About SMC

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What is the Sargeant Memorial Collection?

The establishment of the Sargeant Memorial Collection (SMC) began in 1927 with only a small assortment of books and historical papers collected by William H. Sargeant, the first Librarian to be hired by the City of Norfolk in 1897. He felt very strongly that Norfolk should have a history collection devoted to her history and her people. The non-circulating collection includes a variety of books and periodicals about Norfolk and Virginia, as well as Norfolk maps and photographs, high school yearbooks, and city directories for the Hampton Roads region. Nearly 200 years of Norfolk newspaper microfilms are available upon request. SMC's genealogy collection encompasses Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, and other nearby states, with books, microfilm, and CD's to assist in family research. Today, the Sargeant Memorial Collection is one of Virginia's finest local history and genealogy collections.

Have a History or Genealogy Question?

We conduct basic research to answer requests that are received via online form, email or by traditional mail correspondence. Research assistance is limited to 30 minutes per request and to three requests per patron per calendar month.  We will need all the information possible about the subject or individual and as close to an exact date as possible if the time frame is known. We process research inquiries in the order they are received and we endeavor to respond in a timely manner.  

  • Photocopy charges are $ 0.10 cents per page.
  • Postage is assessed at first class rates.
  • Checks should be made payable to City of Norfolk.
  • For assistance, please call (757) 431-7429

How to contact us:

Email:  localhistory@norfolk.gov

Mailing Address:

Sargeant Memorial Collection | Norfolk Public Library |235 E. Plume Street | Norfolk, VA 23510


Professional Researchers and Genealogists: 

For more extended research assistance, we recommend hiring a freelance researcher.  Please contact a professional genealogist or researcher to conduct the research. Here are two sources to consult:

Association of Professional Genealogists

Library of Congress - Free Lance Researchers

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