Resources at the Jane C. Sween Library


Some of our special collections have been digitized, and are available to view online through the Enoch Pratt Free Library/State Library Resource Center Digital Maryland project:



Following are some of the resources available at the Sween Library. 

Click on the underlined links to access finding aids.


The Jane C. Sween Library in Rockville now has over 5,000 books, many of which are listed on the Montgomery County Public Library (MCPL) catalog system. The primary focus of this collection is the history of Maryland and the development of Montgomery County from the colonial period to the present including genealogy reference books, biographies, and published Maryland county records. The state and local histories of Delaware, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania and Virginia are also strongly represented. To search online, visit the MCPL catalog at


Cemetery Records
 Tombstone inscription readings from 111 cemeteries and family burying grounds on 3 x 5 cards as well as a survey of all county cemeteries, prepared by the Coalition to Protect Maryland Burial Sites working with Peerless Rockville and completed in 2008.


Church Records
3 drawers of 3 x 5 file cards plus one vertical file drawer of church history materials. Photocopies of the records of several Catholic, Episcopal and Methodist county churches. Records of other religious establishments are also available.


Early Montgomery County Records
Published abstracts of wills (1776-1875); marriage licenses (1796-1896); selected abstracts of deeds (1777-1865); tax lists (1783-1853); census records, published and on microfilm (1776-1930); and the “slave census of 1867.” Microfilm includes the census records for the county, county land records from 1777-1865 and county probate records from 1777 to 1881.


Family Records
 25 linear feet of genealogical material organized by surname. There is an additional 12 linear feet in filing cabinets of biographical material, primarily newspaper clippings.


The Jane C. Sween Library is the repository for the archival records of a number of notable Montgomery County figures, businesses and organizations. In addition to photographs and audiovisual materials, these records include manuscripts such as diaries, correspondence, minutes, business ledgers, scrap books, and authors’ research notes. The insurance policy records of the Montgomery Mutual Insurance Company (Automobile Policies) and the papers of Montgomery County historians and authors Richard MacMaster and Joyce Siegel are among the more prominent of these collections.


This collection includes thirteen atlases and over 950 maps of Maryland and Montgomery County dating from the early 19th century to the present. These include area maps, topographical maps, maps of local jurisdictions, neighborhoods, and plat maps which detail the structures built in an area at various times. There is also a collection of Lusks Real Estate Directories and Atlases.


The MCHS newspaper collection is extensive and widely used. The largest collection is the Montgomery County Sentinel from its founding in 1855 to 1969. In addition there are rare issues of Rockville and Maryland papers published from 1800-1850, eight Montgomery County weeklies and dailies published between 1878 and 1947 and newspapers from Baltimore, the District of Columbia, Rockville, Kensington, Damascus, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, and Potomac offering broad coverage of area events and people. There is a special collection of newspapers from historic events such as presidential inaugurations, the Lindbergh flight, and Maryland’s tricentennial in 1934.


Oral Histories
An expanding collection of over 35 transcriptions and audiotapes.


Vertical Files
 Files for each town in Montgomery County, public schools, Historic Houses, Crimes, Businesses, Religious Establishments, Mills, ClubsCustoms and Folklore, the Civil War and other subjects pertinent to Montgomery County. Files contain newspaper clippings, pamphlets, papers from the Maryland National Capitol Parks & Planning Commission and other ephemera.


A growing collection on Montgomery County history, communities, and family reunions.


Visual Images
Over 5,000 8 x 10 photographs, 2,000 35 mm slides, 180 snapshots, plus glass plates, negatives, daguerreotypes, films and videos. These depict Montgomery County’s changing scene from before the Civil War until today. In addition to views of area street scenes, residential and commercial buildings (exterior and interior views), and countryside, there are images of people and events important in the county’s history.