The Friends of Preston Library hosted its Fall Program on Thursday, 14 November, at 3 p.m. in the Turman Room of Preston Library. Our guest speaker was Dr. Richard A. Straw, who gave a talk based upon his recently published book, Rockbridge County: The Michael Miley Collection. Dr. Straw showed several examples of Miley’s photographs which illustrated his artistry and innovative techniques. These photographs provided a fascinating insight of life in Rockbridge Country following the Civil War.
Dr. Straw is a professor of history at Radford University. He specializes in the American South and teaches courses about the Old and New South, Appalachian history, and Southern music. He earned his doctorate at the University of Missouri.
See also the nice write-up on Dr. Straw by Radford University.
The Friends of Preston Library awarded Cadet Chelsea Loy with this year’s Camper Award. Board members of the Friends, library staff, and Mrs. Camper’s son, Bob, recognized Ms. Loy for her leadership and service to Preston Library. Ms. Loy worked in Preston Library’s technical services department as a Library Cadet Assistant.
A brief ceremony was held in the library’s Periodical Room and Chairman of the Friends of Preston Library, Major Eric Osborne, recognized Cadet Loy. The award’s namesake, Mrs. Frances Camper was a great teacher and role model for library cadet assistants. Ms. Loy received a letter of recognition, a certificate, and a cash award. Cadet Loy plans to attend graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in public health following graduation. We wish all the best to this outstanding cadet.
The Friends of Preston Library hosted its Spring Program on Thursday, 4 April, at 3 p.m. in the Turman Room of Preston Library. Our guest speaker was Mr. Richard G. Williams, Jr., who gave an engaging talk based on his recently published book, Lexington, Virginia and the Civil War. In the well-attended program, Mr. Williams spoke about personages associated with Lexington during the Civil war, about the war, and about some of the social issues during that time. Mr. William’s signed copies of his book.
Mr. Williams is a southern writer, relic hunter, autodidact and raconteur who specializes in Virginia history and the War Between the States. A former contributor to the Washington Times‘ Civil War column, he has also written for Homeschooling Today Magazine, Confederate Veteran, Western & Eastern Treasures Magazine and regularly contributes articles about the Civil War and Virginia history to various publications and websites. He has co-produced two history-related videos: the award-winning Institute on the Constitution and Still Standing: The Stonewall Jackson Story. His writing and historical research involving the Confederacy earned him the Jefferson Davis Historical Gold Medal from the United Daughters of the Confederacy–the highest honor bestowed on non-members. Williams was born and grew up on battlefields in Virginia’s rural Shenandoah Valley. He is a direct descendant of three Confederate soldiers and is a ninth-generation great-grandson of the Reverend Roger Williams.
The Superintendent ordered the flag of the Commonwealth to be flown at half-staff on Tuesday, 30 October, in honor of Army CPT Shawn Hogan ’06, who died in a training accident on 17 October. Valedictorian of the Class of 2006, CPT Hogan was a Green Beret assigned to Fort Campbell, Ky. At VMI, CPT Hogan majored in mechanical engineering and earned a minor in writing. He was captain of the VMI cross country team, a member of the indoor and outdoor track teams, and served as a battalion staff officer in the Corps and for the Marshall New Market Battalion.
CPT Hogan served Preston Library as a Library Cadet Assistant and worked in the acquisitions department. He received the Frances W. Camper Award in 2006. This award recognizes outstanding leadership and service to Preston Library. Preston Library is deeply saddened to learn of his tragic and untimely death. He was an outstanding young man who will be missed greatly.
The Friends of Preston Library hosted its Fall Program on Friday, 26 October, at 3 p.m. in the Turman Room of Preston Library. The guest speaker was Lt. Col. Brad Coleman, ’95, who gave a talk entitled “Making National Security Policy: The Historian’s Role.” Brad gave an engaging and educational program on how historians work with various decision makers in the Federal government and the role of applied history in these areas.
