Memphis and Shelby County Room

Memphis Public Library & Information Center
Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library
History/Social Sciences Department
Memphis and Shelby County Room

The Memphis and Shelby County Room is an area within the History/Social Sciences Department where researchers may view items from the library’s archival and manuscript collections. These include historical records of people and families, maps, photographs, newspaper vertical files, books, and music and video recordings. These materials document the development of the community, government, economy, culture, and heritage of Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee.

Researchers may access the Memphis and Shelby County Room during regular library hours. Librarians provide assistance in selection and retrieval of needed materials, as well as the use of microfilm readers and photocopiers. Researchers may bring scanners or digital cameras to reproduce library materials upon obtaining permission from the History/Social Sciences Department manager.

Please help keep the Memphis and Shelby County Room clean and quiet by leaving food and drinks outside and holding conversations to a minimum. Books, manuscript, and archival items should stay in the Memphis and Shelby County Room, and the arrangement of the antique furniture should remain unchanged. The Memphis and Shelby County Room is intended for individual study and research. The library provides other facilities for study groups and those conducting meetings.

The staff of the Memphis Public Library & Information Center primarily provides reference and bibliographic services to residents of Memphis and Shelby County. As a result, the library is unable to provide all the reference and bibliographic services requested by customers from outside its service area. To help those with extensive information needs, the staff of the History/Social Sciences Department maintains a list, available upon request, of non-affiliated researchers available to conduct research and document reproduction for a fee.

The History/Social Sciences Department staff welcomes donations of print materials, audio and visual recordings, and photographs related to Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee.

Please call 901-415-2742 for more information.

Special Collections Available in the Memphis and Shelby County Room

The Journal of Josiah Hinds
The Historical and Genealogical Collection
The Frank Holloman Collection
The Howard Association Collection
The Hugh Higbee Huhn Collection
The Blair T. Hunt Papers
The Office Files of Robert B. James
The Sara Beaumont Kennedy Literary Collection With Papers of Walker Kennedy
The Kennedy Book Club Collection
The George W. Lee Collection
The Jerry Lee Lewis Collection
The Selma S. Lewis Collection
The Harry H. Litty Family Collection
Papers of Henry Loeb, III
The Ruth F. Loewenberg Shelby Farms Collection
The Robert F. Looney Collection
The Mary Graham Love Papers
The John William McAfee Collection: A Career in Journalism and Photography
The Florence McIntyre Collection
Senator Kenneth Douglas McKellar: A Register of His Papers
The George Mahan, Jr. Collection
The Personal Papers of Judge Walter Malone
The John D. Martin Collection
The Thomas E. Maxson Collection, A Career in Public Engineering
The Ethel Taylor Maxwell Collection
Memphians During War
The Memphis Art Association Collection
The Memphis Belle Collection
Memphis Civic Clubs – Jackson Boulevard and Rozelle Clubs
The Memphis Crippled Children’s Hospital and School
Memphis – Enschede Ties
An Index to the Memphis Historical Society Papers
Memphis Music Miscellany
Memphis/National Funeral Home Records, 1935-1971
The Memphis Open Air Theater Collection
The Memphis Open Air Theater Programs
The Mid-South Flood Collection
Register of the Henry A. Montgomery Family
The Official Papers of Shelby County Commissioner James W. “Jimmy” Moore
The Earl Moreland Collection
J.C. Oates and Sons Funeral Home Records, 1916-1970
The Berl Olswanger Collection
The Order of the Alhambra Talavera Caravan #32
The Papers of Memphis Mayor Watkins Overton
The Page/Lenox Collection
The Reverend Charles Carroll Parsons Collection
The General Gideon J. Pillow Collection
The Price/Davis Family Papers
The Julia Raine Collection of Correspondence and Music
Papers of the Raleigh Community Council
Office Files of John “Jack” W. Ramsay
The St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Collection
The Reverend Louis Sandford Schuyler Collection
The Susanne Conlan Scruggs Collection
The Searcy Collection
The Leo M. Seligman Collection
The Reverend Eron M. Sharp Collection
The Maxine Smith NAACP Collection
The Katherine Hinds Smythe Collection
The Morris Solomon Papers
The George Sparks Little Theatre Wartime Collection
The Jerry O. Potter Sultana Collection
The Tennessee Valley Authority Collection
The Frank Tobey Papers
The Trezevant Family Papers
The Ernest B. “Tony” Vaccaro Collection
The Dr. R.Q. and Ethyl H. Venson Cotton Makers’ Jubilee Collection
The Robert L. Waller Collection
The Roane Waring Collection
The Rabbi James A. Wax Collection
The Business Papers of Samuel B. Williamson, Napoleon Hill and Noland Fontaine
The Marshall Wingfield Collection
The Yellow Fever Collection
Zion Cemetery Burial Register, 1896-1974

The Memphis and Shelby County Room features:

  • Memphis Information File - 425,000 newspaper clippings
  • Memphis Photograph Collection - 11,000 local and regional photographs
  • Manuscript Collections - The papers of 200 local residents from all walks of life
  • Map and Poster Collection - over 5000 maps and posters of local interest
  • Book Collection - 15,000 volumes dealing with Memphis and Shelby County
  • Tennessee Biography Index - 125,000 entry index to local history books
  • Memphis Periodical Index - 30,000 entry index to local periodicals

National Archives Documents of Interest:

Library of Congress Documents of Interest: