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Ethelyn Cox Collection (MS287)

Identifier: MS287

Content Description

This collection consists of Mrs. Cox's research files and manuscripts, as well as papers from her membership in HAF. Research files contain typed and handwritten notes, news clippings, and correspondence. The main focus of the collection is in support of "Street by Street". Included are the Historic American Building Survey inventories of Worth Baily. Also in the collection are manuscripts and notes of several projects that Mrs. Cox assisted on, and pamphlets related to Alexandria History or Historic Preservation and Restoration.


  • 1956 - 1980


Biographical / Historical

Ethelyn Cox (1909-1988) was an Alexandria Local Historian and Author. Known as a "meticulous but unassuming scholar," she contributed greatly to our knowledge of Alexandria's history. Her major publication, Historic Alexandria Virginia Street by Street is still one of the most authoritative books on historic houses, and popular as well. Mrs. Cox moved to Alexandria in 1935. She became interested in Alexandria history in 1948 when she and her husband, Hugh, purchased their home at 210 Prince Street. One of her early projects was serving on the Alexandria Association committee which produced the catalog for the 1956 exhibit Our Town. She was a founding member of Historic Alexandria Foundation and served for many years as a board member, secretary, president, and chairman of various committees. Through her association with HAF, she was involved very extensively in restoration and preservation efforts in Old Town Alexandria. In 1980 Mrs. Cox received the Alexandria Association's Individual Award of Merit.


22.33 Linear Feet (56 boxes)

Language of Materials



The series are arranged as dictated by Ethelyn Cox's activities. Series I - Street by Street -- These research files are arranged by street in alphabetical order. For north/south streets, the files are arranged north 100, 200, etc., then south 100, and so on. If there are separate files for east and west sides of the block, the east side is first followed by the west side. For east/west streets, the files start at the river and go west in numerical order by block. If there are separate files for the north and south side of a block, the north side comes before the south side. Particular establishments, may have their own file interfiled with the block of their street address, for instance Gadsby's Tavern is filed, Royal North 100 - Gadsby's Tavern. Series II - Subject and Names -- These research files are arranged alphabetically and deal with general subjects not associated with a particular street address or associated with multiple addresses. Series III - Publications -- This includes manuscripts and correspondence associated with specific publications. A large portion of this series is devoted to "Street by Street" including the press ready text. Series IV - Organizations and Associations -- This series contains Historic Alexandria Foundation papers and files on other organizations Mrs. Cox was associated with. Series V - Books and Pamphlets -- This series contains published materials primarily on Alexandria history or historic homes and preservation issues. Series VI - Research Files -- These research files contain notes and papers of general Alexandria interest, not directly related to a specific publication. Included are index card files of notes. Series VII - Scrapbooks -- Large, heavy, oversized scrapbooks filled with news clippings from local newspapers on various subjects. Series VIII - Maps and Oversized Papers -- Alexandria City maps and other large documents. Series IX - Photographs -- 3 boxes of photos of houses in Old Town Alexandria, arranged by street address.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Ethelyn Cox, 1983
Ethelyn Cox Collection Finding Aid
Roberta Sago
Summer 1995
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Local History and Special Collections Branch, Alexandria Library Repository

717 Queen Street
Alexandria VA 22314 United States