The Virginia Baptist Historical Society maintains a library and archives of primary and secondary research materials with a strong emphasis upon Baptist history in Virginia. The collection includes about 20,000 books by and about Baptists, extensive biographical material, over 3,400 original church record books from about 500 congregations, and other archival material. Researchers contact and visit the VBHS from all over the United States and beyond. The Library was founded in 1876.
Research is conducted on-site by appointment. All materials are housed in closed stacks and, therefore, it is helpful to have contacted the research assistant in advance so that the materials are ready for use. Research especially for family information is also offered by mail. Researchers can request research, give as much information as known to assist in the search, and send the required fee. The cost of a basic two-hour search is $22. The research staff cannot do the extensive research needed for church histories, dissertations, and similar personal projects. For further information and to schedule a research visit or to request an information search, contact:
Darlene Herod, Research Assistant
Hours of Service:
Reference Policy: Reference is available on site; researchers may inquire via mail or telephone concerning research services and fees.
Borrowing Privileges: Not a lending institution.
Description of Collections
Books and monographs
There are approximately 25,000 volumes, spanning the 18th through the 20th centuries, with extensive holdings of congregational records of Virginia Baptist churches and printed matter related to Baptists in Virginia.
There is no public catalog for these materials.
Periodicals and newspapers
The Library has a complete run of The Religious Herald, the Virginia Baptist periodical (1828-present), as well extensive holdings of Baptist news, editorials, opinion, obituaries, and marriage records.
There is a card index to The Religious Herald from 1828-1874, and and index to the Virginia Baptist Record.
Archives, manuscripts, correspondence, and oral histories
There are 7,000 manuscripts, spanning the 18th through the 20th centuries. This large collection includes the Virginia Baptist Church Document Depository.
There is no public catalog for manuscripts; staff assistance is necessary to locate materials.
The Library contains 250 microfilms of church records.