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Rush Dew Holt Collection

To say Rush Holt was precocious would be an understatement. In 1934, at age 29, he became the youngest person ever elected to the United States Senate, a distinction he continues to hold to this day. Though his term was to begin on January 3, 1935, Senator Holt was literally too young to serve.

Rush Holt became the real life model for the role of “Senator Jefferson Smith” as portrayed by actor Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. He was the subject of literally hundreds of political cartoons in newspapers across America, and the originals of many ended up at the West Virginia and Regional History Center at the West Virginia University Libraries.

Holsinger Studio Collection

The Holsinger Studio collection constitutes a unique photographic record of life in Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia, from before the turn of the century through World War I. The collection consists of approximately 9,000 dry-plate glass negatives and 500 celluloid negatives from the commercial studio of Rufus W. Holsinger. Approximately two-thirds of the collection are studio portraits, and among these are nearly 500 portraits of African-American citizens of Charlottesville and the surrounding area. Many of the portraits are unidentified, but some are of visiting celebrities and dignitaries. In 1915 while teaching art at the University of Virginia, Georgia O’Keeffe sat for a portrait with Mr. Holsinger.
The collection also include scenes and events from the community and from the University of Virginia. Perhaps the best-known views are those of the University Rotunda before, during, and after its burning in 1895, but many other events are depicted, including parades, fires, exhibitions, and train wrecks. Prints made fresh from the original negatives are models of clarity and detail. They give new life to times long past.

Jackson Davis Collection of African American Photographs

Jackson Davis, an educational reformer and amateur photographer, took nearly 6,000 photographs of African American schools, teachers and students throughout the Southeastern United States.
His photographs — most intended to demonstrate the wretched conditions of African American schools in the south and to show how they could be improved — provide a unique view of southern education during the first half of the twentieth century.

Barter Theatre Archives

This collection contains highlights of the Barter Theatre Archives from Abingdon, Virginia. The Barter Theatre has been a cultural mainstay in southwestern Virginia since its beginning in 1933 when Robert Porterfield, a charismatic young actor and southwest Virginia native, brought a group of professional actors to Abingdon. Opening in the midst of the Great Depression, the theatre got its name from its practice of allowing audiences to barter food for admission to the theatre. From humble beginnings, Barter put down roots in the small community of Abingdon, establishing a reputation for providing performances of the highest artistic quality.

Barter is the premiere tourist attraction in southwest Virginia, drawing an average of 160,000 patrons annually. Barter offers a repertory schedule of 19 productions and 12 Barter Player productions for children annually. 

Farmville 1963 Civil Rights Protests

This collection of 491 images dates primarily from the summer of 1963, when the demand for equality and for an end to racial segregation brought a series of protests to Farmville, Virginia, the county seat of Prince Edward County. The images show dozens of Prince Edward County African-American high school age students and others using an array of protest tactics to draw attention to racial discrimination in Farmville.

Thomas Jefferson Project

The Thomas Jefferson Project consists of over 700 manuscript documents, chiefly correspondence, written and received by Thomas Jefferson. This unique project brings together Jefferson materials from nine collections held by the Special Collections at William & Mary Libraries. Ranging from 1779-1826, the materials encompass correspondence, encrypted letters between William Short and Jefferson, accounts, appointments, and a song composed by Andrew Magee.

Documents from 1779-1809 are included in the The Papers of Thomas Jefferson at Princeton University.

The Digital Virginias is a new, shared service hub created collaboratively by institutions from the states of Virginia and West Virginia. The Digital Virginias Hub initially consists of six institutions, University of Virginia, George Mason University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Tech, William & Mary, and West Virginia University. The University of Virginia is the primary conduit to the DPLA and acts as the hub administrator. As our work grows, we hope to add new contributors and materials.

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The Digital Virginias is a new, shared service hub created collaboratively by institutions from the states of Virginia and West Virginia.

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Our partner institutions and the highlight collections from each of the institutions.

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