Students and their teacher at the “Bear Mountain Indian Mission School” on the Monacan settlement near Bear Mountain in Amherst County, 1914. Amateur photographer and educational reformer Henry Jackson Davis (1882–1947) took this photo as well as approximately 6,000 others in the early 20th century to document the poor conditions of rural schools in marginalized African-American and Native American communities. The Native Americans had called what is now Central Virginia home for thousands of years before European exploration began in earnest in the late 1500s, Their settlements included villages large and small throughout the Piedmont and the Mountains. Despite the efforts of long-standing Jim Crow-era legislation aimed at denying their existence, the Monacan people managed to preserve their identity and culture. They were at last officially recognized as a Tribal Nation by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1989, but not by the U.S. Government until 2018. (photo is courtesy of the Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia).

Library, Collections, Discovery


The Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society Library is among the very best of local history libraries in the country. Created by a committee of Historical Society volunteers, the library opened to the public on October 29, 1974, in the renovated basement of our then headquarters at 220 Court Square. Since that time, the holdings have grown to include over 6,000 individual volumes, 15,000 pamphlets, 300 historic maps, and over 1,000 archived manuscript items. Operated in collaboration with the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library system, the library was officially renamed in 2020 the Margaret Martin O’Bryant Library & Research Collection in honor of her over 35 years of service to the Society.


In addition to our Library holdings of books, manuscripts and historic maps, our Collections contains thousands of artifacts donated to the Society. These items help to tell the story of Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville: from papers to portraiture to photographs, clothing, furniture, memorabilia and ephemera, all donated by individuals, families, businesses and organizations throughout Central Virginia over the past 80 years. A sample of artifacts can be found on our Collections webpage. If you would like to donate an historic item to be preserved in our collections or do research in our collections, please contact us.

Copyrights & Reproductions

As curators, librarians and historians, our staff members are responsible for safeguarding the condition of materials in our Collection and for respecting the wishes and interests of authors and donors. We also wish to contribute to scholarship and teaching and want to make the public more aware of the books, manuscripts, and historic items we have. To accomplish these goals, the reproduction of items is often required. If you have a need to reproduce items in our collection or learn what we have, click this link for our policies.

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McIntire Library
Market Street Park

Downtown Charlottesville
200 Second Street, NE
Charlottesville, Virginia 22902


Research Library Open
By Appointment
Mon-Fri, 8am-4pm
Saturday, 10am-2pm