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.



Shortened Hours During the Break


The undergraduate mid-term Washington Break already is upon us.   The pause brings with it shortened hours of operation in Leyburn Library and Telford Science Library, beginning today, Friday 15 February.

  • Friday 15 February  —  close at 6:00 pm

  • Saturday and Sunday, 16 and 17 February  —  closed

  • Monday through Friday, 18 through 22 February  —  open 8:30 am to 5:30 pm

  • Saturday 23 February 23  —  closed

  • Sunday 24 February  —   open at 12:00 noon and resume regular academic term hours


And it’s not just us:


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:
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:
  2.   You can search for an individual film in our Primo database, perhaps starting at the “Browse Search” option, using “Browse by Titles”:

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.
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]


Now Open 24/7 !

Ready or not…

The 2018-2019 undergraduate academic year has kicked off and that means that the W&L University Library (Leyburn Library and Telford Science Library) is now open 24 hours a day / 7 days week for W&L students, faculty, and staff.  (At least, until Thanksgiving.)

Students wanting to enter either library after 10:00 any evening will need to swipe their W&L ID cards.


New Books on Washington and/or Lee


The Washington and Lee University Library attempts to maintain a reasonably comprehensive collection of books relating directly to George Washington, Robert E. Lee, their families, and, of course, the history of W&L itself.  This effort might be even more important then ever, given the emphasis on study of the institution’s history in the recently-released Report of the Commission on Institutional History and Community (now available through our Digital Archive).

Following is a list of books published in 2018 and added to the library collection in the first half of the year.   As of early July, some of these books are not yet available for public use.  Please click on the title links below to the Primo database to check locations and availability.



Meade and Lee after Gettysburg : The Forgotten Final Stage of the Gettysburg Campaign, from Falling Waters to Culpeper Court House, July 14-31, 1863

Creator: Hunt, Jeffrey Wm. (Jeffrey William), 1962- author
Description: Jeffrey Hunt s Meade and Lee After Gettysburg: The Forgotten Final Stage of the Gettysburg Campaign, from Falling Waters to Culpeper Court House, July 14-31, 1863 exposes for Civil War readers what has been hiding in plain sight for 150 years: The Gettysburg Campaign did not end at the banks of the Potomac on July 14, but deep in central Virginia two weeks later along the line of the Rappahannock. Contrary to popular belief, once Robert E. Lee s Army of Northern Virginia slipped across the swollen Potomac back to Virginia the Lincoln administration pressed George Meade to cross quickly in pursuit and he did. Rather than follow in Lee s wake, however, Meade moved south on the east side of the Blue Ridge Mountains in a cat-and-mouse game to outthink his enemy and capture the strategic gaps penetrating the high wooded terrain. Doing so would trap Lee in the northern reaches of the Shenandoah Valley and potentially bring about the decisive victory that had eluded Union arms north of the Potomac. The two weeks that followed was a grand chess match with everything at stake high drama filled with hard marching, cavalry charges, heavy skirmishing, and set-piece fighting that threatened to escalate into a major engagement with the potential to end the war in the Eastern Theater. Throughout, one thing remains clear: Union soldiers from private to general continued to fear the lethality of Lee s army. Meade and Lee After Gettysburg, the first of three volumes on the campaigns waged between the two adversaries from July 14 through the end of 1863, relies on the Official Records, regimental histories, letters, newspapers, and other sources to provide a day-by-day account of this fascinating high-stakes affair. The vivid prose, coupled with original maps and outstanding photographs, offers a significant contribution to Civil War literature. —
Contents: The war will be prolonged indefinitely — The Maryland Campaign is ended — One of the hardest fights the cavalry has ever been in — You need have no fear — I desire to be cautious — What is going on we cannot tell — The sun…seemed for hours to stand still in the sky — It is not understood what Meade’s plans are — The Shenandoah Valley…is alive with wagons — The grand chess board — Now was precisely the time to attack — We resisted them to the utmost of human capacity — The enemy has again disappeared — I have had a very severe engagement
Publisher: El Dorado Hills, CA : Savas Beatie LLC


