Archives of architecture: Now available on Grounds and beyond

By Amber Lautigar Reichert | February 1, 2023

The Library’s rich collection of visual resources related to the history of the University of Virginia reached a new level of accessibility in September 2021. That month, the digital library JSTOR included five public collections from UVA in a project to add high-quality images to its more than 1,900 journal titles. With the exception of Culbreth Theatre’s image collection of stagecraft props, the UVA images that were added to JSTOR’s Open Community Collections platform are all from the Library. The images are housed on web interfaces constructed by Metadata Librarian Ann Burns.

Two of the Library’s collections — photos of student graffiti captured from study carrels in the main library prior to renovation, and photos of regional and vernacular world architecture taken between 1959 and 2013 by UVA Professor of Architecture Robert Vickery — were featured in the 2020 Library Annual Report. The additional collections are the thousands of items in the Richard Guy Wilson Architecture Archive and the James Murray Howard University of Virginia Historic Buildings and Grounds Collection.

The Richard Guy Wilson Architecture Archive

Richard Guy Wilson, who retired in 2019 as the Commonwealth Professor of Architectural History at the University of Virginia, specialized in architecture, design, and art from the 18th century to the 21st century in America and abroad. Early in his career at UVA, Wilson began bringing slides to the Fiske Kimball Fine Arts Library, where staff began the process of selecting and digitizing them. Wilson chose the photos from his extensive personal collection based on their value for teaching, and they cover a broad range of architecture from around the world. Burns described or edited most of the 13,000 images in the collection (as of July 2022), and she is continuing to identify images to be added.

The James Murray Howard University of Virginia Historic Buildings and Grounds Collection

James Murray Howard (1948-2008), for 20 years the Architect for Historic Buildings and Grounds at the University of Virginia, supervised the restoration of many aspects of Jefferson’s Academical Village. Burns did most of the work describing and uploading the images, consulting with Sarita Herman, Historic Preservation Team Leader in UVA Facilities Management, for help in identification when needed, and the Library’s Digital Production Group assisted with scanning images. The collection comprises Howard’s personal archive of images that document his research into the creation of Jefferson’s buildings; the techniques and processes used in their construction, decoration, and restoration; and his own teaching career directing what he called “a practical working laboratory for University students.”

In addition to their new visibility in JSTOR, the Library has added online access to the images through Virgo, completing a project that began in 2013 as a partnership between the University’s Historic Preservation Unit and the Fine Arts Library. Metadata Operations Librarian Perry Roland prepared the images for use in Virgo, as well as in the Digital Public Library of America.

As part of JSTOR’s Open Community Collections, the project will be a useful teaching and learning tool for the more than 80 million scholars, students, and faculty from around the world who use the platform each year.

The collections can be accessed via JSTOR at

A stairway with elegant style and a curving handrail. Sunlight filters from above.
“Casa Navas,” in Catalonia, Spain, from the Richard Guy Wilson Architecture Archive


Criss-cross handrail pattern of white painted wood, outdoors.
A detail of Grounds: “Cabell Hall,” from the James Murray Howard University of Virginia Historic Buildings and Grounds Collection.


Textured ceiling tiles with octagons and floral patterns, some containing the letter V.
A detail of Grounds: “Pavilion III,” from the James Murray Howard University of Virginia Historic Buildings and Grounds Collection.