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Collection Guides

Finding Aids

The Virginia Room has finding aids for manuscript, maps, manuscript and microfilm collections. Please contact us at or (540) 853-2073 to inquire about our finding aids. The Virginia Room is also in the process of placing finding aids online through the Virginia Heritage Database, a statewide searchable database for special collection finding aids. Search the Roanoke Public Libraries' collections or all participating repositories using the search box below.



Vertical Files and Surname Files

The Virginia Room Special Collections contains thousands of maps, photographs, manuscript collections, vertical files and surname files, with many of these resources being unique items. Virginia Room finding aids for manuscript, maps, and photograph collections will be available online through the Virginia Heritage Database, a statewide database for special collections.

Vertical Files Finding Aid

Vertical files contain newspaper clippings, pamphlets, reprints and other miscellaneous materials relating to places, organizations and topical subjects relating to the Roanoke Valley and Virginia. To a lesser degree, vertical files may contain materials that are not from or about the Roanoke Valley or Virginia.

Surname Files List

Roanoker Magazine Index

The link below provides an index to articles in the Roanoker Magazine, from 1974 through 2013. Articles are arranged under general subject headings in alphabetical order. The index may be searched by typing 'Control+F'.

Roanoker Magazine Index

Oral History Initiative

It is memory that brings photographs, newspaper headlines and neighborhood streets to life. It is memories that give them enduring significance. Memorable stories inform us of who we are today, recalling the vitality of our past, while we build the future.

Beginning in September 2006, Roanoke Public Libraries interviewed more than 150 individuals for the Oral History Initiative. This initiative encompassed two projects: the Neighborhoods History Project and the Veterans History Project. The Neighborhoods History Project collected stories of long-time city residents from the various neighborhoods in the City of Roanoke. The Veterans History Project, administered through the Library of Congress, collected stories of wartime veterans, WW II – present, and helpers on the home front. The goal of the Oral History Initiative was to collect and preserve these valuable memories that give an unique look at the history of the people and places in Southwestern Virginia.

Grant funding from the city’s 125th Anniversary Committee and Roanoke Public Library Foundation was used to purchase digital sound equipment and scanners to help collect and maintain these digital collections.

Search the Collections
Veterans Interviews
Neighborhood Interviews

About the Veterans History Project
The mission of the Veterans History Project was to collect and preserve the personal recollections of wartime veterans (WW II - present), helpers on the homefront and registered conscientious objectors. The project, created by Congress, is building a lasting legacy of memoirs, recorded interviews, and other documents chronicling the veterans’ and other citizens’ wartime experiences, and how those experiences affected their lives and American itself.

Veterans Web Pages
A web page is created by the Library of Congress for each veteran who is interviewed for the Veterans History Project. This page includes service history and limited biographical information. Go to and click on Search the Veterans Database.

The Virginia Room is proud to partner with the Library of Congress for the Veterans History Project. Find out more online at

About the Neighborhoods History Project
Roanoke is divided into numerous unique, lively and changing communities. The mission of the Neighborhoods History Project was to honor the stories of residents from the various neighborhoods in the City of Roanoke and share them with future generations.

Interview questions included but were not limited to:
  • Biographical information
  • Family and home life
  • Businesses, shopping and entertainment
  • Education in Roanoke and beyond
  • Employment