DC Punk Archive

DC Punk Archive

Documenting D.C. Music in Washingtoniana/Special Collections

In support of the Washingtoniana mission to collect, preserve and provide access to primary source materials that document the history and culture of local D.C., we have established a DC Punk Archive in DC Public Library’s Special Collections. Three years into the project, we have received several collection donations, secured grant funding to design an online portal for access to collections, and continuously engage the public in the project through programming, volunteer training, exhibits and concerts. We are still adding to the collections - if you'd like to find a home for your local music collections - fliers, posters, zines, recordings - please contact michele.casto@dc.gov

The Punk Archive is now accessible by appointment at the Peabody Room of the Georgetown Neighborhood Library. To schedule an appointment, email wash.dcpl@dc.gov. 

Does your local band want to play a Punk Archive Library show? Fill out this form.

We're celebrating the third anniversary of the project with a series of programs in October:

Wednesday, October 11 at 6:30 p.m., 1990 K St N.W.
Panel discussion with Dance of Days author Mark Andersen and special guests at the Goethe Institut, in conjunction with their  Brilliant Dilletantes exhibit. Enter via Library Express/Goethe Institut entrance on 20th St N.W.

Tuesday, October 17 at 7 p.m.
Petworth Neighborhood Library - 4200 Kansas Ave N.W.
Screening of the 2013 film on musician Kathleen Hanna. DC Punk Archive librarians will bring Riot Grrrl materials from DC Punk Archive collections.

Friday, October 20 at 6 p.m., Uptown Arthouse - 3412 Connecticut Ave N.W.
For the third installment of Go-Go As DC History, journalist Marcus Dowling will utilize five iconic Go-Go songs to discuss the legacy and currency of the local music-genre.

Sunday, October 22 from 1 to 4 p.m.
Georgetown Neighborhood Library - Peabody Room, 3260 R St N.W.
Come browse through our collections, listen to music on various formats, and see a preview of our forthcoming website. We’ll screen live concert footage from the archive. 

Tuesday, October 24 at 7 p.m.
Woodridge Neighborhood Library - 1801 Hamlin St N.E.
Learn to wheatpaste - the art of gluing oversized photocopies to walls! Glue, brushes, and drawing materials will be provided for in-class demonstrations and there will be a final group art project. Space is limited - please register at bit.ly/labsclasses


Wednesday, October 25 at 7 p.m.
Dupont Underground - 19 Dupont Circle N.W.
Come to a DC Punk Archive curated show in support of the Goethe Institut’s Brilliant Dilletantes exhibit. This event is supported by the DC Public Library Foundation.
Monday, October 30 at 7 p.m.
Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood - 3160 16th St N.W.
Make zines while learning about the growing zine collection at the DC Punk   Archive. Zine Lab is supported by our friends, DC Zinefest.


We have received and continue to accept donations of personal collections that include materials in various formats: photographs, zines, books, records, cassettes, CDs, DVDs, videos, live recordings, fliers, posters, set lists, letters, tickets, buttons, and other ephemera. View our inventory of recordings.

Subject content is not be limited to the music itself, but could include anything pertinent to the cultural context, such as organizations, record labels, houses, venues, festivals, record shops, radio stations and tours. The subject scope is intentionally broad, punk and related local independent music 1976-present, in order to capture both well-documented and as well as lesser-known stories.

Collections received:

  • Mark ANDERSEN - organizational records of Positive Force DC and research materials for Dance of Days (Washington Post article)
  • Tom BERARD - fliers and zines
  • Annie Lou BERMAN - oral histories
  • Jourdan BETETTE & Sasha LORDE - posters from shows at Comet Ping Pong
  • BRIAN MCKENZIE INFOSHOP - Organization records
  • Tony BUCKLEY - zines, fliers, recordings and other ephemera
  • Elliott CALDWELL - fliers and photos
  • Cynthia CONNOLLY - fliers, posters and artwork from shows at d.c. space
  • John DAVIS - zines, fliers and records
  • Bobbie DOUGHERTY - fliers and other ephemera
  • Sohrab HABIBION - videorecordings of punk shows 
  • Julia HAINER-VOLAND - fliers and zines
  • Xyra HARPER - zines and radio shows
  • Richard HARRINGTON - set of Unicorn Times
  • Eddie JANNEY - fliers and posters 
  • Melissa KLEIN - LPs and riot grrrl zines
  • Carni KLIRS - fliers and demos
  • Mike MADEJA - Fliers and zines
  • Kevin MATTSON - Positive Force fliers and zines
  • David MENDES - Fliers and zines
  • Peter MOLIN - Photographs
  • Chris MOORE - fliers, posters and demos
  • Jaques MORGAN - fliers and posters
  • Deane NETTLES - fliers, postcards and photographs
  • Katy OTTO/Exotic Fever Records - flyers and recordings
  • Radio CPR - organizational records and radio shows
  • Mark ROBINSON - recordings and ephemera from Teenbeat Records
  • Mike ROSS - zines and letters (Washington Post article)
  • Jim SAAH - zines
  • Rachel SENGERS - zines, fliers and posters
  • Ryan SHEPARD - 7" records, live recordings, and punk fliers and posters
  • Scott SOMMERS - Photographs
  • Teri STUBS - videos of 9:30 Club shows (Bandwidth article; Washington Post article)
  • Chris SUSPECT - Photographs
  • Cynthia ULEMAN - zines
  • Clarissa VILLONDO - photos 
  • David WEINSTEIN - videos of Positive Force benefit concerts
  • Robbie WHITE - Slickee Boys posters and ephemera

The list above represents donated collections of 25 or more items, which will be processed as individual collections named for the donors. Smaller donations will be added to a general collection, with donor information attached to individual items. We'd like to thank the following donors for contributing items to the general collection:

