumes of the U.S. Census of Population and Housing from the years 1790 – 1960.


United States Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs
This website provides current information regarding international travel, passports, visas, and family issues such as inter-country adoption. It also includes travel warnings, current information about countries, and information about studying abroad.
United States Department of State, Travel and Business
This website provides additional information about travel abroad including tips for preparing a trip, international business markets, emergency services, embassies, and travel documents.
Transportation Security Administration
This website provides information about travel safety. The TSA includes security officers, inspectors, directors, air marshals and managers who protect the nation's transportation systems by looking for bombs at checkpoints in airports, inspecting rail cars, and patrolling subways with other law enforcement.
National Park Service
The National Park Service cares for national parks including a network of nearly 400 natural, cultural and recreational sites across the nation. It also helps communities across America to preserve and enhance important local heritage and close-to-home recreational opportunities. NPS offers grants and assistance to register, record, and save historic places; create community parks and local recreation facilities; conserve rivers and streams, and develop trails and greenways. This website provides useful information to travelers including maps, historical information, and hours of operation for national parks.
The Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) developed this website in partnership with more than 2,000 leading travel industry organizations to promote the United States as one of the world's premier tourism destinations. The TIA created SeeAmerica, the universal brand for the entire U.S. travel and tourism product, in the absence of a federally-funded national tourism promotion agency. This site contains more than 10,000 links to hotels, airlines, attractions, convention and visitor bureaus, state tourism offices, and more.
Chamber of Commerce.com
This website provides links to local chambers of commerce around the United States. It contains useful information for travelers including profiles of communities and comparisons of hotel prices.

History and Sociology

Library of Congress Country Studies
The LOC Country Studies Series presents a description and analysis of the historical setting and the social, economic, political, and national security systems and institutions of countries throughout the world.
CIA World Factbook
This website provides current information provided by the Central Intelligence Agency about countries around the world. It includes demographics, maps, government information, history, economics and travel information.
E-History is managed by the Department of History at The Ohio State University, in collaboration with the Harvey Goldberg Program for Excellence in Teaching and the OSU Web Media Collective. The website includes multimedia histories, primary sources, book reviews, online books, maps, and images.
United States Department of Education: History and Social Studies
This website includes links to information about United States and World history with maps, photographs, and timelines.
American Sociological Association
This website provides information about the American Sociological Association and its activities and publications. In addition, it provides access to research and statistics.

Tennessee History

The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture
The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture is a collaboration of different disciplines, perspectives, and approaches to history in the first updated, comprehensive study of Tennessee history since 1960.
Tennessee History Day
National History Day promotes historical inquiry, knowledge, and understanding among elementary and secondary students. Through an educational program culminating in nationwide competitions, National History Day encourages the development of research skills, analytical thinking, and creative expression. This website includes information for contestants, judges, and teachers in Tennessee.
West Tennessee Historical Society
The organization promotes all aspects of state and local history. It supports historical programs, archives, publications, preservation, markers, museums, and other historical collections. In addition, it publishes the West Tennessee Historical Society Papers.

Information about Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee:
General Information

City of Memphis
This website provides information for visitors and Memphians about local events, politics, culture, and city government. It includes links to city services, community resources, employment, entertainment, public safety, as well as contact information.
Official Government Website of Shelby County, Tennessee
This website includes information about Shelby County elected officials, boards and commissions, government services, employment information, and the Shelby County Code of Ordinances.
Memphis Convention and Visitor’s Bureau
This website provides information about lodging, tours, historic sites, special events, and dining in Memphis. It even includes coupons and an interactive map.
Center City Commission
This website includes information about the Memphis Center City Commission, including its annual report. It also contains demographics, programs, newsletters, entertainment, construction and revitalization projects, and descriptions of downtown Memphis neighborhoods.


Assessor of Property, Shelby County, Tennessee
This website allows real property searches in Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee by either by address, owner’s name, name of business, or parcel number. Search results include a description of the property, the name of the owner, and appraisal and assessment information.


Memphis City Schools
This website gives information about public schools in Memphis, Tennessee. It includes demographics, school profiles, MCS Board policies, information about TCAP, job announcements, and contact information.
Shelby County Schools
This website gives information about public schools in Shelby County, Tennessee. It includes school profiles, school zone locator, careers, lunch menus, student handbook, and contact information.


The Commercial Appeal
This website provides current local, national, and international news. In addition, it has a searchable archive of past newspaper articles, including obituaries, from June 27, 1990 to the present. Searching is free, but a fee of $2.95 per story will be charged to retrieve the full text of any article in the archives.
The Memphis Flyer
Memphis’s alternative newsweekly, started in 1989 by Contemporary Media, Inc., the locally owned publishers of Memphis magazine. It features stories about politics, local scandals, newsmakers, and entertainment.

Law, Law Enforcement, and Crime

Code of Ordinances of Memphis, Tennessee
This website allows the user to search for current city ordinances and the city charter. It includes information about zoning, building codes, public services, health and safety, and home rule amendments to the charter.
Memphis Police Department
This website provides information about the police department in Memphis, Tennessee, as well as outstanding warrants, Crime Stoppers, safety tips, Crime Mapper, and contact information.
Shelby County Sheriff’s Office
This website provides information about the sheriff’s department in Shelby County, Tennessee. In addition, it contains links to crime statistics, TBI’s most wanted, the Tennessee sex offenders registry, the Tennessee methamphetamine offenders registry, and a list of inmates incarcerated in the Shelby County jail.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation: Statistical Analysis Center
This website provides current and past crime statistics for Tennessee. It also it contains links to crime statistics, TBI’s most wanted, the Tennessee sex offenders registry, and the Tennessee methamphetamine offenders registry.

About the Department

Materials in this department include books, microform publications, audiocassettes, and videocassettes, all of which are located on the fourth floor of the Central Library at 3030 Poplar Avenue.

History, comprising archaeology, biography, daily living, politics, warfare, is divided into ancient, medieval, and modern periods and arranged as Europe, Asia, North America, South America, and Pacific regions. The world history materials include large sections on Great Britain, Africa, and World War II.
American History
American History features colonization, the revolution and early republic, along with an extensive collection on the Civil war era. Twentieth Century American history includes material on immigrants, civil rights, and an outstanding selection of presidential biographies. A large area within the American history collection covers state and local history.
Memphis & Shelby County Room
Memphis & Shelby County Room holds a wide variety of material providing information about the development of the city and county. The local history collection includes books, photographs, maps, newspaper clippings and pamphlets, Memphis periodicals, manuscript collections, and oral history tapes. Some of the most frequently requested materials are old city directories, telephone directories, high school yearbooks, and photographs.
Genealogy materials in microform and print enable one to research family history, tracing the movements of relatives, especially in the southeastern United States. The collection includes more than 20,000 genealogy books, as well as magazines and other kinds of material. The History Department staff along with the assistance from local volunteers has collected and indexed Shelby county marriage, death, probate, church, cemetery, and funeral home records.
Travel Collection
Travel Collection includes books, and videocassettes on all areas of the world. In addition to materials on planning trips both in the United States and abroad, the collection provides helpful information for those relocating in the country or abroad. Especially useful are the hotel guides covering most cities and resorts of the world.
African-American Popular Collection
African-American Popular Collection contains a wide selection of the most frequently requested titles on all aspects of African-American life.
Social Sciences
Social Sciences materials include such subjects as sociology, political science, military, women’s issues, education, holidays, customs, etiquette, social problems and issues, and cultural anthropology.