Using the Special Collections

Rare Book Reading Room

Our print collection includes about 5200 rare books and periodicals, dating from 1470 to about 1830. The collection has a strong emphasis in the Presbyterian and Reformed tradition, Bible, church history (including patristics), theology, ecumenism and ministry (homiletics, Christian Education, missionary work, etc). An outstanding collection of 19th century children’s books and Sunday School materials is housed in the Rare Book Reading Room.

The Special Collections also include many 19th century church-related newspapers, especially those of a Presbyterian or Reformed character in Virginia and the South. Over 1500 linear feet of manuscript materials and institutional records are housed in the Archives. The personal papers of our faculty members and certain other ministers and missionaries of the Presbyterian Church US form the core of the manuscript collection. Some finding aids to the collection are available in the Archives.

Contact Us

We are able to offer access to our special collections only by appointment. Please contact us when you wish to visit, so that we can try to have someone available to assist you. Note that the Special Collections are not open on weekends, evenings or holidays, or when staff is unavailable.

Director of Archives and Special Collections
Ryan Douthat
Contact by email:
or phone: (804) 278-4217


  • The "Michaux Bible"

    • The “Michaux Bible” : The Library holds a copy of the French Geneva Bible published in 1657, associated with the history of early Huguenots in Virginia.  Some descendants of Abraham Michaux (or Michaeux) are recorded on pages within this Bible.  Please note that all of the family history information contained in this volume has been transcribed and published in a critical edition in several issues of the Virginia Historical Magazine (44/4 Oct 1936 – 46/1 Jan 1938); the genealogical data and the history of the Bible itself are widely available online.  The family history information has also been photographed and can be viewed HERE.

      The volume is very delicate and has been placed in storage to protect it from further deterioration.  We regret that physical access to the book is restricted for this reason.