Pictorial History of University of Virginia Offers Two-Century Pageant
of Educational Life in Jeffersons Academical Village
September 10, 1999 -- The history of the University
of Virginia is, like the larger history of the United States, the
story of Thomas Jefferson's vision and of how that vision grew into
the lively, democratic place we know today. Jefferson believed that
education was essential to the new republic -- an education available
universally, not just to those who could afford it.
200 years later, within the walls of his "academical village,"
men and women of all backgrounds debate -- and often criticize --
the ideas of their University's founder, perhaps the best testimony
of all to the spirit and success of his vision.
the 20th century draws to a close, the University Press
of Virginia in collaboration with the University of Virginia Bookstore
will publish this month a new pictorial history of the institution
-- containing many rare and historic photos and images of University
life and its world-renowned architecture.
University of Virginia: A Pictorial History," written by
Susan Tyler Hitchcock, tells the story through more than 250 pages
containing some 369 black-and-white and color photos, prints and
remarkable how much this University has changed and how much it
hasn't," said Nancy Essig, director of the University Press.
"We aspired to produce a book that would both show the rich
heritage and trace the constant change." The book was prepared
with the advice and recollections of many members of the University
community and is the first full pictorial overview of the University's
life in more than three decades. Coverage of important recent decades
supplements the last comprehensive history of U.Va., Virginius Dabneys
"Mr. Jefferson's University," published by the University
Press in 1981.
new book's main chapters, arranged chronologically, follow the rise
of the University from its founding "on a plan so broad and liberal
and modern," in Jefferson's words, to current President John T.
Casteen III's initiatives for a University of the 21st century,
where the myriad resources of the Internet are just a click away.
has occurred in the intervening years. During the Civil War, students,
faculty, and members of the administration watched with dread as
tents were erected on the Lawn for wounded Confederate soldiers
and as a Union column with George Armstrong Custer at its head approached
the University Grounds. At the current site of Alderman Library,
law professor John B. Minor and others convinced Union troops not
to sack the University.
In 1895 the fire that nearly destroyed the Rotunda paradoxically
raised the architectural stature of the Grounds to national prominence.
Stanford White was so awed by Thomas Jefferson's genius that it
"scared [him] to death" to design new buildings that would turn
the Lawn into a quadrangle, but the new century saw these projects
and new homes for the professional schools come to fruition.
the University opened its doors to women, and to the first African-American
student, Gregory Hayes Swanson, who sued for admittance to the law
school in 1950. During the Vietnam
War, when universities were closed nationwide, President Edgar Shannon's
address commending students for acting according to their conscience
brought condemnation from some quarters, but earned him a standing
ovation at commencement the following spring. During the same period,
Shannon's faculty recruiting of scholars like Fredson Bowers of
the English department helped to build the "public Ivy" that has
been ranked among the nations very best institutions in academic
excellence and educational value throughout the 1990s.
with this history are sections displaying the places and themes
that have endeared the University and its Charlottesville home to
generations of students, who appear in everything from the styles
of the 1830s to the "bare feet and Weejuns" of the 1970s. Athletes
perform while their classmates cheer at Lambeth Field and Memorial
Gymnasium, Scott Stadium and University Hall, and friends gather
afterward in the restaurants and bars of the Corner.
Jefferson's philosophy of education, according to his contemporary
George Tucker, "allowed more latitude and indulgence to students
than was usual," creating a community where the concept of honor
rather than "the fear of punishment, or dread of disgrace" provides
the ethic that inspires University life.
researched, beautifully written, and authoritative, this insightful
book covers virtually all of the important events that constitute
the history of the University of Virginia," says Raymond C.
Bice, University Historian Emeritus. "It will bring back happy
memories to some and introduce others to the events of the University's
Susan Tyler Hitchcock holds a Ph.D. in English from the University.
A freelance writer living in Albemarle County, she is also the author
of "Gather Ye Wild Things: A Forager's Year" (Virginia)
and "Coming About: A Family Passage at Sea."
Design Associates of Charlottesville provided both interior and
new "University of Virginia: A Pictorial History" can
be purchased from the University of Virginia Bookstore, (800) 759-4667,
and in bookstores across the state or may be ordered directly from
the University Press of Virginia at (800) 831-3406.
Media: For interviews or additional information Susan Hitchcock
may be reached at (804)295-4083; Nancy Essig, University Press director
at (804) 924-3131; and Jon Kates, University Bookstore director,
at (804) 924-1070.
a review copy or for photos to illustrate a story or review please
contact Mary Kathryn Hassett at (804) 924-6064. Photos can also
be downloaded from the University Press Web site at www.upress.virginia.edu
Mary Kathryn Hassett, (804) 924-6064 or Bob Brickhouse, (804) 924-6856