The Sharlot Hall Museum Library & Archives is a full-service Research Center (L&ARC). The Center provides a variety of resources and archival materials for all patrons and researchers to use as they investigate and study the various topics relating to Prescott and its surrounding communities, Yavapai County area and the Arizona Central Highlands region. The Museum and its archives were established in 1928. Accordingly, the Center has a variety of materials in the collections that reach back into Arizona’s territorial era up to the present.
The L&ARC reference desk staff and volunteers welcome patrons’ queries and assist all on their paths of inquiry and research. Although staff cannot do the actual research, they are always ready to direct patrons to beneficial resources and assist researchers with general questions. When visiting the L&ARC facility, basic computer literacy is recommended, but not necessary, as many items are found on the Musuem’s Library & Archives website. In addition, it is suggested that patrons schedule research appointments whenever possible, especially if you are coming from outside of the Prescott area.
For those patrons who email or call in a research request, research times are allotted 30 minutes to each request due to limited staff and time restraints. After the first 30 minutes, there is a $10.00 per hour fee for staff to conduct research on a patron’s behalf.
L&A Mission Statement
The primary function of the Sharlot Hall Museum Library & Archives (SHM L&A) is to provide support to amateur, professional, and academic researchers, as well as members of the general public who are interested in its resources. SHM L&A is a full-service research facility, collecting and preserving archaeological, cultural, and historical materials related to Prescott and the surrounding communities, Yavapai County, and Central Arizona. In reference to the museum’s namesake Sharlot M. Hall, SHM L&A also collects materials regarding pioneering, territorial, and modern-day Arizona women and their families who settled and lived in Yavapai County and Arizona Central Highlands area.
General Collection Information
SHM L&A collections consist of rare books, manuscripts, diaries, personal correspondence, organizational papers, maps, photographs, oral histories, archaeological reports, some local and state governmental records, and genealogical materials that vary in an array of topics. Subjects range from prehistoric Native cultures and early pioneer settlements to the modern mining, ranching, and business history of the Arizona Central Highlands area. Please click on the link to review the collections policy: Collections Management Policy
The SHM Library is a member of the county wide Yavapai Library Network (YLN) and one of the few special libraries, due to the archival materials and collections SHM L&A has available to the public, in YLN. Researchers and patrons are welcome to browse the books located in the Prescott Courier Reading Room, but are not be able to check out books or other materials to take home. The rarest books and limited editions are placed in the Rare Book Room, which also includes books from Sharlot M. Hall’s personal library, along with other pioneer families’ personal library collections. The books located in the Rare Book Room are considered “closed stacks” and must be retrieved by staff. All cataloged library books are listed online in the Yavapai Library Network and are cataloged using the Dewey Decimal classification system. To begin searching the SHM L&A book collection please click Library Books Catalog from the drop down menu under the Library & Archives tab.
Newspapers, Magazines & Journals
The SHM L&A carries several microfilmed and hardcopy magazines, journals, and local newspapers. Many of the newspapers are located in microfilm or microfiche format. The earliest newspaper is the Journal Miner edition dated March 1864. Please click here to see a complete listing of our newspapers, magazines, and journals. Also, the Prescott True Value Audio/Visual Center provides functioning microfilm and microfiche machines with printing capability.
The SHM L&A provides several reference resources to our patrons and researchers from genealogical sources to historic district materials. Special sections in the reference area are devoted to Genealogical Resources and include hard-copy obituary newspaper notices, funeral home records, cemetery information, and some birth/death/marriage records information. Also included in the reference area are sections dedicated to the Arizona Territory and Yavapai County census data, a Mining Resource section, Sharlot M. Hall Writings, the City of Prescott and surrounding communities, Historical District materials, Arizona Railroad section, and a Rough Riders/Military section.
Downwinder Program Information
Staff and volunteers are familiar with the Downwinder program and have checklists to assist Downwinders in obtaining information in order to file a claim. In fact, the Library reference area provides an entire section to Downwinder resources for Prescott, its surrounding communities, and Yavapai County. Please click here for Downwinder information.
