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The Washington County Public Library has a number of Special Collections, reflecting the unique cultural and historical character of the community we serve.


The Davenport Collection

The most visible evidence of the library's dedication to preserving Washington County's heritage is our Local History and Genealogy Collection, housed in the main library’s Virginia Room. In addition to books that have been acquired by our Collection Development team, we are privileged to have three Special Collections: the L.C. Angle Collection, which contains materials donated in honor of Mr. Angle, a distinguished historian, the Mary Belle Price Appalachian Collection, and the Davenport Collection. The Davenport Collection is comprised of donations from Peter J. Davenport’s personal library and new materials purchased with endowment funds. At present the Collection numbers more than 200 titles.


The Hall Collection

The personal papers and other effects of a well-known local historian and community leader, Louise Fortune Hall, were donated to the Washington County Public Library in 2008.

Louise Fortune Hall (1911-2008) was a lifelong resident of Damascus, Virginia, a Blue Ridge Mountain foothills town near the Tennessee border. The Hall Collection consists of primary and secondary materials that mirror a small Appalachian town’s social, cultural and economic history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


Carter Collection

Just a little over four miles from the Mendota Branch of the Washington County Public library is Hiltons, Va., home of the world-famous Carter Fold. Janette Carter, one of three children of A.P. and Sara Carter established the Carter Family Fold to honor the memory of her parents and Maybelle Carter who played a historic role in helping give birth to the age of country music beginning in 1927. Janette and other members of the Carter family were instrumental in developing a Carter Collection at the Mendota Branch. It contains books, sound recordings, and videos about the original Carter Family and their offspring, Johnny Cash, Bill Clifton, Tom T. Hall, Waylon Jennings and a host of recordings by friends and fans of the Original Carter Family.


The Barter Collection

Our newest acquisition, courtesy of the Barter Theater and the State Library of Virginia, are the Barter Theater Scrapbooks on microfilm. Scrapbooks of the historic Barter Theater contain newspaper and magazine clippings, reviews, playbills, schedules, advertisements and other ephemera contained on 15 rolls of microfilm. The Collection will be located in the Virginia Room adjacent to the microfilm reader/copier.


Foundation Cooperating Collection

One specialized collection in our library has nothing to do with local culture or history. The Cooperating Collection serves as a tool for individuals and non-profit organizations to match their needs with money provided by the nation's 10,000 largest grant making foundations. Cooperating Collections are free funding information centers in libraries, community foundations, and other nonprofit resource centers that provide a core collection of Foundation Center publications and a variety of supplementary materials and services in areas useful to grant seekers. In addition, the Cooperating Collection is available online on all public access workstations at the main library in Abingdon. Click here for some Frequently Asked Questions about the Foundation Cooperating Collection.



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