Our collections emphasize Virginia history from the 17th to the 21st centuries, although we do have some collections that support national and international research.
How to Find Manuscripts
- Use the quicksearch above and select Archives (searches the Special Collections Database, the W&M Digital Archive, and the Swem Library Digital Collections Database).
- For a comprehensive search, also search the library catalog (quicksearch above).
- Use our onsite card catalogs. These catalogs are no longer updated, so check the Special Collections Database for the latest information.
- View the tutorial Finding Materials in Special Collections.
- See our research guides on topics ranging from early American history to African Americans to women to the Civil War to possible thesis topics and more.
- Contact our service desk.
Notable Collections in Virginiana
- Virginia family papers including the Blow, Galt, Taliaferro, Tyler, Blair, Robb, Carter, and Armistead families
- The Tucker-Coleman Papers
- Papers of distinguished alumni, including Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, John Marshall, and John Tyler
- 20th-century political papers including those of Governor Mills E. Godwin, governor and congressman William Munford Tuck, and Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis
- Business records including 18th- and 19th-century account books
- Sheet music from the late 18th-20th centuries
- The William & Mary Hip Hop Collection is dedicated to Virginia’s hip hop culture and history from the 1980s to the present
- Newspapers numbering over 750 titles, mainly from Virginia
- Maps including the famous 1782 Frenchman's Map of Williamsburg
- Military papers including those of Revolutionary War Colonel Leven Powell, Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston, and numerous individuals from World War II and other armed conflicts