George Washington (Books) Still Hot

 

We are about twenty years into the 21st century and interest in George Washington shows no signs of flagging.

As of early April, the University Library of Washington and Lee University already has added to its collections five books on Washington published in 2019.  The links below take you to entries in the University Library’s Primo database.

Not enough?  Here is a link to Primo’s list of books and book-like items “about” Washington (as defined by the Library of Congress).

 

Revolutionary:  George Washington at War

 

Dear George, Dear Mary

 

 

Spring Break Library Hours

 

Here are Leyburn Library and Telford Science Library hours during W&L’s undergraduate spring break:

  •  Friday, April 12  —  close @ 6:00 PM
  •  Saturday and Sunday, April 13 and 14  —  closed
  • Monday through Friday, April 15 through 19  —  open 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM
  • Saturday and Sunday, April 20 and 21  —  closed
  • Monday, April 22  —  open @ 7:30 AM and resume normal hours for the academic term

 

Exam Week Art on Leyburn Library’s Main Floor:

 

 

 

Kurt Vonnegut and W&L

 

Early spring of 1969 was a time in America fraught with anxiety.  Richard Nixon recently had been inaugurated as President of the United States as the Vietnam War bled into another decade.  It had been almost exactly one year since Martin Luther King was assassinated.  It felt a bit like history was off the rails.

And then a novel appeared which gave new meaning to the idea of history becoming unhinged, while also giving an additional twist to William Faulkner’s declaration that the past is not past.

Kurt Vonnegut’s masterpiece Slaughterhouse Five was published in the early spring of 1969, almost exactly fifty years ago.   The New York Times‘ reviewer declared Vonnegut’s sixth novel “an extraordinary success.  It is a book we need to read, and to reread.”  The American Scholar compared the author to George Orwell.  And Washington and Lee’s own Tom Wolfe would go on to say, “I guess he’s the closest thing we had to a Voltaire.”   Appreciations commemorating the 50th anniversary of this masterpiece are beginning to appear now in early 2019, including an extraordinarily thoughtful essay in the New York Times by Kevin Powers.

Kurt Vonnegut came to Washington and Lee University in 2003, speaking in Lee Chapel on Tuesday 4 February.  As far as we can tell, the only account in the Ring Tum Phi was a captioned photograph on the first page of the 10 February 2003 issue, with the great man at a table in the Southern Inn.  The photo appears beneath the cryptic headline “Don’t Use Semicolons.”    A more contemplative account was contributed by then-University Photographer Patrick Hinely (’73) to the Alumni Magazine.

It is not always true that public presentations at W&L by eminent visitors are preserved for future appreciation, but we got lucky with Vonnegut’s 2003 talk.   Several of our librarians found a DVD recording in a box in Special Collections and others worked to “translate” that video into an Internet-friendly format.   Thus, it is thanks to Tom Camden, Seth McCormick, and Paula Kiser that we are able to present video of Kurt Vonnegut at W&L in 2003.   So it goes.

 

 

Another Book of the Week — Fraternity

 

One research topic of perpetual interest at Washington and Lee University is the Greek system — fraternities and sororities.

Best-selling author Alexandra Robbins recently contributed to the ever-growing collection of reliably controversial works on these groups with the publication of her book Fraternity: An Inside Look at a Year of College Boys Becoming Men (Dutton, 2019).   The book just arrived in our collection and the call number is included in its description in our Primo database.

Author Robbins describes her investigations which resulted in the book in an article in The Atlantic.

 

 

Book of the Week!

 

OK, let’s try this.  Let’s look at a book just added to the Washington and Lee University Library collection — something interesting and/or cool.  Or just surprising.

This week’s nominee is Really Cross Stitch;  For When You Just Want to Stab Something a Lot.

Acquisition of this book was inspired by this term’s Politics 295B course taught by Robin LeBlanc and Ron Fuchs entitled “The Material Culture of Protest.”

You can view information on the book in our Primo database — and if you get to the shelf quickly, maybe you can check it out.

 

Streaming Video for W&L

 

The Washington and Lee University Library has secured access through 31 October 2019 to over 30 films in streaming form from Swank Motion Pictures, with all films selected for their value in connection with undergraduate courses in the 2018-19 academic year.

All of these films are available to W&L students, faculty, and staff from both on-campus and off-campus locations, within the guidelines below.

We have not purchased these films, but only leased them through the end of next October. We will have the option to renew some or all, as well as add new selections.

