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The M Files

A collection of all things Memphis... a little bit of this, a little bit of that. The M Files is a great place to find portraits and newspaper clippings, but also so much more. As the clippings from the Memphis Information File are digitized, they will be added to The M Files, but so will the smaller manuscript collections and most of …

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The M Files

Mid-South Flood Collection

2011 - 2010 - 197419621937 - 192719131912

Recent History: High school senior collects flood photos for library archive.

During the historic flooding event in mid-May, hundreds of Mid-Southerners flocked downtown to snap once-in-a-lifetime shots of Tom Lee Park and parts of Mud Island submerged in water. Now Ellery …

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Mid-South Flood Collection

Benjamin L. Hooks Collection

Civil rights pioneer Benjamin Lawson Hooks was born in Memphis on January 31, 1925. A graduate of Howard University and DePaul University Law School, Hooks practiced law in Memphis and in 1965 became the first African American Criminal Court Judge in Shelby County. Hooks was also the first African American to serve on the Federal …

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Benjamin L. Hooks Collection

Pink Palace Photograph Collection

A collection of historically significant images acquired from the Pink Palace Museum in 1976, the Pink Palace Collection features a wide variety of wonderful photographs. From the construction of the Harahan Bridge to portraits of Native Americans, there is a little bit of everything. We owe our deepest gratitude to volunteer Becky …

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Pink Palace Photograph Collection

Memphis Streetscapes

It only takes one glance at a photo of Front Street in the 1890s to see how much Memphis has changed... and how so many things have remained the same! The cobblestones and wagons might be long gone, but the fire station and post office are in the same place and the buildings of Cotton Row are unmistakable.

This collection includes images …

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Memphis Streetscapes

About the collections



About the Memphis & Shelby County Room

 

Have you ever wondered when your house was built, who was the first city mayor or what Memphis was like during World War II? You can find these answers and so much more in a special room on the fourth floor at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library. Established in 1971, the Memphis and Shelby County Room contains a wealth of primary sources on the history of our city and county.

 

What are primary sources? They are original records created at the time a historical event occurred. For example the diary of a Memphian who fought in the Civil War, a map of Memphis in 1900, an 1880 photograph of Main Street, the memoirs of a television journalist who covered the Civil Rights movement, newspaper articles describing the death of Elvis Presley in 1977, and the remembrances of a founder of the Universal Life Insurance Company are all primary sources housed in the Memphis and Shelby County Room.

 

The Memphis and Shelby County Room houses thousands of books, reports, pamphlets, 600 maps, 35,000 photographs and hundreds of oral histories. In addition, the Memphis and Shelby County Room contains the Memphis Information File which contains 400,000 vertical files of newspaper and magazine articles, pamphlets and other small items.  The files are organized by subject and there is a card file index for easy searching.

 

Some of the most interesting primary sources in the Memphis and Shelby County Room are its manuscript collections.  Manuscript collections are an assortment of items such as correspondence, photographs, maps, financial records, contracts, and newspaper clippings of individuals and organizations. For example the library has the manuscript collections of Memphis political boss E. H. Crump, civil rights pioneer Maxine A. Smith, musician Jerry Lee Lewis, the Goldsmith’s Department Store, Rabbi James Wax, the Piggly Wiggly grocery store chain and Church of God in Christ leader E. W. Mason.

 

All of the primary sources in the Memphis and Shelby County Room are waiting for you to come and search through them. You will be surprised at what you learn about your own hometown.

 

 
Memphis and Shelby County Room
4th Floor
Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library
3030 Poplar Avenue
Memphis, Tennessee 38111
901.415.2742
www.memphislibrary.org
 
Blog - http://memphisroom.wordpress.com

About Dig Memphis

Dig Memphis is the digital archive of the Memphis Public Library & Information Center.   On this site we will showcase many of the treasures of the Memphis and Shelby County Room.  As an ongoing project of the library, new items are added regularly, so check back frequently.

 

Crossroads to Freedom

To view other items from our collections, please visit the Crossroads to Freedom Digital Archive.
 
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