Library & Archives

The Library & Archives H. O. Hirt Reading Room and administrative offices are located on the second floor of the Erie County History Center at 419 State Street. Researchers and students of all ages will find community history and genealogy information from a treasure of published and primary sources.

We are interested in providing information on the history of Erie County and environs, the history of people, places, things, events and activities in our county to our research public.

We collect primary and secondary sources relating to the pre-history and history of Erie County and its inhabitants up to the present time, history and biography from neighboring counties, Western Pennsylvania and the Lake Erie Region as they relate to Erie County. We also collect general reference works such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, directories, atlases and serial publications which help to interpret local history in a state and national context, Erie authors and imprints, technical and professional publications which support the operations of the Historical Society, oral and video histories of recent events and people. Images of Erie County including photographs, negatives, postcards, lithographs, architectural plans and drawings and maps are also part of the collections.

Our collections contain published books, atlases, city directories, serials, advertising art, primary documents including maps, architectural plans and drawings, photographs, diaries, letters, account books, church and cemetery readings, WPA transcripts, manuscripts, business records and other archival resources. Holdings now include over 5,280 linear ft. of manuscript and archival material, 5,385 books, 5,430 maps, architectural plans and drawings, and 312,800+ negatives, slides and prints.

The Library & Archives has experienced a significant growth in collections during the past ten years. The Erie Historical Museum Archives merged with the ECHS Library & Archives. Mercyhurst College has donated 208+ archival collections. A number of city and county record groups have been transferred to ECHS for greater access by the community. Large collections from other sources were also added. Holdings now total over 800 separate collections, and we continue to integrate new collections into the system for use by patrons.

Please call ahead to find out how we can assist you when you come in. Our volunteers and staff are available to help you find what you need efficiently and effectively. Research is discovery; we encourage you  to come in and discover something new about Erie County!