The Trial and Execution of the Traitor George Washington : A Novel

Creator: Rosenberg, Charles B., author.
Genre: Fiction.
Description: “British special agent Jeremiah Black, an officer of the King’s Guard, lands on a lonely beach in the wee hours of the morning in late November 1780. The revolution is in full swing but has become deadlocked. Black is here to change all that. His mission, aided by Loyalists, is to kidnap George Washington and spirit him back to London aboard the HMS Peregrine, a British sloop of war that is waiting closely offshore. Once he lands, though, the “aid by Loyalists” proves problematic because some would prefer just to kill the general outright. Black manages–just–to get Washington aboard the Peregrine, which sails away. Upon their arrival in London, Washington is imprisoned in the Tower to await trial on charges of high treason. England’s most famous barristers seek to represent him but he insists on using an American. He chooses Abraham Hobhouse, an American-born barrister with an English wife–a man who doesn’t really need the work and thinks the “career-building” case will be easily resolved through a settlement of the revolution and Washington’s release. But as greater political and military forces swirl around them and peace seems ever more distant, Hobhouse finds that he is the only thing keeping Washington from the hangman’s noose. Drawing inspiration from a rumored kidnapping plot hatched in 1776 by a member of Washington’s own Commander-in-Chief Guard, Charles Rosenberg has written a compelling novel that envisions what would take place if the leader of America’s fledgling rebellion were taken from the nation at the height of the war, imperiling any chance of victory.”–Amazon.
Publisher: Toronto, ON : Hanover Square Press


Lee Chapel at 150 : A History

Creator: Cox, R. David
Contributor: Lee Chapel (Washington and Lee University).;Hinely, W. Patrick, photographer.
Description: In September 1865, five months after his surrender at Appomattox that effectively ended the Civil War, Robert E. Lee came to Lexington, Virginia, to begin a new life, to rebuild Washington College that had called him as its president, and to restore what peace and prosperity he could to a nation devastated by the most brutal conflict in its history. After one year, he had succeeded so well on his first two goals that, regarding the second, the college quickly outgrew its facilities. Lee called for a new chapel large enough to allow the growing faculty and student body to meet together for religious and academic gatherings. By June 1868, it was finished. Two years later, Lee died. He was interred in that building. At the same time, the college renamed itself Washington and Lee University. Over the 150 years of its existence, the association between Lee and the structure he was responsible for creating made it more than another college building. It has been used for many purposes: a place for celebrations, lectures, and academic assemblies; a mausoleum, shrine, museum, and even a place of pilgrimage. For some, it is the “heart” of the university. — Publisher.
Contents: Acknowledgments — Prologue — 1. Washington College and Lee — 2. Lee builds a chapel — 3. Honoring the “Restorer of our beloved college”: church to mausoleum to shrine — 4. The “Ebb years” — 5. Charles Francis Adams and the Lee Centennial — 6. President Smith’s great idea: The great chapel controversy, Part I — 7. “Keep it a holy shrine”: the great chapel controversy, Part II — 8. An “Architectural monstrosity”: the great chapel controversy, Part III — 9. Adorning the chapel — 10. Ford to the rescue: the 1960s renovation and its heritage — 11. Shifting visions — Endnotes.
Publisher: Buena Vista, Va. : Mariner Publishing


Action Presidents. #1, George Washington!

Creator: Van Lente, Fred, author.
Genre: Biography;Juvenile literature.;Cartoons and comics.
Description: We all know that George Washington was our first president and a hero of the American Revolution. But did you also know that he didn’t want to be president, never thought he would fight in a war, and had teeth so bad that he hated to smile? Told through bold and hilarious comic-style illustrations, the first Action Presidents book features the all-too-true history of the ultimate Founding Father, prime patriot, and awesome American George Washington.
Publisher: New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


George Washington: His Legacy of Faith, Character, and Courage

Creator: Demi, author, illustrator.
Genre: Juvenile literature.
Description: “In this beautifully illustrated book, children will learn the epic story of George Washington, the father of our country, and be inspired by his strong faith, character, and courage. They will discover that the animating force of his heroic life was a deep, abiding faith and trust in God. Captivatingly illustrated with lovely water colors, this book begins with interesting facts about Washington’s ancestors, who had been involved with important key moments in British history, and the story of his forefathers who then came to the United States. We learn about the life of young George growing up in Virginia and how he developed the skills needed for farming, hunting, horse riding and self-defense. It shows how he was devoutly religious from the time of his youth. It tells about his great military career and leadership, with many heroic moments in battles, capped by leading the Continental Army to victory in the Revolutionary War for America’s independence. And then bringing unity, strength and growth to our new country with his being elected as America’s first President.” — ONIX annotation.
Publisher: San Francisco : Ignatius Press


To Blind the Eyes of our Enemies : Washington’s Grand Deception

Creator: Lamborn, G. L. (George L.), 1945-
Contributor: Simpson, W. L., author.
Contents: Practice to Deceive — A Second Fabius — Hanging in the Balance — “Such an Army, So Well Appointed” — Glory and Danger Alike — Flying on “Canvas Wings” — Allies and Traitors — Point of Decision: North or South? — Washington’s Confession — Washington’s Sound and Light Show — Washington’s Boffo Performance — The Great Mailbag Caper — End of the Southern Campaign — In Quest of Adventure — Their Lordships Confer — White Flag over Yorktown — Epilogue — Bibliography — The Americans — The British — The French — British Forces in America.
Publisher: White Hart Publications


