Ladson Research Library & Archives

The Ladson Research Library features an extensive collection of primary source documents and photographs related to the history of the Sandy Spring community. This non-lending library is open to the public and admission is free for museum members and $5 for non-members. A sample of what you will find in the collection can be viewed on the American Heritage Society’s website.

Highlights of the museum’s collection and archives include:

  • The rural economy (18th through 20th century) – farming, milling, lumbering, orchard and dairy industries, tobacco, slavery, and freedom
  • Transportation – the C&O canal, the B&O railroad, roads, horses, oxen, wagons, carriages, and early automobiles
  • Education – primary through university level, innovations, schools for girls, schools for African Americans
  • Life in the rural villages that preceded today’s megalopolis – general store records, family history, historic homes, land deeds, and marriage and birth records
  • An index to Montgomery County manumission records listed by slave owner and the name of the person freed
  • The original minutes of many of Sandy Spring’s early social and agricultural clubs and the six volumes of the Annals of Sandy Spring, begun by Quakers in 1863, chronicling a century of community history, the longest such record in the nation.

Research Questions

Professional and avocational researchers will find a treasure trove of information in the archives, with staff and volunteers ready to answer preliminary research questions submitted in person, over the telephone, or via email at no charge.  To pull primary source material or make digital copies, there is a daily flat fee of $35 for non-members and no charge for museum members.  You may submit your research question here.

Hours of Operation

The Ladson Research Library is open for browsing whenever the museum is open. For research assistance, you will receive the best service if you make an appointment.

Jean Thomas Ladson

The Ladson Research Library is named for Jean Thomas Ladson (1916-2010), a longtime supporter and benefactor of Sandy Spring Museum. Born in Montgomery County, Jean was a past president of the National Capital Area Federation of Garden Clubs, a member of the Women’s Board of the Montgomery General Hospital, and a member of the Women’s Mutual Improvement Association of Sandy Spring. She was an accomplished floral designer and, even after moving to Florida in 1978, continued to spend part of each year in Olney with her husband of 56 years, Thomas Ladson, until he passed away in 2004.