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Edward H. Peeples, Jr. papers

Identifier: M 342

Scope and Contents

Please note: this collection contains materials that use insensitive or offensive language. To represent the resource as accurately as possible, the staff has transcribed the titles exactly as they appear on the archival material or objects.

The Papers of Dr. Edward J. Peeples document his long career in education and public health and his activities as a promoter of social justice and human rights reforms in Virginia and other places across the South. The collection is especially strong in the areas of race and discrimination, poverty, public health and school inequality from the 1950s through the 1980s including materials relating to the closing of public schools in Virginia's Prince Edward County. Other subject areas include the early history of Virginia Commonwealth University (1967-early 1970s) and various programs associated with the University, human relations in Richmond and Virginia, and the aftermath of Hurricane Camille (1969).

The materials in the collection include a large of amount of correspondence, reports, and publications. Also included in the collection are newspaper and journal clippings, photographs (many of Prince Edward County and other areas in Virginia taken by Dr. Peeples), slides, phonograph records, and other materials. The bulk of the collection dates from 1950s through 2005.


  • Creation: 1915, 1920-2005


Access restrictions

Collection is open to research; however, some materials are restricted. Please consult Special Collections and Archives staff for details.

Biographical Information

Dr. Edward H. Peeples, Jr. is Emeritus Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine and Community Health at Virginia Commonwealth University where he taught for more than thirty years. Peeples made most of his academic contributions in the fields of medical behavioral science, public health, epidemiology and sociology. But much of his research and writing dealt with contemporary issues of social justice and he spent most of his adult life as a civil rights advocate involved in a variety of human rights reforms in Virginia and other places across the south.

Born in Richmond on 20 April 1935, Peeples received a B.S. in Health and Physical Education from Richmond Professional Institute (now VCU) in 1957. He began his civil rights activity in 1955 while a student at RPI. In late 1959, soon after being discharged from the US Navy, he became a volunteer with the American Friends Service Committee in Prince Edward County, Virginia which had closed its public schools rather than racially integrate them. In February 1960, he participated in the first of Richmond's lunch counter sit-ins. He later did extensive field work and interviewing in Prince Edward which led to his Masters thesis, A Perspective on the Prince Edward County Virginia School Issue, at the University of Pennsylvania in 1963. From this he produced several documents, some of which were later incorporated into reports and briefings for the United States Commission on Civil Rights; the U.S. Department of Justice; and the U.S. Office of Education in their efforts to find a resolution to the Prince Edward County school closing issue.

Peeples received a M.A. in Human Relations (Intergroup Relations) from the University of Pennsylvania in 1963; and a Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky in Sociology with a Concentration in Medical Behavioral Science in 1972. He began his teaching career at the Medical College of Virginia and the Richmond Professional Institute in 1963, prior to their merger in 1968 forming Virginia Commonwealth University. During his long academic career, Dr. Peeples taught, conducted research, consulted and published in the fields of medical behavioral science (behavioral factors governing clinical practice in the helping professions), behavioral epidemiology (behavioral causes, complications and consequences of disease, injury and disability), public health and community medicine, violence prevention, research methodology, intergroup relations (including race and ethnic relations and minority health), and sociology.

He was appointed by the Richmond City Council in the early 1980s to the Commission on Human Relations where he was elected both Vice-Chair and Chairman and also was appointed to the Richmond Environmental Commission in the early 1990s. Since his retirement in October 1995, Peeples has continued his efforts to help document the struggle for Civil Rights in Virginia and has worked with historians, researchers, numerous repositories, and with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission of the Virginia General Assembly. He is married and has four daughters and two grandchildren.

Higher Education: Ph.D., University of Kentucky, 1972, Concentration in Medical Behavioral Science, major: Sociology, minor: Anthropology. Dissertation: Rank Differentiation and Somatic Disease: A Systematically Derived Inventory of Propositions M.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1963, Human Relations (Intergroup Relations). Thesis: The Prince Edward County Virginia School Issue B.S., Virginia Commonwealth University (formally Richmond Professional Institute), 1957, Health and Physical Education, Honor Graduate Award for Leadership, Outstanding Senior Athlete Award, 1956-57.

Academic Appointments at Virginia Commonwealth University: 1995-present Associate Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine and Community Health 1976-1995 Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine, Dept. of Preventive Medicine and Community Health (DPMCH) and Department of Biostatistics 1991-1992 Scholar-in-Residence, University Honors Program 1991-1995 Faculty Research Associate, Center for Public Service 1972-1976 Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine, DPMCH 1968-1972 Assistant Professor of Sociology and Preventive Medicine, Departments of Sociology/Anthropology and DPMCH 1963-1965 Instructor in Sociology, School of Nursing, Medical College of Virginia 1963-1964 Instructor in Sociology, Richmond Professional Institute, part-time

Academic Appointments at Other Institutions: 1985-1986 Lecturer in Medical Sociology, University of Richmond, part-time 1967-1968 Instructor in Medical Sociology, Dept. of Behavioral Science, Colleges of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Kentucky, Lexington


33 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged into four series. I. Professional and Biographical (materials related to Dr. Peeples' work as a research professor) -- II. Broad Subject Areas (thirteen major topics randing from race to preventative medicine) -- III. Miscellaneous Topics -- IV. Miscellaneous audio and visual materials (slides, audio and video recordings, phonographs, photographs), publications, ephemera, and oversize materials.

Related Materials

Please also see an additional collection of Peeples' materials: M 68 Edward H. Peeples, Jr. papers

This collection consists of Dr. Peeples' studies in the field of hunger, poverty, and racial issues in the United States and abroad (South Africa). There is considerable information on the fight for integration in Virginia in the 1960s, including materials associated with the Prince Edward County school issue in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

A Guide to the Edward H. Peeples, Jr. Papers, N.D., 1915, 1920s-2005
A Collection in Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library, M 342
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the VCU James Branch Cabell Library Repository

Special Collections and Archives 901 Park Avenue
Richmond Virginia 23284 USA US
(804) 828-1108