About the North Carolina Collection

The primary mission of the Durham County Library North Carolina Collection is to preserve and make available the historical record of the city and county of Durham. It also has a wealth of materials for people interested in researching North Carolina-related topics. Strengths of the collection include:

  • 2000+ photographs of Durham
  • around 15,000 books on many subjects related to local and state history and culture
    • an extensive collection of books about Durham and by Durham authors
    • many dissertations relating to Durham
    • a good collection of rarer Durham and NC books
  • an extensive collection of Piedmont and eastern NC-related genealogical materials
  • significant historical maps of Durham County
  • city directories dating from 1889
  • high school yearbooks
  • biography files and subject files built over time that cover Durham history and biography
  • microfilmed local newspapers back to the 1870s
  • manuscripts (written records from local people and institutions)

Julian Shakespeare Carr (1845-1924) gave the land on which the first Durham Public Library was built and donated a collection of books on North Carolina that form the basis of the present North Carolina Collection, which began operation in the early 1980s.