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Fairfax County History

Virginia Room Research Last Updated: Jun 23, 2024 10:04 AM

Local History Subject Files

With the establishment of the Virginiana Collection of the Fairfax County Public Library in the mid-1950s, Virginia Room librarians have continuously maintained vertical subject files on Fairfax County’s history and infrastructure. The Virginia Room Vertical and Historic Landmark Files consist of over 2,000 files on Fairfax County historical landmarks, communities, buildings, neighborhoods, churches, schools, and general county topics. The files contain newspaper clippings, reports, brochures, photocopies, correspondence, ephemera, and articles.

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The Virginia Room's Biography Files consist of two file cabinets of folders arranged alphabetically by the surname of Fairfax County families or individuals. The files include news clippings, articles, obituaries, genealogies, photocopies, correspondence, unpublished reports, family histories, and copies of historical documents. Occasionally, approximate birth and death dates and occupation for individuals have been included in the folder title. The files act as a starting point for researchers seeking local family history or biographical information on local individuals. Library staff are continuously adding to these files

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The Virginia Room Election Files contain over 950 files of information on the various elections that Fairfax County, City of Fairfax, Vienna, Herndon, and Clifton residents have voted on from 1950 to the present. Coverage is sporadic through the 1950s but files become more consistent beginning in the 1960s. Included are newspaper articles; candidate brochures/pamphlets/booklets/ mission statements, etc.; business cards; fans; door tags; stickers; letters and bumper stickers.

Virginia Room staff intermittently began collecting election materials in the early 1950s. Beginning in 1960, they maintained files for every year although just a limited number of campaigns received coverage. In the early 1970s, the collection expanded to include more campaigns with the arrival of a full-time Virginia Room Librarian. During this time the Virginia Room actively sought out campaign materials by writing candidates every October requesting literature, campaign brochures and policy statements for reference and handout. Staff duplicated whatever they received and any election coverage they had clipped out from newspapers and sent copies to other library branches in what became known as the Voter Service File.

Over the years the election files have come to be seen as a community service and many candidates and local residents have come in to look at the files to see what people had promised when they ran. The intent of the collection has evolved from focusing on a handful of elections to covering all elections that Fairfax County citizens vote on with the exception of Vice-Presidential and Presidential elections.

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The Virginia Room Cemetery Files contain files on over 400 Fairfax County cemeteries ranging from private cemeteries to military burials to church cemeteries. The files are largely the work of former Virginia Room Historian-Archivist Brian Conley who published a report in 1994 entitled “Cemeteries of Fairfax County, Virginia: A Report to the Board of Supervisors” which listed the location, condition and contents of the known private cemeteries located within the county. The files contain surveys, articles, reports, tombstone transcriptions, and occasionally photographs.

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The Virginia Room Non-Fairfax County Files consist of over 150 files on non-Fairfax County historical sites and topics. Subjects include Prince William County, Manassas City, Loudoun County, District of Columbia, Arlington, and Alexandria. The files contain newspaper clippings, reports, brochures, photocopies, and articles.

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