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UMW Libraries
Simpson Library | Special Collections

Simpson Library Orientation: Special Collections and University Archives

What is Special Collections and University Archives?

UMW Libraries' Special Collections and University Archives is home to the Rare Books and Journals Collection and the University Archives.  Special Collections and University Archives is located on the second floor of Simpson Library in Room 217, immediately in front of the central staircase. Items may be used in that room only.

Inside the Special Collections room

Research Room, Special Collections and University Archives

Special Collections and University Archives is open Tuesdays from 1:30 - 4:30 PM and Wednesdays from 9 AM to noon and 1:30 - 4:30 PM, and by appointment. To make an appointment, please call us at (540) 654-1752.

Rare Books & Journals Collection

The Rare Books and Journals Collection includes over 1500 rare volumes, including all of the following:

  • First editions from literary figures such as James Joyce, Willa Cather, Ellen Glasgow, John Dos Passos, and William B. Yeats
  • Treatises on travel, religion, art and history.
  • Incunabula
  • Books published in the 16th - 19th centuries on such subjects as architecture, history, English and American literature, science, and philosophy
  • First and limited editions
  • Fine and private press editions

Special Collections also houses selected issues of rare journals from the 18th to the 20th century. Some of the titles in our collections are The Gentleman's Magazine (1731-1800), Godey's Magazine (1845-1873), and the Yellow Book (1894-1897).

University Archives

The University Archives contain archival and historical materials relating to the University of Mary Washington. Here are some examples of materials in the archives:

  • UMW’s student newspaper, the Bullet / Blue & Gray Press (1922-present)
  • UMW's yearbook, the Battlefield (1913-present)
  • UMW departmental honors papers
  • The papers of UMW presidents and renowned UMW faculty members, including Dr. James L. Farmer, founder of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and Dr. Kurt F. Leidecker, founder of the Thomas Jefferson Institute for the Study of Religious Freedom

Digital Collections

UMW Libraries has digitized many of its archival collections - the Bullet newspaper, the Battlefield yearbook, photographs, the Aubade literary and arts magazine, the University alumni magazine, students' honors and Master's papers, and the academic course catalogs. To access these collections online, visit the Digital Collections page.

University Archivist

Profile Photo
Carolyn Parsons
Simpson Library, Room 217
(540) 654-1752