Two New Exhibits on Lee and Nelson (Not the Streets)


The Washington and Lee University Library is pleased to announce that two new exhibits concerning the history of the University now are on display in James G. Leyburn Library.   Both are located in the lobby area outside Special Collections and Archives, adjacent to Northen Auditorium on Lower Level 1.


The Beginning of a Great Legacy: Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of Robert E. Lee’s Acceptance of the Washington College Presidency

This exhibit illustrates the process through which Robert E. Lee was elected, accepted, and began work as the President of Washington College. This topic is explored through enlargements of original photography, original photographic prints, correspondence, broadsides, and circulars.  It highlights the various individuals that were associated with Lexington and Washington College that worked to convince Lee to accept the position.  Visitors can view original correspondence and read descriptions of those events in the words of the people who lived in that uncertain time.

Alexander Lockhart Nelson

This collection features Alexander Lockhart Nelson, a member of the Washington and Lee community from his matriculation as a sophomore in 1846 until he was awarded Professor Emeritus status in 1906.  A familiar figure on campus, Nelson was the longest serving member of the Washington and Lee community at the time of his retirement by 32 years.  One of four faculty on staff upon Robert E. Lee’s arrival, and a professor long after Lee’s passing, Nelson has a unique perspective on the transformation that Lee precipitated.  This collection takes a tour through Nelson’s time at the College, his first hand accounts of Lee, personal elements, and his distinguished career in mathematics.

This latter exhibit is augmented by a digital counterpart, created by W&L student Elizabeth Wolf.


Questions about these collections can be directed to members of the Special Collections and Archives staff.

That Fire Alarm


A big thank you to all the students who responded so well to the fire alarm in Leyburn Library late Wednesday afternoon.   Virtually everyone filed out so quickly and with such minimal harassment that it looked as if we had practiced this.   (Now we have practiced this.)

For the record:  there was no actual fire, but instead some sort of “circuit problem” in the electrical system.  Of course, getting out quickly when the alarm goes off might be a life-saver in a more serious situation.  But, then, you probably know that.

Thanks again for helping to keep people safe.

New Internship Resources


The Washington and Lee University Library subscribes to a database called CEI Internships,  which lists thousands of internship opportunities for undergraduate students.   W&L students can view geographically-arranged descriptions of possibilities with a given focus, such as “Media.”

Several times a year, the publisher releases updated volumes with new and revised listings.  The collections updated for Fall 2015 include the following:

  • International Affairs
  • Women’s Rights
  • Sports
  • Congressional
  • Human Rights
  • History and Museums

Please note that W&L users will need to enter an “extra” set of passwords to view this database.

Of course, the campus headquarters for more extensive information on internships is W&L’s Career Development office.

James Dickey (and Burt Reynolds) in the Library


James Dickey’s 1970 novel Deliverance is one of the most unforgettable best-selling books of the era — although what most of us remember probably is the harrowing 1972 film, for which Mr. Dickey wrote the screenplay.

Washington and Lee alumnus Ward Briggs (’67) recently donated a collection of James Dickey material to the W&L University Library.   A portion of that collection, featuring materials associated with the making of the film — photographs, an original poster, items signed by actors Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight — now is on display on the Main Floor of Leyburn Library.

The display also includes a life-mask of Mr. Dickey (wearing a facial expression slightly different from his appearance as the sheriff in the movie).

The materials donated by Professor Briggs, who is Carolina Distinguished Professor of Classics and Louise Fry Scudder Professor of Humanities Emeritus at the University of South Carolina, will reside permanently in the University Library’s Special Collections.   The collection contains an extensive amount of research material about Mr. Dickey, including first editions, criticism, interviews, and more.

For additional information, contact Tom Camden, Head of Special Collections and Archives, or Yolanda Merrill in Leyburn Library.