In Memoriam: Albert H. Small, influential donor at UVA Library and Engineering


The collection is on permanent display in the Declaration of Independence Gallery of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, with an accompanying documentary film available for viewing there.

At the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the building named in honor of Albert Small was transferred to UVA Engineering in the 1980s and renovated to house what was then a new center for computer-aided engineering. . “This center was the introduction of computer-aided design tools to the AVU,” wrote James Aylor, who served as dean from 2004 to 2015, in an email.

“When I was dean, often when Mr. Small visited the university – which he liked very much – he came to my office,” wrote Aylor, acting chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “I have always cherished visits. When I went to DC, I tried to see it. He said I didn’t need to visit him, but he and I always enjoyed the time spent together. He always had so much wisdom to share.

Following his historical interests, Small created other collections, one on the architectural development of the Washington, DC area, which he donated to George Washington University, and another on the D-Day campaign. World War II, which gave birth to the Normandy Institute, an educational program for high schools.

His long-standing public service has covered a wide range of topics. President Obama awarded him a National Humanities Medal in 2009.

In addition to serving on the AVU Visitors’ Council, Small has served on the Boards of Directors of the Aspen Institute, the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Archives Foundation, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Historical Society of Washington, the National Gallery of Art, and the James Madison Council of the Library of Congress, among others.

Small is survived by his wife of 69 years, Shirley Schwalb Small; their children, Susan, Albert Jr. and James; and six grandchildren. Albert Jr. graduated with a master’s degree, a doctorate. and an MBA from University, and three grandchildren earned undergraduate degrees from AVU.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.


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