Alexandria History: Index

These Historic Alexandria web pages include synopses of historical topics and links to related sources.

Page updated on Oct 2, 2019 at 11:09 AM

Time Periods



  • Alexandria Archaeology Bibliography: A complete bibliography of publications and site reports. Site reports and public summaries are being posted online as time permits, and all reports can be found at the Alexandria Library, Local History/Special Collections, or by appointment at the Alexandria Archaeology Museum.


Guidebooks, Reports and City Directories 

First Person Accounts 

  • Antebellum Reminiscences of Alexandria, Virginia. Extracted from the Memoirs of Mary Louisa Slacum Benham: Mary Louisa Slacum Benham’s reminiscences describe her life in Alexandria in the first half of the 19th Century. Transcribed and extracted from her memoirs, thought to be written in the 1880s. A variety of topics are discussed: the Potomac River; rural scenes; Christ Church; dancing school; the Alexandria Theater; childhood experiences including food, furnishings and African Americans; and Mount Vernon. 
  • Alexandria During the Civil War: First Person Accounts: These The following accounts include dramatic excerpts from the diaries of relief worker Julia Wilbur and of a secessionist housewife who fled Alexandria as Union troops arrived; a letter from a head nurse at one of the many hospitals; the writings of an English journalist and an American war correspondent; and selections from  The Local News, Alexandria’s wartime newspaper. Additional accounts are provided from patients and staff at Alexandria's Union Hospitals.
  • Diaries of Julia Wilbur, March 1860 to July 1866. Transcribed by Alexandria Archaeology, 2013-2014, from the originals in the Quaker Collection, Haverford College, PA. Julia Wilbur, a relief worker from Rochester, NY, came to Alexandria during the Civil War. She kept a detailed diary from the 1840s through her death in 1895. Alexandria Archaeology's transcriptions focus on the period right before, during, and after the War.
  • First Person Accounts of the Occupation, War of 1812. Read quotes about Alexandria's occupation by British troops, and reminiscences published in a local newspaper in 1861.
  • Oral Histories: The Alexandria Legacies Program: Read transcriptions of more than 80 interviews conducted with long-time City residents. Oral Histories are indexed by name, neighborhood and subject. Subjects include The African American Community, Education, Immigration, Living Legends of Alexandria, Historic Preservation, Civic Leaders, etc.
  • Travelers Accounts of the Historic Alexandria Waterfront: Travelers Accounts, written between 1624 and 1900, have been compiled by Alexandria Archaeology as part of a study of the Alexandria Waterfront. The writings are organized by decade. 

Historic Sites 

Learn about historic places in the City of Alexandria. Over 40 sites are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Journals and Newsletters

  • The Alexandria Chronicle: The Alexandria Chronicle has been published by the Alexandria Historical Society since 1993. Issues from 2006 to present are available on the Society’s website. Paper copies of earlier issues of the Chronicle, and of the Alexandria History magazine (1978-2002), can be found at the Alexandria Library, Local History/Special Collections.
  • The Alexandria Gazette Packet: Artifact Stories:  “Alexandria Artifact Stories” were published as a regular feature in the weekly newspaper from 1994 until 1997. The goal of the series was to take a small piece of a cultural heritage and examine it in a wider context to understand and appreciate its significance.
  • The Alexandria Times: Out of the Attic: This column continues to be published weekly, and is presented here in a searchable database.
  • Discovering the Decades: Discovering the Decades places Alexandria’s history in the context of U.S. history. Originally published in the Alexandria Archaeology Volunteer News, 1999.
  • Historic Alexandria Quarterly: Historic Alexandria Quarterly is a scholarly publication produced by the Office of Historic Alexandria from 1996 to 2004.  


  • C-Span City Tours: The series American History TV of seven videos on Alexandria history originally aired March 16-18, 2013, exploring Alexandria's Archaeology Museum, the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery, Lee-Fendall House, and the Civil War.