The Portsmouth Public Library holds a wealth of knowledge on the history of Portsmouth and homes in historic district of Olde Towne.
The Esther M. Wilson Memorial Local History Room was founded in 1963 when Mrs. Mary J. McMurran convinced Judge Benjamin Dey White to donate his library for a designated room of non-circulating history collection. The Naval Shipyard also has a small library of local interest, although their emphasis is on the history of the Norfolk Naval Shipyard (formerly Gosport Yard) and its effect on the City of Portsmouth.
The room is dedicated to the preservation of the history of Portsmouth and its people, and making such information available to interested researchers. The Portsmouth of Today includes eight annexations of surrounding areas from Norfolk County. Therefore special emphasis includes many materials about the county and surrounding areas southeastern Virginia.