Library and Archives
Since 1831 the Cincinnati History Library and Archives has been collecting and preserving materials related to the Greater Cincinnati area, the state of Ohio and the Old Northwest Territory. Today, it houses one of the most significant regional history collections in the United States with thousands of books, pamphlets, maps, manuscripts, photographs and films. Students, authors, historians and genealogists visit the library most often, but we encourage the general public to take advantage of the collections as well. Our Library staff is always available to help and answer questions.
Ohio Valley History is a journal of the history and culture of the Ohio Valley and Upper South regions published by Cincinnati Museum Center in collaboration with the Filson Historical Society and the University of Cincinnati. Published quarterly, each issue contains insightful articles, book reviews and essays for inquisitive minds interested in the history and artifacts of our region. The journal is edited by history professors at the University of Cincinnati and the University of Louisville.
Interested in Ohio Valley History? Subscribe! Cost: $15. To subscribe, call (513) 287-7001.
Printed Works Collection
In our Printed Works Collection you can find books, newspapers, pamphlets, broadsides and maps relating to Greater Cincinnati, the state of Ohio and the Old Northwest. Conducting genealogical research? There are family histories, town and county histories and published indexes to birth, marriage and death records for Hamilton County. Cornelius J. Hauck’s collection of botanical books dating from 1471 through the 1960s is also part of the collection.
The Manuscript Department
In the Manuscript Department we collect, preserve, organize and provide descriptions of personal papers and organizational records relating to the history of the Greater Cincinnati area, from the early settlement of Cincinnati to the present. The collection contains original correspondence, diaries, minutes, financial records, scrapbooks, speeches and other documents. The collections are available for research in the Cincinnati History Library and Archives.
The Department of Photographs and Films
The Department of Photographs and Films contains nearly one million archival photographs and prints, as well as films, videos and sound recordings. The material documents the cultural, social, political, scientific, religious, educational and economic development of the Greater Cincinnati area from the earliest days of the various mediums. The collection is available for research in the library and a small sample can be viewed on our website. Scans or prints can be purchased for commercial or personal use.
The Preservation Department
In the Preservation Department, we are responsible for collections preservation programming. We also operate a conservation lab where we conduct repairs and treatments on a broad range of materials including books, pamphlets, maps, manuscripts and broadsides. Preservation also manages environmental monitoring, emergency and disaster planning for the collections, pest management, exhibit support, collections maintenance and staff training.
Temporary library closure
The Cincinnati History Library and Archives is closed to the public to facilitate the ongoing restoration of historic Union Terminal. As a result, guests will be unable to visit the Cincinnati History Library, but may still access the library’s online catalog, digital journals and other local history resources at library.cincymuseum.org. Limited service via telephone and email is available, but the library space will remain closed to the public until July 15, 2019.
Moratorium on loan requests and donations
As part of the restoration project, we have imposed a moratorium on loan requests and donations to our collections until further notice. This is necessary in order to allow our curatorial staff to focus on restoration-related collections issues and to properly protect and preserve the existing collections during this complex project. We ask donors to be patient and hold on to their treasures until this exciting restoration project is complete.
Moratorium on reproduction requests
Beginning January 15, 2016, the Cincinnati History Library and Archives will impose a moratorium on reproduction requests from our Manuscripts, Printed, Photographs and Prints and Moving Image and Sound Recording collections. This is necessary in order to allow our curatorial staff to focus on restoration-related collections issues and to properly protect and preserve the existing collections during this complex project. We ask patrons to be patient and hold on to their requests until we are able to resume taking orders. Please check our website for updates about when reproduction services will be offered again.
Open by appointment only
Thursdays and Fridays
from Noon to 4 p.m.
Free and open to the public
Search our library’s catalog at searchcollections.cincymuseum.org
Some photographs from our AV Collection are available on Getty Images.
Visit the Google Art Project to see our J.P. Ball online exhibit and some examples from our Fine Art Collection
Purchase reproductions of our Fine Art at Request a Print
On July 16, 2012, Cincinnati Museum Center dedicated the Cincinnati History Library and Archives lobby in memory of longtime library volunteer Gloria J. Strohmenger Goering. The dedication was in honor of Goering's passion for the library and a generous gift from the Goering Family Foundation.