Joiner History

Between 1926 and 1976 a father and son held the office of DeKalb County Clerk in succession: Earle Joiner from 1926-1956 and Ralph Joiner from 1956-1976. Ralph Joiner believed that the old records and other historical materials accumulated at the Courthouse should find a new, permanent home. He tagged numerous items with notes to "save for museum."

In the early 1980s, under the direction of DeKalb County Clerk Terry Desmond, Phyllis Kelley spent 18 months cataloging and indexing the contents of the old vaults, which comprise the bulk of materials in the Joiner History Room.

As plans progressed for the renovation of the Courthouse, county officials provided new space for a historical repository. Following the conclusion of the DeKalb County Sesquicentennial celebration, which generated funds to pay for it, work began in 1988 to transform 400 square feet in the basement of the Courthouse into the Joiner History Room. Dedicated to Ralph Joiner and his wife Bertha for their efforts in preserving the county's historical documents, and in memory of the late Earl Joiner, the room opened to the public on May 4, 1989.

In June 1998, following an agreement between the DeKalb County Board and the Sycamore Library Board, the Joiner History Room collection moved to space in the Sycamore Library.

As the Joiner History Room collection expanded, storage became a concern. In 2019 the Joiner History Room became part of the DeKalb County History Center and is now located in a much larger space and has expanded hours. 

Throughout these changes, the Joiner History Room at the DeKalb County History Center remains committed to preserving DeKalb County archival materials and to making these resources easily accessible to all researchers.