Capitalizing on Washington, DC’s diverse communities and its role as the nation’s capital, the Washingtoniana Collection of the GW Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) documents the city’s political, economic, social, and cultural history. This history of the District of Columbia covers the beginning plans for a federal city (1791) to the present day work to achieve DC Statehood.
The SCRC collects, preserves and makes available primary source documents and archived web pages that work to tell the most complete history of the District of Columbia. These materials encompass a variety of topics including Metro and other transportation issues, the District of Columbia government, DC’s vernacular music scene, a diverse and vibrant poetry community, local businesses, neighborhoods, and civic associations.
In addition to primary source documents such as letters, diaries, video and audio recordings, journals, maps, ledgers, newsletters, meeting minutes, the collection houses more than 20,000 books related to various topics for DC history.
Collection Primary Topic Areas
Maps and Secondary Source Content
- Africana Research Center
- Architecture in Washington, DC
- City Directories, Washington, DC
- Fiction by Washington, DC authors or about Washington, DC
- Georgetown Records Guide
- Guidebooks of Washington DC
- Historic American Buildings Survey for Washington, DC
- History of Washington, DC, General History
- History of Washington, DC, War and Politics
- LGBT Resources
- Maps of Washington, DC
- Neighborhoods in Washington, DC
- Newspapers in Washington, DC
- Poetry in Washington, DC
- Real Estate Directories
- Visual Images of Washington, DC
Materials within the Washingtoniana collections are available to researchers in the Special Collections Research Center reading room in accordance with SCRC access policies.
The curatorial staff of Washingtoniana acquire content through donations of materials. These new collections will become a part of the community’s collective memory and enrich the available resources used for new discoveries. Special Collections stores archival collections in an environmentally controlled secure storage facility and oversees proper handling and use by researchers. We provide research access to the contents of the records in our reading room and submit collection descriptions to national databases including WorldCat and ArchiveGrid. All these tools inform researchers that GW is the repository holding specific collections or groups of collections that match their research needs. If you have a collection you would like considered for donation to GW please contact Collections Coordinator and Manuscripts Librarian, Jennifer King, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-994-0628.
Preparing materials for use by researchers is the most expensive operation for Special Collections. Although such monetary donations are not a prerequisite for the acceptance of a collection, donors who are able to assist Special Collections by providing funds toward the arrangement, cataloging, and conservation of their records are encouraged to discuss the possibility with the Manuscripts Librarian and Associate University Librarian for Special Collections.