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Special Collections and Archives acquires, preserves and makes available to the public unique and rare materials of enduring historic and research value. This includes manuscripts, personal papers, photograph collections, oral histories and various institutional records. Comprising multiple formats and spanning the late 19th to the 21st centuries, these materials support research, discovery and creative works across subjects and disciplines.

Collection strengths

  • Richmond history, including businesses, civic associations and professional organizations
  • Architectural history and urban planning
  • African-American, women’s and LGBTQ community histories, social movements and activism
  • Literary manuscripts related to authors born or living in Virginia

Since the department maintains a variety of files and indices of its collections, researchers and visitors are encouraged to consult with staff for information needs.  Most – but not all – of these collections can be found through ArchivesSpace-VCU Special Collections & Archives or VCU Libraries search. Researchers are also encourage to use  Virginia Heritage, a union database of holdings in cultural institutions across the Commonwealth.  

Collections of note

Resources related to twentieth-century women’s history in the commonwealth including: Adèle Goodman Clark papers, Mary Tyler Freeman Cheek McClenahan papers, and the Theresa Pollak papers.

Resources documenting African-American history, race relations, and civil rights in the commonwealth including: Edward H Peeples papers, some of which is presented as a digital collection; Heslip M. “Happy” Lee papers, and the Clarence L. Townes, Jr papers.

Holdings documenting organizations and businesses in Richmond and Central Virginia including: Central Richmond Association records, Fan District Association records, and the United Way of Greater Richmond records.

Papers and records of local and national literary figures and organizations, among them: James Branch Cabell papers, Tom Robbins papersLarry Levis papers and the New Virginia Review records

Contact Us

James Branch Cabell Library: or (804) 828-1108.
Hours: Hours: Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Appointments are recommended.

Tompkins-McCaw Library: or (804) 828-9898.
Hours: Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Appointments are recommended.


VCU Libraries

James Branch Cabell Library Monroe Park Campus
901 Park Ave., Box 842033
Richmond, VA 23284-2033
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
(804) 828-1111
All Libraries
Tompkins-McCaw Library MCV Campus
509 N. 12th St., Box 980582
Richmond, VA 23298-0582
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
(804) 828-0636

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