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Religion Collections in Libraries and Archives:
A Guide to Resources in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia

Table of Contents - Preface/Acknowledgements - Abbreviations
Lists of Entries: District of Columbia - Maryland - Virginia

Union Presbyterian Seminary
William Smith Morton Library
Archives and Special Collections

Address: 3401 Brook Road
Richmond, VA 23227
Telephone Numbers:

(804) 278-4310 (Circulation)

(804) 278-4333 (Reference)

For permission to visit, please contact Dr. Paula Skreslet, Reference and Archives Librarian, by email

Fax Number: (804) 278-4375
Contact Persons: Dr. Paula Skreslet, Reference and Archives Librarian

Access Policies

Hours of Service:


Please consult the website for current information on open hours and access.
Open to the public: No; Researchers may make an appointment with the Reference Librarian, by email, to request access to the Library.
Photocopying:: Yes
Interlibrary loan: Yes

Archives and Rare Books:

Access by appointment only.
Open to the public: To faculty, graduate students and researchers with institutional affiliation; to others by application
Photocopying:: Under certain conditions
Interlibrary loan: No

The rules governing the use of rare books and manuscripts in our collection and an application to examine manuscript materials and rare books are available on the Library's website in PDF format. (To view documents in PDF format, you will need the freely available Adobe Acrobat Reader.) The primary mission of the Library is to support instruction at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond and Union Presbyterian Seminary.

Reference Policy:
Telephone and mail reference questions are accepted.
Borrowing Privileges:
For current information on conditions and terms of borrowing, please contact the Circulation Supervisor.
OCLC via SOLINET; Richmond Academic Libraries Consortium (RALC); Washington Theological Consortium (WTC).
Background Note:
Union Theological Seminary offered its first instruction at a postsecondary level in 1812. The Library was founded in 1806 at Hampden-Sydney College. The present campus in Richmond was established in 1898.
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Description of Collections

Books and monographs:
The collection now numbers over 300,000 items, about 90% of which are religion-related. The print collection dates from 1470 to the present. There are nearly 3000 cataloged rare books. The collection has a strong emphasis in the Presbyterian and Reformed tradition, Bible, church history (including patristics), theology, ecumenism and ministry (homiletics, pastoral counseling, etc). An outstanding collection of 19th century children's books and Sunday School materials is housed in the Rare Book Reading Room.

Remote access to the online catalog is available through the Library website.

Periodicals and newspapers:
Over 1300 religion or religion-related journals. Holdings consist of about 50,000 volumes of over 3500 titles, dating from 1800 to the present. The strengths of the serial collection are similar to those of the monograph collection. We subscribe to almost all of the titles indexed in the ATLA Religion Database. The Special Collections include many 19th-century church-related newspapers, especially those of a Presbyterian or Reformed character in Virginia and the South. A finding aid is available in the Archives.
Archives, manuscripts, correspondence, and oral histories:
Over 1200 linear feet of manuscript materials and institutional records. We also provide space for the Synod of Virginia records collection and those of the Presbyterian Outlook. The personal papers of our faculty members and other ministers and missionaries of the Presbyterian Church US form the core of the manuscript collection. Some finding aids to the collection are available in the Archives.
More than 25,000 microfiche and 2400 reels of microfilm. These encompass old and rare books, periodicals and the official records and relevant historical materials of the Synod of Virginia and its constituent presbyteries and congregations. A finding aid to these records is available in the Library.
Videos and Sound Recordings:
Over 1900 films and videocassettes on some 250 subjects, dating from 1949 to the present. Feature films, lectures, sermons by outstanding preachers, television shows and documentaries, materials on world religions and international mission, Presbyterian-produced curriculum and audiovisuals. Over 16,000 audio recordings on CD-ROM, including sermons, lectures, music, dramas, Greek and Hebrew language-learning materials and Bible studies. Important collections of Reinhold Niebuhr and Paul Tillich audiotapes, copies of which are available for sale.

Media materials and curriculum (also teaching kits, games and Sunday School classroom resources) are included in the Library's public online catalog.

Vertical files:
An extensive collection of primary sources and ephemera, cataloged by subject. Seek assistance from the Reference Librarian.
Paintings, photographs, slides, and prints:
Over 23,000 slides and prints. These collections are housed in the Media Center and the Archives and do not circulate. Highlights include the Pictorial Archives of Near East History, the Western Civilization Collection, Hebrew language materials and religious art. Seek assistance from the Media Resources Director or the Reference Librarian.
Databases, CD-ROMS, and other machine-readable sources:
These include the ATLA Religion Database, Bible Windows, Database of Classical Bibliography, Thesaurus Linguæ Græcæ, Religious and Theological Abstracts, Old Testament Abstracts, New Testament Abstracts, Hymnal Companion, Encarta Africana, Evans Digital, World of Islam, Luther's Works, Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Library, and ERIC. Dissertation Abstracts and other FirstSearch databases are available on a mediated basis through the Reference Librarian. Access to the ATLAS full-text periodicals in religion database is possible through our website. At this time, the electronic research products and services can be used only within the Library.

Subject Headings

Biblical studies; Calvin, John, 1509-1564; Calvinism; Church history; Counseling; Preaching; Presbyterian Church; Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); Presbyterian Church in the United States; Theological education


Benedetto, Robert. Guide to the Manuscript Collections of the Presbyterian Church, U.S. New York, NY: Greenwood Press, 1990.

Benedetto, Robert and Martha L. Moore-Keish. John Calvin and Reformed Protestantism: A Catalog of Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Century Imprints in the Library of Union Theological Seminary in Virginia. Richmond, VA: Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, 1994.

Frye, Denise D. and Theodore G. Winter, comp. Media Resources: A Catalog of Audio Cassettes, Videotapes, 16mm Films 1992. Richmond, VA: Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, 1992.
This is a supplement to Reigner Recording Library Catalog of Cassettes 1988.

National Union Catalog, pre-1956 Imprints. London: Mansell, 1968-1981. 750 volumes.

Reigner Recording Library Catalog of Cassettes 1988. Compiled by Pamela H. Wells and Theodore G. Winter. Richmond, VA: Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, 1988.

Wilson, Howard McKnight, ed. Records of the Synod of Virginia Presbyterian Church in the United States: the Official Records and Relevant Historical Material of the Synod and its Constituent Presbyteries and Churches on Microfilm. Richmond, VA: Synod of Virginia, 1970.

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  June 22, 2017
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