The Thomas Balch Library is a history and genealogy library located in Leesburg, Virginia. The library, owned and operated by the town of Leesburg, serves as a designated Underground Railroad research site and has an active research program.HistoryThe library was incorporated in 1918. The architect for the library was Waddy Butler Wood. In 1922, the Thomas Balch Library was constructed in Leesburg, Virginia as a memorial to historian Thomas Balch, a Leesburg native. Thomas Willing Balch (1866-1927) and Edwin Swift Balch (1856-1927), sons of Thomas Balch, originally endowed the subscription library. The Library is part of the Leesburg Historic District.The Thomas Balch Library operated for fifty years under a private Board of Trustees. The library was staffed by volunteers and part-time employees. In 1960 the library dropped its subscription and became a free, though segregated, public library. It was desegregated in 1965. In 1973, the Loudoun County Public Library system was established. The Thomas Balch Library joined as a full service public library branch in 1974, alongside the Purcellville, Purcellville Bookmobile and Sterling libraries.In 1994, ownership of the Thomas Balch Library was transferred from the Loudoun County Public Library system to the Town of Leesburg. Under the Town of Leesburg, the library began operating as a history and genealogy library. The Martin L. Cook photograph collection was acquired by the library in 2008. Cook was commissioned after training at the Tuskegee Army Flying School and went on to serve in the U.S. Navy in the Department of Defense as an aeronautical engineer.
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