From Special Collections and Archives: The Casanova Collection

The J. Rives Childs Collection of Casanoviana at Randolph-Macon College was a bequest from J. Rives Childs, a 1915 R-MC alumnus and retired diplomat, who collected these materials during his more than 30 years in the Foreign Service in Europe and the Middle East. It is one of the world’s most extensive collections of early and rare editions of Casanova’s Memoires, consisting of over 2000 items including numerous rare volumes in many languages ranging from Norwegian to Bengali to Arabic and includes the first edition, published in German.  In addition to the Memoires and writings of Casanova, the collection contains bibliographies, biographies, sales catalogs, correspondence, playbills, illustrations, operettas, films, and of course, the Casanova action figure. Casanova’s lurid tales of romantic escapades during his life as an adventurer across Europe made his name synonymous with seduction and  womanizing.

Childs, a self-proclaimed “defender of Casanova as something other than the caricatures drawn of him by the mythmakers,” published biographical and bibliographical works on Casanova, the great lover, spy, adventurer, author, and librarian.

Learn more about the Casanova collection and other specialized and unique collections in the Flavia Reed Owen Special Collections and Archives.

Need Data? Try ICPSR Data Sets

Randolph-Macon College is one of over 750 members of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, known as ICPSR.

The ICPSR houses the world’s largest online repository of data sets for social science researchers, with more than 250,000 files of research in the social and behavioral sciences. Although predominantly social science-related data in areas such as education, aging, criminal justice, substance abuse, and terrorism, there are many data sets on a variety of topics related to the sciences, history, and other disciplines. These data sets are available for download and use by the entire R-MC community and are used with statistical software, such as SAS, SPSS, and Stata. Computer labs on campus already have SPSS installed.

Data sets range from studies such as Historical Transportation of Navigable Rivers, Canals, and Railroads in the United States to the National Surveys on Energy and the Environment, Fall 2008 and Fall 2015 to the American College Catalog Study Database, 1975-2011. In addition to locating data sets by broad topic, by title, or by keyword, you can also search by the variables in the studies as well as locate publications in which the data sets have been used.  Documentation for interpreting the data files as well as copies of surveys, questionnaires and other supporting materials are included.

To get started, Just click on the Log In/Create Account link at Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research from a campus computer and create an account.

From Special Collections and Archives: Before YouTube, There Were Magic Lanterns

Generations of Sunday school classes and churchgoers were educated by Magic Lantern slide shows. These shows, popular in the 19th century and into the mid 20th century, were replaced with newer technology such as slide projectors, film strips, powerpoint presentations and online videos. The two projectors shown here are part of the Methodist Collection housed in Special Collections and Archives. For more information on Magic Lanterns, see:

image of Magic Lanterns sitting on a shelf
Magic Lantern


Quality Reference Information 24/7: CREDO Reference

CREDO logo is a database of over 800 great, reliable reference sources. Covering all subject areas, over 3.5 million articles in reference books and sets are full text searchable in Credo Reference.

You can search across all of the sources by keyword, or limit to sources in a particular subject area such as History, Technology & Engineering, or psychology, or even search in a single source such as Dictionary of Twentieth-Century British Philosophers or Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink.

Although the Library has many great reference sources in print, online sources offer advantages in addition to full text access, such as 24/7 availability and off-campus access. Try this one next time you need to look something up!



From Special Collections and Archives: World War II Comes to Campus

During World War II, most of R-MC’s students either joined or were drafted into the military. In order to keep the school going, President Moreland lobbied for military training programs to be held on campus. Coursework was taught by College faculty as well as military instructors.

In 1942-43, 96 young men attended the Navy’s V-1 pre-flight training on campus while learning to fly at a nearby airport in Hanover County. The Navy moved the training elsewhere in 1943, so the College brought the Army to campus. R-MC was chosen to give courses designated as Basic Engineering One under the Army Specialized Training Program and was assigned 250 men who were known as the 3322nd Service Unit. Eventually, 438 men passed through the training program during 1943-44 when only 83 regular students were enrolled at the College.

