The DeKalb History Center has a variety of special reference materials for you to use in your research including city directories, tax digests and court records. We also have a wide selection of periodicals, with a particular focus on local and community newsletters such as Smoke Signals, Decatur Focus, and the Doraville Citizen. Please note that the majority of periodical collections are incomplete and gaps may not always be noted in their descriptions. Periodicals are kept in separate storage areas and you must make an appointment to use them.
The Atlanta Constitution
Two bound volumes, May/ June 1936 and March/April 1931.
The Atlanta Century
Reprinted bound book of issues from March 1860 to May 1865, by Norman Shavin.
Atlanta Historical Bulletin
Scattered issues January 1929 to May 1950, a memorial issue for Margaret Mitchell.
Atlanta Journal Magazine
One bound volume from 1936.
Issues begin June 1993 and go through April 2000.
We have a good set of Atlanta city directories, though not all years are represented. They contain a wealth of home and resident information, often listing spouses and occupations. The Atlanta city and suburban directories are in a single volume until 1956, when the book became too large and Atlanta was divided into separate city and suburban directories. We also have the 1939 DeKalb directory, the only one published, and a selection of 1970s directories for Tucker/Stone Mountain. Click on the city directories title above for a PDF document with the dates of the books in our collection. You will need a PDF reader to access the document.
Issues that we have:
The Countryman Newspaper
(Newspapers: 1 box)
The Countryman was published before, during and after the Civil War, 1862-1866 and the New Georgia Encyclopedia reports that circulation reached 2000 at one point. It was published by J.A. Turner from his Turnwold Plantation near Eatonton, Georgia and for a time, Joel Chandler Harris was a typesetter. Issues include 1862 through 1866. There are articles on making vinegar, reports on happenings at the capital in Richmond, and Civil War leaders. There is also a series of biographical articles Turner wrote about his father, William Turner.
Daughters of the American Revolution
Accession # 1986.95
DAR Magazine issues from January 1926 through December 1938.
50th Anniversary issue from the 1940s
National Historical magazine, 1938
Decatur Chamber of Commerce
Accession # FITS.355
Two newsletters, The Edge from 1984 to 1994, and DeKalb Dynamics. Magazines cover December 1984 through Mar/Apr 1996.
Thirteen bound volumes
Minute books (volumes 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60) containing copies of court records. Please call ahead for an appointment to look at these volumes. Click on the minute books title above for a PDF document with relevant date ranges for the individual books. You will need a PDF reader to access the document.
Decatur DeKalb News Business and Financial Review
Bound volumes, July 1973 through December 28, 1995. Part of our Newspaper books collection.
Issues begin February 1994.
Decatur Focus/Central Focus
Accession # FITS.289.4
Issues begin in January 1985 and continue to be published.
Decatur Junior High School
Accession # FITS.389
The Echo, a few issues only, from February 1928 to March 1931.
A few issues of the magazine, Sept/Oct 2006 through Mar/Apr 2007.
Decatur Rotary Club
50 Years of Service
1938-1988 by Frank M. Carryl and Charles F. Schwab
Bound volumes: 18 volumes
Accession # 1996.46
This collection contains 12 volumes of bound minutes for the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce. 11 volumes are minutes for the Board of Directors, roughly 1939 to 1992, and one is of the Executive Committee and covers November 1964 to September 1965.
DeKalb County Civil Court Criminal Docket Book
Accession # 1984.256
One volume, 599 pages
This government record contains the court docket for the DeKalb Civil Court for the year 1957.
DeKalb County Jail Docket
Accessioin # 2002.7
October 17, 1959 - July 18, 1961 with two entries for Martin Luther King, Jr., one in May 1960 for improper tag and one in October 1960 for violation of parole.
DeKalb County Justice of the Peace Records
(Temp. Accession # FITS.411 - Papers: 2 document boxes)
The Justice of the Peace Records include eight dockets maintained by the Justices of the Peace. Six of the dockets contain civil proceedings, and the other two dockets contain criminal suits. The dockets cover the 1880s-1960, and were compiled by several Justices of the Peace, including H.J. Mathews and J.H. Young.
DeKalb County Mortgage Record Book
One bound volume
Volume 79 for 1927-1928.
Additional mortgage records are available on microfilm in our Reading Room.
