Use our online catalog to search our extensive collections documenting over 200 years of Washington History. Holdings include:
Photographs: More than 100,000 prints, negatives and slides from the 1860s to the present, documenting local street scenes, events, businesses, and people.
- Search our online catalog for individual photographs. Many photographs are also included in our archives and manuscript collections.
- Order Photographs/Scans
- Apply for Permission to Publish
Archives: Includes over 700 archives and manuscript collections, as well as maps, broadsides and ephemera.
- Search our online catalog for finding aids and descriptions of maps, broadsides, and ephemera.
- Archives and Manuscript Subject Guide: Organized by subject with some collections listed by type. Photograph collections are not included.
- Map Collection: Contains over 500 maps dating from late 18th century to the present including, city planning maps, topographical maps, real estate atlases, and subdivision maps.
- Broadsides and Ephemera Collections: Contains a variety of materials that help capture the everyday activities of Washington's businesses and people. Items include posters, programs, dance cards, advertisements, menus, tickets, and catalogs.
Library: Includes over 8,500 titles including books, pamphlets, and periodicals.
- Search our online catalog for books, pamphlets, and periodicals.
- Research Guides: Available by subject including, local neighborhoods, the African-American community, businesses, religious institutions, families, and building history.
- Vertical Files: Contain newspaper clippings on a variety of topics, including architecture, associations, biographies, businesses, buildings, neighborhoods, schools, transportation, and local government. A complete subject listing is available from the reference staff.
Objects: This growing collection of art and artifacts, ranging from fine art to toys and tools, is used for both research and exhibition. This collection is not yet available for searching through the online catalog. Please see reference staff.
- Art Holdings: include portraits, the Fastov collection of 19th century paintings and Lily Spandorf’s “Washington Never More” collection of 155 mid-20th century Washington scenes. The Thomas G. Machen Print Collection contains over 530 engravings, lithographs and woodcuts. Other graphic arts collections include the Newton Collection of 19th century pencil sketches and the cartoons of Richard H. Mansfield and Clifford Berryman.
- Artifacts: Washington businesses are represented by artifacts from Woodward & Lothrop, Hechinger’s, the Heurich Brewery, old hotels and others. The Woodville collection consists of nearly a thousand objects from the household of an old Washington family. Local political memorabilia includes ribbons, buttons and other campaign items.
The Historical Society is seeking donations of all types of materials related to D.C. If you wish to make a donation to the collections, please contact the library at 202.383.1850 or via email.