Many of this week’s articles on the death of renowned writer Tom Wolfe take note of the fact that he attended Washington and Lee University, graduating in 1951. (Although it does not mention his education, a personal favorite is a reminiscence by a “retired astronaut“.)
We in the University Library can offer some evidence of Mr. Wolfe’s senior year. The 1951 Calyx, the “Annual Publication of the Students of Washington and Lee University,” contains numerous examples of the young Mr. Wolfe’s achievements as a student, including his service as sports editor of the Southern Collegian, his fraternity membership (Phi Kappa Sigma), and his official senior photo (below), with an annotation listing more of his accomplishments.
He can be seen in his baseball attire (although misidentified as “Wolf” in the caption), perhaps offering an early glimpse of an interest in white clothing.
Speaking of baseball, the Ring Tum Phi‘s May 22 issue announces the upcoming game between the faculty and the varsity, with Mr. Wolfe pitching against some of his professors:
The above examples are taken from the W&L Digital Archive, which offers online access to many items from the University Library’s Special Collections. Here are links to the online items excerpted above: The 1951 Calyx and the May 22, 1951 Ring Tum Phi. (You should opt to view/open the PDF file on the left side of the page.)
Perhaps needless to say, the University Library has an extensive collection of books written by Tom Wolfe.