Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia


We Demand: Women's Suffrage in Virginia icon

We Demand: Women's Suffrage in Virginia
(January 13, 2020—December 5, 2020)

Exhibition Gallery & Lobby | January 13, 2020 - May 28, 2021

We Demand: Women's Suffrage in Virginia

In 1920, Virginia's General Assembly refused to ratify the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution to grant women the right to vote. The suffragists lost. Or did they? We Demand: Women's Suffrage in Virginia reveals for the first time how women created two statewide organizations to win the right to vote. Virginia suffragists were a remarkable group of talented and dedicated women who have almost all been forgotten. They marched in parades, rallied at the state capitol, spoke to crowds on street corners, staffed booths at state and county fairs, lobbied legislators and congressmen, picketed the White House, and even went to jail. At the centenary of woman suffrage, these remarkable women are at last recognized for their important achievements and contributions.

Items on display include suffrage postcards and memorabilia such as pinback buttons and badges, as well as suffrage banners from the Congressional Union Party's Virginia branch. This exhibition is a project of the Task Force to Commemorate the Centennial Anniversary of Women's Right to Vote.

For more information on We Demand, visit its web page.

New Virginians: 1619-2019 & Beyond Online Exhibition icon

New Virginians: 1619-2019 & Beyond Online Exhibition
(October 18, 2018—October 7, 2019)

Exhibition Gallery & Lobby | Monday, December 10, 2018 – Saturday, December 7, 2019

Recent estimates place the number of foreign-born Virginians at just under one million, or about one in every eight people in the state. The composite portrait of Virginia is becoming more complex, challenging an older, simpler understanding of what it means to be a Virginian. Whether our roots in the state go back ten thousand years, ten generations, or ten weeks, we must create the future of the commonwealth together. New Virginians: 1619–2019 & Beyond explores the historical and continuous journey toward the ideals of America and seeks to foster an honest discussion about the immigrant and refugee experience and Virginia's increasing diversity. Produced jointly by the Library of Virginia and Virginia Humanities, the exhibition highlights the changing demographics of the commonwealth on the eve of the 2020 federal census through a series of interviews with first-generation immigrants and refugees who arrived in Virginia after 1976. The interviews reveal the complexity of the experience for people representing a wide range of personal backgrounds, experience, age, and countries of origin–Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. To complement the videos, the exhibition includes objects that have special meaning for the interviewees. New Virginians is a Legacy Project of the 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution.

For more information about the traveling version of this exhibition, please contact Barbara C. Batson, exhibitions coordinator, at To view the current itinerary for this exhibit, please click here.

See video clips from the exhibition interviewees here.

True Sons of Freedom icon

True Sons of Freedom
(Online Exhibition)

Exhibition Gallery & Lobby January 16, 2018 - November 9, 2018

True Sons of Freedom, a photographic exhibition at the Library of Virginia, explores the stories of Virginia's African American soldiers who served during World War I. More than just mementos for families and sweethearts, these portraits challenge the crude and demoralizing cultural products of an era that often reduced African Americans to stereotypes and denied them full participation as citizens of the United States. Reflecting the pride and determination of African American World War I servicemen, the images were submitted with the soldiers' responses to military service questionnaires created by the Virginia War History Commission as part of an effort to capture the scope of Virginians' participation in the Great War. The original photographs, reproduced in the gallery at nearly life-size dimensions, place visitors at eye level in front of the soldiers. The monumental scale allows viewers the opportunity to examine rich details not seen in the original photo postcards

For more information about the traveling version of this exhibition, please contact Barbara C. Batson, exhibitions coordinator, at To view the current itinerary for this exhibit, please click here.

Teetotalers & Moonshiners: Prohibition in Virginia, Distilled  icon

Teetotalers & Moonshiners: Prohibition in Virginia, Distilled
(April 3, 2017—December 5, 2017)

Exhibition Gallery | April 3-December 5, 2017

Virginians imbibed their last legal drink on Halloween night in 1916-more than three years before national Prohibition was enacted. Teetotalers & Moonshiners: Prohibition in Virginia, Distilled tells the story of Virginia Prohibition and its legacy, including the establishment of Virginia's Department of Alcohol Beverage Control and NASCAR. Newsreels of still-busting raids, music from the Jazz Age, and vintage stills complement the archival record of the exploits of Virginia's Prohibition Commission. Supported in part by the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association. Style Weekly is the print media sponsor.

For more information about the traveling version of this exhibition, available in summer 2017, please contact Barbara C. Batson, exhibitions coordinator, at To view the current itenerary for this exhibit, please click here.

Check out our blogs "Out of the Box" and "Fit to Print" to read more about Prohibition records at the Library of Virginia.

  • Thursday, April 13, 2017, 5:00-7:00 PM: “Last Call” Imperial Brown Ale Release Celebration, a collaborative brew with Three Notch'd Brewing Company. Join the Library of Virginia and Library of Virginia Foundation to celebrate the opening of the exhibition with this boozy brown ale. At Three Notch'd Brewing Company, 2930 West Broad Street, Richmond. Free.