 

On-Campus Access
You can view all the films from this link:  https://digitalcampus.swankmp.net/wlu322116/#/digitalCampus/grid?LicenseStatus=Licensed&Category=All&Sort=Alphabetically&IsDescending=false&Page=1
This page is accessible only to W&L on-campus users, as are the individual links to films.

Off-Campus and On-Campus Access
If you wish to view any of these films from off-campus, you have two options:

  1.   You can go to this page in the library’s Primo database to select films from our Swank Digital Campus roster:   https://wlu.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/discovery/fulldisplay?docid=alma991010470529804161&context=L&vid=01WLU_INST:01WLU&search_scope=MyInst_and_CI&tab=Everything&lang=en
  2.   You can search for an individual film in our Primo database, perhaps starting at the “Browse Search” option, using “Browse by Titles”:   https://wlu.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/discovery/browse?vid=01WLU_INST:01WLU&lang=en

Our licensing allows us to use these films in private or classroom settings, but not in “public” or campus-wide settings.   If you have questions, or have suggestions for future streaming acquisitions, please contact Senior Reference Library Dick Grefe.

Royal Land Grant Still Survives

 

This week marks 279 years since King George II issued a deed in 1739 granting more than 92,000 acres of land to Benjamin Borden in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  That land included what is now Lexington (and Washington and Lee University) and much of Rockbridge County.

The original royal document resides in the W&L University Library’s Special Collections and how it still survive is the subject of a fascinating recent essay by Tom Camden, our Head of Special Collections and Archives.   Take a look.

The Most Influential Books

 

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently “invited scholars from across the academy to tell us what they saw as the most influential book published in the past 20 years.”   The results of that query are available in an article entitled The New Canon.

Fear not — all of the books in this list are available from the Washington and Lee University Library and you can track them down (author or title) by using Primo’s Browse Search option.

 

 

 

Carrels in the Library

 

Students who are interested in a modest home-away-from-home in Leyburn Library or Telford Science Library might consider registering for a carrel during the first couple of days of Fall Term.  Registration starts on the first day of class, Thursday 6 September.   We have detailed information on carrel registration, including floor maps, but here is the short version:

Leyburn Library — beginning 8:00 AM on Thursday 6 September
Find a suitable Leyburn Library carrel on Lower Level 1, 2, 3, or 4 (not the Main Floor) and take its registration slip to the Information Desk on the Main Floor.
OR
Telford Science Library — beginning 8:00 AM on Thursday 7 September
Find a suitable Telford Science Library carrel on Level 3 or 4 and take its registration slip to the Circulation Desk on Level 3.   Two students will be assigned to each carrel.

 

In related news…  On that same first day of classes (Thursday 6 September), both Leyburn Library and Telford Science Library will return to the customary open-24-hours-a-day, seven-days-per-week schedule.  Students wanting to enter either library after 10:00 any evening will need to swipe their W&L ID cards.

A very limited number of locked studies are available, with priority given to students writing honors theses.  If interested, please use the link on this page to apply no later than 11;59 PM on Thursday 6 September.

The Way We Were — 1966 and 1985

 

The definitive account of Washington and Lee University’s modern history is Blaine Brownell’s 2017 book, Washington and Lee University, 1930-2000: Tradition and Transformation.

As part of their orientation to W&L, members of the incoming undergraduate class of 2022 are learning about Washington and Lee by reading and discussing two chapters of that work, “Issues of Race and the Civil Rights Revolution” and “Men and Women Together: Expanding Old Foundations.”  The first reading has been described as concentrating “on the 1960s and how W&L grappled with the changes in American society and higher education at this time,” leading to the admission of African-American students as undergraduates, while the second “focuses on the mid-1980’s and the university’s momentous shift to co-education.”

Professor Brownell notes that the first two African-American students, Dennis Haston and Leslie Smith, enrolled at W&L in the fall of 1966, while the first undergraduate women arrived for the Fall Term in 1985.   The author discusses many of the issues, opinions, and emotions which which were apparent or behind-the-scenes at those times.

But what did W&L look like at these turning points of 1966 and 1985?

One can get a pretty good idea of campus life by examining the official student yearbook, the Calyx, for these pivotal years.  The University Library has digitized decades of Calyx volumes and readers near and far can now get a flavor of W&L by browsing these pages and appreciating, at least visually, the way we were.   Here are the Calyx volumes for 1966-67   and 1985-86.

 

[from the 1967 Calyx]