I made a trip to the Virginia Tech Special Collections this week to find out more about what they have to help my research. I devoted most of my time to looking at the University Archives where I found pertinent information in a number of record groups. Record group 1 houses the VT Board of Visitors, essentially the first administration of the university. There are numerous publications in this record group including Kinnear’s The First Hundred Years, VAMC-History and Organization, VPI Present Condition and Outlook from 1903 and 1906, as well as notes and personal papers from individuals on the Board of Visitors. Harvey black, Thomas Bocock, and General G.C. Wharton. This record group also houses official and unofficial meeting minutes from 1873-1933. Along with that I will be able to use parts of Record Group 2, The Office of the President, where I can use personal papers, administrative memos, and meeting minutes of Presidents McBryde, Barringer, Eggleston, and Burruss.
Record Group 5 is the Office of Accademic Affairs which houses the registrar from 1899-1922 which can show me where students came from and what their background and economic status was. Record Group 7, the Office of Finance, has records from the treasurer from 1877-1918, Record group 8, Student affairs, has newspaper clippings discussing the student body and their relationship with other students and the administration. Record group 29 is the Alumni Association. Although it was not established until 1905, they have a complete register of the alumni and where they went after attending VT, as well as secondary publications based on these registers. VPI: The Old Guards Who’s Who 1888-1925 should be a good source of the best of the best alumni of VPI.
However, the best things I found in VTSC was Record Group 10, the Athletic Association. Organized sports started in 1891 when President McBryde appointed the first Faculty Committee to administer the expanding athletic program. Record group 10 houses information on individuals in biographical folders and clippings, as well as general publications concerning each sport individually. The mounted newspaper clippings begin in 1892 for most sports, but they are sporadic and not every article about the teams. There is also an extensive photo collection for each sport including football. The publications concerning this record group are most notably Ronald Lazenby’s Legends; Pictorial History of VT Football, as well as many handbooks and works published by VT and VPI administration.
I also have looked through some newspaper microfilms in areas surrounding Blacksburg. The Montgomery Messenger began in the middle of the 19th century and should give more insight into the local understanding of the football team and athletic program at VPI.