Washington County Free Library
My Account Mobile Page Facebook Pinterest Tumblr
Washington County Free Library - Western Maryland Room

Western Maryland Room with chair


The John Clinton Frye Western Maryland Room was established in 1968 to provide and preserve historical information about our region. The Room contains approximately 10,000 books and over 400 cubic feet of archival material including maps, newspapers, photographs, ledgers, manuscripts, ephemera, and a limited number of artifacts covering the Cumberland and Shenandoah Valleys; all of Western Maryland, including Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties; plus Frederick and Carroll Counties in Central Maryland. Some material is also included for all counties adjacent to those five Maryland counties in the three surrounding states of Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

Highlighted in the collection are a large Civil War research collection, a family research (genealogy) collection, and a substantial holding of information on canals, railroads, local culture and industry. Numerous yearbooks from schools located in Washington County are also part of the collection. The WMR sponsors the Robert H. McCauley Historical Lecture Series and holds workshops on genealogy topics and caring for archival materials such as photographs and rare books.

We invite you to contact us with questions or visit to explore our historical library and archives!


The John Clinton Frye Western Maryland Room is located on the 3rd Floor at the Alice Virginia & David W. Fletcher Branch of the Washington County Free Library located at 100 South Potomac Street, Hagerstown.

Our Collection

While we can't share everything, we'd like to provide a summary of the subjects currently contained in our collection.

* * * Vertical File Collection * * *

Events * * (See right for full list of events) * *

You are also invited to attend these free programs:

* * * Monthly Events * * *

The Washington County Genealogical Society meets in the Western Maryland Room on the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 7:00-8:30 p.m.

On November 10, our speaker will be Paul D. McDermott speaking on The Land Patents of Western Maryland

"Maryland had one of the most complex land settlement patterns of the original colonies.  Lord Baltimore opened Western Maryland to land acquisition in 1732.  Originally, he wanted land to be parceled out using simple, easily defined shapes - preferably a square or rectangle.  History proved that when the land was surveyed, complex holding defined by different shapes and sizes evolved.  Interestingly, most of the land patents were named.  But, through the years it became very difficult to discern the specific geographic location for each patent.  In the 1940's the problem was essentially resolved by Dr. Tracy and his daughter, Gracie.  But his material was not easily used.  Recently, these materials were converted into a computerized database so that researchers could find where a patent was located.  From this database we were able to reconstruct for the first time a settlement history for the county between 1730 and 1830.  In addition, the database proved extremely useful for understanding settlement flow into the county.  This flow fluctuated widely from year to year depending upon war, availability of land, and creation of new and more transportation.  This talk will show the results of our efforts including the definition of 2,450 land patents with 10,000 entries."  

All are welcome! Bring your laptop to take advantage of free wi-fi. Meetings are informal. Topics are based on participant interest.

Questions about the WC Genealogical Society? Contact Carol Miller-Schultz at 301-791-2585.

What's New in the Western Maryland Room

See the newest material that has been added to the Western Maryland Room.


Hours of Operation (New Schedule)
Sunday & Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 1:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am - 2:00 pm


Closed on Holidays – Holidays


Off street parking available.

Contact Us

John Frye, Historian & Curator
Elizabeth Howe, Librarian & Certified Archivist

Phone: 301-739-3250 x350

Friends of the Western Maryland Room

The Friends of the Western Maryland Room provide financial support for the publication of such books as:
  • St. Mary’s Catholic Church Records 1818 – 1900
  • Beaver Creek Evangelical Church Records 1844–1917
  • Washington County Obituary Locator 1790-2003
Please call 301.739.3250 for more information on joining the Friends
Ask Us Now Marina - Interlibrary Loan HelpNow! Powered by Brainfuse - Live Homework Help Overdrive - Download Audiobooks and eBooks OneClick digital Freegal Music - Download music now! Western Maryland Regional Library Choose Civility logo