37 collection Results

PG 100, Arlington County Government Photographs, 1915-1997, are images generated by several different county agencies documenting government activities and buildings. The bulk of the collection dates from 1955-1988, and many photos document the development of high rise buildings in Crystal City and Rosslyn. There are also images of the many iterations of the county courthouse, Department of Public Works and Department of Parks and Recreation activities, and members of the County Board and County School Board.

PG 202, the Palmer Collection (1996-2006), consists of photographs taken by library employee Jim Palmer. His photographs document the changing landscape of Arlington and include images of homes, churches, government buildings, businesses, schools, firehouses, cemeteries and parks. There are also many streetscapes of neighborhoods in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor. The bulk of the collection dates 1996-1997 and 2003-2006.

PG 250, Documenting Arlington's Changing Scene (1997-2019), is an ongoing collection of images taken by Virginia Room staff that document development throughout the county, including structures and neighborhoods. The collection illustrates Arlington's continually evolving landscape and contains both traditional photographs and digital images. The bulk of the collection dates 1997-2001 and 2008-2019, but new photographs are continually being added.

RG 60 is the Eastman-Fenwick Collection, and houses a wide variety of personal papers of first the Eastman and then Eastman-Fenwick family, spanning several generations. There is correspondence (including some from the front lines of the Civil War and World War I), photographs, financial and legal papers, sermons, diaries, maps, and even Virginia State reports and campaign materials from Charles Fenwick’s time in the state legislature. It is a unique, wide-ranging collection that gives a full view of an important Arlington family.

RG 21, Records of the Arlington County Department of Health, 1938-1973, houses images documenting the department's activities. Special yearly scrapbooks, similar to an annual report, were created from 1938-1943 and are the bulk of the collection. Images document inspections of restaurants and dairies, vaccinations and check-ups, and even the Department's Children's Christmas Party. Arlington's Department of Health was one of the first of its kind in the nation.

The Center for Local History's oral history program has been ongoing for over 40 years. Subjects include civic leaders, government officials, business owners, and ordinary citizens: men and women who describe firsthand accounts of their everyday lives, places, and neighborhoods. These primary documents are a rich resource for researchers as well as anyone interested in the development of the Arlington community. In addition to this online collection, transcripts of additional interviews are available in the Virginia Room, and more interviews will continue to be added to the online collection on a regular basis.

RG 28, Pamphlets and Ephemera, is a reference group of materials collected from many different sources. The materials in this collection were originally conceived of as ephemeral, or disposable, but in reality give researchers an intimate look at Arlington life. This collection holds postcards, catalogs, informational pamphlets, flyers and other advertisements, and even sheet music. The majority of the collection dates between 1900 and 1985, and does include subjects concerning other Virginia localities.

PG 218, the Ernest E. Johnson Photograph Collection, 1948-1955, consists of images of the Parks and Recreation Department's Negro Recreation Section. The photographs show children and adult activities such as sports teams, dance recitals, plays, parades and award ceremonies. Ernest E. Johnson was the head of the Negro Recreation Section and then head of all county recreation centers after desegregation in 1962. He continued to serve Arlington until the 1980s.

PG 212 - Coupled with the Center’s extensive oral history collection, this small collection of photographs, donated to the library in the 1990s, provide a fascinating window into the changing nature of family life and small business ownership along the Columbia Pike corridor between the 1910s and the 1960s.
Coupled with the Center’s extensive oral history collection, this small collection of photographs, donated to the library in the 1990s, provide a fascinating window into the changing nature of family life and small business ownership along the Columbia Pike corridor between the 1910s and the 1960s.

RG 188, Wakefield High School Student Posters, consists of appoximately 90 posters created by students at Wakefield High School in the southern part of Arlington County. These posters, created on school premises, advertise school events, clubs and activities taking place primarily during the 1969-1970 school year. All the posters are silkscreen images on poster or construction paper of various sizes. This set of remarkable posters was donated by David Crist (Wakefield '70).

The digitized versions of these newspapers are now searchable by the Library of Virginia's Virginia Chronicle, and can be found by going to virginiachronicle.com and browsing by "Places" under Arlington. 

