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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.

Libraries

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.

San Diego, California
San Diego Automotive Museum  A collection including (as of late 2017 according to their website) 3,393 automobile books, 36,000-40,000 magazines with titles back to 1901, 2,559 hardcover repair manuals, and 13,000 plus club newsletters.

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.

New York, New York
New York Automotive and Diesel Institute  A collection of books and periodicals for the students & staff of NYADI, complemented by quiet study spaces and meeting rooms. Run by Patricia a. Hollander, MLS, a professional librarian with 38 years of experience.

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.


Publishers

This is a list of publishers that specialize in wheeled transportation or have a significant portion of their business within the scope of The Crittenden Automotive Library's subjects. This does not include manufacturers' self-published manuals & training materials.


Chilton DIY  Founded in 1904 as Chilton Publishing Company, it published periodicals and later became one of the major publishers of automotive manuals for do-it-yourselfers. From 1985 to 2007 it went through a series of mergers and splits, eventually settling down as a part of Cengage Learning. Chilton page in The Crittenden Automotive Library.


Clymer Manuals  Originally a smaller competitor in the do-it-yourself automobile repair manual market, it was acquired by Haynes North America, Inc. (part of Haynes Publishing) and is now Haynes' division for the powersports market including motorcycles & ATVs. Clymer page in The Crittenden Automotive Library.


Haynes Publishing  Begun when John Haynes OBE published his first book based on a tear down & rebuild of a Austin 7 Special in 1956. Since then Haynes books have become one of the two major standard guides for do-it-yourselfers. Haynes Publishing page in The Crittenden Automotive Library.


Krause Publications  Founded in 1952 by Chester Krause with the publication of Numismatic News. Since then it has expanded to cover all sorts of hobbies, and notably for the automobile collector publishes the Standard Catalog series of books.


Mitchell 1  Founded by Glenn Mitchell as Mitchell Manuals in 1946, it would be acquired in parts by Snap-On from 1996-1998 and turned into a joint venture with NAPA in 2000. Beginning in 1989 with Mitchell On-Demand computer-delivered information service, Mitchell has moved from a paper-based publisher to an online publisher.


Motohistory  A small imprint for motorcycle books published by Ed Youngblood.


MOTOR Information Systems  Founded in 1903 and now part of the Hearst Corporation. Most well-known for publishing detailed repair manuals for professional technicians.


Motorbooks  Founded in 1965 and acquired by Quarto in 2007. Specializes in publishing histories and technical books for casual automobile enthusiasts.


Motor Racing Publications  A former publisher of racing histories and biographies, currently in reprint by Quarto.


Veloce Publishing  Founded in 1991 by Rod Grainger and Jude Brooks. It published detailed histories and buyers' guides.




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