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Virginia Crockford papers

Identifier: M 283

Scope and Contents

The Virginia Crockford papers, 1955-1999, bulk 1961-1975, is a collection of materials used by Virginia Crockford during her tenure on the City of Richmond School Board (1962-1972) and on the steering committee of the Richmond Tomorrow strategic planning group (1989-1993). The collection primarily consists of correspondence, meeting minutes, task force reports, and informational material regarding Richmond City Public Schools. A primary focus of the material is the desegregation of Richmond City Public Schools, highlighting public reaction and the school board's response and implementation of this policy.

Series 1: Desegregation Files, 1961-1975: The Desegregation Files series of the collection focuses on the Richmond City School Board's involvement in and implementation of desegregation programs during and after the United States Civil Rights Movement. The series contains various subject files related to desegregation implementation including correspondence with parents of students, integrated busing, school reopenings, and regional consolidation.

Series 2: Richmond School Board Files, 1955-1999, bulk 1961-1975: The bulk of the collection is comprised of files from the Richmond School Board regarding general issues that Crockford was involved in during her tenure. This material includes meeting minutes and agendas from Richmond City School Board meetings, correspondence, task force reports, and subject files.

The meeting minutes and correspondence provide insight into the issues which the Richmond City School Board faced during Crockford’s tenure. These issues include parental complaints, concerns over various logistical restructuring projects, and opposition to changes in sex education policy.

The series’ task force reports and subject files provide focused information on projects the school board was undertaking, which include public school remodeling, a restructuring of the Richmond City Kindergarten Program, school safety initiatives, the Sidney School Program for Pregnant Teens, and changes to the sex education curriculum.

Series 3: Publications, 1961-1972: Also included in the collection are various publications regarding the public schools of Virginia, as well as various political movements in Virginia. These publications are primarily composed of bulletins, pamphlets, newsletters, informational booklets, and flyers. The bulk of the publications pertain to the procedure of desegregation throughout Virginia. Material both promoting and deriding the efforts of desegregation from the time of its implementation is included. Additional publications concern the effects of the Civil Rights movement in Virginia and the legal battles which it encompassed and their relation to Virginia public schools.

Series 4: Richmond Tomorrow, 1989-1993: Additionally, the collection contains material from Crockford's later career when she served on the steering committee for the Richmond Tomorrow strategic planning group. The bulk of the series consists of reports from various task forces enabled by Richmond Tomorrow. The task forces focused on topics that affected the city’s entire population such as city finance, public and private education, and housing credit. The information from the task force reports is consolidated in the Richmond Tomorrow Citizens Report, which makes recommendations for city projects based upon the findings.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1955-1999, 1961-1975


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Biographical/Historical Information

Virginia Allen Crockford (1917-2001) served on the City of Richmond's School Board during the late 1960s and early 1970s. During her tenure on the board, the city schools were desegregated, and the sex education curriculum expanded. Born in Blacksburg, Virginia, in 1917, Crockford moved to Richmond, Virginia, in 1947 with her husband, W. Hamilton Crockford III. In 1962, she was appointed to the Richmond City School Board. At the time, she was the only female member of the board and the second woman in the history of the organization. Crockford later served as the Chair of the board from 1968-1972.

While serving on the board, Crockford acted as a proponent for efficient and effective desegregation of the Richmond City Public Schools. She advocated for a logistical model of integration that did not require the temporary closing of schools, instead opting for busing to facilitate integration. As a result of her methods, which parents found radical, Richmond City Councilman Howard Carwile called for her removal in 1970, but the motion was defeated in a 7-1 vote.

Additionally, she was involved in the review process for an updated sex education curriculum within Richmond City Schools, which resulted in an expanded and improved program. She also led efforts to promote the National Congress of Parents and Teachers' position for expanded sex education throughout the state of Virginia.

Crockford remained on the school board until her term ended in 1972. In addition to serving on the school board, Crockford was president of the Virginia Parent Teacher Association, the League of Women Voters, and the Central Virginia Health System's Agency. She was also a member of the Virginia Health Planning Agency and the founder of the Volunteers and Juvenile Courts Project.

In 1989-1993, she served on the steering committee for Richmond Tomorrow, a community-based strategic planning group established by the Richmond City Council focused on creating a common vision for the city's development. During her time on the steering committee, she served the organization's goal of improving the community through the establishment and implementation of multiple task forces to examine city finances, education, and economic development.

She died on March 24, 2001.


3.95 Linear Feet (9, 5" doc cases, 1, 2.5" doc case)

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged into four series: Series 1: Desegregation Files, 1961-1975, Series 2: Richmond School Board Files, 1955-1999, bulk 1961-1975, Series 3: Publication, 1961-1972, Series 4: Richmond Tomorrow, 1989-1993.

Acquisition Information

The initial deposit was given to Special Collections and Archives by Mrs. Crockford in November 1990. A second deposit from Mrs. Crockford was made in July 1995.

Processing Information

Originally processed in August 1990 and revised in July 1995, in 2019, the collection was rehoused for preservation purposes and reprocessed to facilitate better access. A previously unprocessed accession was identified and incorporated into the the collection. The finding aid was updated in accordance with DACS standards to reflect the changes and additions to the collection.

A Guide to the Virginia Crockford papers, 1955-1999
Betsy Pittman Revised by Dillon Thomas
2020 By Virginia Commonwealth University. All rights reserved.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Web version of the finding aid funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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