Located in the Rose and Robert Skillman Branch of the Detroit Public Library, the National Automotive History Collection (NAHC) is regarded as the nation's premier public automotive archive documenting the history and development of the automobile and other forms of motorized, wheeled land transportation in the United States and abroad.
In-person service at the National Automotive History Collection is by appointment only. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (313) 481-1862 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Since the late nineteenth century, the DPL has aggressively collected automotive print materials such as books, periodicals, advertising literature, photographs, specifications, service and owner's manuals, and personal and business papers. In recognition of this effort, the library established the NAHC as a collection in 1953.
The NAHC contains over 600,000 processed items including thousands of photographs depicting the automobile's historical, social, mechanical,and design aspects that are available for public viewing, research, and publication. Automobile manuscript files contain more than 350,000 technical and descriptive items that illuminate the styling detail, specifications, and restoration of the automobile. Biographical files, personal papers, and business documents of both pioneers and corporate leaders offer insight into the development, industrial psychology, and economics of the automotive industry.
Rich in automotive fact and lore, international in scope, customers agree that the NAHC offers unsurpassed resources and reference services.
NAHC's largest photograph collection of more than 250,000 images traces most vehicles from their beginnings. Other photographs include events, tours, factories, individuals, and races. Click here to browse the digital photographs of Detroit and Michigan automobile factories.
Digital reproductions of items in the National Automotive History Collection may be purchased by completing the Special Collections Reproduction Order Form. Customers are not permitted to use personal cameras or scanners to reproduce photographs or postcards.
Nathan Lazarnick Collection
More than 27,000 photographs of events, races, tours, and vehicles in American life during the first quarter of the twentieth century.
Packard Motor Car Photograph Collection
Approximately 13,000 images of Packard cars, trucks, aircrafts, component parts, factories, buildings, and events.