After the military programs ended, 1944-45 was a lean year for the College with fewer than 100 full-time students, and a jump to only 200 the following year as the war ended left the College struggling. By the fall of 1946, the G.I. Bill brought many new students and helped the College rebound with an enrollment of over 550, 439 of whom were veterans.

image of the Army Specialist Training Unit
The Army Specialist Training Unit
image of The Army Specialist Training Unit Marching across Campus
Marching across Campus

If you are looking for an image, try the Artstor Digital Library database


If you need a picture for a class or conference presentation and usually go to Google images or Wikimedia Commons, try the Artstor Digital Library next time! The Artstor Digital Library is a database containing over 2 million high-quality images for education and research from a wide variety of contributors around the world. As you would expect, Artstor includes images of paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture, and other objects from major museum and library collections, but this database includes much more! There are medical and botanical drawings; images of clothing as well as drawings for fashion design; architectural and landscape images; photojournalism collections; maps; manuscript page images – just about anything that can be scanned or photographed, including this image of R-MC’s own Washington and Franklin Hall from ArtStor’s Historic Campus  Architecture Collection. Complete information about the image or the object represented by the image is also included. Find Artstor on the Databases A-Z list available on the McGraw-Page Library website.

image of Washington-Franklin Hall

From Special Collections and Archives: Tiny Shoes

These tiny, exquisitely handmade silk shoes, part of the Methodist Collection in Special Collections and Archives, document the practice of foot binding in China. They were brought to America in 1875 from China by Mrs. J.W. Lambuth, mother of Bishop Walter Russell Lambuth. The accompanying documentation states that they were a gift from Mrs. Lambuth to Mrs. Georgianna C West in 1875, and that the shoes served as “the inspiration to organize a Woman’s Missionary Society.” They were first exhibited in 1875 in Richmond at Clay St. Methodist Church, and used by missionaries in later years during fundraising efforts to illustrate a Chinese cultural practice that missionaries sought to end.

image of tiny Chinese Shoes
Tiny Chinese Shoes


America’s News: A Great Source for Local and Regional News Articles

The Library provides R-MC users access to several terrific news resources. One of these, the America’s News database, is particularly great for its coverage of local and regional news. It includes over 2500 full-text newspapers and additional news content from blogs, journals,  and broadcast transcripts. from around the U.S., including the Richmond Times-Dispatch and nearly 50 other Virginia news sources. Many of these news sources are small hometown papers that include coverage of community events, people, organizations, schools, and businesses, and these articles may be the only published information on topics of local interest. Although lots of newspapers provide free access online to some of their articles on a daily basis, very few allow complete access or provide access to past content for more than a few days, while ten or more years are usually archived in America’s News.

Another reason to use this resource in your research is that local reporting of events of regional interest is often more extensive and frequently provides a perspective that varies from the news coverage by large national or international news organizations. The database includes Hot Topics and Special Reports sections as well as a helpful Find a Topic section for guidance in doing your research.

Check out all of our contemporary and historic news sources on our Newspapers and News Magazines guide.

From Special Collections and Archives: The Lincoln Ballot

One of the treasures in Special Collections and Archives is the 1860 Lincoln ballot, or ticket. These ballots are extremely rare; a similar but not identical Virginia ballot exists in the West Virginia State Archives while most other known Lincoln ballots are from northern states. Virginia was the only state in the south that included Abraham Lincoln on the Republican ticket for President in 1860. He received just one percent of the Virginia vote.

iamge of the Lincoln Ballot
Lincoln Ballot

Ballots were tallied and not permanently retained. These ballots were printed, most often by newspaper printing offices, and given to voters to be turned in at their polling places. The electors names appear on the ballot, as the vote is actually cast for the electors, who then vote directly for the Presidential candidates.

Learn more about our Special Collections & Archives at

A Database Cooler Than Its Name!

The American Antiquarian Society (AAS) Historical Periodicals Collection, a full-text database of thousands of magazines and publications from the late 1600s through the 1800s, provides a fascinating look at published information on any and all subjects important to people through our early history. For those needing PRIMARY SOURCES this is a great resource!

From advertisements for early sewing machines (some of these are scary), to essays on the honor of fighting a duel (think Hamilton!) to suggested medical treatments (jalapeno peppers for Scarlet Fever) to poems written to ladies with small pox (seriously!), this database gives us a look into life in earlier times.

These periodicals can be searched in our Discovery search or chosen from our alphabetical list of Databases.