Our Collections

Housing more than one million items, the Austin History Center makes available to the public both primary research materials and published items. We have an extensive body of books, photographs, maps, newspapers, personal and family archives, and ephemera documenting Austin's history from before its founding in 1839 to the present. All of these items are organized into the following collection units:

General Collection
This collection encompasses more traditional library materialsóbooks, local government documents, periodicals, and maps.

Clippings Files
These files contain news clippings, pamphlets, ephemera, and other documents, and are a good place to begin your research on a person, place, or topic.

We have cataloged and made available for viewing more than one thousand maps of Austin and Travis County from the mid-1800s to the present.

Over three thousand titles of current and defunct magazines, newspapers, and government publications are available here at the Center.

Manuscript Archives
Here are mostly primary research materials--records and papers of City and County departments, families, civic organizations, and businesses. These materials fill more than 3,000 linear feet of shelf space.

Architectural Archives
We have over 35,000 architectural drawings and documents from over 150 local architectural firms.

Recordings Collection
We have recordings of oral histories, music of local musicians, video tapes and DVDs of City Council and commission meetings, local news broadcasts, and much more.

Photographic Collection
More than one million photographic images visually document the people, events, architecture, topography, and social customs of the area.

Reference Databases and Indexes
Most of the Austin Public Library Internet databases are available here at the Austin History Center. In addition, we have demographic and news databases that are specific to the Austin area.