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HIST 2660 - Birth of Modern Capitalism and Human Trafficking

Special Collections & Archives

Sepcial Collections


Special Collections and University Archives is the main repository for rare books and manuscripts on the Vanderbilt University campus.  We are also the home of the University Archives, the official repository for university records and artifacts. 

There are three main divisions within the department:

Special Collections

The mission of Special Collections and University Archives is to preserve, store and provide access to Vanderbilt University's impressive collection of rare books, manuscripts, photographs, and memorabilia.

Photographic Archives

The Vanderbilt University Photographic Archive contains approximately 300,000 photographs relating to the history and development of the university since its founding in 1875.

The George Peabody College Photograph Collection is also housed in the department. This collection includes over 20,000 photographs from the school's early beginnings as the University of Nashville to the school’s merger with Vanderbilt University in 1979.

University Archives

The University Archives preserves the historical memory of the university and makes this information available to the Vanderbilt community and the general public. It collects and preserves historical records and artifacts for Vanderbilt University and George Peabody College.

Please see the Special Collections Research Guide for more information on using our collections.

COVID-19 Policies

Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) is open by appointment.

SCUA has never stopped providing online reference and digitization services. You’ll find we have further expanded and improved access to our collection resources during the pandemic. In all we do, we follow University protocol to enhance the safety of our spaces. This page provides important information that will make your next visit to Special Collections and University Archives a success.


Hours of Operation

Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm.

During the semester some classes will be held in Special Collections that may affect the availability for appointments. Please keep this in mind as you plan your visit, and we thank you in advance for your flexibility.


What to know before you make an appointment

  • For the safety of staff and researchers, the number of researchers allowed in the reading room will be limited. Researchers and staff will be required to wear masks/cloth face coverings at all times.
  • Appointments will be scheduled in two-hour research blocks. You may book up to two sessions per day.
  • One researcher is allowed at each table. Each table will be thoroughly sanitized before and after use.
  • Researchers must maintain social distancing of six feet.
  • Please allow 48 hours' notice when making appointments. Many of our materials are shelved offsite and require sufficient time for safe retrieval and access. If you need an exception, contact
  • We are unable to offer on-site photocopying services at this time. You may use your cell phone or a digital camera to take photos (without flash) of materials.

How to make an appointment

  • Create an account on our registration form.
  • Email us at to start the conversation about your research needs. Let us know your research topic, what items interest you, and/or if you need help identifying materials. Please tell us if you expect to require multiple visits so we can discuss your options.
  • Do not travel to the library until you’ve received an email confirming your appointment and requests.

On the day of your appointment

  • Please wash and dry your hands thoroughly before entering the reading room. Hand sanitizer will be available, but hands must be completely dry before touching any materials.
  • Visitors will enter through the terrace doors.
  • Researchers will need to present a valid photo ID or Vanderbilt ID.
  • You may bring the following with you into the reading room:
    • Laptop (without bag or sleeve)
    • Cell phone (set to vibrate or silent)
    • Camera
    • Pencils
    • Loose leaf paper