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Tidewater History Collection

Collection ID: MG 91

Scope and Contents

The Tidewater History Collection is an artificial collection consisting of newspaper clippings, newspapers, magazines, maps, and pamphlets, among others. The context of the material relates to Hampton Roads facts, history, events, government, culture and the military, with emphasis on the city of Norfolk.


  • circa 1853-2017, undated
  • Other: Majority of material found within 1940-2010


6.80 Linear Feet

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to researchers without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.

Biographical or Historical Information

In 1607, thirteen years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, a small band of Englishmen sailed into the Chesapeake Bay up the James River and settled on a small island named Jamestown. The settlement of Jamestown marked the origin of Colonial America. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Colony of Virginia became the most productive of all the English colonies. In the late eighteenth century, the influence of Virginians helped the American Colonies gain independence from England. In the mid- to late-eighteenth century, Virginia produced more great leaders than any other place in world history. Today, there are 1.8 million residents in Hampton Roads, making up one-fifth of Virginia's population. The region is rich in culture, thriving communities and maritime and economic development. Hampton Roads is the home of the world's largest naval base, located in Norfolk, and is known for a strong military presence. The southeastern region of Virginia is referred to as Hampton Roads. This region includes the communities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg, and the counties of Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Mathews, Southampton, Surry and York and the following cities and counties of North Carolina – Currituck County, Gates County, Elizabeth City, and Kill Devil Hills (there is no material from the North Carolina cities and counties in the collection). The meaning behind Hampton Roads is the body of water surrounding this area which incorporates the mouths of the Elizabeth River, Nansemond River, and James River with several smaller rivers and empties into the Chesapeake Bay near its mouth leading to the Atlantic Ocean. Hampton Roads is considered one of the world’s largest natural harbors, with ‘roads’ being a nautical term meaning safe harbor (more accurately a 'roadstead'). Hampton Roads is known for its large military presence, ice-free harbor, shipyards, coal piers, and miles of waterfront property and beaches, all of which contribute to the diversity and stability of the region's economy. Creating and maintaining adequate infrastructure has long been a major challenge. The Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) and the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel (MMMBT) are major harbor crossings of the Hampton Roads Beltway interstate, which links the large population centers of Hampton Roads. In 2007, the Hampton Roads Transportation Authority (HRTA) was formed under a controversial state law to levy various additional taxes, fees, and tolls to generate funding for major regional transportation projects, including a long-sought but costly third crossing of the harbor of Hampton Roads. Cooperation between the regions is an ongoing challenge. The Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC) is one of twenty-one planning district commissions in the commonwealth of Virginia. Their purpose is to encourage local government and state-local cooperation in matters such as commerce, city planning, housing, water resources, and emergency management.

Note written by Special Collections Staff

Language of Materials



The Tidewater History Collection contains materials such as, newspaper clippings, whole newspapers, magazines, maps, and pamphlets related to the communities of Hampton Roads, with primary focus on Norfolk.

Arrangement Note

The collection is organized into six series: Series I: Norfolk; Series II: Greater Tidewater and Virginia; Series III: Hampton Roads Planning Commission; Series IV: Oversize Newspapers; Series V: Oversize Maps; and Series VI: Oversize Photos.

Source of Acquisition

Various gifts and transfers

Processing Information

This collection was compiled by David Corona in February 2004. Further processing was completed by Kelly C. Barbour in April 2006.

A Guide to the Tidewater History Collection
Special Collections Staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the ODU Community Collections Repository

3000 Perry Library
4427 Hampton Blvd.
Norfolk VA 23529 US