Vancomycin, the prototypical member of the glycopeptide family of antibiotics, is a clinically used antibiotic employed against a variety of drug-resistant bacterial strains including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The recent emergence of vancomycin resistance, viewed as a growing threat to public health, prompted us to initiate a program aimed at restoring the potency of this important antibiotic through chemical manipulation of the vancomycin structure. Herein, we describe the development of synthetic technology based on the design of a novel selenium safety catch linker, application of this technology to a solid-phase semisynthesis of vancomycin, and the solid- and solution-phase synthesis of vancomycin libraries. Biological evaluation of these compound libraries led to the identification of a number of in vitro highly potent antibacterial agents effective against vancomycin-resistant bacteria. In addition to aiding these investigations, the solid-phase chemistry described herein is expected to enhance the power of combinatorial chemistry and facilitate chemical biology and medicinal chemistry studies.