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History of Virginia to 1865

Searching Virgo

                          Keyword = Virginia "Convention of 1851"   

  • No need to use Boolean connectors, such as and, or between terms.
  • Put a phrase within quotation marks
  • Be sure you click on "Start Over" to perform a new search 

Finding Scholarly Journal Articles

Journal Finder allows you to easily search our journal holdings:

            Ejournals only:   Journal title begins with = Virginia Magazine of History and Biography


Virgo's  "Article Advanced Search" is a starting point for searching for online journal articles:

             Title = Virginia "free blacks"

       or search for a specific article with information you have: 
            Author = Vejnar
            Title = education "colonial virginia"

JSTOR provides the full-text volumes of many important scholarly journals.  Coverage is usually from the first issue until 3 to 5 years before the present.  Current volumes are not included. Advanced Search gives you more control over your search results.

America: History & Life is the major index for finding scholarly articles, book citations, book reviews, etc. published about American history since 1964.
                                                      Keyword = Virginia AND frontier       Historical Period from = 1800 to 1830

Virginia Historical Index, edited by Earl G. Swem.  2 volumes.  Shannon Reference F221 .S93     Originally published in the 1930's and referred to as "Swem".  A comprehensive index to the content of a number of important publications dealing with Virginia history: Calendar of Virginia State Papers, Henings Statutes at Large, Virginia Historical Register, Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, etc.   Entries are arranged alphabetically, and are referenced in the same way: volume number, abbreviation of publication title, page number.  For example an entry such as 15V35 is translated as Volume 15 of the publication titled Virginia Magazine of History & Biography ("V"), page 35.  Several of the publications indexed by Swem are in Shannon Reference in the same area where Swem is shelved.  You can use "Journal Finder" to check our online holdings for journals indexed in Swem.

Primary Source Books, Newspapers and Magazines

 Early American Imprints, Series I.  Evans, 1639-1800  provides searchable text of books published in America between 1639 and 1800.  The collection can also be browsed by genre, subject, author, etc. Note: For ease of reading click on "Download Pages",then on "Download the Entire Document as Bitonal PDF".  Seventy-five pages at a time are downloaded.

                                                      Search =  Virginia and slavery

 Early American Imprints, Series II.  Shaw-Shoemaker, 1801-1819 continues coverage to 1819.


Early English Books Online (EEBO), 1475-1700 is a searchable collection of every significant work published in English from 1475 to 1700.  Includes books, pamphlets, sermons, proclamations, almanacs and other sources on all subjects.  A good source for 17th century materials published in England about the colonizing of Virginia.
                                       Keyword = tobacco   Subject = Virginia

Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO), 1701-1800  Searchable full text and page images for books, almanacs, broadsides, magazines, pamphlets, songs, and sermons printed between 1701-1800 in any language in the British Isles and North America, and in the English language throughout the rest of the world.  Inlcudes 18th century publications about the history, geography, arts, religion, law, medicine, economy, etc. of Virginia.

                                       Keyword = Virginia and militia

Sabin Americana, 1500-1926
  Features American and European views of the colonization of the Americas, the American Revolution, the days of the early Republic and Jacksonian period, the antebellum period, Civil War, era of Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction, the settlement of the West and the onset of the Gilded Age. Includes published pamphlets, tracts, memoirs, congressional legislation, correspondence, broadsides, biographies, histories, fiction and poetry, eulogies, sermons and innumerable other genres.


Virginia Gazette  In addition to these online issues for 1736-1780, we have microfilm for this title (call number Micfilm N-US Va-9 and N-US Va-90a).  The newspaper is indexed online as well as in Virginia Gazette Index, 1736-1780 (Lester Cappon & Stella Duff): Shannon Reference and Shannon Microforms  AI 21 .V5

America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1922 Searchable full text collection of U.S. newspapers.  Click on "Places of Publication" to focus your search on Virginia newspapers and to see the titles and dates of coverage.  Click on PDF button for clearer reading image. 

         Search = railroads      Dates & Eras = 1800-1830     Places of Publication = Virginia

Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers Searchable full text and page images of several hundred U.S. newspapers from the 19th century.  You can limit your search to newspapers of a particular state.

New York Times  Searchable full text of the New York Times covering 1851-2007.

Virginia newspapers on microfilm Search by state, or by state and dates, to find what newspapers we have on microfilm.

American Periodicals Series  Full text of over 1,000 magazines and journals published in America between 1740 and 1900.

                     Advanced Search:   Virginia AND constitution      Specific Date Range = 1829 to 1830

Additional Sources

Virginia Colonial Records Project Survey Reports  Between 1955 and the mid-1980's researchers in England examined public and private manuscript collections for documents about Virginia between its founding and the end of the Revolution.  Many documents that were discovered were microfilmed, with the film being held by four Virginia institutions, including UVA.  The 964 reel collection is in Shannon Microforms and the call number is Micfilm 7477.  There is an online index.

Records of the Virginia Company of London   The original volumes in this online collection were owned by Thomas Jefferson.  We have the print editions in the Shannon stacks and Government Information Resources, but the volumes are very fragile.  Includes minutes, instructions, memoranda, decisions about the colony, regulations for the settlers, advertisements, private correspondence between members of the Company and planters in Virginia, court cases, etc.  Covers 1606 to the mid-1620's.  Each of the four volumes has an index.

Ferrar Papers, 1590-1790  14 reels.  Micfilm 5963  Film collection includes printed guides and there is an online guide.  The Ferrar family was heavily involved with the Virginia Company and this collection began as an archive recording their business ventures.  Certain documents in the Papers were included in the Virginia Colonial Records Project (above), but in the 1970's about 500 additional documents pertaining to Virginia were discovered and are in this collection of microfilm. Includes documents about relations between the colonists and the Indians, various business enterprises of the colonists, lists of women sent to the colony to become wives, lists of males sent, etc.

Jamestown Colony: A Political, Social, and Cultural History  Edited by Frank Grizzard and D. Boyd Smith.   Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2007.   Shannon Reference F234 .J3 G75 2007     Encyclopedia focusing on Jamestown and 17th century Virginia.  Articles are arranged alphabetically and the volume is indexed.

Virtual Jamestown  "is a digital research-teaching-learning project to explore the legacies of the Jamestown settlement and the 'Virginia experiment'." This is still a work in progress. Be sure to look at the Resources portion, which includes primary sources such as court records, labor contracts, letters, public records, and essays by historians currently working on Jamestown.

Documenting the American South     Primary sources that document the cultural history of the American South from the Southern point of view. Includes diaries, autobiographies, travel accounts, titles about slavery, and regional literature. Emphasis is on the 19th century.  Using the Subject and Geographic indexes can be helpful for locating materials about Virginia.

Valley of the Shadow  Details life in Augusta County, Virginia and Franklin County, Pennsylvania during the Civil War and Reconstruction.  Contains letters, diaries, newspapers, speeches, census records, church records, etc.

American Civil War: Letters & Diaries  Letters, diaries and memoirs from the American Civil War.  The Browse function allows you to see entries by place written or about a location, and the Advanced Search allows you to search by geographical location of where a document was written.

North American Women's Letters and Diaries  Searchable full text database of American and Canadian women's letters and diaries written from the Colonial period through 1950.  Geographical location browsing and searching are available.

Southern Life and African American History, 1775-1915: Plantation Records, Part 1 [Works best with Internet Explorer] Consists of two components: records of ante-bellum southern plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War, and plantation records from Emancipation to the Great Migration.  The primary source documents cover business and day-to-day labor operations, as well as the roles of women, racial attitudes, slave-master relations, and social and cultural life on the plantations.  Virginia plantations are included.