What does the library contain? | Virginia Museum of History & Culture What does the library contain?
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What does the library contain?

George Washington's DiaryThe library of the Virginia Historical Society maintains an extensive collection of published books and journals, manuscripts, rare books and Confederate imprints, maps, broadsides, and sheet music related to the history and culture of Virginia.

What resources are available for genealogical researchers? What is not available?

Many genealogists consult our extensive collection of published genealogical materials while conducting genealogical research. Others are interested in our manuscript collections, which contain genealogical notes, family trees, and Bible records.

The research library does NOT have many of the official records sought by genealogists.

The Library of Virginia has many official items, such as:

  • county records (including wills, deeds, and marriage bonds)
  • military service records
  • church records
  • Land Office records (patents and grants)
  • tax records

For additional information about genealogical collections, research services, and repositories for various other records, please visit the genealogy section of our website.

What resources does the library have for researching historic properties in the Richmond area?

You may find more information about researching a Richmond house here.

How can I view items listed in the online catalog?

Library materials may be examined in the reading room only. An appointment or prior notification is not needed. Researchers will need to complete a brief registration form. Also, some form of valid government-issued identification (license, passport, identification card) must be presented and photocopied for our records. The collections cannot be viewed without valid identification.

Please note: Library books and manuscripts are NOT available in a digital format.

What should I do if I am unable to find an item or subject in the catalog?

It is important to try several techniques and searches before assuming the item you are searching for is not part of the collections. Trying a keyword search is often quite helpful. Please remember that the catalog is NOT a database of names and places, but rather an index and guide to the titles and numerous subjects included in our collection. Furthermore, library staff are constantly adding new records to the online catalog, as well as converting our existing card catalog to a web-based index. If assistance is needed regarding searching, please contact the reference staff, or call the research library at 804.342.9677, Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST to speak directly with a reference librarian.

Information on the Confederate Memorial Literary Society collections

Plans for the transfer of the Confederate Memorial Literary Society collections currently housed within the Eleanor S. Brockenbrough Archives at the Museum of the Confederacy to the Virginia Historical Society’s Civil War Research Center are ongoing. At the present time, this collection is not available to researchers at the Virginia Historical Society. Questions related to the collection should be directed to Robert Hancock, Director of the Collections Department at the American Civil War Museum, at rhancock@acwm.org.

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