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Rare Books and Periodicals

This department holds approximately 50,000 books and periodicals on focused subject areas, with most dating from the late 19th century to the present.

Collection strengths

  • Architecture and decorative arts of the late 19th and 20th century
  • Book art 
  • Comic arts
  • Mid-20th century American fantasy and science fiction
  • Richmond imprints and authors
  • Richmond and Virginia history from the mid-19th century to the present
  • Richmond serial publications from the late 20th century to the present with a focus on alternative serials and zines
  • Rare and valuable monographs and catalogues raisonnés on modern and contemporary art
  • Rare and valuable titles on graphic design, illustration and photography

Notable book collections

  • The James Branch Cabell Collection: Approximately 3,000 titles from the personal library of James Branch Cabell (1879-1958), Richmond author of fantasy fiction and satire and the namesake of the library. Titles in the collection consist of early modern fiction, fantasy and psychology.
  • William E. Blake Jr.'s Stone Campbell Movement Collection: More than 120 books and pamphlets from the 19th and 20th centuries on the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement. 
  • Billy DeBeck Collection: Approximately 120 books from the personal library of American cartoonist Billy De Beck (1890-1942). Titles focus primarily on Appalachia and were used by Billy DeBeck to develop his popular comic strip character, Snuffy Smith.
  • Samuel Johnson and James Boswell Collection: Approximately 700 titles including Johnson, Boswell and their 18th century English contemporaries.
  • Betty Tisinger Collection of Pop-Up Books: Approximately 800 rare and popular pop-up books spanning the 20th century.
  • Wyman Rolph Collection: Some 800 imprints on typography, fine printing and book arts with most titles from the early to mid-20th century.

Notable serial publications

  • M. Thomas Inge College of Comic Arts reference journals: More than 2,000 fanzines, newsletters, scholarly journals and magazines related to comic arts.
  • Richmond periodicals: Punchline, The Southern Literary Messenger, The Reviewer, Richmond Pride, Richmond Free Press, Richmond Mercury, Richmond Music Journal, Throttle, STYLE Weekly and many others.
  • National titles on popular culture: Eerie, Creepy, Heavy Metal, National Lampoon, Mad Magazine and a complete set of Life magazine.
  • Zines: More than 600 zines, primarily from Richmond but also including national titles.
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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