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Automotive Libraries

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Automotive Libraries

Hopefully, you can find what you're looking for at The Crittenden Automotive Library, but we understand that even if we weren't a small operation that no library in the history of humanity has everything. We'll certainly try, but it's never going to happen.

Due to copyright, book & document availability, and limitations of time & money & space (online & offline), every automotive library's collection is different, and we won't take it personally if you need another library to finish your research. We're just here to help. This is where the Automotive Library list comes in. Check out the following public resources for more information if we don't have it here. Most of these libraries are geared towards in-person research but some include paid research services.

You can also ask Bill at admin@CarsAndRacingStuff.com for help and if he can't find it he'll put it in a Reference Desk article so that your question can be seen by hundreds of Library patrons at CarsAndRacingStuff.com and be indexed for Google search.

La Mesa, California
The Horseless Carriage Foundation  Established in 1985, this library's stated mission is to recreate the "pioneer automotive research libraries" of W. Everett Miller and Dr. Alfred S. Lewerenz. The collection emphasizes the pre-1943 era but includes information on modern cars as well. HFCI hosts a number of personal collections, which include those of Richard A. Teague, Art Twohy, Julian Eccles, James Valentine, David Rice, and Lindley Bothwell.

Sylmar, California
The Nethercutt Automotive Research Library and Archive  The information and research division of The Nethercutt Collection, a museum of over 250 historic and classic automobiles, this library includes many materials predating the 20th century. The legacy of Wellington Everett Miller, an automobile engineer, who collected much of the library's materials over a period of 70 years, Nethercutt's archives include a vast amount of information and documentation on pre-1940 automobiles among resources from all automotive eras.

Naples, Florida
The Revs Institute  Founded in 2009 by Miles Collier, this new library is rapidly becoming one of the premier automotive research institutions in the United States. In 2011 the Institute acquired the Karl Ludvigsen Library and began an association with Stanford University.

Detroit, Michigan
Detroit Public Library: National Automotive History Collection Branch  Founded in 1953, this is one of the most treasured collections of the United States automobile industry, including the personal papers and original documents of automobile pioneers and corporate leaders. Includes the huge Nathan Lazarnick Collection of automobile industry photographs from 1900-1920.

Hershey, Pennsylvania
Antique Automobile Club of America Library  Formed in 1977 (as part of a club formed in 1935), this library holds over 1 million items and the collections of 12 car clubs & organizations.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Free Library of Philadelphia's Automobile Reference Collection  This collection includes 34,000 pieces of sales literature, making it one of the largest public collections of automotive brochures in the world.

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