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DC History

The DC History collections of the GW Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) document the city’s political, economic, social, and cultural history from the beginning plans for a federal city (1791) to the present-day work to achieve DC Statehood.

Collection materials encompass a variety of topics, including transportation with an emphasis on Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (WMATA) history, the built environment, DC politics and government, the literary 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, and meeting minutes, the collection contains more than 20,000 books related to various topics about DC history. 

To find materials to use, search the archives database or browse subject guides and project pages related to DC history:

Neighborhoods of Washington, D.C.


Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

Politics and Political Activism

D.C. City Council Resources

Civil Rights

Washington Writers’ Archive

LGBT Resources

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

Lessons of the Sixties Oral History Project

Maps of Washington, D.C., and the greater region from the 1600s through the 20th century

Architecture of Washington, D.C.

Guidebooks of Washington, D.C.

Real Estate Directories

City Directories of Washington, D.C.


DC History Staff

Collections Coordinator & Manuscripts Librarian