Special Collections & Archives

James G. Leyburn Library


The Special Collections & Archives department acquires, preserves, arranges, describes, and makes accessible its rich holdings of secondary and primary materials to support the diverse teaching and research needs of undergraduates, graduates, faculty, staff, and the larger community. These collections document local, regional, and Virginia history. In addition, the Department is responsible for documenting the history of the university, and has a large collection of university and faculty publications, administrative records, photographs, and ephemera.

Special Collections items are non-circulating, and use of fragile or archival materials will be permitted in the Special Collections Reading Room during open hours only.


  • University Archives

Alumni MagazineExamples of our holdings are: Washington and Lee University publications including the  Calyx, Alumni  Magazine, Ring-tum Phi, Trident, Shenandoah, Ariel and a large number of  other W&L publications past  and present; Faculty and Alumni publications; materials relating  to W&L's history including Trustee's  records; and student honors theses.

  •  Manuscripts

Highlights of our holdings include the Robert E. Lee Papers, the Jessie Ball duPont Papers, the George West Diehl genealogical collection, and the Papers of Congressman William Whitehurst. We have numerous collections pertaining to the history of Washington and Lee University. We have the holdings of the Rockbridge Historical Society, a wealth of material on the history of Rockbridge County.

  • Rare Books

The collection is especially strong in Virginia state and local history and family genealogical history as well as books about Robert E. Lee, George Washington and other historical figures important to W&L and the local area. Surviving volumes from Liberty Hall Academy and the nineteenth century Franklin Society Library are held. Other volumes important for their age or content, including works by local authors, are held.

Special Collections also holds a large number of maps and photographs historically significant for Washington and Lee and Rockbridge County.



Many of the holdings in Special Collections are listed in our Library Catalog, but some are not. If you do not find what you are looking for, stop by or call Special Collections for reference assistance.



Department of Special Collections and Archives

James G. Leyburn Library

Washington and Lee University

204 W. Washington Street

Lexington, VA 24450