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.

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!

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.