29 collection Results

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.

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 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.

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.

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 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.

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 17: Records of the Organized Women Voters

The Organized Women Voters of Arlington County was founded in 1923 as the Arlington County League of Women Voters, and later that same year changed its name to the Organized Women Voters in order to remain clearly independent of the now nationally known League of Women Voters. As of 2017, the organization was still active in Arlington County.

The objectives of the organization were "to collect and disseminate political and civic information; to be non partisan; and to be free to take action on any County problem." The Organized Women Voters has been active in educating Arlington County voters on voting procedures and political candidates, as well as actively supporting women candidates for County Board positions. The organization also sponsored two yearly local events for a number of years    the Woman of the Year Award and the annual Birthday Luncheon.

Record Group 17 houses the scattered records of the Women Voters of Arlington County. The collection measures 9.2 linear feet, and ranges from 1923 to 2015. Found in this group are scattered meeting minutes, membership lists, meeting announcements, by‑laws and constitution, financial documentation, memorabilia, and news clippings. Of particular interest are the early meeting minutes and correspondence for the 1923 through 1925 period. The collection also houses several photographs of members at their various functions.

RG 19: Personal Papers of Elizabeth Pfohl Campbell, 1942-1991

The personal papers in this collection are those collected and generated by Elizabeth Pfohl Campbell of Arlington, Virginia. Mrs. Campbell had long been involved in Arlington County educational and civic issues and active in many civic associations. She was a member of the American Association of University Women, the League of Women Voters, Women's Democratic Club, and the Arlington County Citizen's Committee for School Improvement.

Mrs. Campbell's  involvement in the CCSI prompted her to run as a candidate for  the first elected Arlington County School Board in 1947, and she served from 1948 through 1955. In 1956, the Virginia General  Assembly mandated appointed school boards and Mrs. Campbell  accepted an appointment, serving from 1960 to 1963. 

The collection measures approximately seven linear feet and covers the period from 1945 through 1991, with the bulk of the material falling between 1947 and 1959.

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.

RG 23: The Personal Papers of Eleanor Lee Templeman, 1928-1990


Eleanor Lee Templeman (b.1907-d.1990) grew up in California and lived in Arlington from 1935 until she died. She served as historian of the Society of the Lees of Virginia, and was an active local historian, publishing Arlington Heritage: Vignettes of a Virginia County (1959) and (with Nan Netherton) Northern Virginia Heritage (1966). She contributed many articles to Virginia historical publications, and received awards for her research achievements, including one from Marymount University (1975), and from the American Association for State and Local History (1983).

The personal papers described in this guide are those collected and generated by Eleanor Lee Templeman of Arlington, Virginia. The collection measures approximately 3.5 linear feet, and dates from 1928 to 1990, with the bulk of the material falling between 1955 and 1980.

Much of the material in this collection was generated or collected during research for her books, Arlington Heritage and Northern Virginia Heritage. Included are correspondence, notes, clippings and pamphlets. The record group also contains papers reflecting Mrs. Templeman's involvement in civic organizations such as the Arlington Cultural Heritage Commission (1962-1968), the Arlington Historical Commission (1967-1975) and the Arlington Historical Society (1976-1981). There are also copies of some of her articles, 1928-1989. A scrapbook of clippings of her newspaper series, "Arlington Heritage", a predecessor of her book, has been copied.

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.

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 44: Records of the League of Women Voters of Arlington, VA, Inc., 1945-2001 

The League of Women Voters of the United States was formed in 1920 in order to foster education in citizenship and to support improved legislation, but the organization is allied with no political party. From 1900 to 1946 the League was a federation of state leagues, but in 1946 it became an association of members enrolled in local leagues.

The Arlington-Alexandria League was provisionally founded in 1944 and divided into two separate branches in 1947. An important emphasis has been voter information services and the production of studies on local and state issues.


Record Group 44 houses records of the League of Women Voters of Arlington, Virginia, 1945-2001.  Making up a small proportion of the collection are some scattered papers of the League of Women Voters of the National Capital Area, 1971-1995; of the League of Women Voters of Virginia, 1975-1993; and of the League of Women Voters of the United States, 1971-1994. The records give a good overview of the most important governmental and social issues of Arlington, of Virginia, and of the United States in the post-World War II era. The collection measures approximately 23 linear feet.

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 76: The Personal Papers of Nan Netherton, 1946-1987

Anne “Nan” Netherton (1926-2003) was a prominent figure in capturing the history of Arlington County and all of Northern Virginia. Netherton and her husband Ross co-wrote a book on Arlington County titled Arlington County in Virginia: A Pictorial History in 1987. Born in Illinois, Netherton moved to Northern Virginia in 1950 after working on the Manhattan Project during World War II and found that the area, while in a period of transition from rural to suburban, was historically interesting and important. She worked for Fairfax County as a staff member for the Office of Comprehensive Planning and compiled an 800-page history of the county for the U.S. Bicentennial celebrations in 1976. The Nethertons published many works on the history and development of Northern Virginia, especially in Fairfax County, where they resided, including Memories of Beautiful Burke, Virginia (1988), Fairfax County, Virginia: A History (1978), and Reston: A New Town in the Old Dominion (1989). Additionally, Nan volunteered for the Fairfax Historic Landmarks Commission, was elected president of the Northern Virginia Association for History in 1988, and received the Association’s Joseph Harsh Award for her work in historic preservation of local history in 2000.

The personal papers in this collection were generated by Nan Netherton. The collection is approximately 4.5 linear feet and dates from 1946 to 1987 with the bulk of dates ranging from the mid 1970’s to the mid 1980’s. Much of the material in this collection is generated from her research on Theodore Roosevelt Island and economic, residential, and physical development of Arlington.

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).

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 156: Records of Soroptimist International of Arlington, Virginia, 1938-2008

Soroptimist International (SI) is an international organization whose members work to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment. The Arlington organization was formed in 1938.

Over the years the Soroptimists raised money in a variety of ways for projects benefitting many worthy local causes such as Arlington Hospital, Over-60 Employment and Counseling Services (publicized in 1957 by “The Ladies Home Journal”), American Red Cross, and the Arlington Public Library, among others.

It was challenging over the years to keep the number of members at a sustainable level. The club disbanded in 2008.

The record group measures approximately 3 linear feet and additionally 21 large scrapbooks. The collection dates from 1938 to 2008 with the bulk between 1956 and 2007 with few records dating from the later 1970s. Types of material include minutes, club histories, newsletters, correspondence, photographs, clippings, conference and award documents and miscellaneous items, as well as the aforementioned scrapbooks.

The RG documents the organization’s activities including participation in regional and national conferences. SI scrapbooks, 1950s-2001 especially are valuable in this regard, including many programs, officer lists, newsletters, clippings, and photographs. The Venture Club scrapbook covers activities 1971-1973.
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