Virginia Family Libraries

We have the personal collections of 6 Virginia families, dating from the 18th and 19th centuries:


Bookplate found in the Skipwith collection with Jean Skipwith's signature.

Skipwith Family Library

The Skipwith family library includes over 300 titles (400 volumes.) Particularly important is the library of Lady Jean Skipwith (1748-1826) of “Prestwould,” Mecklenburg County. Her books comprise the largest library collected by a woman in Jeffersonian Virginia.

Portrait of young woman in pink dress.

Tucker-Coleman Family Library

The Tucker-Coleman family library is made up of over 800 titles owned by descendants of St. George Tucker, as well as by books about the family itself. Together with St. George Tucker’s library, the Tucker-Coleman family library, highlights an outstanding example of a Jeffersonian-era library.

Title page of the book "The Tatler" with black and white floral flourish.

Francis Jerdone Library

Francis Jerdone (1721-1771), a colonial merchant-planter of Yorktown, Hanover, and Louisa Counties, Virginia had a small but distinctive library, the majority of which is in Swem’s Special Collections (187 volumes). As the first Jerdone in Virginia, he collected books of predominantly eighteenth-century English origin with texts focused on religion and literature.

Signature of Richard Blow.

Blow Family Library

This library includes over 330 titles covering a large array of subjects, and belonged to the Blow family of “Tower Hill” in Sussex County, Virginia. The Blow family library is complemented by the Blow Family Papers and the Richard Blow Papers that form part of our manuscript holdings.

Title page of "Observations on the Management of Madhouses" with John M. Galt's signature.

John Minson Galt II Library

The library of John Minson Galt II (1819-1862) is a highly specialized collection exemplifying the profession of its owner. Galt, superintendent of the Eastern Lunatic Asylum in Williamsburg from 1841-1862, was a pioneer in the humane treatment in the field of mental health.

Title page of "Vrano Metria" with illustrations of Roman figures.

John Millington Library

A portion of William & Mary professor John Millington’s library is preserved in Swem’s Special Collections. John Millington (1779-1868) taught chemistry and natural philosophy at William & Mary from 1835 to 1848, and authored what may very well be the first American textbook on civil engineering. His library is strongest in mathematics and science, with subjects ranging from conchology to electromagnetism.