Scope of the Collections

A group of men relaxing in Bienville Square, circa 1930. Behind them is the Bienville Hotel. Erik Overbey Collection.


In addition to the Overbey negatives, which document numerous aspects of Mobile and the surrounding area, our collections include:

  1. An extensive set of negatives related to World War II (25,000 items);
  2. 10,000 negatives from the S. Blake McNeely collection, which documents many events and places in and around Mobile from the 1930s and 1940s;
  3. The Mobile Press Register collection, which dates from 1970 to 1975 and consists of approximately 60,000 negatives taken by newspaper photographers for inclusion in the local paper;
  4. The Julius E. Marx collection, images taken by a local realtor who donated 10,000 negatives taken between 1927 and 1985 showing the exteriors of houses and businesses.
  5. The Azalea City News Collection, which contains 100,000 negatives showing local people and events in the 1980s that were produced by photographers for this local alternative newspaper;
  6. The History Museum of Mobile collection depicts life during the 1950s;
  7. The Alabama Department of Transportation collection, which shows construction of both the Bankhead and Wallace tunnels;
  8. The Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Company (ADDSCO) collection, which is made up of 30,000 negatives taken from the 1930s to the 1950s that show ship construction and repair, employees and events, ship launchings, and bond rallies;
  9. More than 150,000 portraits.
  10. The Alec and Roy Thigpen Photography Collection which includes 1.575 million images and spans the decades between 1942 and 2020.
  11. The Bill C. Shrout Collection, received in 2023 and currently being processed, contains roughly 75,000 images. Shrout served as a war correspondent during WWII, had a career as a nationally published journalist, and photographed the Gulf Coast region commercially. His work spans the decades between the 1920s and 1980. 


Our most prized collection is that of Doy Leale McCall, which consists of approximately 1,000,000 documents from 8 different families and spans the years 1757 to 1965 with the bulk of the documents falling between the years of 1820 and 1965. You can read about the collection here. Our other manuscript collections include:

  1. Collections related to the American Civil War, including the Croom Papers, the Geary Papers, the Lyons Papers, and the Pickens portion of the larger McCall Papers;
  2. Civil rights collections, including the John LeFlore Papers, the Non-Partisan Voters League Records, the papers of Jack Gallalee, the Daniel Thomas Papers, and the Vernon Crawford Papers.
  3. Mobile court records from c. 1830 to 1917, including the circuit, law and equity, city, and chancery courts;
  4. The Mobile Housing Board records from 1950 to 1980 document the process of urban renewal;
  5. Political collections, including the papers of Alabama District 1 former Congressmen, Jack Edwards, Sonny Callahan, Jo Bonner, and Bradley Byrne as well as those from Alabama House of Representatives legislator Maurice “Casey” Downing and former Mobile mayor/commissioner Lambert Mims.