The Gold Star Collection

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Old books with gold stars on their spines
Every resource in the Gold Star Collection bears a signature gold star.

Old bookplate with aa woodcut picture of Reynolds Tavern
Book plate with woodcut illustration of Reynolds Tavern affixed to the inside of a Gold Star book.

The Anne Arundel County Public Library offers a unique special collection devoted to the history of Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, and Maryland.  The Gold Star Collection is comprised of more than 1,000 books, articles, and other historical and genealogical materials that document the economic, social, political, cultural, religious, and military history of our Capital City and surrounding areas.

As early as 1944, the Gold Star Collection was housed in historic Reynolds Tavern in Annapolis, which at that time was the site of the Annapolis/Anne Arundel County Library.  This collection is closely tied to United States Naval Academy professor Henry Francis Sturdy, a long-time board member and president of the county's library association from 1942 to 1946.  Sturdy's own extensive collection of history books went to the Maryland Room after his death in 1962.

The collection is now located in the Maryland Room of the Anne Arundel County Regional Library at 1410 West Street in Annapolis and is open to the public to use during normal library hours.  In many cases the material in the Gold Star Collection is the only copy still extant.  For this reason, and to ensure that the materials are always accessible to researchers and other interested readers, the collection does not circulate. A gold star is affixed to each item in the collection, hence the name.

This outstanding, non-circulating collection offers a wide array of primary and secondary sources for those involved in scholarly research or anyone interested in learning more about local history.  Included are:

  • Volumes of Archives of Maryland and Maryland Calendar of Wills (Vols. 1-8, compiled by Jane Baldwin Cotton), which span the 17th and 18th centuries.
  • Retrospective Annapolis city directories, local telephone books, and Maryland manufacturers directories.
  • Historical maps and atlases, including George M. Hopkins, Atlas of Anne Arundel County (1878).
  • Military histories of the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, World War I, and World War II, as well as service records.
  • Ann Arrundell County Historical Society History Notes publications from 1992 onward.
  • Three file cabinets containing extensive vertical files of newspaper clippings and magazine articles on a variety of Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, and Maryland topics arranged by subject.

Use the Gold Star collection as part of the Local History Day Project contest and you could win $500! Learn more!