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Rare Books & Special Collections

Located within Boatwright Library, the Galvin Rare Book Room and Special Collections supports the educational mission of the University of Richmond by preserving and providing access to our diverse collection of materials for use by students, faculty, staff, scholars, and the general public. We hope to provide an environment that challenges researchers of all types to engage with historical materials and primary sources while building connections to earlier generations and gain an understanding of the use and care for such materials. Items in both locations can be found in the library catalog.

The Galvin Rare Book Room

Located on level B-1, the Rare Book Room houses some 10,000 books, broadsides, manuscripts, maps, newspapers, music scores, facsimiles, and photographs, including manuscript and print materials dating from 1470 to the present. The eclectic and wide-ranging nature of the collection offers extensive opportunities for students and faculty to explore across the curriculum and for researchers to explore a tremendous variety of topics and resources. Areas of particular strength include Richmond and Virginia history, the Civil War, historic children’s literature, and the history of the book.

Manuscript Collections

Our manuscript collections contain original historical items and unpublished primary sources of interest across a broad spectrum of topics. Collections of note include the Dr. and Mrs. Wyatt Tee Walker Collection; the Carl Van Vechten – Mark Lutz Collection; Civil War diaries, maps, letters, and photographs; faculty research collections and University-related scrapbooks and items; and two congressional collections. Highlights of smaller collections include incunabula, maps, journals, diaries, individual book arts publications, and a whaling journal.

Book Arts Collection

Designed to support our Book Arts studio, the Book Arts collection combines technical manuals, descriptive and historical works, and artists' books and creations. Manuals and artists' books are housed in Special Collections, while more general descriptive and historical works are located in the circulating collection. All are noted as part of the Book Arts Collection, so that the collection may be searched as a whole.

Special Collections

The University Libraries' Special Collections are housed in the closed stacks of Boatwright Library. These materials include items which are separate from the libraries' main circulating collections because of their unique nature or value. Included are faculty and alumni publications, specially autographed materials, late 19th and early 20th century literary and scholarly journals, and out of print materials too fragile for the circulating collections.

Some of the materials from Rare Books & Special Collections have been digitized by the Discovery, Technology, and Publishing division of Boatwright Library.

Digital Collections available include:

Digital collections of university materials available include:

University Archives

The University Archives are housed in and administered by the Virginia Baptist Historical Society, located in a separate wing of Boatwright Memorial Library. Further information is available on their website at or via phone at 804-289-8434.

Contact Information and Rare Book Room Hours

Contact Information

Lynda Kachurek
Head, Rare Books and Special Collections
(804) 289-8458

Taylor McNeilly
Reference and Processing Archivist
(804) 289-8850

Irina Rogova
Project Archivist, Race & Racism at UR
(804) 289-8849

Jen Thomas
Book Arts Studio Coordinator

Mailing Address
Boatwright Memorial Library
University of Richmond
28 Westhampton Way
Richmond, VA 23173

Galvin Rare Book Room Hours

Fall Hours: by appointment only.