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Special Collections and Archives at James Branch Cabell Library

Special Collections and Archives at James Branch Cabell Library houses rare and unique materials that document the history of twentieth century Richmond. The archives of VCU and the Richmond Professional Institute (RPI) are also housed here.

Location: 4th Floor of Cabell Library
Hours: Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
(804) 828-8837
libjbcsca@vcu.edu

Special Collections and Archives at Tompkins-McCaw Library

Special Collections and Archives at Tompkins-McCaw Library houses archives, artifacts, books, manuscripts, photographs, portraits and prints related to the history of health care in Virginia. The archives for the Medical College of Virginia campus of Virginia Commonwealth University are also housed here.

Location: 1st floor of Tompkins-McCaw Library
Hours: Monday - Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.nm.
(804) 828-9898
libtmlsca@vcu.edu

General Policies

All materials must be viewed in the reading room.

Materials must be handled with care. Food and drink are not permitted.

Pens are not permitted. Pencils only. Laptops are permitted.

Call slips must be filled-out for all materials requested.

Visit the Special Collections and Archives Websites or ask staff for additional information.

Finding Materials

Rare Books can be found using VCU Libraries Search. The books are shelved in closed stacks, but staff will retrieve books for you to view in the reading room. The items located in Special Collections and Archives  cannot be checked out.

Manuscript Collections include personal papers from individuals significant to local history as well as archival records from a variety of organizations. Manuscripts collections can also include scrapbooks, photographs, posters, artifacts and a range of other materials. Each manuscript collection has a corresponding guide that provides information about its scope and contents.  The guides to manuscript collections can be searched using the Virginia Heritage Guides to Manuscript & Archival Collections in Virginia. Please consult with Special Collections and Archives staff about research using primary sources. 

Examples of manuscript collections include:

University Archives include a variety of published and unpublished materials that document the history of the university. These include the records of departments and offices, as well as bulletins, course catalogs, and photographs. The Commonwealth Times, VCU and MCV yearbooks, the VCU Oral History Archive, and other materials can be found in the VCU Libraries Digital Collection. Please visit Special Collections and Archives for assistance with these materials.

Digital Collections

VCU Libraries Digital Collections are materials primarily from VCU Libraries' Special Collections and Archives, and range in subject matter from postcards of Richmond to medical artifacts. Digital collections are presented in a variety of formats, including images, text, video, and audio.

Examples include:

Exhibits

Special Collections and Archives at James Branch Cabell Library and Tompkins McCaw Library shares its holdings with the community through online exhibits and curated displays. 

Newspapers and Magazines

The Freeman File is an index to articles from the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Richmond News-Leader covering the years 1920s-1980s. The index is on microfiche and can be used in Special Collections and Archives. Please ask a staff member for assistance.

A variety of local publications such as the Richmond Free Press, Style Weekly Magazine and Richmond Magazine are housed in Special Collections and Archives. Community and specialty publications such as the Richmond Pride, Our Own Community Press, Throttle, and Punchline, are also available.

Student newspapers and publications, such as the Atlas, Proscript, Commonwealth Times, Shafer Court Connections, VCU Today, and others are also housed in Special Collections and Archives.