SMC Collection

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Antique Photograph of Bikes

The purpose of the collection is to provide resource materials for individuals conducting local history or genealogical research in the Sargeant Memorial Collection. The SMC collection contains a wealth of historical and genealogical research information that focuses on the City of Norfolk, the State of Virginia and surrounding states, such as Maryland, Tennessee, Kentucky, North and South Carolina, the District of Columbia, and West Virginia. The collection also provides material on the Commonwealth of Virginia and histories and census information for states contiguous to Virginia. Most of the materials that are donated are accessible to the public or stored in a special location in the Library. Our policy of not circulating materials housed in the Sargeant Memorial Collection is essential to ensure the collection and preservation of historic materials.

Types of Materials

  • Books

    Genealogical and historical resources for Norfolk, Virginia, and surrounding states (NC, MD, and WV) that include:

    • Biographies that mainly focus on the state of Virginia

    • A collection of fiction and literature relating to Virginia and written by Virginia authors

    • Introductory genealogy books

    • A large selection of abstracts of Virginia and North Carolina county records, and a smaller selection of records from other nearby states

    • A complete set of Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach city directories, as well as a sampling of directories from other cities in the region

    • High school and college yearbooks for Norfolk and other Virginia educational institutions

  • Electronic Resources

    • Photographs - Our photographic collection consists of pictures of buildings, neighborhoods, places, and events in Norfolk from the late 19th century to the present. The collection includes the works of Harry Mann, John Emmerson, James Murdaugh, Charles Borjes, H.D. Vollmer, Jim Mays, and Carroll Walker. We are currently pursuing a digitization project to allow our patrons greater access to our collection.

    • CD-ROMs - We currently have a small collection of CD-ROMs ranging from genealogical CDs created by Family Tree Maker to CDs created by researchers relating to Norfolk history. These CDs are available only in the SMC. Ask one of the SMC staff to view them.

    • Online Databases - The computers in the Sargeant Memorial Collection and Norfolk Public Libraries offer access to genealogical websites on the Internet including and HeritageQuest.

    • Audiovisual Materials - Audio, slide, film and video materials relating to Norfolk and Norfolk history are acquired when possible and maintained as archival, non-circulating items. When a viewing/listening facility is opened at the Slover Library, these materials will be available to individual patrons and groups for in-library use only.

    • Microfilm - Our microfilm collection contains records dealing with Norfolk and the Greater Hampton Roads Region. We also hold Federal Census microfilms for Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. Print indexes to early census records are available and Soundex indexes to the microfilm collection are available for Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina.

    • Periodicals - Our periodicals section includes magazines and newsletters that focus primarily on genealogical subject areas and historical research. The collection also includes publications by local historical societies. Selected periodicals published by historical societies in other states , such as the New England Historical Register, are included in the collection as well.

    • Public Records - Our collection of public records contains books, microfilm, and electronic sources. This includes census records from 1800 to 1930 and county and courthouse records. Manuscripts, Norfolk City log books, and scrapbooks are also collected and available for public access.

    • Vertical Files - The vertical files contain newspaper clippings and pamphlets filed by subject. Although the bulk of the vertical files are devoted to Norfolk topics, there are also sections for Virginia and general interest topics. The date range for these vertical files starts in the 1950s and continues to the present. Selected copies of post and pre-Civil War newspapers are also part of the collection.