About Special Collections and University Archives

Virginia Tech Special Collections and University Archives in the University Libraries offers a wealth of material to support research, engage one’s interests, and excite the imagination. Our mission is to collect and preserve unique, historical materials and provide access to them in their original form. When possible, Special Collections and University Archives also offers materials in digital format.

Our collections encompass diverse subject areas, such as university history, the American Civil War, culinary history, science and technology, regional and Appalachian history and culture, and history of women of the built environment. Materials include manuscript collections, university archives, rare books, photographs, maps, oral histories, and more.

Basic Introduction Research Guide

Learn more about Special Collections and University Archives and get help starting your research with our introductory research guide!


The following Special Collections and University Archives policies are designed to help patrons who wish to donate their materials or make a financial gift, use our materials in the Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room, and request copies of materials for personal, professional, and commercial use and publication.

  • Gifts & Donations Policy
  • Reading Room & Use Policy
  • Reproduction & Publication Policy

Gifts and donations are important to the vitality of Special Collections and University Archives and its mission to support the research, teaching, and service aspects of this land grant university. The department accepts gifts that will enhance existing collections, contribute to original scholarship conducted by the university community, and further develop the richness of resources used by the University Libraries' patrons.

Special Collections and University Archives accepts materials in electronic, digital, paper-based, and other physical formats. We are committed to acquiring publications, manuscripts, and other materials related to these collecting areas that document the experience of underrepresented and/or marginalized communities, groups, or individuals.

Read the Gifts & Donations Policy for more information.

Special Collections and University Archives makes original materials available to our patrons in our department in Newman Library. Each patron to Special Collections and University Archives will enter through our Reading Room, where an attendant will help you find materials.

Please contact us to make arrangements in before your visit, in particular if you are traveling from out of town or expecting to use a lot of our materials. If we know your subject interest in advance, materials can be prepared for your arrival, so that you can use your time in Special Collections and University Archives as productively as possible. Please note, materials from our storage facility require at least two business days from time of request for materials to arrive to our Reading Room.

Read the Reading Room & Use Policy for more information.

Special Collections and University Archives seeks to make accessible and preserve its collections, which includes access to copies of most material for personal, research, or publication use. Our reproduction and publication policy has been fashioned to both meet patron needs and to ensure the continued preservation of those materials.

Read the Reproduction & Publication Policy for more information.

Contact Info

  • Mailing address:

    Special Collections and University Archives
    University Libraries (0434)
    Newman Library, Virginia Tech
    560 Drillfield Dr.
    Blacksburg, VA 24061

Staff Directory

Special Collections and University Archives include a director, faculty and staff archivists, and many student workers. A list of our professional staff and their individual contact information is available in the University Libraries Staff Directory.

Site Map

We hope you find it easy to find things on our site; however, if you're looking for something and can't find it, you can check our site map to get a sense of where it might be. If you still can't find it, please contact us using the contact info above.

Virginia Tech's Land Acknowledgement & Labor Recognition

Virginia Tech acknowledges that we live and work on the Tutelo / Monacan People’s homeland, and we recognize their continued relationships with their lands and waterways. We further acknowledge that the Morrill Land-Grant College Act (1862) enabled the commonwealth of Virginia to finance and found Virginia Tech through the forced removal of Native Nations from their lands in western territories. We understand that honoring Native Peoples without explicit material commitments falls short of our institutional responsibilities. Through sustained, transparent, and meaningful engagement with the Tutelo / Monacan Peoples, and other Native Nations, we commit to changing the trajectory of Virginia Tech's history by increasing Indigenous student, staff, and faculty recruitment and retention, diversifying course offerings, and meeting the growing needs of all Virginia tribes and supporting their sovereignty.

Virginia Tech acknowledges that its Blacksburg campus sits partly on land that was previously the site of the Smithfield and Solitude Plantations, owned by members of the Preston family. Between the 1770s and the 1860s, the Prestons and other local White families that owned parcels of what became Virginia Tech also owned hundreds of enslaved people. We acknowledge that enslaved Black people generated wealth that financed the predecessor institution to Virginia Tech, the Preston and Olin Institute, and they also worked on construction of its building. Not until 1953, however, was the first Black student permitted to enroll. Through InclusiveVT, the institutional and individual commitment to Ut Prosim (that I may serve) in the spirit of community, diversity, and excellence, we commit to advancing a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community.

Full and short version of the acknowledgement can be found on InclusiveVT's website.