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Boatwright Memorial Library

PRIMARY SOURCES GUIDE: Print Materials & Examples

Examples of Primary Sources

  • Diary of Anne Frank - experience of Jews in World War II
  • The Declaration of Independence - U. S. history
  • Bible - Hebrew customs in Bible times
  • Arrowheads and pottery - American Indian history
  • Plato's Republic - women in ancient Greece
  • Chaucer's Canterbury Tales - late medieval English culture


Search the Catalog for Primary Sources

To search the Library Catalog for primary source materials, try adding one of the following subheadings to your search term or topic: diaries, personal narratives, documents, sources, letters, correspondence, oral history, pamphlets, interviews, speeches, or autobiography. For example: civil war and diaries.

Click below to link to the library's catalog.

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

Book Arts, Archives, & Rare Books  @ Boatwright 

Welcome to Book Arts, Archives, & Rare Books at Boatwright! Please explore our current exhibits, resources available through our catalogs, and by researching the collection during our open research hours or by appointment. Please note that with ongoing current construction, we are open by appointment only. Please feel free to email us at either or with any questions. 

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.  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. Rare Book materials are searchable through the library catalog, where you can use the location filter or the designated tab on the home search box to limit your search to the rare book room specifically.

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 collections available to the public can be searched online, and more information is also 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. Additional gifts from the Friends of the Library continue to grow the equipment and collections within the Book Arts Program.

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. Additional information is available on the Book Arts Program guide. If you would like to schedule a tour of the studio or have an idea for a class 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




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