Historic Alexandria Foundation


Records, 1949-[ongoing]
Box 70,6 boxes, (3.3 linear ft.)

Historical and biographical note: The Historic Alexandria Foundation (HAF) is an organization of volunteers dedicated to preserving Alexandria's historic architecture.   Initiated by members of the Alexandria Association, HAF obtained a charter from the State of Virginia in 1954.

Most of the earliest records originally belonged to Delos H. Smith, a charter member of HAF and its Board of Trustees.   He also served on the Alexandria Board of Architectural Review from 1946 to 1953 and on the Old Town Civic Association Survey Committee.

Other early papers were collected by Magnum Weeks, a founding member, early president, and continuing director of HAF.   Weeks also was a charter member of the Alexandria Association and a life member of the Alexandria Library Company.

Later papers in this collection relate to William Francis Smith's tenure as secretary and president of HAF.   W. F. Smith is a retired banker who currently serves the community on the Alexandria Library Board, in the Alexandria Library Company, and as a local historian.

Scope and content note: Reports, minutes, correspondence, and surveys documenting HAF's formation, relationships to other volunteer organizations, and more than three decades of HAF's preservation projects and concerns.   HAF also plaqued historic properties, sponsored the Alexandria Antique Show, and funded preservation grants.   In addition, files of correspondence, programs, and publications from other historic preservation projects provide evidence for the history of preservation not only in Alexandria, but as a national movement during the late 1950's and early 1960's.

Leaders in Alexandria' preservation movement appear in these records: Ethelyn Cox, Dorothy Kabler, William Kabler, J. C. Herbert Bryant, Howard Joynt, Hannon E. Norris, and Arthur J. Mourot.   Among the historic sites documented are Lloyd House, Ramsey House, the McGuire House/Lyceum, Gadsby's Tavern, Carlyle House, the Alexandria Academy, and the 500 block of King Street.   Other organizations mentioned include the Alexandria Association, the Gadsby's Tavern Society, the American Legion, the Alexandria Tourist Council, the Board of Architectural Review, the Alexandria Heritage Foundation, the Alexandria Historic Restoration and Preservation Commission, the Building Code Board of Appeals, and the Old Town Civic Association.

Arrangement: By function and subject, thereunder chronologically.

Locations of originals or copies: These records are often copies.   The Historic Alexandria Foundation has working files of its own which may include the originals.

Related collections: HAF projects included surveys which generated lists, maps, publications, and photographs to identify historical buildings.   Lloyd House now owns the bulk of that material.

    Manuscript Collections: The Ethelyn Cox files, arranged by address, were collected as part of HAF's early building survey.   "The First Decade of Alexandria Archaeology Collection" includes urban renewal records from the early 1960s.

    Photographs: Ethelyn Cox's 1959 to 1962 photographs of all antebellum structures in Alexandria, taken as part of HAF's surveys, and arranged by address.

    Publications: Cox's 1976 book, Historic Alexandria, Virginia, Street by Street, also resulted from HAF's survey projects.   Catalogs from the Alexandria Antique Shows (1984 to the present) document HAF's relationship with that event.   Alexandria Academy Building research.

    Vertical Files: Clippings and articles related to HAF as well as the HAF periodical, "The Plaque," published since 1984.

Source: Delos Smith and Magnum Weeks for the early part of this collection dating from 1946 to 1967.   The Weeks papers were previously in a collection called the "Magnum Weeks Papers," donated to Lloyd House by Weeks' estate in 1981.   The more recent papers came from Lloyd House's own vertical files on HAF, and were collected by Lloyd House staff who served on the HAF's Board of Trustees.

Subjects: Alexandria Academy;   The Alexandria Association;   Carlyle House (Alexandria, Va.);   Gadsby's Tavern (Alexandria, Va.);   Historic buildings-Virginia-Alexandria-Conservation and restoration;   Lloyd House;   Lyceum (Alexandria, Va.);   Ramsey House (Alexandria, Va.).

Yvonne Carignan, 1992.


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