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.
- 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 Virginia Heritage, a union database of holdings in cultural institutions across the Commonwealth, and VCU Libraries search.
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 papers, and the New Virginia Review records. Also included are the papers of poet Larry Levis, which are currently being processed.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (804) 828-1108.
Hours: Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments are recommended.