Skip to Main Content

Religion Collections in Libraries and Archives: Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia

Union Presbyterian Seminary Library

Introductory Information

Union Presbyterian Seminary Library External

3401 Brook Road, Richmond, VA 2322
5141 Sharon Road, Charlotte, NC 28210

Telephone number:
Richmond 804-278-4310
Charlotte: 980-636-1682

Contact information External

Online catalog External

Digital Collections link External

Access Policies

Hours of service:
Richmond campus External
Charlotte campus External

Open to the public: By appointment only. Researchers may make an appointment with the Archivist ([email protected] ) or the Reference Librarian ([email protected] ).

Interlibrary loan: Yes

Reference policy External : Reference requests are accepted by: telephone, email, and in person

Background note:
Union Theological Seminary offered its first instruction at a postsecondary level in 1812. The Library was founded in 1806 at Hampden-Sydney College. The present campus in Richmond was established in 1898.


Books and monographs
The collection now numbers over 322,000 print items and 137,000 items cataloged in other formats, about 90% of which are religion-related. The print collection dates from 1470 to the present. There are approximately 4800 cataloged rare books. The collection has a strong emphasis in the Presbyterian and Reformed tradition, Bible, church history (including patristics), theology, ecumenism and ministry (homiletics, pastoral counseling, etc). An outstanding collection of 19th century children's books and Sunday School materials is housed in the Rare Book Reading Room.

Periodicals and newspapers
Over 1300 religion or religion-related journals. Holdings consist of about 50,000 volumes of over 3500 titles, dating from 1800 to the present, and full-text electronic access to over 500 titles. The strengths of the serial collection are similar to those of the monograph collection. We subscribe to almost all of the titles indexed in the ATLA Religion Database. The Special Collections include many 19th-century church-related newspapers, especially those of a Presbyterian or Reformed character in Virginia and the South. A finding aid is available in the Archives.

Archives, manuscripts, correspondences, and/or oral histories
Over 1200 linear feet of manuscript materials and institutional records. We also provide space for the Synod of Virginia records collection and those of the Presbyterian Outlook. The personal papers of our faculty members and other ministers and missionaries of the Presbyterian Church US form the core of the manuscript collection. Some finding aids to the collection are available in the Archives.

More than 25,000 microfiche and 2400 reels of microfilm. These encompass old and rare books, periodicals and the official records and relevant historical materials of the Synod of Virginia and its constituent presbyteries and congregations. A finding aid to these records is available in the Library.

Videos and sound recordings
Over 1900 films and videocassettes on some 250 subjects, dating from 1949 to the present. Feature films, lectures, sermons by outstanding preachers, television shows and documentaries, materials on world religions and international mission, Presbyterian-produced curriculum and audiovisuals. Over 16,000 audio recordings on CD-ROM, including sermons, lectures, music, dramas, Greek and Hebrew language-learning materials and Bible studies. Important collections of Reinhold Niebuhr and Paul Tillich audiotapes, copies of which are available for sale.

Vertical files
An extensive collection of primary sources and ephemera, cataloged by subject. Seek assistance from the Reference Librarian.

Over 23,000 slides and prints. These collections are housed in the Media Center and the Archives and do not circulate. Highlights include the Pictorial Archives of Near East History, the Western Civilization Collection, Hebrew language materials and religious art. Seek assistance from the Instructional Resource Center Director or the Reference Librarian.

Databases and/or electronic resources External

Digital collections External

Subject Headings

Biblical studies; Calvin, John, 1509-1564; Calvinism; Church history; Counseling; Preaching; Presbyterian Church; Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); Presbyterian Church in the United States; Theological education