  • Friday, May 5, 2017, 5:30-7:30 PM: "Goodbye Booze": The Music of Prohibition (with a Beer Chaser) offers an upbeat look at popular music of the Prohibition era through live and recorded performances. A reception featuring "Last Call" Imperial Brown Ale, created by the Library in collaboration with Three Notch'd Brewing Company, follows the music program. Sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy and Virginia Distillery Company. At the Library of Virginia. Free.

  • Wednesday, June 7, 2017, Noon-1:00 PM: Liquor Lore: Enforcement Stories from the Virginia ABC. Retired and current Virginia ABC special agents share stories from the exciting cases they've encountered during their careers and explore how their experiences compare to the tumultuous days of Prohibition. Sponsored by the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. At the Library of Virginia. Free.

  • Thursday, September 28, 2017, 5:30-7:00 PM: Virginia Vice: Legislating Morality. This panel discussion on the fascinating and controversial subject of state control of personal behavior and morality features experts on film censorship and drug and alcohol prohibition. Free.

  • Thursday, November 2, 2017, 6:00-8:00 PM: “Last Call” Imperial Brown Ale Re-release & Storytelling Event. Our collaborative brew created this spring with Three Notch’d Brewing Company has been aging in bourbon barrels for months. Come celebrate its re-release and listen to some alcohol-related true tales presented by the popular storytelling group Secretly Y’all. At Three Notch’d Brewing Company, 2930 West Broad Street, Richmond, $5 donation.

  • For more events, visit the Library's News & Events page,

Running for Office icon

Running for Office
(Online Exhibition)

American political ephemera is older than America itself. Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" set the tone for using plain language for persuasion to a political side. Flyers, pamphlets, posters, buttons, television ads, and more use the same plain persuasive language today. "Running for Office" highlights 20th century political ephemera found at the Library of Virginia.

First Freedom: Virginia's Statute for Religious Freedom icon

First Freedom: Virginia's Statute for Religious Freedom
(March 4, 2017—March 4, 2017)

No one familiar with today's public and political debates about religious liberty and the relationship of church and state can doubt that Thomas Jefferson's Statute for Religious Freedom holds lasting significance. The Library of Virginia's exhibition First Freedom: Virginia's Statute for Religious Freedom explores the intent and interpretation of the statute, one of the most revolutionary pieces of legislation in American history. First Freedom is on view at the Library of Virginia through March 4, 2017. Register to attend a free panel discussion on Religious Diversity and Immigration in Virginia, Tuesday, June 21, 2016, Time: 5:30 PM–7:30 PM, Library of Virginia. Registration required

For more about religious freedom and Virginia, explore Shaping the Constitution.

Washington icon

(Online Exhibition)

This online exhibit focuses on the evolution of the District of Columbia, Alexandria and Virginia as told through maps. Maps from several Library of Virginia collections show the District from the eighteenth century through the American Civil War, and when the Town of Alexandria was a part of the District from the 1790s until 1846, when it was retro–ceded to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Here, you will find maps from several collections that tell that story and were exhibited as part of the Library's 13th annual Alan M. and Natalie P. Voorhees Lecture on the History of Cartography on April 16, 2016, titled "Virginia's District of Columbia."

Geographia icon

(Online Exhibition)

The Alan M. Voorhees Map Collection extends from the 1493 Nuremberg Chronicle through the U.S. Civil War period with the bulk of the collection consisting of pre–20th century maps. Included are maps made by Schedel, Ptolemy, deBry, Mercator, and Smith among many others. In a variety of map formats, such as nautical charts and views, the collection focuses primarily on the Chesapeake Bay area and the development of Virginia within the larger geographical and historical contexts of Europe and America.

H ist für Henkel icon

H ist für Henkel
(Online Exhibition)

These German-American early printed works are items produced by the Henkel Press, established by two brothers, Solomon and Ambrose, in New Market, Shenandoah County, Va. In 1806. Staying true to their German heritage, many items were available in German or bilingual format, particularly the illustrated primers displayed within. The Henkel family also included several prominent Evangelical Lutheran ministers, as well as entrepreneurs, farmers, and early pharmacists. Their broadsides marketing their own medical products and early printed religious works are also found in this visually striking and informative exhibit with materials held in Manuscripts & Special Collections.

Representation of the Beauty of Nature icon

Representation of the Beauty of Nature
(Online Exhibition)

These colorful illustrations, by Benjamin Henry Latrobe (1764-1820), detail the waterways and natural beauty of Virginia, found within his "Essay on Landscape," a two volume sketchbook (1798-1799). He was particularly fond of the James River and sketched it often within these pages. Best known as a premiere architect; Latrobe was also a naturalist and traveler who studied water, rock formation, vegetation and architecture in a variety of Virginian & European settings. His colorful watercolor & pen & ink illustrations complete with exacting descriptions in legible, neatly done penmanship are engaging and honest. His preference was for natural beauty in a landscape. These images provide excellent visual sources for Virginia landscape & culture at the turn of the eighteenth century.