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Boatwright Memorial Library

Book Arts, Archives, and Rare Books Division: Home

Brief introduction to Boatwright Libraries' Book Arts, Archives, & Rare Book Division

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Boatwright Library's Book Arts, Archives, & Rare Books

Book Arts, Archives, & Rare Books  @ Boatwright 

Note: materials from these collections are currently available by appointment only during construction!


The Galvin Rare Book Room, Archives, and Book Arts are located within Boatwright Memorial Library.  The mission of the division supports and reflects the educational mission of the University of Richmond by preserving and providing access to materials for use by students, faculty, staff, scholars, and the general public (currently restricted by COVID protocols).  Through our diverse collection of materials, we hope to provide an environment that challenges researchers of all types to engage with historical materials and primary sources while building connections to earlier generations and other times and places.  In addition, patrons will also gain an understanding of the use and care for such materials by agreeing to and signing a use agreement prior to using these materials.  

The Galvin Rare Book Room, located on Level B-1, houses over 14,000 books, broadsides, manuscripts, maps, newspapers, music scores, facsimiles, and print materials dating from 1470 to the present. The eclectic and wide-ranging nature of the collection offers extensive opportunities for students and faculty to explore across the curriculum and for researchers to explore a tremendous variety of topics and resources. Areas of particular strength in the rare book collection include: Richmond and Virginia history; the Civil War; historic children’s literature; travel, maritime, and exploration works; historic cookbooks and domestic guides; and the history of the book and print culture.

Boatwright Libraries' Archives house the archival and manuscript materials in the collection.  Our manuscript collections contain original historical items and unpublished primary sources of interest across a broad spectrum of topics. Collections of note include the Dr. and Mrs. Wyatt Tee Walker Collection; the Carl Van Vechten – Mark Lutz Collection; Civil War diaries, maps, letters, and photographs; alumni materials, faculty research collections and University-related items; World War II correspondence; and two congressional collections. Highlights of smaller collections include incunabula, maps, journals, diaries, and naval and maritime materials, including a whaling journal and ships' logs. More details and finding aids for these collections are available in the Galvin Rare Books Reading Room.  

Work on the Rev. and Mrs. Wyatt Tee Walker collection continues to move forward. Currently available digital materials may be located via the Walker informational page and in our digital archive

Materials digitized from the Rare Books & Archives materials may be found on the Digital Collections page.


The Book Arts Program exists to enrich the creative and scholarly culture at the University of Richmond by promoting the history and art of the book as a mode of communication, expression, and education. While exploring historic and contemporary book structure and craft, the goals of the Book Arts Studio include: creating a hands-on learning space for interdisciplinary projects; developing a program of educational courses, workshops, discussions, presentations, and exhibits; building collaborative partnerships across campus and the community; and highlighting the diverse library resources available for research into the history of the book.

During 2012–2013, Boatwright Memorial Library at the University of Richmond received a generous donation of the equipment and supplies of Shiu-Min Block, a professional bookbinder previously located in Connecticut. In September of 2014, the library added a platen press, several cabinets of type, and letterpress equipment from local printer and print historian, David M. Clinger. These donations became the foundation of the University of Richmond’s growing Book Arts Program and Studio.

The Book Arts Studio facilitates drop-in student maker events in the library and works with faculty, students, and staff on projects ranging from bound oral histories, linoleum block printing, poster design, introductory bookbinding workshops, and comic making, among others. If you would like to schedule a tour of the studio or have an idea for a class or staff project with a book arts focus, contact Jen Thomas, Book Arts Studio Coordinator, for more information.

Designed to support our Book Arts program, the Book Arts related collections combine technical manuals, descriptive and historical works, and artists' books and creations. Manuals and artists' books are housed in the Book Arts Studio or Rare Book Room, while more general descriptive and historical works are located in the circulating collection. All are noted as part of the Book Arts Collection, so that the collection may be searched as a whole. For additional information, please see the Book Arts guide. 


The University Archives are housed in and administered by the Virginia Baptist Historical Society, located in a separate wing of Boatwright Memorial Library.  Further information is available on their website at or via phone at 804-289-8437.




Current Exhibits

Current exhibits in the Boatwright Library 

Exhibits in the Library

The Temple of Flora Botanicals  (2nd floor, outside administration office)

      This exhibit highlights plates from the oversized botanical study, The Temple of Flora

Botanicals (2nd floor, Silent Study area)

      This exhibit highlights materials related to botanical study from the Galvin Rare Book Room collection. 

Student Life @ UR (2nd floor, Silent Study area)

     This exhibit highlights archival materials from the collections reflecting student life through the years.

Modlin Award Winner  (1st floor, collaborative area)

     Selections from the personal library of the 2022 Modlin Award winner.



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