April 27, 2009

A Step Away from 1918-1919: New Old Sources

We began this blog in part to share resources with students, alumni, and others interested in the history of coeducation at the College of William and Mary not yet as widely known as those we have been able to access online since the 1990s. People have been using the material in the online exhibits "The Petticoat Invasion": Women at the College of William and Mary, 1918-1945 and the Martha Barksdale Papers a great deal since they have been available online. Unfortunately, in some cases this meant that other sources in the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) staff know of and are eager to share and see used were neglected both inadvertently and for lack of access (we know not everyone can travel to Williamsburg, Virginia!). The other many wonderful resources that were not being used included the student newspaper The Flat Hat, the Colonial Echo yearbook, the scrapbook of student Catherine Dennis, the records of the Board of Visitors, and the records of President Lyon G. Tyler, just to name a few. There are many more collections that we know about too! To find even more collections, you could spend a fair bit of time reviewing finding aids for those collections in the SCRC's Collections Database (try searches using terms like women and students) and we hope you will. We also hope we have raised awareness of the variety of formats of documents, scrapbooks, photographs, publications, and other sources available in the Special Collections Research Center.

In addition to all of these collections the staff of the SCRC knew about related to the College of William and Mary going co-ed in 1918-1919, coincidentally a "new" source was recently uncovered in the SCRC's holdings. In the course of researching and preparing the exhibit A "Most Thriving and Growing Place": Williamsburg Before the Restoration, Dr. Bea Hardy came across a scrapbook (seen at right) in the papers related to the family of Edward Lee, a graduate of the College of William and Mary. The scrapbook was created by either Elizabeth or Margaret Lee, sisters of Edward. To quote the interior of the scrapbook's front cover, it contains the memories of one (or both?) of the Lee sisters, both of whom were part of the first class of women students at William and Mary. In addition to wonderfully preserved photographs, the scrapbook also includes informative captions. The scrapbook also holds photographs that do not appear to relate to the College of William and Mary with dates ranging from 1915 thorugh 1921 throughout the pages. There are images of several, but not all, of the scrapbook pages at the SCRC's Flickr page. The scrapbook and the Lee Papers are available for researchers to use in the SCRC, but a record for it has not yet as of this writing been added to the SCRC Collections Database. It should be forthcoming soon and will no doubt make mention of this wonderful "new" (to both SCRC staff and researchers) source about the first years of coeducation at the College of William and Mary.

The exhibit A "Most Thriving and Growing Place": Williamsburg Before the Restoration can be viewed on the first floor of Swem Library in the Nancy Marshall (rotunda) Gallery and the SCRC during regular hours of operation.

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