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Board of Visitors records

Identifier: UA 1

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The records of the Board of Visitors of the College of William and Mary includes meeting minutes, financial reports, photographs, agendas, matriculation books, correspondence, material from Board of Visitors Rectors Oscar L. Shewmake and Roy Harvey Chappell, Jr., publications, and audio recordings of meetings from 1961-1999.

An index to Board of Visitors meetings for the period 1947-1984 is available in the Special Collections Research Center. Researchers are also encouraged to consult the University Archives Card Catalog which provides more detailed access to particular people or subjects in the College's history.  The card catalog notes where information can be found within the various University Archives collections.

The records of the Board of Visitors are transferred to the University Archives on an ongoing basis with the most recent records held by the Board of Visitors. Please check the Archon finding aid inventory for the most current holdings available.


  • Creation: 1757-2023


Conditions Governing Access:

Acc. 2002.080 is closed. Restrictions may apply to other records as well. Consult a staff member for details. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use:

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Historical Note:

The Board of Visitors at William & Mary is composed of 17 members appointed by the Governor of Virginia and approved by the General Assembly to serve four year terms. Three members may be nonresidents of Virginia.


96.01 Linear Feet



Arrangement of Materials:

The collection is arranged into eight series: Series 1: Minutes and Agendas of Board of Visitors' Meetings, 1757-[ongoing]; Series 2: Matriculation Books, 1827-1920; Series 3: Correspondence, 1858-1859, 1928-1988; Series 4: Rector's Papers, 1938-1979; Series 5: Publications, 1830-[ongoing]; Series 6: Audiotapes of  Meetings, 1961-1999, Series 7: Photographs, and Series 8: Financial Reports.

Physical Characteristics or Technical Requirements:

Portions of this collection are stored offsite. Consult staff for assistance. Researchers should use microfilm copies when available.

Acquisition Information:

Current minutes and related publications are received on an ongoing basis. Acc. 1981.088 acquired 08/27/1981, 02/06/1985; Acc. 1982.009 acquired 01/26/1982; Acc. 1982.018 acquired 03/18/1983; Acc. 1982.061 acquired 04/25/1988, 08/09/1984, 09/02/1983, 02/08/1984,  03/06/1984, and 11/23/1982; Acc. 1983.021 acquired 06/01/1983; Acc. 1983.026 acquired 06/01/1983; Acc. 1983.041 acquired 09/09/1983; Acc. 1983.049 acquired 02/20/1983; Acc. 1983.119 acquired 12/01/1983; Acc. 1983.120 acquired 12/01/1983; Acc. 1990.005 acquired 02/28/1920; Acc. 1991.040 acquired 04/16/1991; Acc. 1991.083 was a gift of W. Melville Jones 08/23/1991; Acc. 1992.029 transferred on 6/12/1992; Acc. 2002.074 acquired 07/18/2002; Acc. 2002.080 acquired July 30, 2002; Acc. 2003.007 acquired 07/09/2003; Acc. 2008.068 transferred on 7/18/2008; Acc. 2009.051 transferred on 2/27/2009; Acc. 2009.266 was transferred from the Board of Visitors via Swem Reserves on 6/23/2009; Acc. 2009.280 was transferred from the Office of the President on 7/8/2009. Acc. 1988.090 was purchased from a dealer; and later removed from the College Papers collection. Acc. 1986.15 was purchased from Sotheby's (New York) on April 23, 1986. Records from 1943-1962 (32,000 items) were acquired on 10/19/1964 by the Manuscripts division as Mss Acc. 1964-64 and were later transferred to the University Archives. Accession 2022.215 received from Sandy Wilms.


The records of the Board of Visitors are transferred to the University Archives on an ongoing basis with the most recent records held by the Board of Visitors.

Related Materials:

Records of the Office of the President (UA 2); R. Harvey Chappell Jr. Papers (Mss. 83 C36); Robert Morton Hughes Papers (UA 5.013); Robert Morton Hughes Papers (Mss. 65 H88); Benjamin Stoddert Ewell Papers (UA 2.06); William Booth Taliaferro Papers (Mss. 65 T15); W. Brooks George Papers (Mss. 83 Geo29); University Archives Oral History Collection (UA 43); University Archives Photograph Collection (UA 8); College Papers Collection (UA 14); Vice-President for Business Affairs (UA 63); University Archives Audiovisual Collection (UA 58); and other related administrative records of the College of William and Mary.

Separated Materials

2019 Commencement booklet moved to the Commencement Exercises collection UA 314.

Processing Information:

Steven Bookman and Rebecca Obniski arranged and described the collection from January-May 2008. Nathaniel Baako continued to arrange and describe the collection beginning in May 2008. Lily Rubino continued to arrange and describe the collection from February 2009. The collection was reorganized from an accession based arrangement to a series based arrangement. Acc. 2010.431 accessioned and minimally processed by Steven Bookman, University Archives Specialist, in July 2010. Acc. 2011.427 accessioned and minimally processed by Steven Bookman, University Archives Specialist, in June 2011. Acc. 2011.524 accessioned and minimally processed by Steven Bookman, University Archives Specialist, in August 2011.

Guide to the Board of Visitors records
William & Mary Special Collections Research Center staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • May 24th, 2018: Further description added by Kelsey Kavanaugh, SCRC Student Assistant, in June 2011.
  • January 2023: Updated by Afua Ferdnance

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository