Award for Library digital collections
We are happy to announce that the Social Welfare History Image Portal at VCU has received a prestigious award from the Center for Research Libraries — the 2018 Primary Source Award for Access. Why does this concern us? Because the Union Presbyterian Seminary Library is a partner in this fascinating project, and we have contributed some of its digital image content.
Our participation is made possible by the Hal Todd Library Without Walls initiative, which enables us to make high-quality scans from unique and historic materials in our collection and provide access to them for scholars, researchers and the public.
The purpose of the VCU site is to call attention to the documents, photographs and artifacts in the archival collections of its partner institutions, directing researchers to each library’s own holdings for further information. These materials are meant to illustrate the history of social reform and social welfare work in the United States, and they include remarkable first-hand evidence of projects intended to advance social welfare, or of compelling social problems such as racism and injustice.
The William Smith Morton Library Archives has so far contributed images and information from four digital collections :
- The Seventeenth Street Mission, a settlement-house type of ministry initiated and carried out by students at Union Seminary and PSCE in downtown Richmond, 1911-1963
- The Josephine Newbury Demonstration Kindergarten, an innovative project to bring preschool education to children in Richmond, beginning in 1957
- The March on Washington in 1963, a turning point in the history of the civil rights movement, in which some students and faculty of Union Seminary participated
- The Ku Klux Klan, illustrating the activity of this racist and extremist group in central Virginia in the 1940s-60s and the responses of churches to it
We are in the process of building other digital collections and establishing a permanent home for them. Many unique items in our Archives are now nearly inaccessible, and we hope to bring them into the light and make them freely usable for research. This recognition from the CRL indicates that we are on the right track!