Tag Archives: University of Mary Washington

UMW Special Collections and University Archives Receives Community Grant

University of Mary Washington Libraries, in partnership with the Center for Historic Preservation and UMW Facilities Services, has been awarded a $6,250 grant by the community Duff McDuff Green Jr. Fund.

Monroe Hall Blueprint, June, 1910

Monroe Hall Blueprint, June, 1910






This grant will assist with the preservation and digitization of the University’s architectural blueprints and drawings — particularly those related to noted Virginia architect Charles M. Robinson, whose architectural designs grace campuses and other buildings throughout the commonwealth of Virginia.

UMW has one of the largest collections of historical blueprints and drawings of Robinson’s works. The 150th anniversary of the architect’s birth is approaching in 2017, and scholars are interested in accessing and studying his drawings. Among Robinson’s notable architectural works at UMW are Monroe Hall (1910-11), Frances Willard Hall (1909-11), Virginia Hall (1914-15, 1926), Seacobeck Hall (1930-31) and the bridge to Seacobeck Hall (1930).

This project provides the opportunity to preserve these historical architectural resources and make them available online to researchers while raising awareness of Charles M. Robinson and his impact on Fredericksburg’s architectural landscape. The grant also will give students an opportunity to work directly with historical documents, learning how to correctly digitize large-scale historical records. The project is made possible by a grant from the Duff McDuff Green, Jr. Fund of The Community Foundation.

High on Marye’s Hilltop

Today’s post is from Suzanne Chase, Digital Resources Librarian at the University of Mary Washington.

Earlier this year, librarians at the University of Mary Washington were delighted when the Alumni Affairs office contacted Special Collections and University Archives to see if we would be able to digitize an old record that had been mailed to them. They weren’t quite sure what was on the record, but it had the name of Irene Taylor and a date in 1947 written on one side of it.

Image of audio transcription disk.

Image of audio transcription disc.

After doing a little digging in the University Archives, we determined that Irene Taylor was a well-known alumna from the class of 1947.  A music major, Taylor, along with her friend Jean Crotty, entered an annual song competition between Mary Washington’s dormitories during their senior year.  Taylor and Crotty’s song, “High on Marye’s Hilltop,” was so well-liked that it sparked a movement by students who wanted to make the song the official alma mater of the college.  Ronald Faulkner, the school’s band director, drafted a sheet music copy of the song that was sent to all alumnae chapters.  The chapters overwhelmingly approved of the song, and “High on Marye’s Hilltop” became the school’s official alma mater in 1952.

Irene Taylor

Irene Taylor

Once we knew the background of this mysterious record, we had to figure out how to digitize it.  After further research, we determined that the record was not an LP, but a transcription disc.  This type of media was commonly used during the mid-20th century for recording music, before being replaced by magnetic tape, cassette tape, and eventually optical disc technology. Transcription discs must be digitized with elliptical cartridges, which are made by only a few remaining companies.  After the correct cartridge was procured, the real work could begin.

This disc was in relatively good shape, so after a thorough cleaning, it was ready to be digitized.  Following the initial digitization process, static and other artifacts were removed to make the listening experience more pleasant.  The resulting digital file is a wonderful time machine back to the spring of 1947, when Irene Taylor sat down at the piano and recorded the music to “High on Marye’s Hilltop,” the song that would become the soundtrack to student life at Mary Washington.  Please visit Archives@UMW to take a listen!

All images are from Special Collections and University Archives, Simpson Library, University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Digitization of The Bullet, the University of Mary Washington’s Student Newspaper

UMW Libraries is pleased to announce the digitization of the University’s student-run newspaper, The Bullet. Issues from 1922-2010 are now available online through the Internet Archive at https://archive.org/details/universityofmarywashington.

The Bullet is a great source of information for University history and important events, and provides a snapshot of what life was like on campus throughout the last century.

The Internet Archive allows for multiple methods of searching and viewing issues of The Bullet. Users can page through an issue by choosing the “read online” option, download an entire issue in PDF format, or search the full text of an issue for specific keywords. This digitization project was made possible through UMW Libraries, the LYRASIS Mass Digitization Collaborative, and LYRASIS’ scanning partner, the Internet Archive.


University of Mary Washington Celebrates James Farmer’s Civil Rights Legacy

James L. Farmer Records, 1980-1999, Special Collections, University of Mary Washington Image courtesy of CORE/Edward Hollander

James L. Farmer Records, 1980-1999, Special Collections, University of Mary Washington Image courtesy of CORE/Edward Hollander.
Photo depicts the second march to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965 in support of voting rights. The marchers were able to cross the Edmund Pettus bridge but were turned back by U.S. Marshals. From left to right: Fred Shuttlesworth, Martin Luther King, Jr., James Farmer, and James Forman (SNCC). In the foreground: Andrew Young.

In celebration of Black History Month and the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the University of Mary Washington honors distinguished professor Dr. James Farmer’s outstanding life and achievements.

Farmer was the founder of the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and the organizer of the 1961 Freedom Rides. Combined with other non-violent acts, the Freedom Rides paved the way for the Kennedy and later Johnson administrations to align themselves more decisively in support of Civil Rights and the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Bill of 1964.

Materials documenting Farmer’s early civil rights contributions are housed at the University of Texas at Austin’s Briscoe Center for American History (see A Guide to the James Leonard, Jr., and Lula Peterson Farmer Papers.) Records from Farmer’s later years, along with a rich trove of audio-visual materials spanning his career are housed in UMW’s University Archives. Additional resources on Farmer’s civil rights legacy are available in the James Farmer and the Freedom Rides research guide and in the finding aid of his close friend and colleague, William B. Hanson, located in the Virginia Heritage database.