The VMI Corps of Cadets has a more than one hundred year history of participation in presidential inaugural parades. Cadets marched in their first parade in March 1909, when they departed Lexington on a special seven-car train to take part in the inauguration of William Howard Taft. The 1909 trip was a three day affair, and included a trip to a Washington theater to see the popular play “The Merry Widow.” View photos on the VMI Archives website.
Pen and ink drawings by Moses Ezekiel, the noted 19th century American sculptor. A member of the New Market Corps, he created Virginia Mourning Her Dead, the Institute’s monument to the cadets who fought in the battle. The VMI Archives include a collection of Ezekiel’s papers.
Prior to 1891, a type of rugby football was played between class and intramural teams. VMI adopted the “new style” football in 1891, after Cadet Walter H. Taylor encountered it while talking with enthusiastic players from Princeton and other northern colleges. VMI’s first intercollegiate game was played on October 31, 1891 against Washington and Lee, resulting in a 6-0 victory for the Institute. More football photos in the VMI Archives digital collections.
Cadets in the classroom and in the field with Professor of Engineering Robert A. Marr, 1890’s. Check out the VMI Archives online photographs collection for more views of academic life throughout the Institute’s long history.
Since the the opening of VMI on November 11, 1839, new cadets have signed the matriculation book. The VMI Archives houses all matriculation books except for the volume currently in use. The term “rat” as a reference to new cadets first appears in records around 1860.
The VMI Archives preserves thousands of images, ranging from daguerreotypes of the 1840’s to digital photography from the current year. You can browse or search this wonderful collection at our digital archives site.
Although a self-propelled crane boat made the first passage of the 50-mile waterway on January 7th, and the ocean steamer, SS Ancon, made the trip on August 3rd, today marks the 95th anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal.
|How Wall Street Created a Nation by Ovidio Diaz Espino.
A native of Panama, Espino, describes the origins of the Panama Canal, detailing the decades of speculation, fraud, and conspiracy that continue to influence international relations in the region. The roles of Theodore Roosevelt, the French Panama Canal Company, and Wall Street are highlighted, with clear attention to their immediate motives–profit and power.
|The Path Between the Seas by David G. McCullough
The Path Between the Seas tells the story of the men and women involved in the struggle to construct an aquatic passageway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It is a story of astonishing engineering feats, tremendous medical accomplishments, political power plays, heroic successes, and tragic failures.
|The Sydney B. Williamson Papers.
Sydney Bacon Williamson, Class of 1884, served as Division Engineer for the Pacific Division of the Panama Canal from 1907 to 1914. The bulk of the collection documents Williamson’s engineering assignments in Panama, South America, and the United States, and his service on the Interoceanic Canal Board. On top of biographical information, project details and correspondences there’s also some fantastic photos.
|Cadiz to Cathay by Miles P. DuVal
A detailed history of the diplomatic issues relating to the construction of the Panama Canal including the proposal and eventual rejection of locating the canal in Nicaragua.
Information about the opening of the Panama Canal is from the 2009 edition of Chase’s Calendar of Events.