We support the university and wider community's teaching and research mission by collecting and preserving original manuscripts, books, and other items relating to American history and culture, with an emphasis on Virginia and the South. We are open to the William & Mary faculty, students and staff, scholarly researchers, K-12 teachers and students, and the general public. While our collections are intended primarily for research and teaching, they may also be used for exhibits, publication and other relevant purposes with the appropriate permissions and citations.

How to Search the Collections

Our collections are available through a variety of online tools. View our list of search tools for all of the means of accessing our collections. Depending on what you're looking for, a specific tool may suit your research better. For example, our rare book collections are better searched in the W&M library catalog, while our manuscripts are available through our collection guides (finding aid).

Requesting Materials

Our materials are not available for checkout, but they can be requested through the library catalog and with our special request system (Aeon). You do not need to be a member of the W&M community to request our collections, but all researchers do need to register through Aeon to make requests and schedule visits. We also provide digital reproductions. Learn more about how to request materials and reproductions.

Visiting the Reading Room

Once you've submitted requests for materials you're interested in and scheduled an appointment to visit, you can view your materials in our reading room in Swem library. To protect our collections, we have a few tips and guidelines for you to follow. Make sure you review our list of what to expect when visiting the reading room before you arrive!