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Birmingham Public Library Archives Department New Home to Birmingham-Southern College Archives Collection

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This 1935 photo shows a Birmingham parade for a football game between Birmingham-Southern College and Howard. (Birmingham, Ala. Public Library Archives. 1075.1094)

By Madison Newport | Birmingham Public Library

In its beginning, one half of Birmingham-Southern College (BSC), then known as Southern University, opened in the Bush Hills neighborhood. Twenty years later, the institutions merged as Birmingham-Southern College. For over 100 years, the liberal arts college occupied 45 buildings on almost 200 acres just a few miles west of downtown Birmingham.

Students at BSC had the option of five bachelor’s degrees in over 50 programs of study and, later on, one master’s degree in data science. From actors to politicians to athletes, notable BSC alumni went on to make a name for themselves. Sadly, the vacant Greensboro campus was destroyed in a tornado in 1973, and the fate of the newly vacant Birmingham campus is uncertain.

The school and its campus is closed, but the tangible history of BSC in the form of documents and ephemera remains intact in the possession of the Birmingham Public Library’s Department of Archives and Manuscripts.

The BSC collection acquired includes but is not limited to:

  • A full set of yearbooks from Southern University through BSC 2024
  • Publications like newsletters, bulletins, handbooks, surveys, and annual reports
  • Photographs of the grounds, alumni reunions, theater productions, and sports teams
  • Published theses

A full inventory of items is available upon request. Please note this collection excludes the North Alabama Methodist Conference Archives and student transcripts.

The BSC Archives Collection is currently being held offsite, so the BPL Department of Archives needs at least 24 hours advance notice for an appointment to arrange transport of the boxes requested. There is a $5.00 transfer fee per box. To request an inventory list or schedule an appointment, give us a call at 205-226-3630 or fill out the Archival Response Form. Hours are Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. by appointment only.