New Database — People of the Founding Era


The Washington and Lee University Library has initiated a subscription to the online database People of the Founding Era,  a scholarly reference work that provides biographical information on over 65,000 people born between 1713 (the end of Queen Anne’s War) and 1815 (the end of the Napoleonic War).    Most of the biographical excerpts are drawn from the digitized papers of the Founding Fathers and other documentary editions of the Founding Era, including The Geography of Slavery, augmented by further research by the University of Virginia Press.

This resource is not only biographical, but also prosopographical, allowing collective biographical research by such categories as locations, slaves, occupations,  and gender.   For example, one can view 76 entries on individuals born in or living in Rockbridge County.   (Scan down the page for the list of individuals.)

For much more detail on this ongoing project, we can recommend the site’s Introduction .




The Truth About Jargon


From the Oxford English Dictionary, the foremost etymological dictionary of the English language:

The original meaning of the word “jargon,” dating back at least as far as Chaucer, was “The inarticulate utterance of birds, or a vocal sound resembling it; twittering, chattering.”
We have come so far.

Current members of the Washington and Lee University community — students, faculty, and staff — have online access to the Oxford English Dictionary through the University Library’s subscription.



New Dance Database


The Washington and Lee University Library purchases access to well over 100 research databases to support student and faculty work at W&L.

Our latest acquisition focuses on the world of dance.  Dance in Video is described by its publisher as hosting over 1,200 “dance productions and documentaries by the most influential performers and companies of the 20th century.   Selections cover ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, experimental, and improvisational dance, as well as forerunners of the forms and the pioneers of modern concert dance.”

Members of the current W&L community — students, faculty, and staff — have access to this online database from both on-campus and off-campus locations.   There is a link in the library catalog and links are likely to appear in relevant research guides.

Please note that W&L has purchased Dance in Video for a period of one year and a decision on continued access likely will be based on use during the 2016-17 academic year.



Digitized History from Three Centuries


The Washington and Lee University Library’s Digital Archive project recently posted online a diverse collection of materials from three centuries, with a wide range of perspectives on aspects of W&L and Rockbridge County history.

By far the oldest item is the final will left by local farmer Hugh Adams in the late 1850’s, which includes his wishes for the freeing of his slaves upon his death.

Film footage of the W&L football team’s play in the 1951 Gator Bowl game is augmented by an interview with former player Don Ferguson and recently-recorded commentary from Doug Chase in a 17-minute video.

The 2014 video production Mock Con: The Storied History of the Washington & Lee University Mock Presidential Convention (available in the library on DVD) contained excerpts of interviews with alumni, students, faculty, and other members of the W&L community.   We are now able to share 22 full-length video interviews from which those excerpts were drawn, including comments from W&L President Ken Ruscio and U.S. Senator John Warner.

The ever-growing W&L Digital Archive , which also includes work from faculty and campus organizations and offices, is accessible through the University Library Web site.    Questions about the Digital Archive can be directed to Digital Scholarship Librarian Alston Cobourn.