Lt. Col. Coleman holds the George J. Collins, Sr., Chair in Military History and is Director of the John Adams ’71 Center for Military History and Strategic Analysis. He received his B.A. in history from the Virginia Military Institute and M.A. from Temple University. He earned his doctorate at the University of Georgia, where he studied military history, U.S. foreign relations, and inter-American affairs. Before joining the VMI faculty, he served as the command historian at U.S. Southern Command, the Department of Defense headquarters for U.S. forces in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Friends of Preston Library awarded Cadets George W. Statzell, V and Zoe E. Ramsey with this year’s Camper Award. Board members of the Friends, library staff, and Mrs. Camper’s son, Bob recognized Mr. Statzell and Ms. Ramsey for their leadership and service to Preston Library. George serves as Preston Library’s Head Cadet Assistant and Zoe as a Cadet Assistant in Interlibrary Loan.
A brief ceremony was held in the library’s Turman Room. Professor Emeritus, Col. Tom Davis gave a brief history of the award’s namesake, Mrs. Frances Camper, who was a great teacher and role model for library cadet assistants. Mr. Statzell and Ms. Ramsey received a letter of recognition, a certificate, and a cash award. Mr. Statzell will commission in the Air Force and serve as a missile officer and Ms. Ramsey will teach English in Taiwan. We wish all the best to these outstanding cadets.
The Friends of Preston Library’s Spring Program will feature Dr. Charles Bodie as its speaker March 20 at 3:00 p.m. in the Turman Room. Dr. Bodie recently completed Remarkable Rockbridge: The Story of a Virginia County. The title of his talk will be “The Ties that Bind: Reflections on the Post and the Town.” Please join us for an interesting and engaging historical walk through the history of Lexington and VMI.
Charles A. Bodie received his B.A. at the College of William and Mary and his Ph.D. in American history at Indiana University. He taught in the history department at VMI and has published articles and several manuscript guides to Virginia counties, including that of Rockbridge. He is currently working on a biography of Virginia Governor James McDowell, an antebellum native of Rockbridge.
Refreshments will be served and books will be available for sale and signature by the author.
The Friends of Preston will host its Fall Meeting on Thursday, November 17 at 3 p.m. in the Turman Room of Preston Library. Our featured guest speaker will be Mr. H. W. Crocker, III. Mr. Crocker will give a program based upon his new book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the British Empire.
Harry Crocker is a bestselling author who has also written The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War, Robert E. Lee on Leadership, Triumph, Don’t Tread on Me, and the prize-winning comic novel, The Old Limey. His journalism has appeared in National Review, The American Spectator, The Washington Times, and many other outlets. Educated in England and California, Crocker lives on the site of a former Confederate encampment in Virginia.
Titles of the author’s books will be available for signing and purchase. Please join us for a stimulating and engaging program. Refreshments will be served.
The Friends of Preston Library awarded Cadet George W. Statzell, V with this year’s Camper Award. Board members of the Friends and library staff recognized Mr. Statzell for his leadership and service to Preston Library. George serves as Preston Library’s Head Cadet Assistant.
A brief ceremony was held in the library’s periodicals room. Professor Emeritus, Col. Tom Davis gave a brief history of the award’s namesake, Mrs. Frances Camper, who was a great teacher and role model for library cadet assistants. Mr. Statzell received a letter of recognition from Friend’s Chairman, Maj. Eric Osborne, along with a certificate, and a cash award. Mr. Statzell is a biology major. This summer he plans to study organic chemistry and then return to VMI for his first class year.
We wish George congratulations on his award and good luck on his finals.
The Friends of Preston Library in concert with the VMI Academic Speakers Program featured a program with Allan Gurganus, Monday, April 18 at 1100 in the Turman Room of Preston Library. Mr. Gurganus read from his novel-in-progress, The Erotic History of a Country Baptist Church. A sizable audience of Friends members, cadets, and faculty attended the reading. Following the reading, Mr. Gurganus answered cadets and other audience questions about the selection he read and his writing in general. Mr. Gurganus’ book is about half-finished and he enjoyed the opportunity to read it before an audience. Mr. Gurganus became nationally known with the publication of his best-selling novel, Oldest Confederate Widow Tells All.
Among the most esteemed contemporary Southern writers, he has been called “the rightful heir to [William] Faulkner and [Eudora] Welty” and “a Mark Twain for our age.” Among his major awards are a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and induction into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.