Stewart Bell Jr. Archives Room Celebrates 40 Years

Stewart Bell Jr. Archives Room Celebrates 40 Years

The Stewart Bell Jr. Archives Room will celebrate its fortieth birthday this year. The Archives first opened to researchers on June 30th, 1979 with a small collection of published books and manuscripts related to the history of Winchester - Frederick County and the surrounding area.

The work of establishing the Archives began earlier, however. The Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society and Mr. Eddy, the Handley Library’s first director, had amassed a number of historical materials which were stored in a variety of locations, including a church, a locked room of the Handley Library, an attic, and even the trunk of a Society member’s car! With help from a federal CETA grant, the Historical Society was able to hire Rebecca Ebert and Kimberley Patterson to begin the process of organizing, preserving, and describing these historical materials so they could be used by the public.

Today, the Archives Room still occupies the two rooms constructed in the basement of the Handley Library building in 1979, and it remains jointly operated by the Handley Regional Library and the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society. In 1982, it was named for Stewart Bell Jr., the former mayor of Winchester.

Under the stewardship of Rebecca Ebert, who took on the official role of Archives Librarian in 1981, its collections have grown considerably and are used by researchers from across the United States and other parts of the world. Over the years, many staff members, volunteers, and interns have contributed their skills and knowledge to make the Archives a valued resource for these researchers. We’d like to thank them and every member of our community who continues to support the work of the Stewart Bell Jr. Archives.

Are you interested in doing research at the Stewart Bell Jr. Archives or learning more about our collections? Visit our website or come to the Archives during opening hours: Monday to Wednesday, 1pm to 8pm and Thursday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.

Image shows Rebecca Ebert, Archives Librarian, in the storage room of the Stewart Bell Jr. Archives. Credit: Handley Library Records, 138 THL, Stewart Bell Jr. Archives, Handley Regional Library and Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society.