DeKalb County Plat Books
(Assession # L2012.1 - 9 bound volumes)
Stored in the basement, please call ahead. Paper and waxed linen plat maps for property in Dekalb county. They have been pasted into large books by the county clerk and some are damaged by use, water and inproper storage conditions, however, they are good snapshots in time of streets and subdivisions in DeKalb. These are also available at the county courthouse; these are duplicates. Indexing of lot numbers and names is ongoing.
General date ranges of the volumes:
1) 1910-Oct 1912
2) Oct 1912-Apr 1914
3) May 1914-Mar 1916
9) July 1932-Jun 1936
DeKalb County Registered Vendors of Medicines, Drugs and Poisons
Ledger; 1 book
Book of registered vendors for 1927-1928.
DeKalb County Road Commissioner Ledger, Court of the Ordinary
(Temp. ACC # FITS.541 - Ledger; 1 volume)
This ledger, the DeKalb County Road Commissioner’s Docket from 1871-1884 and some from 1887, has records of sections of Atlanta roads that were worked on, and the name of the overseer and a list of the men who worked on the roads. Also in the docket are jail sentences and fines for several workers who missed workdays. Many workers' names are listed as “colored”. Additional Court of Ordinary records are available on microfilm in our Reading Room.
DeKalb County Sheriff Docket Books
(ACC # 2000.5 - Ledgers: 7 volumes)
These volumes include a record of all arrests in DeKalb County for the years covered. The name of the offender, the arresting officer, and the recorded offense are included.
Bench Warrants - 1920
1 - November 1962 - June 1966
2 - July 1966 - March 1969
3 - March 1969 - December 1970
4 - January 1971 - July 1972
5 - July 1972 - August 1973
6 - August 1973 - January 1974
DeKalb County Superior Court Minutes/Book A (1836-1843)
(ACC # 1947.2 - One Volume: 478 pages)
This is the only volume of official county records that survived the 1842 courthouse fire. The volume covers all cases tried in the DeKalb Superior Court from 1836-1843. Please call ahead for an appointment to view this volume.
DeKalb County Superior Court
Writs; One bound volume (volume M)
March 1917 through December 1917.
(45 bound volumes; fragile in many cases)
A tax digest lists names and property, and the value of that property for the purpose of setting tax rates. Some of the earlier volumes only have names, but beginning about 1940, there is also an address given. Tax digests for 1846 to 1880 are available on microfilm in our Reading Room.
DeKalb County Voter Registration Books
Original book of 1902 voter registration in DeKalb County, as well as a typed and bound copy of the original. The 1902 book has been digitized and can be found on our Ancestry.com page HERE.
Discover South Dekalb slideshow
Accession # 2010.15
Put together by the DeKalb Public Library, this 103-slide presentation has a cassette tape narration and a script. The slides have been digitized and can be viewed in the DHC reference room. It was put together in 1979, so views of Mathis milk delivery, Peachtree DeKalb Airport (PDK) and DeKalb hopspital are a reminder of how things have changed.
Scattered issues from December 1929 through 1956.
Dixie Council of Authors and Journalists
Lithonia published compilatation of approximately 2700 Georgia authors. Births, deaths, place of birth and type of writings. January 1970.
Accession # FITS.289.15
Issues from Spring 1978 through Spring 1995.
Druid Hills News
Issues begin with Fall 1987 and go through Fall 2005.
Accession # 2008.52
Small collection of scattered issues from 1977 through 1998.
This collection was anonymously donated and contains seven copies of theGeorgia Military Academy newsletter The Gamilicad from 1939 and 1940. The newsletter is dedicated to "The Progress of GMA". It was published in College Park. There are also two copies of the Declaration of Independence, a tribute to J.C. Woodward and information about The Weaver at the Body and Health Building of the Georgia Military.
Recording the activities of the gardening in the deep south and published by the Garden Club of Georgia. Four issues, January 1951, May 1951, April 1951, September 1951.
Georgia Department of Commerce newsletter
August 1951 through January 1959
Georgia Life, scattered issues winter 1976 through Spring 1980 and Georgia Magazine, scattered June-July 1957 through November 1972.
For detailed listing, click on the title above for PDF document.
Georgia State Highway Department
Accession # FITS.307
Reports published June 1943 through June 1956.
Bound volumes for the years 1857 through 1865.
This collection contains 18 volumes of the Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, scattered copies, July 1863 through January 1868. Also included in box 2 are three issues of Scribner’s Monthly from 1878 and 1880.
