It is not often that a commercial newspaper publishes a substantial article about another newspaper. Nevertheless, readers of the Roanoke Times likely noticed a recent piece about the Rockbridge Advocate, the beloved and ongoing creation of Washington and Lee alumnus Doug Harwood (’74) . Lexington and Rockbridge Country residents likely already know about the Advocate, but anyone who treasures traditional journalism and the “unvarnished version of events in Lexington and Rockbridge County” will enjoy this article.
One question might arise in a reader’s mind: Where might one view the entire quarter-century run of the Rockbridge Advocate? This question is of particular interest because there is no online form of the newspaper. Perhaps the only publicly-accessible complete archive is available in W&L’s Leyburn Library, with paper copies of every issue safely preserved in our Special Collections area. Current issues are shelved on the Main Floor, which also houses microfilm of 1992-2003 issues.
At the moment, digitizing this local institution (the newspaper, not Mr. Harwood) is only a gleam in our eye, but we have hopes. The library’s Special Collections staff currently is working on a project to index the contents for the use of the many researchers interested in the area’s events and personalities.