Research Library

The Library

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Reading Room Hours available by appointment only. Email to schedule a visit.

Housed within the Cleveland History Center in University Circle, the WRHS Library collections include published resources (250,000 books, 25,000 newspapers, and numerous maps, sheet music, broadsides, and other printed ephemera) and unpublished manuscripts collections (over 10,000 linear feet of processed personal papers and records, more than 340,000 images, and numerous audio and video recordings).

Since its founding, the primary focus of the Library has been the documentation of the many facets of the history of Cleveland and Northeastern Ohio. This portrayal includes religion, politics, immigration, gender, ethnicity, transportation, business, labor, war, philanthropy, medicine, leisure, and countless other dimensions of life in the region.

The Library has also developed into a premier genealogical center with extensive collections of unique family history research materials and is a FamilySearch Affiliate Library. The holdings of family histories and genealogical resources such as church records, funeral home records, family bibles, and other such materials are invaluable and cannot be found elsewhere.

Additionally, the Library holds several collections that are national in scope, including: extensive materials covering religion in America during the 19th century, featuring a world-renowned collection of Shaker materials; the William P. Palmer Civil War collection, covering slavery, Abraham Lincoln, and the American Civil War; and the Crawford library of automotive and aviation history, featuring Automotive Marque Files, a collection of owner’s manuals, brochures, photographs, and other automotive ephemera organized by vehicle make, model, and year.

The Library’s diverse collections appeal to a wide spectrum of users including scholars, students, genealogists, historians, hobbyists, government, media, and others.

Individual researchers and groups are welcome. Please contact the Reference staff in advance for information concerning services, policies, and procedures: Call 216-721-5722 x1509 or email