Larz and Isabel Anderson were prolific writers, keen to capture their travels and memoirs in journal, photograph, and book form. Many of these historical resources are part of the library's Anderson Family Collection. A cornerstone of this collection is a set of Larz Anderson's typescript journals—thirty-eight volumes that chronicle diplomatic missions and the daily life and travels of Larz and Isabel Anderson from his graduation from Harvard University in 1888 to 1936, the year before his death. The Society has collected nearly all of Isabel Anderson's published works, including books for children, poetry, plays, and travelogues. Larz Anderson was an accomplished sketch artist and published several gift volumes of his works, which are part of the collection, along with many of his original sketches and scrapbooks.
This collection also encompasses archival material documenting the early history of Anderson House, including its construction and original furnishings. A significant piece of this collection is architectural photographs taken of Anderson House in 1910 by Frances Benjamin Johnston, one of the first American women to achieve distinction as a photographer. The collection also contains materials that support research of the art and artifact collection that Larz and Isabel Anderson assembled, including correspondence with dealers, photographs, inventories, and blueprints.
In addition to works by and about Larz and Isabel Anderson and their Washington home, the collection includes manuscripts and archival material collected by and relevant to other members of the Anderson family. Among the more prominent family members represented in the collection are Richard Clough Anderson (1750-1826), a lieutenant colonel in the Virginia Continental Line during the Revolutionary War and original member of the Society of the Cincinnati, and Robert Anderson (1805-1871), the commanding Union officer at Fort Sumter at the beginning of the Civil War.
To aid research on these topics, the library also collects modern works related to the Anderson family, the Gilded Age in Washington, and the art and architecture of Anderson House.