The SHM L&A has numerous manuscripts, personal papers, and photographic collections in the holdings. Many collections provide researchers with excellent primary resources (documents, diaries, or manuscripts) and first-hand experiences. The collections contain items from personal and business correspondence by local Prescottonians to Arizona Territorial historical documents; from philatelic covers to personal diaries; from mining data to Rose Garden biographical sketches; and from family photographs and albums to entire collections devoted to Frontier Days parades, rodeos, railroads, Prescott businesses, and ranching life in Yavapai County.
The L&ARC provides resources including local and surrounding communities’ business directories, yearbooks, phone books, videos, DVDs, mining data and history, railroad history, and a wide range of maps covering all parts of Prescott, the Quad-City area, Yavapai County, and Arizona. Also, the L&ARC grants access to hundreds of oral histories — excellent primary resources offering first-hand accounts of early Prescott and Yavapai County history. In addition, there are a variety of vertical files and quick reference files to get one started on any local or Yavapai County research topic.
Email & Telephone Research Requests
Another service provided is a research request by email or telephone. However, please note that it may take two (2) to three (3) business weeks to respond to questions submitted through email and telephone. In addition, all research requests received will be allotted a maximum free period of 30 minute research time. Extensive or multiple questions, including, but not limited to, genealogical (family history) requests, cannot generally be answered in the 30 minute allotted time. Accordingly, patrons are encouraged to come to the Research Center during open hours to conduct research themselves. Staff research will be assessed a $10.00 per hour fee for SHM associates to complete research on the patron’s behalf. Click here to send an email request or call at (928) 277-2003.
Sharlot Hall Museum Research Center Rules
For the safety and security of the materials, please read these rules carefully.
- The Research Center hours are posted on the website page banner. NOTE: Archival materials will not be retrieved for patrons after 3:45pm.
- Patrons are asked to leave all personal materials (including purses, backpacks, briefcases, cell phones, etc.) in the lockers provided. Coats can be placed in lockers or on the coat rack.
- NO EATING, DRINKING (INCLUDES WATER), OR SMOKING ARE ALLOWED IN THE RESEARCH CENTER.
- NO CAMERAS, SCANNERS, OR SCANNING WANDS OF ANY KIND ARE ALLOWED IN THE RESEARCH CENTER.
- NO CELL PHONES MAY BE USED IN THE RESEARCH CENTER. Please turn off all phones and place them with other personal items.
- All patrons must fill out the entire research registration form, sign and date, and submit an official photo I.D.
- Only pencils and blue colored paper are allowed in the Research Center.
- Laptops and tape recorders are only allowed with Research Center staff approval.
- To view archival items, all patrons must fill out a “Request for Materials” slip provided by staff.
- Please exercise all possible care to prevent damage to archival materials. Do not lean, write, fold anew, trace, or roughly handle any of the documents, maps, records or photos. Unbound documents and records are to be kept in order in which they are received.
- Gloves are provided by the Research Center staff and must be worn when viewing photographs and handling other rare or fragile materials.
- Self-service photocopying is available for a fee. Older, fragile, or oversized materials must be copied by staff or volunteers only. Photographs and restricted archeological materials may not be photocopied under any circumstances. For the security of the materials, photocopies are only available on blue colored paper.
- Please ask for assistance and a tutorial when using the microfilm viewers and printers.
- SHM Library materials are available for patrons to browse, but are non-circulating items.
- Library staff may inspect patrons’ research papers before they leave the library.
- Digital and print reproduction of photographic images can be ordered. Please consult with a Research Center staff member for a Reproduction Costs list and/or Permission-to-Use fee schedule.
RECORDS AND BOOKS CANNOT BE REMOVED FROM THE SHM RESEARCH CENTER.
LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES THEFT OR MUTILATION OF RECORDS IS A CRIME.