The (Digital) Archive at Your Fingertips

Posted on
March 18, 2020
Screenshot of W&M Libraries Digital Archive homepage.
Homepage of the Digital Archive, home to all digitized material from the SCRC.

Shayna Gutcho, William & Mary Libraries Mosaic Fellow, gives an introduction to the Digital Archive and the Special Collections and University Archives resources you can access from home. Read on to learn more about our digitized materials.

With social distancing becoming the new norm for the next several weeks, William & Mary Libraries and the Special Collections Research Center are committed to helping our community transition into working, teaching, and learning from home. While our doors are currently closed to the public, the William & Mary Libraries Digital Archive remains an uninterrupted resource for both research and leisure—accessible to everyone and available from the comfort of your home!

The Digital Archive is home to digitized material from our manuscript, rare book, and university archives collections. Materials uploaded here come in many different forms: PDF scans, JPEG images, transcriptions, and audio and visual files.

Martha Barksdale's diary, featuring a black-and-white image of a woman, presumably Barksdale, attached to the inside of the front cover.
Inside cover of the diary (1918-1919) of Martha Barksdale, a member of the first class of women at William & Mary. View the entirely digitized diary on the Digital Archive (UA 6.004).

If you are missing the university’s printed publications, the Digital Archive has everything from digitized issues of The Flat Hat to The Gallery to The DoG Street Journal. If you’re interested in seeing how campus life has changed and grown since William & Mary’s earlier days, the Digital Archive has copies of the Colonial Echo, the university’s annual yearbook, ranging from 1899 to the 21st century! While browsing the Digital Archive is not the exact same experience as being on campus, you have a piece of William & Mary with you on your desktop.

If you are looking for primary sources for class or research, the Digital Archive offers several options. From women’s diaries to oral histories to Cuban film posters to the personal correspondence of President James Monroe, the Digital Archive has a little bit of everything!

Not sure where to start? Try a basic keyword search in the search box, or navigate to the “Communities & Collections” tab on the right page to see some of our major collecting groups. Additionally, the “Subjects” tab highlights materials that have been tagged with a specific subject heading.

These are difficult and uncertain times, and we hope our online resources can provide you with a bit of comfort and familiarity. If you have any questions about the Digital Archive or conducting research with us remotely, feel free to reach out via email at

Flat Hat article with black-and-white photograph of Robert Frost dining at Chowning's Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg.
Excerpt from the December 9, 1941 issue of The Flat Hat, announcing the arrival of poet Robert Frost in Williamsburg. Read the entirely digitized issue on the Digital Archive.
Page from the African American Family Photo Album, featuring five black-and-white photographs of unidentified individuals posing for their portrait around Richmond, Virginia.
Scenes of Richmond, Virginia, circa 1940s, from the African American Family Photo Album (MS 00229). View the entirely digitized photograph album on the Digital Archive.