The story of the SUN GAZETTE is really the story of two newspapers and how they eventually came together:
The SUN:   The newspaper now known as the Sun Gazette began publishing as the Sun on Dec. 12, 1935.  The paper was printed weekly until 1951 when it was sold and merged with the Arlington Daily, a 6-days a week paper that had been published since the early 1940s.  The daily paper became known as the Northern Virginia Sun, and its focus expanded throughout the growing western suburbs. The paper was sold again in 1957 and once more in 1963.  During the 1960s and 1970s the Sun combined in-depth local coverage with wire-service reports or national and international news as well.  From 1963 until 1988 the Northern Virginia Sun had the same owner, but in 1988, for economic reasons it was again sold.
The GAZETTE:  The Gazette was founded in 1979 in Great Falls and expanded over the next few years to include coverage of nearby Virginia jurisdictions.  By 1989, as competition increased, the Gazette was sold to the same company that had purchased the Northern Virginia Sun.
The two papers continued to be published as separate entities with several different ownership groups from outside the local area, but eventually the papers would merge and take the name Sun Gazette, referencing both the original Sun and the later Gazette.  Despite further changes in ownership the name has remained the same.
In keeping with the digital age, the Sun Gazette is now also available online.  For online access to more recent issues of the Gazette please visit: www.insidenova.com
Digitization of the Sun Gazette microfilm was made possible by a generous donation from the Friends of the Library.

Additional issues are being added weekly to this collection.

PG 230, Arlington Historical Society Photographs, are images collected by the Arlington Historical Society over several decades. These images were then donated the Center for Local History in 2006. The images capture a wide variety of Arlington life, showing people, buildings, landscapes, streetscapes, and local events. The bulk of the collection is 1920-1990, and the images are of varying quality.

RG 29: Arlington County Public Library Department Records

Prior to 1936, Arlington County had five independent neighborhood libraries.  These libraries received limited financial support from the County.  In 1936, Arlington citizens working with the libraries organized a County library association with the goal of creating a county library system and increasing the County's financial support.  County Manager Frank Hanrahan agreed to support a County library system, but stated that the libraries would need to utilize American Library Association standards in order to achieve the long-term goal of having a professional staff and central library. 

In 1937, the Arlington County Library Association voted unanimously to employ a professional librarian to oversee a standardization process.  The County government appropriated $3,500 dollars to the libraries, $3,000 for operational costs matching the appropriation of 1936, and an additional $500 to hire a professional librarian. 

In the years following this beginning, many librarians and volunteers have worked to enhance collections, and increase community services.  In 1949, the eight branches in operation included:  Aurora Hills, Cherrydale, Clarendon, Columbia Pike, Glen Carlyn, Holmes, Shirlington (formerly Fairlington), and Westover.  Except for the Holmes branch, which closed in 1949, and the Clarendon branch, which became Central Library, all these branches remain in operation.  The branches have over time expanded operations, moved into larger facilities, and hired additional staff in order to meet the ever-increasing needs of the Arlington Community.

RG 111: Arlington Outdoor Education Association Records, 1947-2017

During the late 1950s, Dr. Phoebe Hall Knipling, the Supervisor of Secondary Science education for Arlington Public Schools (APS) started a summer science enrichment program that incorporated outdoor education for students. The program aimed to improve students’ environmental awareness by providing hands-on science experience in nature. During the 1960s, students visited various public and private lands in Northern Virginia, but it became apparent a permanent location for the program would improve the experience. Open land in Arlington County was diminishing fast due to the county’s soaring population, as well as increased urbanization and development.
In January 1967, Dr. Knipling located a 200-acre site in Fauquier County at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but APS lacked the funds to purchase the land. In May 1967, Dr. Phoebe Knipling met with representatives of the Natural Sciences for Youth Foundation in Connecticut, who advocated community involvement to acquire the property. Dr. Knipling started, with the help of community representatives, including parents of APS students and five school staff members, the Arlington Outdoor Education Association (AOEA) as a volunteer-run nonprofit on July 3, 1967 to create an outdoor lab exclusively for APS student use. Mrs. Susan T. Baker became the first president. Others first involved included J. Fuller Groom, J. Frederick Abel, Shirley Jolkoviski, Harold Mack, Paul Nelson, Joseph Newlin, and Theodore Taylor. The group began accepting donations and organizing fundraisers to earn the funds necessary to purchase the land. On March 14, 1968, the group purchased the land from Mary Rose Striker, who agreed to sell the property for less than market value to the group. At Dr. Knipling’s suggestion, the land became known both as Tahl which translates into Wonderful Valley and as Floraunaretum, meaning "interaction of flora and fauna in an outdoor setting." APS students began to visit the land to observe the forces of nature firsthand and learn about ecosystems and biology, among other topics.
After Dr. Knipling retired in 1975, the AOEA board voted to rename the property the Phoebe Hall Knipling Outdoor Laboratory to honor her years of service to science education in Arlington County. The AOEA made the final mortgage payment for the property in November 1978, after a generous donation from Mr. Preston Carruthers. The Outdoor Lab, currently containing about 225 acres, features open fields, forests, wildlife, springs, a lake, as well as hiking trails, camping sites, a classroom, kitchen and dining facilities, observatory, and plant and animal identification areas. The land is reserved exclusively for APS student use. Though the lab is owned, maintained, and managed by the AOEA Board of Directors, APS creates and delivers all educational programs.

