The majority of the entries in this guide cover major manuscript collections (that is, numbering fifty items or more). In some instances, usually related to our largest record groups, entries begin with a very brief summary of the overall collection in order both to provide context and to suggest to researchers potentially useful groups of papers into which they might venture in the hope of discovering additional, related materials.
Each entry heading contains the collection or item name, date range, item (or page) count, and the collection or item call number. In some instances, reference is made to the availability of microfilm, which generally means that the filmed version of the collection may be leased through interlibrary loan. In such instances, the researcher should contact the VHS's reference department for additional information.
The body of each collection entry includes a narrative description of the environmental history materials we have found in the papers, with an indication of their physical location within the collection. In most cases, location is indicated by reference to section numbers (i.e., series or sub-series levels) and in some rare cases, item numbers (such as item b133). Researchers may be required to go to the society's online catalog for additional supplementary identification of item numbers in order to request specific material.
Some collections contain so many environmental materials that we have only provided samples of items to be found there. In other cases, supplementary finding aids are available in the society's reading room or online that provide much greater detail on specific collections than can be included in this resource. For the most part, we have not included in this guide secondary studies in the society's holdings or copies of materials in other repositories unless the content or rarity of the item seemed to dictate otherwise.
If a collection or portion thereof has been published, an attempt has been made to include that information in the guide entry. Virginia is assumed in the identification of all localities unless otherwise indicated.
Materials are constantly being identified in and added to the VHS's manuscripts holdings. The best source for information on those items is now the online catalog.