About the Library

Since 1831 the Cincinnati History Library and Archives has been collecting and preserving materials relating 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 the Filson Historical Society and the University of Cincinnati. Published quarterly, each issue contains interesting and 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. Subscribe today! Cost: $15 for members, $30 for non-members. Club level members get a free subscription! To subscribe, call (513) 287-7001.

Visit the Library's website to search online databases, including historical issues of Ohio Valley History, and to view collection exhibits.

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.

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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. In our collection, we have original correspondence, diaries, minutes, financial records, scrapbooks, speeches and other documents. The collections are available for research in the Cincinnati History Library and Archives.

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The Department of Photographs and Films

The Department of Photographs and Films houses close to 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.

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The Preservation Department

In the Preservation Department we are responsible for the management of 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.

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For more information, contact the Library at (513) 287-7030 or library@cincymuseum.org.

Scott Gampfer, Director, Cincinnati History Library and History Collections
(513) 287-7084 or sgampfer@cincymuseum.org

M’Lissa Kesterman, Manager, Reference Services
(513) 287-7089 or mkesterman@cincymuseum.org        


Free and open to the public



Monday through Friday, Noon to 5 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed Sundays and holidays



On July 16, 2012, Cincinnati Museum Center dedicated the Cincinnati History Library & 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.