RG 196: Records of the Syphax Family, 1920-1993

The name Syphax has been present in northern Virginia since the early 1800s. Some historians believe that Maria Carter Syphax might have been the daughter of George Washington Parke Custis, the grandson of Martha Washington and adopted by George Washington. Maria grew up at Arlington House, the slave of Parke Custis, and married Charles Syphax, another slave owned by Parke Custis. After their marriage, they were granted 17 acres of land which was officially deeded to them by an act of Congress in 1866. William Syphax, one of Maria and Charles’ ten children, became the first president of the trustee board of Colored schools in Washington, D.C.  This William Syphax was the great-uncle of William Thomas Syphax.
William Thomas Syphax, who was born in Arlington, Virginia, became one of the leading black business entrepreneurs in the 1970s. His wife, Margarite Reed Syphax, was one of the first black business women to be designated a Certified Property Manager. This prominent couple started a real estate and construction business that was recognized in Black Enterprise’s first list of the 100 Top Black Businesses in 1973. While building his business, William also found the time to get a Masters’ Degree in Engineering Administration from George Washington University, and a PhD in Behavioral Philosophy from Pacific Western University. He had earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the Virginia State College for Negroes in 1942 and became its Rector in 1974. 
William and Margarite met when both were serving the United States during World War II.  William was a Group Electronics Officer in the United States Army Air Corps and Margarite toured as an acrobatic dancer with the USO. When William and Margarite returned to Arlington County after World War II, housing was still heavily segregated. In the early 1950s they started selling real estate and then filled a need by designing and building housing for other black residents who were then living in substandard housing in the area then known as “Johnson Hill” and now called Arlington View; William and Margarite lived at 1327 S Queen St. They also built an apartment complex that had an open rental policy – unlike other apartment buildings at the time that were race restrictive. Photographs of the first houses they built are found in the “The Syphax Story – Getting Started.”

RG 97: Records of Church Women United of Arlington, 1944-2001

On January 20, 1944, representatives from sixteen churches in Arlington met to discuss organizing an Arlington Council of Church Women. The name was changed in 1953 to United Church Women of Arlington and then, finally, to Church Women United (CWU) in 1968. 
The national Church Women United describes itself as “a national volunteer Christian ecumenical women’s movement.” From its beginning in 1941 it has been an interdenominational and interracial group. The national CWU has been a significant leader in developing the churches’ role within the Civil Rights movement, the peace movement, and the equal rights movement.
Early in its formation, United Church Women in Arlington advocated for integration of many facilities including hospitals, restaurants, and movie theaters. It also argued for racial equality in matters of churches, schools, housing, and the workplace. In 1952 the Arlington Council started a Child Care Center for Eastern Shore migrant workers and provided supplies and programs.  Local child care centers were a few of the other projects in which CWU was a leader.
CWU’s calendar revolves around an annual meeting in January, a World Day of Prayer (first Friday in March), May Fellowship Day (first Friday in May), and World Community Day (first Friday in November).

PG 215: The Little Tea House, 1921-1925

Following the success of her participation in the early suffrage campaign, Gertrude Crocker settled in Arlington where she and her sister Ruth opened the Little Tea House on Arlington Ridge Road.

The Little Tea House Restaurant began in 1920 and lasted until 1963 when it was demolished to make room for a high-rise apartment building. During its heyday, many famous people ate at the restaurant including Eleanor Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. The property which was adjacent to both Prospect Hill and the remnants of Fort Albany included a restaurant, home, cottage, tower and wellhouse. Many of the images are annotated.

RG 333: The Ellen Bozman Papers

Ellen M. Bozman, a community activist and politician for Arlington County, guided Arlington as it transitioned from a suburban to urban community during the latter half of the 20th century. Though perhaps most well-known as the longest serving Arlington County Board member (1974-1997), Bozman’s civic influence extended beyond her tenure as a board member through participation in various community organizations and governmental bodies.
Bozman’s work prior to the County Board is associated with human relations and planning. As part of the League of Women Voters, Bozman conducted educational programs to assist with integration of the public school system in Arlington in the 1950s. Later, as a member of the Community Relations Committee in the 1960s, which researched and reported on acts of discrimination to the Arlington County Board, she investigated County hiring practices of African-Americans and pushed for the adaption of non-discriminatory policies. As part of the County’s Planning Commission from 1971-1973, Bozman focused on ways to revitalize Clarendon, Arlington’s major commercial center at the time, which was soon to be disrupted by the coming Metrorail. 
Bozman ran for the County Board in 1973 as an Independent candidate, though she was backed by the local Democratic party. She ran on a platform that promoted controlled growth, especially around new Metro corridors, opposition to the route I-66 in favor of other mass-transit options, maintaining neighborhoods and increasing park and recreational space, and providing new services to retired and elderly residents. She captured more than 50% of the vote in a 3-way race, becoming the first woman elected to the County Board since 1958.

