Skip to main content

Richard B. Dickenson Papers,

Identifier: Ms-2011-043

Scope and Content Note

The collection is composed of materials related to Dickenson's research on Southwest Virginia African Americans from the Civil War until the present. Included are photocopies and excerpts of books and archival materials, correspondence with coworkers and friends largely dealing with the Christiansburg Institute, and professional material related to his work in with the Christiansburg Community Center and local history associations.


  • 1931-2004
  • Majority of material found within 1964 - 2000


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from Richard B. Dickenson Papers must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Biographical Note

Richard B. Dickenson, community activist and historian, was born in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1930. From 1951-1953 he served with the US Army in Korea. Dickenson then received a B.A. in geography from Michigan State University in 1957 and a M.Ed. from Springfield College in Massachusetts in 1971. He taught at a variety of colleges and universities throughout his career, including Virginia Tech where he researched local African American history and genealogy. After moving back to New York, Dickenson was appointed Borough Historian of Staten Island, which he held until his death from cancer in 2006.

Dickenson is the author of two published works: Entitled! Free Papers in Appalachia Concerning Antebellum Freeborn Negroes and Emancipated Blacks of Montgomery County, Virginia. and Holden's Staten Island: The History of Richmond County.


4 Cubic Feet (11 Boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection is composed of materials related to Dickenson's research on Southwest Virginia African Americans from the Civil War until the present.


The Richard B. Dickenson Papers are arranged into five series: subject files, correspondence, publications, research, and media. Materials within series are arranged alphabetically.

Series I contains subject files created by Dickenson. This series includes materials related to Christiansburg Institute and his work with the Christiansburg Community Center.

Series II contains correspondence with friends and coworkers. Letters are arranged by author in alphabetical order.

Series III contains various publications and photocopies of publications kept by Dickenson during his career. Individual publications are arranged in their own folder, excerpts are grouped in folders by alphabetical order.

Series IV contains research materials complied by Dickenson. Most of these items are photocopies of archival material. Research materials with no apparent titles are grouped in the Ephemera Research folder.

Series V contains cassette tapes, microfilm, and CD-ROMS arranged by material type.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated to Special Collections in 2006.

Separated Materials

The following books have been removed from the collection and are available in Special Collections:

The Black Oklahomans, A History: 1541-1972, 1972 Black History in Oklahoma: A Resource Book, 1971 Christiansburg Institute: A Proud Heritage, 1991 Entitled:Free Papers in Appalachia, 1980 Highlights in the Early History of Montgomery County, VA, 1975 The Montgomery County Story, 2000 Montgomery County, Virginia: Circa 1790, 1972 Montgomery County Virginia: The First Hundred Years, 1994 Price Genealogy, 1948 The United States Army Invades the New River Valley May 1864, 1986 Virginia Landmarks of Black History, 1995

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Richard B. Dickenson Papers was completed in September 2011.

Richard B. Dickenson Papers, 1931-2004
A Collection in Special Collections
Kimberly Staub
© 2011 By Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. All rights reserved
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US