University of Virginia Archives

The University of Virginia Archives administers the non-current records of lasting value that are generated by or that document the activities of the students, faculty, and administrators of the University. Records consist of information that may be many recorded in any of a variety of formats. While records are current or when there is a legal requirement to retain them for a specific period, they are administered by the Office of Records Management (http://www.virginia.edu/recordsmanagement/). When records are no longer current and are deemed to be of lasting value, they are transferred to the Archives.

These records comprise  a diverse grouping of records and University publications including: personal papers of faculty members (over 130 separate collections); official student records such as transcripts and matriculation rolls; minutes of the Board of Visitors (trustees), of the various faculties, and of student bodies; office files of administrators such as the president, the vice presidents, and deans; working files of University committees; and a host of student and official University publications such as the catalogs, yearbooks, annual reports, brochures, and those issued by the University Press of Virginia, the Alumni Association, the Office of Student Affairs, and various student groups.

University records from the nineteenth century are extensive, and document most phases of life and administrative activities. Many of Thomas Jefferson’s architectural drawings for the University’s buildings are here together with a substantial quantity of his correspondence. Also available are such items as the minutes of the Board of Visitors, the Matriculation books (registration books signed by each student), Proctor’s records (the administrative official responsible for the daily operations), Patron’s records (official responsible for students and their money), and faculty minutes. Because there was no president of the University until 1904, administrative functions were carried on by an elected chairman of the faculty, and records of this official are not extensive.

With the election of Edwin Anderson Alderman as the first president of the University in 1904, administration changed, and the records inevitably changed also. The small size of the all-male student body–students numbered just under 600 at this time–enabled Dr. Alderman to carry on much of the administration personally, and to keep a close eye on the rest. The Archives holds both his papers as president and his personal papers which contain a great deal of information about University operation.

As the size of the student body grew, the numbers of faculty and administrative officials and offices also grew with direct effect on the quantity of records. The records of Dr. Alderman’s presidency, 1904-1931, fill about forty-two linear feet of shelving, while a recent transfer of one year’s records from the Office of the President fills sixty linear feet.

The papers of the University presidents remain the best source of information about policies, decision making, and daily operations at the University in the twentieth century. There have been eight presidents.

The Library’s online catalog, VIRGO, holds only a small number of entries for records in the University Archives although the archives staff has begun to create VIRGO records for newly-received and selected older records. Access to certain records in the Archives is restricted. Under the terms of the federal statute called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, only minimum information about students may be released to the public. Virginia has statutes concerning privacy; personnel matters may not be made public, for instance. Although the records created by the presidents of the several Virginia institutions of higher learning are exempt from the provisions of the state’s Freedom of Information Act, the presidents of the University of Virginia have chosen to open their papers for research when they are ten years old. In this year, 1998, records created in 1988 are available.

If you are considering research in the University Archives, please contact the staff for assistance. Because of our experience in working with the records, we may be able to guide you directly to the source of information, and to steer you away from other records.

University Archives Record Groups

RG – 1 THE RECTOR AND VISITORS
RG – 2 OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
RG – 3 OFFICE OF THE PROVOST
RG – 4 OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT FOR ADMINISTRATION (formerly Executive Vice President)
RG – 5 OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT FOR BUSINESS AND FINANCE
RG – 6 SCHOOL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
RG – 7 SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE
RG – 8 McINTIRE SCHOOL OF COMMERCE
RG – 9 COLGATE W. DARDEN GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
RG – 10 CURRY SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
RG – 11 SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND APPLIED SCIENCES
RG – 12 UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
RG – 13 SUMMER SESSION
RG – 14 THE REGISTRAR
RG – 15 CENTER FOR PUBLIC SERVICE (formerly Institute of Government; Bureau of Public Administration)
RG – 16 DIVISION OF CONTINUING EDUCATION
RG – 17 VICE PRESIDENT FOR HEALTH AFFAIRS
RG – 18 OFFICE OF STUDENT AFFAIRS
RG – 19 FACULTIES
RG – 20 ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITTEES
RG – 22 STUDENTS AND ALUMNI PAPERS
RG – 23 STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS
RG – 24 UNIVERSITY ORGANIZATIONS
RG – 25 VICE PRESIDENT FOR DEVELOPMENT
RG – 26 ORAL HISTORY RECORDS
RG – 27 ATHLETIC PROGRAMS
RG – 28 YMCA
RG – 29 FACULTY ORGANIZATIONS
RG – 30 ADMINISTRATION, OPERATIONS, AND EXTRANEOUS RECORDS
RG – 31 FACILITIES MANAGEMENT (formerly Physical Plant and Properties)
RG – 32 SCHOOL OF LAW
RG – 33 WHITE BURKETT MILLER CENTER OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS