• Photograph of Hallie B. Broker, a guest book reviewer, conducting story hour for a group of children at the Auburn Branch of the Atlanta Public Library. Courtesy of the Auburn Avenue Research Library via Digital Library of Georgia.

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    Auburn Branch Library - Photographs
    • Date
    • 1945/1990
    • Creator
    • McPheeters, Annie L
    • Description
    • Photograph of members on the Executive Board for the Metropolitan Atlanta Association for the Blind. Annie L. McPheeters is featured in the photograph, along with Phedoris J. Woods, who is seated at the head of the table.--Photograph of a group of st... more
      Photograph of members on the Executive Board for the Metropolitan Atlanta Association for the Blind. Annie L. McPheeters is featured in the photograph, along with Phedoris J. Woods, who is seated at the head of the table.--Photograph of a group of students and two women.--Photograph of Hallie B. Broker, a guest book reviewer, conducting story hour for a group of children. Two women are also featured in the photograph. Auburn Avenue Research Library Historic African American Education Collections received support from a Digitizing Historical Records grant awarded to the Auburn Avenue Research Library for African American Culture and History and the Digital Library of Georgia by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. Box 10 Folder 135, Item, series, Annie L. McPheeters papers. Archives Division, Auburn Avenue Research Library on African-American Culture and History, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System. less
    • Rights
    • Cite as: Item, series, Annie L. McPheeters papers. Archives Division, Auburn Avenue Research Library on African-American Culture and History, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System.
    • Partner
    • Digital Library of Georgia
    • Contributing Institution
    • Auburn Avenue Research Library on African-American Culture and History

  • Oral history interview with librarian, educator, and activist Annie L. McPheeters, who worked at the Auburn and West Hunter Branches of the Atlanta Public Library from 1934 until 1966. Courtesy of the Georgia State University Libraries Special Collections via Digital Library of Georgia.

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    Annie L. McPheeters Oral History Interview 1992 June 8
    • Date
    • 1992-06-05
    • Creator
    • McPheeters, Annie L. Nasstrom, Kathryn L.
    • Description
    • Annie McPheeters was the Head librarian at the Auburn Branch Library 1930's and '40's. Among topics discussed: Why McPheeters became a librarian; library's 1930 adult education program; John Wesley Dobbs; black libraries provide information for polit... more
      Annie McPheeters was the Head librarian at the Auburn Branch Library 1930's and '40's. Among topics discussed: Why McPheeters became a librarian; library's 1930 adult education program; John Wesley Dobbs; black libraries provide information for political, civic and voter leagues; Dr. C. A. Bacote; Reverend William Holmes Borders; Warren Coch. Local identification number: McPheeters, AL_19920608_(P1992-09). less
    • Rights
    • Http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-EDU/1.0/. Cite as: McPheeters, Annie L., Interviewed by Kathryn Nasstrom, 8 June 1992, P1992-09, Series J. Black and White Women in Atlanta Public Life, Georgia Government Documentation Project, Special Collectio... more
      Http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-EDU/1.0/. Cite as: McPheeters, Annie L., Interviewed by Kathryn Nasstrom, 8 June 1992, P1992-09, Series J. Black and White Women in Atlanta Public Life, Georgia Government Documentation Project, Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library, Atlanta. Copyright to this item is owned by Georgia State University Library. This item may be used for scholarship, educational, and personal use. Additional uses will require permission of the rights holder. less
    • Partner
    • Digital Library of Georgia
    • Contributing Institution
    • Georgia State University. Libraries. Special Collections

  • Photograph of two patrons reading in the West Hunter Branch of Atlanta's public library system, ca. 1960. The West Hunter Branch of Atlanta's public library system opened in 1949 to serve African American patrons. Courtesy of the Auburn Avenue Research Library via Digital Library of Georgia.

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    West Hunter branch
    • Date
    • 1960
    • Description
    • Photograph of two patrons reading in the West Hunter Branch of Atlanta, Georgia's public library system, circa 1960. The two African American men sit in chairs and hold books. The walls of the library are lined with full bookshelves. The West Hunter ... more
      Photograph of two patrons reading in the West Hunter Branch of Atlanta, Georgia's public library system, circa 1960. The two African American men sit in chairs and hold books. The walls of the library are lined with full bookshelves. The West Hunter Branch of Atlanta's public library system opened in 1949, during the era of public segregation, to serve African American patrons. All the city's libraries were integrated in 1959. less
    • Rights
    • Courtesy of Archives Division, Auburn Avenue Research Library. Photograph by Lane Brothers.
    • Partner
    • Digital Library of Georgia
    • Contributing Institution
    • New Georgia Encyclopedia (Project)

  • "Program: West Hunter Branch Atlanta Public Library Negro History Week., February 10-16, 1957." Courtesy of the Auburn Avenue Research Library via Digital Library of Georgia.

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    Program: West Hunter Branch Atlanta Public Library Negro History Week., February 10-16, 1957
    • Date
    • 1957
    • Description
    • Auburn Branch Library records, Archives Division, Auburn Avenue Research Library on African-American Culture and History, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System.
    • Rights
    • Cite as: Item, Auburn Branch Library records, Archives Division, Auburn Avenue Research Library on African-American Culture and History, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System.
    • Partner
    • Digital Library of Georgia
    • Contributing Institution
    • Auburn Avenue Research Library on African-American Culture and History

At the turn of the twentieth century, Atlanta was experiencing unprecedented growth of both its white and black populations as a result of the in-migration of rural southerners to growing urban centers. Atlanta was also home to a network of black colleges and universities as well as a thriving business district on Auburn Avenue. These factors contributed to an influential and well-educated black middle class, which shaped the city’s particular public library history.

Atlanta's first public library branch for African Americans was the Auburn Branch, officially opened on July 25, 1921, in a red-brick building at 333 Auburn Avenue. From 1921 until the branch closed in 1959, numerous African American women librarians managed the branch and its educational and community programming. These included Annie L. McPheeters, who was responsible for the development of the special, non-circulating "Negro History Collection" and served Atlanta’s African American libraries from 1934 until her retirement in 1966. The Auburn Branch was a community center for African Americans located in the heart of its political and cultural district. Notable Atlantans, such as civic and political leader John Wesley Dobbs, frequented the branch, while the women who ran it represented the library in civil and political matters outside its walls.

By the 1940s, increasing numbers of African Americans migrated to Atlanta's west side. In response, the city built a second branch to serve blacks. On December 6, 1949, the West Hunter Branch opened on the corner of West Hunter Street and Morris Brown Drive. The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System formally desegregated in 1959.