VMI Archives Collection Development Policycadetdetail

 Official Records of the Institute

The VMI Archives acquires and preserves official records that are of permanent historical or administrative value. These records include, but are not limited to, selected records of the Board of Visitors, Superintendent, and other senior administrators; Institute publications; non-current student records; records that document cadet life, significant events, programs, decisions, policies, or Institute activities; and records that are defined as permanent by the Virginia State Library and Archives in its records retention schedules. VMI Record Groups are periodically reviewed and updated as needed to reflect organizational changes. Institute records are acquired through transfer from the office of origin.


The department considers for acquisition manuscripts (personal papers) in the categories listed below.  Final acquisition decisions are based upon many factors; if we feel that we are not the best fit for a collection, we will be happy to recommend other repositories. Manuscripts are typically acquired through donation. Except under unusual circumstances, we accept unrestricted gifts only and all material will be open to public research. We do not accept material on loan.

  • Papers of alumni, faculty, administrators, or other individuals connected to VMI, if such papers have current or potential research value or if they are of significant symbolic value to the Institute. Collections documenting the military service or leadership activities of alumni are of particular interest.
  • Personal papers documenting Institute history and cadet life.
  • Papers relating to specific aspects of the Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley, including the Battle of New Market, Hunter's Raid, other military engagements or activities involving the Corps of Cadets, and Stonewall Jackson.
  • Other collections which relate to or complement collections held in the above categories.


The department actively collects images, 1839 - present, that document Institute history. These include photographs of individual cadets, buildings and grounds, faculty, and cadet life. We also collect images associated with the other broad areas listed under manuscripts (above). Particular emphasis is placed on the period before a yearbook was regularly published (1895) and on candid photographs of cadet life that do not routinely appear in official sources.

Rare Books

The VMI Archives houses the Institute’s rare book collection. New holdings are acquired largely through donation.