Presidential Inaugurations and Virginia Tech

Well, tomorrow is the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, so I decided to scour our collections for items pertaining to presidents. At Special Collections you can find all sorts of material related to presidents – presidents of the U.S., presidents of organizations and businesses, and, of course, presidents of Virginia Tech. If … Continue reading Presidential Inaugurations and Virginia Tech

John Redd Hutcheson, 9th President of Virginia Tech

Recently, Special Collections received a new collection, the John R. Hutcheson Family Collection, containing letters, newspaper clippings, photographs, and more documenting the life of Virginia Tech president John R. Hutcheson. Although only president of Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI, as Virginia Tech was then known) for two years from 1945 to 1947, John Redd Hutcheson (1886-1962) … Continue reading John Redd Hutcheson, 9th President of Virginia Tech

Cooking for the President: Cora Bolton McBryde’s Cookbook

  Cora Bolton McBryde’s cookbook is a new treasure of the University Libraries’ Special Collections Department. The cookbook was a gift of Janet Watson Barnhill, great great granddaughter of President John McLaren McBryde and Cora Bolton McBryde. Known as the Father of the Modern VPI, McBryde served as president of Virginia Tech from 1891, when … Continue reading Cooking for the President: Cora Bolton McBryde’s Cookbook

Special Collections and University Archives: a new name for a venerable department

We are very pleased to announce that our department has taken on a new addition to our name: Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA, for short). The University Archives have always been a meaningful part of our department, and this name change recognizes its significance in a more visible way. This is just a recent … Continue reading Special Collections and University Archives: a new name for a venerable department

Processing the Fries Textile Mill Collection

The Fries Textile Mill was established in 1903 by Col. Thomas Fries, then the president of Wachovia Bank. He built the mill on a bend in the New River, which he had dammed in order to provide power for his new venture. He also built a town nearby to house, educate, and supply the employees … Continue reading Processing the Fries Textile Mill Collection

Christopher C. Kraft 1924–2019: A Miscellaneous Retrospective and Tribute, Including His Virginia Tech Connection, His Papers, and . . . the Story of a Close Call

In the couple of weeks since the passing of Christopher Kraft, there have been many well-deserved tributes to a life of historic and significant scientific and technical achievement. As many folks may know, he joined the NASA Space Task Group in November 1958 as NASA’s first flight director, created the concept of NASA’s Mission Control, … Continue reading Christopher C. Kraft 1924–2019: A Miscellaneous Retrospective and Tribute, Including His Virginia Tech Connection, His Papers, and . . . the Story of a Close Call

The Life and Architecture of Smithey & Boynton

After several years, I recently finished processing the Smithey & Boynton, Architects & Engineers Records, Ms1992-027. Partner in the firm, Kenneth L. Motley purchased the firm in 1992 and donated the firm’s historical records in 1992 and 1994. About 30% of the collection was made available before I arrived at Virginia Tech in 2014, but … Continue reading The Life and Architecture of Smithey & Boynton

A Mystery Banjo and the Racism in Our Past

Recently, I’ve been working on identifying artifacts and university memorabilia in our collections, and I came across a beautiful, four-stringed tenor banjo and its case. I did not anticipate that an item so innocuous as a musical instrument would lead down a path into learning about the university’s racist past, including minstrelsy and blackface. To … Continue reading A Mystery Banjo and the Racism in Our Past

Chris Kraft: Oral History of an Aerospace Pioneer

Virginia Tech is proud to be the alma mater to many pioneers in aerospace engineering, perhaps none as famous as Christopher Columbus Kraft, Jr. The VT Stories team recorded an oral history interview with Kraft in April 2017, and Special Collections now has the full interview and transcript available online. The VT Stories summary of … Continue reading Chris Kraft: Oral History of an Aerospace Pioneer

Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Remembering His Legacy

This past Monday, January 16, was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the U.S., and here at Virginia Tech we have been celebrating and remembering Rev. Dr. King and his legacy in numerous events all this week. If you haven’t been to any of the events, there are several more scheduled through next Sunday, January … Continue reading Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Remembering His Legacy