Young Washington : How Wilderness and War Forged America’s Founding Father

Creator: Stark, Peter, 1954- author.
Genre: Biography.
Description: A new, brash, and unexpected view of the president we thought we knew, from the bestselling author of Astoria. Two decades before he led America to independence, George Washington was a flailing young soldier serving the British Empire in the vast wilderness of the Ohio Valley. Naive and self-absorbed, the twenty-two-year-old officer accidentally ignited the French and Indian War–a conflict that opened colonists to the possibility of an American Revolution. With powerful narrative drive and vivid writing, Young Washington recounts the wilderness trials, controversial battles, and emotional entanglements that transformed Washington from a temperamental striver into a mature leader. Enduring terrifying summer storms and subzero winters imparted resilience and self-reliance, helping prepare him for what he would one day face at Valley Forge. Leading the Virginia troops into battle taught him to set aside his own relentless ambitions and stand in solidarity with those who looked to him for leadership. Negotiating military strategy with British and colonial allies honed his diplomatic skills. And thwarted in his obsessive, youthful love for one woman, he grew to cultivate deeper, enduring relationships. By weaving together Washington’s harrowing wilderness adventures and a broader historical context, Young Washington offers new insights into the dramatic years that shaped the man who shaped a nation.
Publisher: New York, NY : Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


Lost Indictment of Robert E. Lee : The Forgotten Case Against an American Icon.

Creator:  Reeves, John.
Description:  Immediately after the Civil War, many Northerners believed Lee should be hanged for treason and war crimes. Americans will be surprised to learn that in June of 1865 Robert E. Lee was indicted for treason by a Norfolk, Virginia grand jury.   The Lost Indictment of Robert E. Lee tells the story of the forgotten legal and moral case that was made against the Confederate general after the Civil War. The actual indictment went missing for 72 years. Over the past 150 years, the indictment against Lee after the war has both literally and figuratively disappeared from our national consciousness. In this book, Civil War historian John Reeves illuminates the incredible turnaround in attitudes towards the defeated general by examining the evolving case against him from 1865 to 1870 and beyond.
Publisher:  Rowman & Littlefield.


The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington

Creator: Ijames, James, author.
Genre: Drama.
Description: “The recently widowed ‘Mother of America’ lies helpless in her Mount Vernon bed, ravaged by illness and cared for by the very slaves that will be free the moment she dies. As she begins to slip away, she falls deep into a fever dream of terrifying theatricality that investigates everything from her family to her historical legacy”–Back cover.
Publisher: New York : Dramatists Play Service, Inc.


George Washington’s Washington : Visions for the National Capital in the Early American Republic

Creator: Costanzo, Adam, author.
Description: This book traces the history of the development, abandonment, and eventual revival of George Washington’s original vision for a grand national capital on the Potomac. ‘George Washington’s Washington’ is not simply a history of the city during the first president’s life but a history of his vision for the national capital and of the local and national conflicts surrounding this vision’s acceptance and implementation.
Contents: Grand visions and financial disasters — Dreams of metropolis — Speculating in failure — A boomtown without a boom — A “federal town” on the Potomac — Jeffersonians and the federal city — The limits of local control — Making the capital national, 1814-1828 — Saving and rebuilding Washington — Striving to be a national city — The seat of a continental empire — A symbolic national capital — Federal intervention.
Publisher: Athens : The University of Georgia Press


The Indian World of George Washington : The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation

Creator: Calloway, Colin G. (Colin Gordon), 1953- author.
Description: “An authoritative, sweeping, and fresh new biography of the nation’s first president, Colin G. Calloway’s book reveals fully the dimensions and depths of George Washington’s relations with the First Americans.” — Provided by publisher.
Contents: Learning curves — Virginia’s Indian country — The Ohio Company and the Ohio Country — Into Tanaghrisson’s world — Tanaghrisson’s war — Braddock and the limits of empire — Frontier defense and a Cherokee alliance — Frontier advance and a Cherokee war — The other revolution — Confronting the Indian boundary — “A good deal of land.” — The question of Indian allies — Town destroyer — Killing Crawford — Building a nation on Indian land — The first President and the first Americans — An Indian policy for the new nation — Courting McGillivray — The greatest Indian victory — Philadelphia Indian diplomacy — Achieving empire — Transforming Indian lives — A death and a non-death.
Publisher: New York, NY : Oxford University Press