Biographical/Historical Note: Founded in 1794 as an "institution calculated to disseminate a taste for the cultivation of science and literature as well to facilitate the means of acquiring useful information," the Alexandria Library Company operated a subscription library, open to Alexandria residents (town and county, now Alexandria City and Arlington County).   The library was open to "non-subscribers" who were allowed to "hire a book."   The Alexandria Library Company operated Alexandria's library until 1938 when the facility was transferred to the city of Alexandria and converted into a public library.   The Alexandria Library Company continues to sponsor public lectures annually.
Scope and Content Note: The collection consists of circulation, subscription, and financial ledgers, annual lecture series documents, catalogues, correspondence, and various organizational documentation--by-laws, copy of the charter, etc.   Topics include: foundation of the Alexandria Library Company and its various cycles of growth and decline reflecting the local economy; the formation of the local public library system; and the on-going activities of the Alexandria Library Company.
Arrangement: The collection is divided into the following series (all chronological by year except where noted):   Series I--Organizational Records (1944-1990);   Series II--General Correspondence (1854-1968);   Series III--Financial Records (1874?-1990);   Series IV--Annual Meetings (1955-1964);   Series V--Membership Records (1794-1848 and 1942-1971);   Series VI--Annual Lecture (1860, 1957-1977);   Series VII--Subject File--alphabetical;   Series VIII--Catalogues (1815?-1912);     Series IX--Miscellaneous (1953-1968);     Series X--Clippings (1860, 1956-1961);     Series XI--Printed Matter (1954-1968).
Related Materials: Vertical file--Alexandria--Library Company;   Theses: "The Alexandria, Virginia, Library: Its History, Present Facilities, and Future Program" by Beverly Seehorn Brandt and "Descriptive and Subject Catalog of the Library Company Books in the Alexandria, Virginia Library, with an Historical Introduction" by Marjorie Darnell Evans;   Microfilm reels--#00037--Alexandria Library Company Minutes, 1794-1947;   #00038--Catalogue of Books of the Alexandria Library Company, 1801;   #00039--Catalogue of Books in Alexandria 1815 and 1856;   1 photoprint transferred to the photograph collection
Source: Probable donation by the Alexandria Library Company, 1938?;   Annual Lecture Series from Magnum Weeks. Subjects: The Alexandria Library Company; &nbps Libraries-Alexandria, Va.;   Libraries, subscription, Alexandria, Va.