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Historically Marginalized Communities Resources in Special Collections and University Archives: Home

This guide includes information about which Special Collections and University Archives holdings contain materials about the history of historically marginalized communities.


Additional pages are under construction that will highlight our materials about the Disability, Indigenous American, and Latinx communities as well as pages about religious diversity and Women.

About this Guide

This site includes Special Collections and University Archives resources related to the following topics:

  • Appalachian History
  • Asian/Asian-American History
  • Black/African American History
  • Disability History
  • Indigenous, Native American, and American Indian History
  • Latinx History
  • LGBTQ+ History
  • History of Religious Diversity
  • Women's History

You'll also find links to other academic and research organizations with significant collections about these topics.

If you have questions about the collections, locating resources, need help with a project, or just want to see some interesting or unique items, feel free to contact us.

What we collect about historically marginalized communities

We actively collect new material about these topics:

  • American Civil War
  • History of Food and Drink
  • History of Women and the Built Environment
  • Local/Regional History and the Appalachian South
  • Science and Technology History
  • University History

In addition, we have inactive collecting areas including:

  • British and American Literature
  • Heraldry and Military History

You might notice that the topics covered by this guide are mostly not in this list of collecting areas. The only one that appears explicitly is Women's History appearing in the form "History of Women and the Built Environment." This is because we don't have a subject focus on the history of historically marginalized communities. There are other archives that have that focus and do an excellent job. In order for us to collect material about one of these communities, it needs to fit within one of the topics listed above.

Here are examples of materials we collect and why they are in our collections.

Gary Ann Giovanni Culinary Papers, 1997-2004 (Ms2006-011)
Papers of Gary Ann Giovanni, a chef, caterer and cooking teacher active in Blacksburg, Virginia.
This collection relates to the topics of Black History and Women's History.
It fits within our collecting areas focused on the History of Food and Drink and Local/Regional History and the Appalachian South.
RFD. HQ75 .R43 Spec Large.
This magazine has included many tag lines over the years including "A country journal for gay men everywhere" and "A reader created gay quarterly celebrating queer diversity".
This magazine relates to the topic of LGBTQ+ History.
It fits within our collecting area focused on Local/Regional History and the Appalachian South.

Locating Materials in Special Collections and University Archives

Manuscript Collections

We have around 500 manuscript collections related to one or more of the historically marginalized communities covered in this guide. You can view the finding aids for these collections through Archival Resources of the Virginias, a search tool covering collections in Virginia and West Virginia. To limit your search to Virginia Tech materials, select "Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University" from the Repository drop-down. Then, enter your keywords and click search.


All of our books relating to these communities can be found using the library's catalog. Some of these books are in Special Collections and University Archives, but many are also in the circulating collection. If you are looking generally for materials about these populations, you can use a variety of search terms such as "African American", "LGBTQ", or "Latin American" in the search field. Suggested search terms for each group are included on the appropriate page of this guide.


Special Collections and University Archives has some material in our online collections related to these communities. You can find these items on Special Collections and University Archives Online. The site includes a search box in the upper right corner where you can search using keywords to locate materials related to a specific community or communities.

Community Collections Archivist

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Anthony Wright de Hernandez
Community Collections Archivist
Special Collections and University Archives (0434)

About Special Collections and University Archives


Special Collections and University Archives is currently open Monday-Friday from 8am to 5pm.

Appointments are not required, but strongly encouraged (**see below)

Appointments can be made by visiting the SCUA Seat Reservation page (instructions are included on this page)

Virtual reference help remains available at or by phone at 540-231-6308

**By making an appointment, you will help us limit the number of researchers using our Reading Room at any one time for health and safety; guarantee you a seat at the requested time; and help us plan for your visit, for example, making sure the materials needed are on site and available.

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