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The VUU Archives and Special Collections Blog features highlights from the collection, staff activities, publishes exhibitions and events in Archives and Special Collections Department at the L. Douglas Wilder Library, Virginia Union University.

The Archives and Special Collections Department of Virginia Union University in Richmond, VA was founded in January 1997. It is located in the L.Douglas Wilder Library and Learning Resource Center. The department records and preserves the history of African Americans, and therefore offers a wealth of information on the history of African Americans in Richmond.


Our mission is to preserve the rich historical records of the university and information of permanent historical value and also serve as an educational resource for scholarly and administrative research.

Collection Overview

The Department holds a number of collections from historical figures who are largely alumni of the university. Some of our numerous collections are:

L. Douglas Wilder Collection

This consists of the life and career of Virginia’s 66th Governor (1990-1994), the first elected African American Governor in US history and the first Black legislator to serve in the Virginia State Senate since Reconstruction (1969-1986) as well as the first black lieutenant Governor of Virginia (1986-1990).

Sampson Watson Collection

This collection recognizes the legacy of both Rev. Dr. Frederick G. Sampson and Rev. Dr.  Lance Watson.  Both have distinguished themselves among the greatest African American preachers and role models in society. The collection contains sermons by nationally known preachers from various generations.

Spencer Collection

This consists of Dr. Jon Michael Spencer’s donation of more than 1,100 books, journals, microfilm of historic papers, research documentation in history and theology of African Americans, African history and slave culture. It also has a significant number of hymnals from various denominations.

Special Collections

This is a growing collection of rare books, manuscripts, photographs and sheet music. The rare books collection is over 1200 in volume with first editions, signed copies and out of print books which emphasize African American children’s books of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

University Archives Collection

The Archives includes records of the university’s history, publications and information on faculty, alumni and students’ theses.

Yearbook Collection

This is a digitization project which aims to preserve the memory of the various alumni year groups of the university.

We hope you would find time to come visit us to view and use our collections and also contributes to our collection discovery platform.

Selicia G. Allen

Special Collections Librarian/University Archivist

Virginia Union University, Richmond VA

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