University Libraries



Virginia State University was established in 1882 as "The Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute" and for over one hundred years has produced and acquired thousands of documents, photographs, and other material documenting the Black experience in Virginia. It was not until 1976 however that the University created the department of Special Collections/University Archives.

Although the department was not formally established until 1976, there has existed in the library since the 1930's what was called the "Negro Room." This served as the foundation for what would become Special Collections in the 1960's.

The Special Collections/University Archives now consist of three components: rare books, manuscripts, and University Archives. The rare books area which originally sought to house books written by African American authors has now been expanded to include other titles and in particular local histories of the Southside area of Virginia and histories of Black Colleges and works written by VSU faculty and alumni. There are a number of manuscript groups, all of which document the history of blacks in Virginia since 1772. Included in this group are the Luther Porter Jackson Family Papers, the Colson-Hill Family Papers, the Virginia Teachers Association Records, and the Prince Edward County (VA) Free School Records. The University Archives consist of School records dating from February 1883.

The University Archives are the official records maintained by law [The Virginia Public Records Act, § 42.1-76]. The records are divided into groups and date from 1883. In these record groups may be found, minutes of the board of visitors, annual reports, and records of students documenting their experiences at the University since 1883.

Service Research Hours: Monday and Tuesday, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. and Wednesday and Thursday, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., closed on Fridays. Appointments only. For more information feel free to contact Francine Archer at 804-524-1023.