DIG MEMPHIS Digital Archives

dig memphis

the digital archives of the memphis public libraries

Explore the Past.  Inform the Present.  Shape the Future.


all dig memphis collections

We have over 20,000 items in 30 different collections. Search the Dig Memphis database directly. Results can be filtered by type of material, subject, and more. Or browse these highlighted collections, including Special Exhibits below.

a. schwab collection

This collection is still in its infancy. Only a small fraction of the 130+ boxes found onsite at A. Schwab Dry Goods Store have been digitized so far, but the collection has a multitude of unique artifacts that establish the vast influences and connections A. Schwab has to Beale St., to Memphis, and to the broader history of the U.S.

library history collection

A lot has changed since the original Cossitt Library first opened its doors on April 12, 1893. The Library History Collection captures more than a century of development and progress, reflected in photographs, letters, and other documents.

mid-south coliseum collection

In April 2019, Memphis Public Libraries ventured into the abandoned Mid-South Coliseum to determine if there was anything worth preserving. At this time, physical material is not available to the public. However, due to community interest, we are streamlining the digitization process and releasing highlights as part of this online exhibit.

memphis streetscapes collection

It only takes one glance at a photo of Front Street in the 1890s to see how much Memphis has changed… and how so many things have remained the same! This collection includes images of Memphis streets from the late-19th century to the late-20th century. It’s also a great place to find pictures of homes, buildings, streetcars, automobiles and businesses. Enjoy a trip through historic Memphis!

everett r. cook oral history collection

The Oral History Program began in the early 60s when Governor W. Browning was interviewed by Memphis State Univ. professor and archivist, Joseph H. Riggs. Named after Everett R. Cook, who donated to MPL’s oral history program, the collection spans decades and includes interviews with a broad cross-section of Memphians from across the city.

special exhibits

memphis bicentennial

In 2019, the Library celebrated the City and County’s Bicentennial with various programs and special online exhibits including a timeline of major events, a revamped Streetscapes collection, and the launch of “Memphis Then and Now”, a series of current-day replicated photos of some of the more iconic Streetscapes images.


We need your help! Explore images from our digital archive that are missing important details.

See if you can help us fill in some of the gaps.

a financial expedition through memphis

This online exhibit explores financial related topics while showcasing the history of money matters in Memphis. Learn how consumer prices have changed over the years. Take a look at some of the oldest banking institutions in the city. See where Memphians of the past have gone to obtain loans. Drawing on images found in in our digital archives, the exhibition connects broader financial themes to local history and information. 

memphis then and now

Have you ever wondered just how much a familiar street has changed over time or looked at an old building and speculated about what changes it may have undergone? Inspired by images found in our digital archives, we have gone out and recreated photographs from Memphis’ past to illustrate how the city has transformed. Use the digital slider to examine old and new images, comparing Memphis of the past to Memphis today.

votes for women

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage

In 2020, we celebrated the centennial anniversary of this major milestone, and reflected on the decades-long struggle by suffragists in Memphis, the state of Tennessee, and across the nation. 


digital donations

DIG Memphis collects and preserves material representing life in Memphis and the Mid-South. We welcome donations of photographs and other digital items that will help build our collections more fully. Click here for more information on how to submit your items to DIG Memphis.