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Welcome to Harris County Archives Online!
Book Car, ca. 1925
Book Car ca. 1925 used to transport books to library stations around the county.

Our Mission:

To document the history of the government and the citizens of Harris County as revealed through the county records and donated materials.


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The Map Collection Page

Historic Maps of
Harris County and Houston 
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1910 Courthouse Tours




Books For All - Free For All


Founded almost a century ago, the Harris County Public Library began as a 1921 social “experiment” with a $6,500 budget.  By the end of that first year, HCPL had a total of 3,455 books with a circulation of 19,574 volumes.  Almost immediately the implementation of a book wagon service began. Library workers drove hundreds of miles to distribute books all over Harris County despite the lack of appropriate vehicles.  In 1925 Harris County found extra budget money, and bought an Essex Coach for the library – a vehicle with a roof.  In 1936 C. Jim Stewart & Stevenson built a custom bookmobile with interior and exterior shelves. At the end of the second decade of service, the HCPL bookmobile service included 10 routes with 50 stops made once every two weeks.

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