Bozman won all her subsequent elections, running as an Independent candidate in every race except for her last election in 1993, during which she ran as a Democrat. She served as chairman of the County Board in 1976, 1983, 1984, 1989, 1992, and 1997.

In 2017, the Arlington County Board voted unanimously to rename the County Office Building at 2100 Clarendon Boulevard at Courthouse Plaza after Bozman, to honor her 24 years of service as a County Board member.

RG 332: Overlee Preschool Records

On August 7, 1945, a group of Arlington parents met to organize their own cooperative preschool. World War II brought an influx of permanent residents to the county: the population doubled between 1940 and 1944. An unprecedented demand for day care and early childhood education centers emerged since the county public school system did not offer preschool or kindergarten. Mrs. Hazel Mahler decided to organize a new cooperative preschool when she discovered the nearby Rock Spring Cooperative was full, the waitlist long, and local private schools remained too expensive. She organized a meeting with local, interested parents at her home to discuss how they could provide reasonably-priced education for their young children. The parents decided to form their own cooperative preschool, named Overlee Preschool in honor of the nearby neighborhood, Overlee Knolls. As a cooperative preschool, parents made all the decisions regarding school policy, tuition, and classroom activities. Parents paid tuition, hired professional teachers, managed finances, served on the board of directors, acted as teaching assistants, and maintained the school facilities.
The founding parents secured three rooms for their preschool in the Resurrection Lutheran Church on Washington Boulevard and North Powhatan Street in Arlington. The school opened on October 8, 1945 and offered a morning session for nursery and kindergarten age children. In 1947, Overlee offered a separate kindergarten class for the first time, as well as a nursery class for children aged three and four. Overlee discontinued kindergarten classes in 1960 when Arlington County Public Schools began to offer kindergarten. Instead, Overlee offered a separate class for 3-year-olds (called the Bluebirds) and 4-year-olds (called the Redbirds). In 1980, Overlee introduced an additional class for 2-year-olds (called the Yellowbirds). Overlee classes emphasized social and emotional development over other specific skills (like reading or math) through play, activities involving art, music, and nature, and field trips.  
Overlee has occupied several different locations in Arlington since opening, all in local churches, though it has been nonsectarian throughout its existence. 
  1. Resurrection Lutheran Church, 6201 N Washington Blvd (1945-1947)
  2. Trinity Presbyterian Church, 5533 N 16th Street (April 1947-September 12, 1955)
  3. Christ Methodist Church, 5700 Lee Highway (September 13, 1955-1965)
  4. St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, 2425 N Glebe Rd (1965-1989)
  5. Church of the Covenant, 2666 N Military Road (1989-present)

RG 158: Ruby Lee Minar Family Papers, 1923-1979

Shortly after the end of World War I, Ruby Lee Minar entered the real estate industry. Using a few hundred dollars from Liberty Bonds, she invested in real estate in the Chevy Chase area and in 1919 began acquiring practical experience working for a Washington, D.C. real estate firm as a saleswoman. In 1920, she opened her own real estate business—Ruby Lee Minar, Inc.—in the Evans Building in Washington, D.C.

Soon after, Minar had obtained exclusive rights for the sale property in the Lyon Park neighborhood of Arlington County. By 1922, she employed 20 salesmen and saleswomen, had sold $1,000,000 worth of property in the Lyon Park subdivision, and had opened extension offices in Lyon Park and Cherrydale.

In 1923 she controlled 400 acres of land between the Potomac and the Washington Country Club, which became the site of her next subdivision project—Lee Heights—valued at $3,000,000. Minar had the foresight to recognize that the planned Key and Memorial Bridges and Lee Highway that would connect Washington, D.C., and Arlington were integral to the suburban expansion she envisioned.

Minar also arranged for other residential amenities such as gas mains, a sewage system, and a water reservoir, all of which helped broaden the appeal of living in the Lee Heights neighborhood and contributed to its success.

Record Group 158, measuring .63 linear feet and artifact storage, contains the personal papers of the Ruby Lee Minar family and spans 1923-1979. The bulk of the material pertains to Ruby Lee and Patricia and comes from the period of the early 1920s through the early 1950s. The collection contains handwritten and typed correspondence; 1930s holiday cards; photographs; publicity and business records for Ruby Lee Minar, Inc.; a copy of John’s death certificate; and the paperwork with official seals recording Ruby Lee’s death abroad. There is also a 1930s play bill from a production of “Private Lives” at the Barter Theater in Abingdon in Arlington County. The collection contains material in English, German, French, Danish, and Polish. 


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