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HMCPL Special Collections: About

HMCPL Special Collections is the community's archive. We empower individuals to seek their past, explore Huntsville and Madison County, and connect with history.


The Special Collections Department

Special Collections houses unique collections relating to Huntsville, Madison County, and Alabama history and serves as the library system’s multimedia resource center for genealogical and local history research. We have hundreds of print volumes to aid in family history research. Although most of our collection relates to areas east of the Mississippi River, we have online databases and additional material for other regions of the country.

We offer genealogy classes and other classes throughout the year. More info on the library events calendar.

The Archives

The Archives was established in 1976 in order to house the rare, fragile, and unique material that has been part of the library collection since 1818.

The material in our repository is varied and includes manuscripts and the Zeitler Rare Book Collection. Our historic photograph collection is composed of over 25,000 photographic prints and originals, with content ranging from depictions of street scenes and cotton mills throughout Huntsville’s history to portraits of prominent citizens. In addition, we house scrapbooks, original artwork, local business and organization records, early church records and minutes, diaries and personal correspondence including materials from the Civil War.


Sign up for our monthly newsletter! Here's what you'll find in the newsletter: new exhibits, monthly programming and presentations, letters from the staff, collection highlights, reading lists, and more!