The Valentine’s Archives consists of a wealth of image and textual resources featured in our exhibitions and programs and available for research access. Material types include manuscripts and rare books, ephemera, photographs, prints and oversized materials  and a research library.


Manuscripts & Rare Books

The Archives includes papers related to local families as well as records of Richmond business and organizations. The rare book collection includes the libraries of the Mann S. Valentine II and John Wickham, atlases and city directories, as well as books, periodicals and serials published in Richmond.


The Ephemera Collection documents Richmond’s material culture through objects that include programs, postcards, greeting cards, invitations, theater playbills, broadsides, menus and scrapbooks.


The Archives holds approximately one million photographs that document people, places and events in the Richmond region. Chances are you’ve seen one of our photographs in a book or documentary. These images cover a wide variety of subjects, including Richmond streets, neighborhoods and architecture; family and individuals portraits; and business, civic and social activities.  The Valentine also has more than 400 daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes.

The photographs are arranged by subject or by collection. Some major collections include imagery by:

Colonial Studios

Edith K. Shelton

George and Huestis Cook

Mary Wingfield Scott

Robert A. Lancaster, Jr.

Richmond Times-Dispatch

Prints & Oversized Materials

Print holdings consist of engravings, lithographs and other printing methods and include broadsides and posters. Approximately 150 maps depicting the changing boundaries of the Richmond region. We also have architectural drawings of regional residential and commercial buildings, especially Richmond houses designed by architect William Lawrence Bottomley.

Research Library 

The Archives’ research library contains titles related to the history of the region and curatorial reference works related to the museum’s object collections. Our research subject files contain newspaper clippings, magazine articles and other research materials on a wide array of regional topics.

Access Tools

Use these indexes, as well as our Collections Database, to explore some of the Archives’ holdings:

General Photograph Collection Index (PDF)

Manuscripts Collection Index (PDF)

Vertical Files Collection Index (PDF)


See also: Donate an Object   |  Undocumented Property   |  Research  |  Collections Database