Laura Virginia Hale Archives


Hours: Monday-Friday 10:00am-4:00pm

Research Fees
Laura Virginia Hale Reading Room library is free and open to the public

Archival Research Fees:,
NON-MEMBERS: $15.00 per half hour of research assistance (including scanning)
MEMBERS: research assistance (including scanning) is free
MEMBERS & NON-MEMBERS: $15.00 per archivist research visit to Warren County Courthouse

Paper Copies are 25 cents each

Postage and handling fee is $3.00 minimum

How do you summarize in a few sentences the entire contents of the Laura Virginia Hale Archives? Clearly a short course in the holdings of this incredible treasure trove of local history is needed. Each collection has something unique to offer the reader. In addition to many books for researchers located in the public reading room the archives consists of:

The LVH Collection: These are the records resulting from a lifetime spent researching and documenting Warren County and Virginia history by Laura Virginia Hale, for whom the archives is named. These files consist of her original writings and are kept intact, with no additions or subtractions. Thus they can be considered primary source documents for researchers.

The WHS Collection: WHS simply stands for Warren Heritage Society, which was founded and managed for many years with strictly volunteer help. As the number of major gifts of family documents and artifacts began to multiply, the collections were transferred into archival boxes and numbered with WHS numbers.

The MMF Collection: The letters stand for Miscellaneous Manuscript Files, which pretty much describes the contents. If a single document or a small collection is donated to the archives, one too small to warrant an individual box of its own, it is accessioned into the MMF files. Many fascinating family letters, describing life in early Warren County, are contained within these files.

The Photo Collection: Containing hundreds of images of early Warren County people, places, and events, this collection is a favorite of researchers. In some cases the photos are the only remaining images of things forever lost. A subdivision of this collection is the Warren Sentinel File, which contains an incomplete collection of photos used by the newspaper from 1962 to 1996. Negatives and slides of these years are also available.

The Rebecca Good Genealogy Collection: Rebecca Good was a professional genealogist, who researched most of the families that settled Warren County. If you’re looking for your roots, this is a good place to start the search.

The Map Collection: The map case holds among others items: early maps of Warren County and the Shenandoah Valley, topographical maps, County maps from 1932, showing roads that have been changed over the years, The Sanborn Insurance maps and maps illustrating the interesting geology of this mountainous area.

The Cemetery Files: Ever since 1938, there has been an ongoing attempt to document every single gravesite in Warren County. Before large cemeteries were organized, the family plot was a common final resting place for ancestors. As properties changed hands, the fate of these gravesites was left to individual homeowners, and many burial records were lost.

The Obituary Files: Obituaries gathered weekly, as well as those culled from the old newspapers, are constantly added to obituaries collected by genealogists over the years. This file gets heavy use by families searching for kinfolk.

The General Files: Single small articles are filed here alphabetically; when the file on any subject becomes large enough, it is transferred to the MMF files.

The Ledger Collection: Early ledgers from stores, doctors and early banks are just a few of the items. It’s fun to read these old accounts of everyday expenses.

The Rare Books Collection: Consisting of out-of-print books and fragile texts on all types of subjects, these books are only brought out on special request.

The Newspaper Collection: This collection is still being indexed. The local papers, dating back to the late 1800’s, tell the who, what and where of daily life, as well as the local gossip of Warren County. Looking for a murder or a marriage? This is the place to look.

Microfilm Collection: Many newspapers we do not have in the newspaper collection are on microfilm.

Most of the collections are easily accessed by using a word search on our computers. In addition, a printed Finding Aid is compiled for each, with entries listed both alphabetically and numerically.