Hodge, Stephen Diary
Stephen Hodge was a Confederate soldier (first a 3rd Sgt. and eventually a Captain) who kept a diary for the years 1859-1878. It begins with his first day of classes at Emory Oxford in 1859. He was from Alabama and was a member of the 14th Regiment Alabama Volunteer Infantry. The diary is first hand documentation to the life of a returned Confederate soldier.
"After resting, recruiting my strength, etc., I began to cast around me for employment. In the first place I needed some additon to my scant wardrobe. I had two home-made soldier suits osnaburgs dyed. I went to the swamps got some permeto or palmetto and Mother and sister soon made me a very respectable hat. A freedman, for the Negroes were all free now, made me a pair of shoes out of some leather father had, and I was thus in condition to visit the girls. I had a jolly time. Never had less nor felt better."
Insurance Company Policy Register
Accession # 1982.124
(One bound volume)
This book contains insurance policies and claim documents for 1938-1940 from the Milwaukee Mechanics Insurance Company in New Jersey's Decatur office. There is an index of names in the front and policy documents contain names, addresses and payment information. Part of the Decatur Federal Savings and Loan collection.
Junior League of DeKalb County
Two publications, The Leaguelet and The Colleague. The Leaguelet covers February 1995 to May/June 2004 and The Colleague is November 1983 to September 1992.
Know Your County, DeKalb County Georgia
Published by the league of Women Voters. Services, courts, education and health information for DeKalb County.
Land Lot Owners of 16th district, DeKalb County
Book of land lot owners from Henry County in 1821, which became the 16th district of DeKalb. Owners are shown with names of lot owners. Book should accompany list of land lottery drawers in 16th district DeKalb County 1821 Georgia Land Lottery. Oversized photocopies of the original pages in cardboard folio.
Part of the newspaper books collection, the bound volumes cover 1979 to 1985.
(Accession # 2010.5)
A collection of Atlanta area telephone books, white pages, yellow pages, special areas such as specific books for Gwinnett County and Decatur. The books begin in 1970 and go through 2006, being supplemented with later volumes as available.
McElroy Family Bible
Accession # 1947.8
Includes written record of births, deaths, and marriages for various members of McElroy family, most pre-dating publication of the Bible.
Samuel McElroy of Anderson District, South Carolina 1830
Published by the Decatur Neighborhood Alliance. Sept/Oct 1982 to December 1986.
This newsletter is published by the Winona Park Neighbors Association. June 1977 through December 1982.
News from City Hall
From the city of Avondale Estates, Sept/Oct 1993 to Nov/Dec 2006.
176 bound volumes
(Accession # 1998.24)
This collection of DeKalb County newspapers includes newspapers from 1919-1995. Not every year of every newspaper within that span is represented in the collection. Primary titles include the DeKalb New Era, the Decatur-DeKalb News, and the Decatur-DeKalb News/Era. For a comprehensive list of years, please hit the collection's link for a PDF file with more detailed information. Issues of the DeKalb New Era from 1885 to 1955 are also available on microfilm from the Decatur Library.
Newsletter beginning February 2003 to the present.
The Police Review
(Accession # FITS.557)
Book on Georgia police forces, including Decatur, Fulton County and Cobb County, May 1927.
The Porch Press
Newspaper for the East Atlanta Community Association, the Grant Park Neighborhood Association and the South Atlanta for Neighborhood Development groups. Issues from February1987 until November 1993.
Register for Posted Land
(Accession # FITS.544 - 1 volume)
A register for posted land from 1903-1914. Includes names, description/location of land, district and land lots.
Register of Free Persons of Color, Freedman record, Inferior Court
The Freeman Record (Annual Returns) provides the names, ages, birth places, residences, and brief descriptions of all of the free African-Americans residing in DeKalb County from 1851-1864. Several of the names recur throughout the record, indicating that people were required to reregister after a certain period of time. This book has been digitized and is available at our Ancestry.com page found HERE.
Roswell Manufacturing Company Meeting Minutes
(1 volume; 1 box)
This ledger contains meeting minutes from the Roswell Manufacturing Company Stockholders from 1840-1900. The record book has information on the finances of the company, including a stock valuation chart, semi-annual reports of the operations of the mills, and votes and resolutions decided upon by the stockholders. This ledger is one of a kind and must be handled only for special use under supervision.
Sacred Harp Song Book Collection
(Accession # 2001.28 - Papers: 1 box)
This collection contains 12 small booklets of songs sung by the famous Sacred Harp Singers. There are Songs of Gladness, Patriotic Songs and Songs of Faith. Some of the books are very old and rare.
