The Social Welfare History Image Portal presents archival materials related to the history of social reform and social welfare in the United States. These images include photographs, pamphlets, placards, handbills, and comics pages drawn from the collections of VCU Libraries and other participating institutions.

VCU_Darwyn White outside Grants_Farmville Shopping Center 8_24_1963 rsz.jpg

In addition to single items, the Image Portal presents a variety of Discovery Sets -- curated groups of items related to particular topics. These sets bring together particularly interesting or representative materials that serve as an entry way into research with primary source materials.

The history of social welfare is a story encompassing many volunteer and professional activities to "establish Justice ... promote the general Welfare, and  secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity." It chronicles the development of social work and social services, as well the nation's extension of civil rights to greater numbers of the population. Social welfare history is profoundly interdisciplinary, looking at many, often conflicting, ideas of community and community responsibility, as well as ongoing discussions of our national identity.

The Image Portal is a collaborative project encouraging the use of primary sources and directing students and scholars to the institutions that hold these materials. If you have questions, or would like to learn more about becoming a partner institution,
please contact VCU Libraries at LibSWHP@vcu.edu.

Honored with the Center for Research Libraries 2018 Primary Source Award for Access


Image Portal items come from a broad range of sources, including materials that are offensive or contain negative stereotypes. VCU Libraries provides access to these items to support research and inquiry.