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"Religion," mural in the North Corridor, Library of Congress Jefferson Building, by Charles Sprague Pearce, 1897.

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

University of Virginia Library: Special Collections (Rare Books, Manuscripts, Archives)

Address: Alderman Library
Charlottesville, VA 22903-2498
Telephone Number: (804) 924-3025
Fax Number: (804) 924-3143
Contact Persons: Michael Plunkett, Director of Special Collections;
Kathryn Morgan, Associate Director of Special Collections
Email Address: [email protected]
Internet Catalog Address: Telnet to, login as virgo, terminal type vt100; or
follow link from the Library's homepage at

Access Policies

Hours of Service:
Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m.--5:00 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m.--1:00 p.m.
When classes not in session 1:00 p.m.--5:00 p.m.
Open to the public: Yes
Photocopying:: Yes
Interlibrary loan: No

The hours listed above are subject to change without notice. Researchers are required to fill out a registration form, furnish personal photographic identification, and sign a statement agreeing to abide by the Department's regulations.

Researchers are not allowed to take outer coats, briefcases, handbags, etc. to the research tables; lockers are available for the storage of these items. Researchers may bring only pencils (no pens), and a few personal reference books to the tables. These items will be inspected by the staff before researchers leave the Reading Room. Paper is provided by the Department for researchers. Typewriters, portable computers, tape recorders, and other mechanical research tools are permissible provided that their use does not disturb other researchers.

Reference Policy:
Mail, fax, and e-mail reference inquiries are accepted, but telephone inquirers are not. Reference inquiries are accepted from anyone.
Borrowing Privileges:
Not a circulating collection.
Special Collection cataloging records are reported to OCLC and some retrospective records to RLIN. A very small percentage of the manuscript holdings are in OCLC (probably less than 5%). All rare books holdings are in OCLC.
Background Note:
Thomas Jefferson founded the University in 1818; the first class began in 1825.
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Description of Collections

Books and monographs:
There are 237 titles in the rare book collection. The exact portion that pertains to religion is unknown.

The University of Virginia Library, including Special Collections, has an on-line catalog entitled VIRGO. This is a NOTIS system, although the cataloging will be migrating to SIRSI. See information at the beginning of entry for how to access the catalog.

Periodicals and newspapers:
The entire collection of manuscripts is 10 million documents. It is not certain how much of this pertains to religion. The religion collection is primarily 19th to 20th century. Below are some of the religion-related highlights:

  • Bondurant-Morrison Family Papers including those of the Reverend James Morrison (1797-1870) - prominent subjects include religion and the Presbyterian Church.
  • Thomas A. Breslin interviews (1971-1972) - American Catholic missionaries to China.
  • Rev. Russell Cecil Sermons (1853-1925) - Presbyterian minister.
  • Christian Conference, and Methodist churches.
  • Robert Lewis Dabney Papers (1820-1898) - Presbyterian clergyman and chaplain in the Confederate Army.
  • Collins Denny and Denny Family Papers (1872-1943) - Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1910-1939, and professor of philosophy at Vanderbilt, 1891-1910.
  • Fontaine Family Papers (18th-19th century) - Rev. James (Jacques) Fontaine was a Huguenot minister who fled from France to England in 1722; collection includes his autobiography, as well as undated religious essays.
  • Alfred C. Garnett, Jr. Papers (1868-1945) - includes religious letters and circulars, and records of West Buckingham Methodist Episcopal Church Quarterly Conference.
  • John Cowper Granbery Papers (1861-1876) - itinerant preacher and missionary; chaplain in the Confederate Army; professor of theology at Vanderbilt University; Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
  • Grinnan Family Papers - includes papers of Randolph Bryan Grinnan, Southern Presbyterian missionary to Japan, 1885-1898.
  • Henkel Family Papers (1800-1846) - includes correspondence on Lutheranism and doctrinal differences between various Protestant denominations.
  • Sam Higginbottom Papers (1844-1971) - Presbyterian agricultural missionaries in India particularly at Allahabad Agricultural Institute.
  • Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church Records (1891-1954) - Charlottesville, Virginia Church.
  • Robert Green Ingersoll Collection (1877-1909) - includes essays criticizing Christianity and expounding agnosticism.
  • Samuel K. Jackson Papers - contains sermons, 1826-1844, possibly of the Rev. William M. Jackson.
  • Frances Parkinson Keyes Collection (1952-1971) - manuscripts of books on religion and Christian missions.
  • Lebanon Presbyterian Church Records (1835-1903).
  • Wilbur Earnest Macclenny Papers - includes information on American Sunday School Associations, Baptist churches, Christian churches, Church officials, Eastern Virginia.
  • S. Vernon McCaslan Papers (1938-1970) - University of Virginia Professor of Religion, 1939-1967.
  • Methodist Episcopal Church, South - records (1836-1932).
  • Francis Pickins Miller Papers - major files on World Student Christian Federation, World Council of Churches, and the Presbyterian Church in the United States.
  • Missionaries Collection.
  • Frederick W. Neve Papers (1900-1940) - Archdeacon in Episcopal Church at Blue Ridge Diocese. Mountain mission work in Virginia.
  • Elizabeth Oakes Prince Smith Papers (1823-1894) - includes manuscripts of sermons from Independent Church, Canastata, N.Y. Topics include spiritualism.
  • Taylor Family Papers (1896-1966) - Harry B. Taylor and Alma Booth Taylor, Episcopal doctor and missionary, Anking, China.
  • Beverley D. Tucker Letters (1925- ) - Episcopal missionary priest to Japan.
  • Ernest F. Ward Papers (1878-1930) - Free Methodist Church missionary to India.

Many finding aids to the manuscript collections may be found at the following URL: The archivist is Michael Plunkett.

Subject Headings

Confederate military chaplains; Evangelical Lutheran Church; Methodist Episcopal Church, South; Missions and missionaries; Presbyterian Church


University of Virginia Library. Special Collections Department. Guides to Archival and Manuscript Collections [Online]. Available HTTP. URL December 1997.

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  June 22, 2017
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