9:30 Club ▪ Allison ACOSTA ▪ Jack AGWELT ▪ AKASHIC Books ▪ Michael ANDRADE ▪ B. AVERY ▪ Natalie AVERY ▪ Jason BARNETT ▪ Chris BATES ▪ Mark BEEMER ▪ Troy BENT ▪ James BERBERT ▪ David BERMAN ▪ Alec BERRY ▪ Paul BISHOW ▪ Kylos BRANNON ▪ Dave BROWN ▪ Matthew BURGER ▪  Michele CASTO ▪ CHAIN and the Gang ▪ Sharon CHESLOW ▪ Alec COOPER ▪ CRICKET CEMETERY Records ▪ Sara CURTAIN ▪ Matthew DINGEE ▪ Amy DOMINGUES ▪ Bobbie DOUGHERTY ▪ Ian DURKIN ▪ Thomas Sayers ELLIS ▪ David ENSMINGER ▪ FIL ▪ Tim FOLLOS ▪ Glenn FRIEDMAN ▪ Teresa GIONIS ▪ Vicente GUTIERREZ ▪ Grant HARDESTER ▪ Vernon HAWKINS ▪ Mark HERLONG ▪ Amanda HURON ▪ Brett ISSACOFF ▪ Carlos IZURIETA/Youngblood Records ▪ Leena JAYASWAL ▪ Casey JONES ▪ Evan KEELING ▪ Shawna KENNEY ▪ Beck LEVY ▪ Loud BOYZ ▪ Shawn MCDERMOTT ▪ Alek MACKAYE ▪ Amanda MACKAYE ▪ Ian MACKAYE/Dischord Records ▪ Mike MAGUIRE ▪ Ryan MCCOY ▪ Susie MCQUARY ▪ MOBIUS Strip ▪ Matt MOFFATT ▪ Michael O'CONNOR ▪ Peter PAOULAKOS ▪ Stephen PARSON ▪ Joey PATCHAN ▪ Matthew PAYNE ▪ Shira PILARSKI ▪ Bryan PILAT ▪ Hayley Gordon PIVATO ▪ Christopher PROKOP ▪ Malcolm RIVIERA ▪ David ROSENBERG ▪ Taylor ROSS ▪ Tony ROSS ▪ Katherine RYNER ▪ Alex SCHELLDORF ▪ Hal SCHMULOWITZ ▪ James SCHNEIDER ▪ Dan SEARING ▪ Katherine SEITZ ▪ Matthew SIBLO ▪ Willona SLOAN ▪ John STABB ▪ SWALTB ▪ Antonia TRICARICO ▪ JoAnn WARD ▪ Christiana WHEELER ▪ Suzanne WNEK ▪ Don ZIENTARA  

To donate materials to the collection or for more information, contact Michele Casto, Special Collections Librarian, Washingtoniana.

Programming and Community Engagement

Community involvement in this effort is a top priority. We have sought support and advice from the local music community, and we have invited interested individuals to volunteer to train as community archivists to help with the processing and digitization of donated materials. We are developing relationships with other area repositories with local music collections to explore avenues of collaboration and resource sharing.

Programming has been another avenue for engaging the public in this project. Every October we host a month-long series of programs to celebrate the anniversary of the project's launch in 2014, have held a bi-monthly concert series in the MLK Library basement and other locations, will soon launch a website that highlights digitized materials from our collections. This portal is made possible by grant funding from the Institute for Library and Museum services and will be another opportunity for the library to promote local music and provide public access to collections in the archive. Does your local band want to play a Punk Archive Library show? Fill out this form.

Preservation and Access

Balancing preservation and access is a high priority for this project. Materials are housed and handled according to best archival practices. Security of the materials is a priority, and as with all archival collections in Washingtoniana, require an appointment to access. Digitization of these collections will allow greater access while minimizing handling of original materials. As collections are digitized they will be added to the Special Collections digital collections DigDC, but we also have grant funding to create an online music portal to allow the community to access local music with associated archival content such as video, images and other documents (expected roll-out summer 2015).

DC Music Archive -- Future Plans

Punk is only one piece of the rich story of D.C. music, and DC Public Library is committed to representing the most complete story possible by establishing a comprehensive DC Music Archive in Washingtoniana.

While we are actively targeting punk collections at the present, we are also currently accepting donations that document other genres, communities, and time periods of D.C. music.  We will expand the ongoing Go-Go collecting project and we are capturing DC Jazz and U Street culture through this oral history project.

Related Collections

University of Maryland Special Collections in the Performing Arts

The University of Maryland has established a D.C. Punk and Indie Fanzine Collection, 1979-2012, and as a collaboration between the two libraries, we will scan any zines that accompany donations to the DC Punk Archive in Washingtoniana and share them with UMD to help fill gaps in their (unless the donor prefers to donate original zines to UMD). 

George Washington University

George Washington University launched a D.C. Vernacular Music Archive in the fall of 2014, to support academic research in ethnomusicology and as a repository for student project raw materials. As we develop our interactive online local music portal, we will collaborate with these and other institutions to connect all digitized local music resources through one platform.

Special Thanks

Special thanks go to:

  • James Schneider, who helped catalyze this project by reaching out to collaborate with the library on the preservation of D.C. punk materials encountered during the making of the documentary Punk the Capital.
  • The Institute for Museum and Library Services, the DC Public Library Foundation, Stephanie Williams of DC Music Download, and Derek and Tom Brown for grant funding and fundraising efforts on behalf of the project.
  • Music community members who have generously offered advice and assistance to the project
  • The many who have already offered donations of collections and who have volunteered to assist with the project.

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