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps
Ten-volume fire insurance maps for Atlanta and surrounding areas. Each volume covers a different area. See the map key HERE from the front of one of the volumes to see in which volume your area of interest is covered. Some of the lesser used volumes must be requested ahead of time. Volume 7 is Decatur. Due to fragile condition of the books, no scans are allowed, but digital photography images, allowed here at the DHC, turn out quite well.
See also the Digital Library of Georgia's scanned versions HERE for comparison to our set; most of our volumes were originally published in 1925 to 1932, but were updated until 1966.
Bound volumes from January 1903 until June 1902 and for May 1903 until April 1904.
Part of the Mr. and Mrs. Robert W. Espy IV Collection
The issues of Smoke Signals from the Smoke Rise community begin in 1969 and the publication is still being published and this is a very complete collection. Another donor has donated scattered issues from November 1997 to December 2005.
The Stars and Stripes
Military newspaper, bound, covering February 8, 1918 to June 13, 1919. Call ahead to view this volume.
Thompson Family Bible
(Accession # 1982.163)
This collection contains the family record of births and deaths, beginning in 1846 and continuing to 1918. Also included are the family Bible (ca. 1866) and the book A History of Stone Mountain by Mrs. J.F. Hill.
Accession # FITS.289.16
Newspaper insert section from the Dekalb New Era papers. 1973 until 1991 are represented.
Issues begin in March 1994 and go to March 2007.
Up Close and Personal in Tucker
Magazine on the Tucker, Smokerise, Embry Hills and Northlake areas. Volumes 1-7, appears to be the 1980s and 1990s.
Vaughn Family Bible
The Vaughn family Bible from 1851 has birth, death, and marriage records placed inside of it. The first births to be recorded are in the early 1800s. Marriages are recorded from the mid 1800s through 1900. There are photocopies of the records and the first page of the aged bible.
The War of the Rebellion (description information from Cornell Libraries)
The INDEX is in the reading room, but other copies are stored and must be requested ahead of time. Please check the PDF file, which can be accessed by the link of the series' name, above.
Series I: Contains the formal reports, both Union and Confederate, of the first seizures of United States property in the Southern States, and of all military operations in the field, with the correspondence, orders, and returns relating specially thereto, and, as proposed is to be accompanied by an Atlas. In this series the reports will be arranged according to the campaigns and several theaters of operations (in the chronological order of the events), and the Union reports of any event will, as a rule, be immediately followed by the Confederate accounts. The correspondence, etc., not embraced in the "reports" proper will follow (first Union and next Confederate) in chronological order.
Series II: Contains the correspondence, orders, reports, and returns, Union and Confederate, relating to prisoners of war, and (so far as the military authorities were concerned) to State or political prisoners.
Series III: Contains the correspondence, orders, reports, and returns of the Union authorities (embracing their correspondence with the Confederate officials) not relating specially to the subjects of the first and second series. It will set forth the annual and special reports of the Secretary of War, of the General-in-Chief, and of the chiefs of the several staff corps and departments; the calls for troops, and the correspondence between the national and the several State authorities.
Williams, Hiram Scrapbook
(ACC # 1978.14 - Scrapbooks: 2 volumes)
Oath fouind in superior court files (1947.2) of Hiram Williams taking the oath of office as Clerk of the Superior court in 1870.
a. Scrapbook of newspaper clippings between 1894 and 1916; some indexed by subject; the names of the people involved vary but all deal with Decatur-DeKalb County history; a lot of A. M. Wier "Sarge Plunkett" columns. Newspaper clippings, invitations, and political handbills; 88 pages; re-bound in 1951.
b. Scrapbook of articles invitations and letters from 1911 to 1934; indexed; the names in the articles vary but all deal with the history of DeKalb County. Original material; newspaper clippings, typed letters, and engraved invitations; 88 pages; re-bound in 1951.
(Over 100 volumes)
This collection includes yearbooks from various primary, secondary, and undergraduate schools located in DeKalb County. The collection includes yearbooks from Agnes Scott College, DeKalb College, Emory University, and Oglethorpe University. Only a small percentage of secondary schools are represented in the collection. Decatur city schools and Cross Keys High School are the best represented secondary schools in the collection.
Note: This is an active collection. Donations of yearbooks are encouraged for years not already in the collection.