Introduction to the Project
As any archivist will readily tell you, one of the signs of a solid research institution is the vibrancy of its acquisitions program. A research collection should always be growing, not only to serve the study needs of its current patrons, but also to preserve and make accessible resources for future generations of potential users.
Archivists will also admit, however reluctantly, that a healthy acquisitions program can put a significant strain on any institution's human and financial resources. Often, for instance, desirable manuscripts collections must be accepted when they are offered, otherwise risking the permanent loss of potentially valuable historic resources. Archivists recognize that in accepting certain collections, the size, complexity, and condition of those records may tax their institution's ability to process materials in a timely fashion. Thus, even those research institutions with sizable holdings and a highly qualified staff of curators will see the inevitable development of a backlog in collections processing.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, long a supporter of the preservation of and creation of access to historical resources for students of America's history and culture, has taken an important leadership role in helping institutions tackle this problem of backlogged holdings and hidden collections. Having also been a generous supporter of scholarly efforts at the Virginia Historical Society for many years, the Foundation since 2003 has granted funds to enable the surveying of a large and important cache of historic manuscript materials in the Society's care, the creation of priorities among those collections, and now the actual processing of more than 800 linear feet of records over the course of three-year project (2007–2010).
This special financial assistance assures that important resources will be preserved and made accessible much more quickly than would otherwise be possible. Already, the availability of collections recently processed through this project has aided researchers. It is the purpose of these web pages to use images from and essays about some of these holdings to draw additional attention to these newly available resources.
• FitzGerald Bemiss Papers (Call number: Mss1 B4252 c)
• David Nelson Sutton Papers (Call number: Mss1 Su863 a)
• Ware Family Papers (Call number: Mss1 W2296 b)
• John D. Wood Papers (Call number: Mss1 W8503 a)
Access the Collections
Go to the VHS online catalog