A recent article in the New York Times identified a publication entitled the American Turf Register and Sporting Magazine as “America’s first sports periodical.”
If you are interested in seeing this precursor to the “swimsuit issue” and the modern U.S. sports journalism industry, the Washington and Lee University Library can help. We have a few printed issues of American Turf Register in Special Collections and the entire run of the magazine is available online through one of our databases. You also can page through the series via the online HathiTrust database.
Of local interest: The very first issue of the magazine included an article entitled “Washington: A Sportsman,” written by George W. P. Custis, from his Recollections and Private Memoirs of Washington. George, that is.
As noted before in this space, the Oxford English Dictionary is the pre-eminent source documenting the history of words in the English language. The latest quarterly update was released this month from the online OED (a Washington and Lee University subscription) and consists of over 900 new words, senses, and sub-entries, a list of which you can see here. (Links to the actual entries are not included.)
Some of the new additions seem particularly intriguing, such as “microaggression” and “spoiler alert,” both of which are discussed in a brief essay. W&L researchers can go directly to the new entries for microaggression and spoiler alert — or any others which strike one’s fancy. (Personally, I recommend Bechdel test .)
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.
“Too soon we breast the tape and too late we realize the fun lay in the running.” (Walt Kelly)
Here are our hours of operation for Leyburn Library and Telford Science Library for summer 2018.
- May 29 through August 31 — open weekdays 8:30am to 5:30pm (closed weekends)
Photo by Allison Young (’20) from wlulex.
Our student workers truly make it possible for the University Library to provide the services which help define a Washington and Lee education. In the spring we recognize each of the graduating seniors who have worked with us as student workers by purchasing a book related to their major, their research, or their personal interest and then placing a dedicatory bookplate in the front of the volume. (An example is at the bottom of this page.)
These books and their bookplates, along with a little information about each student, will be on display on the Main Floor of Leyburn Library through the week of Commencement.
We entusiastically thank these young women and men whose work and spirit have done so much to enhance the University Library. We will miss you and we wish you the best of luck!
Mallory Stephenson (and one more)
Alice Tran (and one more)
The Washington and Lee University Library recently enhanced its collection of online newspapers and magazines by acquiring several databases containing articles from millions of pages from publications from the first half of the early 20th century and earlier. All of these new databases focus on publications from the United States and the United Kingdom. Each of these resources is available to current W&L students, faculty, and staff from our Newspaper and Magazine Databases guide, as well as the A-Z Databases List and the Primo database.
19th Century U.S. Newspapers Digital Archive
About 500 U.S. newspapers from the 1800’s.
British Library Newspapers: Parts 1 – 5
Over 160 British regional and local British newspapers dating from the mid-18th century to 1950.
Financial Times Historical Archive
Complete contents from 1888 through 2010.
17th & 18th Century Nichols Collection of UK Newspapers
Digitized collection of U.K. newspapers dating from 1672 to 1737.
19th Century UK Periodicals
Magazines and journals published in Great Britain from 1800 to 1900.
Illustrated London News Historical Archive
Contents of this pictorial weekly newspaper of the same name from 1842 to 2003.
Punch Historical Archive
Complete 1842-1992 run of the British weekly humor/satire magazine.
Daily Mail Historical Archives
Full-text articles and images (1896-2004), plus Daily Mail Atlantic Edition (1923-1931).
Martin Luther King was assassinated on 4 April 1968. What did Washington and Lee University media have to say about this event and the aftermath?
We can point to two noteworthy issues of the student newspaper the Ring Tum Phi. The 12 April 1968 issue, published one week after the event, included a very thoughtful editorial on page 2 entitled “Seven Years,” in which the author described a memorial service on campus, one which took place “on the very anniversary of the day Lee surrendered, and over Lee’s own tomb…” The writer goes on to note that “only seven years ago” the Board of Trustees refused to allow Dr. King to speak at W&L.
Two weeks later, in the 26 April 1968 issue (page 2), a student named Pleas Geyer wrote of his attendance at Dr. King’s funeral in Atlanta. Two other articles on the same page addressed “racial tension” and integration at the University.
The links above (accessible to current students, faculty, and staff from both on- and off-campus locations) take a reader to the University Library’s Digital Archive collection of the Ring Tum Phi . Interesting note: The name “Martin Luther King” appears in 121 issues of the Phi from 1961 to 2013.
One final retrospective view of W&L is available in the 1968 Calyx , the official student yearbook.
Any dictionary worth its salt (and where did that come from?) needs to keep growing.
The Washington and Lee University Library subscribes to the online sites of the two preeminent dictionaries of the English language and both of them recently revealed extensive additions to their empires of words.
Merriam-Webster Unabridged, the contemporary heir to Noah Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, is our most comprehensive guide to terminology in the modern English-language , at least, that of the American variety. This database recently was enhanced by the addition of about 850 words and definitions, including glamping, dumpster fire, and mansplain.
This site also keeps tabs on the entries most often consulted in its collection; it should not be surprising that pi was heavily viewed around 3/14/18 and that Ides trended the next day.
The world’s preeminent etymological dictionary, the Oxford English Dictionary, is focused on documenting the history of English-language words, so their “new” words probably are not likely newly-born in 2017-18. Still, the OED‘s research into where words came from and how they have changed in meaning and/or spelling continues, with their latest list of new/old words and definitions including ransomware, footsie, and the intriguing diaper cake.
Certainly, both resources are worth their salt.
Fifty years ago this week one of the most famous “government documents” in modern times was published.
On 29 February 1968 the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, forever known as the Kerner Commission (for its chairman, Governor Otto Kerner of Illinois), released its report on the causes of racial and economic unrest in the United States, reaching the chilling conclusion that “Our Nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white — separate and unequal.” The report was initially released as a free Federal Government publication and actually was reprinted commercially as a paperback and became a national best-seller, eventually out-selling the Warren Commission report on the assassination of President John Kennedy.
The W&L University Library has a printed copy of the Commission’s original release (along with a volume of supporting studies), as well as the commercially-published version. It also is available without-charge and in its entirety in Google Books.
In 2018 many news sources, such as National Public Radio, are noting the 50th anniversary of the report and calling attention to the release of a new study which seeks to update the Kerner Commission’s work for our times. The library has ordered a printed copy of this new book, Healing Our Divided Society.
[from Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders]
The University Library of Washington and Lee University is the proud owner of a first American edition of a volume entitled Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, written by the first published African-American author, Phillis Wheatley.
Our Head of Special Collections and Archives, Tom Camden, recently contributed to the W&L website an essay, “Phillis Wheatley: ‘Favored by the Muses’,” which provides some perspective on this rare volume and its author.
One of Wheatley’s better-known poems which does not appear in this volume is “His Excellency General Washington,” which she sent directly to George Washington in 1775 General Washington was moved by the poem and wrote directly to the former slave to thank her for her creation. W&L researchers can can use the University Library’s subscription to the Digital Edition of the Papers of George Washington to read Wheatley’s original letter to Washington, the enclosed copy of her poem, and Washington’s reply. The poem was first published in the Virginia Gazette on 30 March 1776.
[Statue is part of the Boston Women’s Memorial.]