We seem to be on a roll lately with posts about Virginia Tech history. While that isn’t all we’re about, I’m not one to ruin a good thing. Plus, as I was looking for this item the other day, I thought it might be fun to post. It’s an acceptance letter to Virginia Agriculture and Mechanical College, dated September 23, 1873. (For those of you keeping track, that’s only the second year VAMC was accepting students!) In some ways, this item is a sneak peek. It’s part of a collection that has yet to be processed (more on that in a moment), but it’s one of those tidbits that was begging to be shared.

Acceptance letter to Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College, to "G. D. Showacre, Esq.," dated September 23, 1873.
Acceptance letter to Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College, to “G. D. Showacre, Esq.,” dated September 23, 1873.

The handwriting is a bit squashed in places, but this letter reads:

G. D. Showacre, Esq.

Dr Sir, I have the pleasure of informing you that the Faculty has appointed you a State student in this College. You will please report in person as soon as practicable, and a failure to do so within thirty days will forfeit the appointment.

Very respectfully yrs

V. E. Shepherd

Secretary Faculty

Actually, it’s less a letter and more of a note. Formal, to be sure, but still only two sentences: You’re accepted. Show up in the next month or don’t show up at all. Quite direct and to the point.  In any case, “G. D. Showacre” is actually George D. Showacre from Greene County, Virginia. He attended VAMC for three years, from 1873 to 1876–clearly, he showed up! This is an exciting piece of university history for us and we’re lucky it survived this long.

This item is part of a donation received by Special Collections last year. The collection hasn’t been processed yet, but once it is, it will be available as the Showacre Family Collection. In addition to the letter, it includes a handwritten copy of a funeral sermon for Charles Showacre delivered by William Runyan on May 22, 1864. That being said, just because a collection isn’t processed, doesn’t mean it’s off limits! If you’d like to see the letter in person, you’re welcome to visit us. We’ll be here.

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