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Digital Archives of Broward County Library

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About the Broward County Historical Archives and Library


The Broward County Historical Commission was created by County ordinance in 1972. Now a part of the Libraries Division as the Broward County Historical Archives and Library, this repository preserves records and artifacts that document the natural, social and civic history of the diverse, dynamic 31 municipalities that comprise Broward County.


The general reference collection includes manuscripts, newspaper clippings and pamphlets on a wide range of subjects. Of particular interest are the biographical files which include obituaries and pioneer (early resident) biographical data forms. Supplementing the general collection are Special Collections which include, among others, an oral history collection with more than 300 recorded interviews conducted since 1972; Florida East Coast Railway employee records (1918 to 1950); and the Cooper Kirk Collection, with emphasis on such topics as Major William Lauderdale and the Second Seminole War, Governor Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, the creation of Broward County, and extracts from local papers, circa 1909 to 1929. MORE (link to remainder of expanded text below)


The archives contain a collection of original government documents, including probate records from 1916 to 1940, sheriff’s correspondence and records, license applications, school records, County Guard records, voter registration cards from 1900 to 1946, and deed records.


Maps and photographs depict the County over the course of its evolution. More than 1,200 maps ranging from 16th century sailing charts to modern road maps and development plats make up this collection. An extensive photographic collection includes more than 20,000 images dating from the late 19th century to the present. Comprehensive aerial photographs of the County dating from 1947, with some random images from as early as the 1920s, are among the most commonly used items in the archives.


Nine filing cabinets house the Hollywood Sun-Tattler collection of photographs that appeared in that paper mostly from the 1970s and 1980s. Postcards and DVDs also make up part of the collection, which includes movie footage dating back to the 1920s. The collection also includes hundreds of slides, primarily taken in the 1970s, of historical buildings and sites, many of which no longer exist today or have been drastically altered.


Almost 1,000 reels of microfilm are in the collection. The newspaper microfilm collection includes a nearly complete set of Fort Lauderdale newspapers (Sentinel and News) from 1913 to 1964, as well as issues of smaller Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Pompano papers. Included also are early issues of the Jacksonville, Florida Times-Union, Miami Herald and Metropolis, Palm Beach Post, Tropical Sun and microfilm records of the Hollywood Sun-Tattler in Broward County.


Local archeology is another area of specialization in the collection. Although Broward County was formed less than 100 years ago in 1915, archaeological finds discovered around South Florida date from as far back in time as 10,000 years ago. Hundreds of archaeological sites within the County have been recorded on land and under water, including the wreck of the S.S. Copenhagen, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and accessible to scuba divers.


For more information about the Broward County Historical Collection, housed at Main Library located at 100 South Andrews Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33301, call 954-357-8692.

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