Old Dominion University Libraries

Special Collections & University Archives

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Monday - Friday:
9 am - 4:30 pm

Other times by appointment


The Special Collections is located on the east side of the Library at the front of the 3rd floor.

Contact Information

Patricia W. & J. Douglas Perry Library
Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0256
telephone (757) 683-4483
fax (757) 683-5954


Manuscripts Collections

Special Collections contains more than fifty manuscript collections that include correspondence, diaries, legislative and mayoral files, campaign files, family papers, scrapbooks, photographs, business papers, and legal files. Strengths of the collections include materials related to African-American history, The Civil War, local history, Norfolk school desegregation, politics, military history, and Women’s history.

The following collections are arranged alphabetically.  The descriptions following each collections include brief biographical information of the persons or families represented, types of material included in the collections, and what information the material contains. The dates in parentheses indicate collection spans.  Enclosed in brackets is call number. Click on the highlighted collections for a more detailed biography and a finding aid.


Paul G. Caplan (1930 - 1990 circa). Norfolk pharmacist. Chaired the board of the Norfolk Port and Industrial Authority, which runs Norfolk International Terminals and the Norfolk International Airport, for thirteen years and was a board member from 1962 to 1987. Served on several political campaign committees, including those of Roy B. Martin and Stanley Walker. Was very active in civic affairs, including the Norfolk Junior Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Jaycees, United States Jaycees, Tidewater Chapter of the American Red Cross, Norfolk Jewish Community Council, and the Virginia Zoological and Aquarium Society.
[MG 78]

Lawrence M. Cox (1940-1990 circa). Served as the Executive Director of the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NHRA) from 1941-1969 and, thereafter, as Assistant Secretary for Renewal and Housing Assistance in the Department of Housing and Urban Development during Nixon’s administration. Collection chiefly consists of the records accumulated during his service with the NHRA and HUD.
[MG 38]

Henry E. Howell, Jr. (1948-1997). Served in the General Assembly and as Lieutenant Governor (1971-1973). Unsuccessful candidate for Governor of Virginia three times (1969, 1973,1977). Bulk of the collection deals with his career in politics, first in Norfolk and, after 1968, on the statewide level. Documents Democratic Party affairs from 1948 through 1977. Also includes promotional audio and video clips created as part of Howell's campaigns for the Virginia governorship in 1969, 1973 and 1977. Included are radio and television advertisements, speeches and scripted television broadcasts. Finding aid available from Library of Virginia.
[MG 1]

The Massive Resistance Printed Materials (1958-1960). Consists of 2 boxes of regional and national newspaper clippings covering the “Massive Resistance” movement and public reaction to the de-segregation and subsequent closing of some of Norfolk’s public schools. Also discussed are state and local politicians such as Governor Lindsay Almond, Jr., who ordered the closing the Norfolk schools that enrolled African American students, and Mayor William Fred Duckworth, who opposed de-segregating the public schools. Some of the clippings discuss the fate of those students whose graduation was put in jeopardy by the school closing, known as "The Lost Class of ’59."
[MG 98]

Virginia Tidewater Dental Association (1880 - 1962). Small collection that consists of a Minute book, membership list and correspondence of a dental association in Norfolk and Portsmouth. Also has a short history of the Norfolk Webster family of dentists.
[MG 99]

George Withers (1911-1959). This collection contains artwork by George Withers primarily related to World War II. It includes posters, copies of illustrations for military publications, letters, and an Army personnel appointment notice. An illustration of the battle on Guadalcanal for “Army Talks” magazine is included, along with an illustration from Combat Orientation. Letters of thanks from General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Lucius Clay as well as an article about an exhibit of Withers’ work at the Walt Whitman Birthplace Museum on Long Island are enclosed.

Revised: 9/9/2013