VMI History and Cadet Life

Manuscripts Quick Guide

This list is made available for researchers who want to browse a concise list of personal papers relating to Cadet life and VMI history during various eras.  It is not a substitute for the online catalog.

The online catalog is the best resource for detailed searching, direct links to full text, and the most up-to-date information about manuscripts holdings.

Oldest cadet letter

Cadet Life Spotlight: Cadet Valentine Saunders Letter, 1839

Letter to his parents is the oldest extant letter written by a VMI cadet. Dated November 30, 1839, shortly after the first cadets arrived in Lexington, the letter provides a cadet's view of the newly established Institute.  The letter and full text transcription are viewable online

Brown, Alexander S.,  letters (MS 0217) Available Online
Two letters from Washington College student Alexander S. Brown to his sister, 1846 & 1848. The 1846 letter mentions the Cincinnati military class, in which Washington College students participated in military training conducted by VMI staff.

Bowyer, John P., letter of recommendation (MS 0162)
VMI Class of 1849; Letter (September 18, 1847) from VMI Superintendent Francis H. Smith to Gen. E.C. Carrington, recommending Bowyer for an army commission.

Campbell, Nathaniel H., letter (MS 0191)
VMI Class of 1843; letter, 1841  to Congressman requesting assistance in obtaining a commission in the army.

Cary, John M., papers (MS 0156)
VMI Class of 1848.  Papers, 3 items, including letter of recommendation by Board of Visitors member William H. Terrill, dated Sept. 19, 1849. Cary had served as a tutor for Terrill's children.

Derby, Charles A., Papers (MS 0030)  Available Online 
Correspondence and other papers (ca. 60 items) of Charles A. Derby (VMI Class of 1848), educator,  Episcopal minister, 44th Alabama Infantry Regiment; killed September 17, 1862, at Battle of Antietam (Md.)

Dorman, Charles P., Papers (MS 0066)
Gen. Charles P. Dorman, (b. 1794 d. 1849), lawyer; member, Virginia legislature, VMI Board of Visitors.  Papers (approx 60 items) including professional papers; documents regarding the settlement of his estate; contemporary copy of the legislative bill establishing VMI.

Early, John F.,  Papers (MS 0012) Available Online Selected Diary Entries
Five letters and a one volume diary-notebook kept by Cadet Early (b. 1830 d. 1894) during the two years he attended VMI, 1848-1850.  Documents late 1840's cadet life.

Fitzhugh, Philip A., Papers (MS 0067)
VMI Class of 1846; physician; CSA veteran; d. 1908.  Include 6 letters from Fitzhugh to his brother, containing many references to cadet life.

Gatewood, Robert,  notebook-diary (MS 0300)
VMI Class of 1849; educator, Episcopal clergyman, Principal of Norfolk (VA) Academy; d. 1909.  Manuscript notebook-diary (1849-1853) including poetry, essays, diary entries dating from period 1851-1853.

Gibbons, Simeon., Notebook (MS 0046) 
One volume commonplace book which belonged to Cadet Gibbons (Class of 1852), containing notes, poetry, lists and misc. other writing, 1849-1852.

Gibbs, Philip C., notebook (MS 0106).
VMI Class of 1851; teacher and merchant; died 1859.  Notebook (ca. 145 pages) reflecting cadet life 1848-1851. 

Green, William J., letter (MS 0155)
VMI Class of 1846; killed in action at Cold Harbor, 1862.  Letter, 1843 from Cadet Green to his father. Green describes, in detail, the Corps' march various local Springs.

Moncure, Thomas J., letter (MS 0468)  Available online
Sept. 1849 letter from Cadet Thomas J. Moncure (VMI Class of 1853) to his father, William A. Moncure, written while he was a fourth classman ("rat") at VMI. 

Pitzer, Eliza L., letter. (MS 0114)
Eliza Lewis Pitzer (dates unknown), of Roanoke Co., VA,  letter to her son, VMI Cadet Andrew L. Pitzer, dated November 25, 1845. She discusses news from home, family and personal matters.

Powell, Daniel Lee. Letters. (MS 0076)
VMI Class of 1847. Letter, 1844, from Henry T. Lee (Class of 1845 & Powell's uncle) to Cadets Fitzhugh and Keeling, requesting that they treat Powell with kindness. One letter, 1846 from Cadet Powell to his mother, describing guard duty at "Camp Crozet" and other topics.

Saunders, James D., letter. (MS 0247)
VMI Class of 1845. Letter, 1842, from Cadet James Saunders to his cousin describing cadet life and VMI events. One of the earliest extant cadet personal letters.

Saunders, Valentine Cook. Letter. (MS 00071) Available online
Class of 1842.  Letter to his parents is the oldest extant letter written by a VMI cadet. Dated November 30, 1839, shortly after the first cadets arrived in Lexington, the letter provides a cadet's view of the newly established Institute.

Steenbergen, John W., Papers. (MS 0471)
VMI Class of 1849. The papers consist of four items dating from his cadetship including notebook, essays, and VMI expenses.

Strange, John B., letter. (MS 0153)  Available online
VMI Class of 1842. One letter written by Cadet Strange to his sister Anne, June 1840. Discusses VMI and personal matters. One of the oldest cadet letters.

Tyler, James E., letter. (MS 0074)
VMI Class of 1845. One letter (May 14, 1846) from VMI alumnus James E. Tyler to President James K. Polk, requesting a commission in the Army or Marine Corps. 

Waller Family Papers (MS 0484) 
The collection contains correspondence (1821-1849) to and from various members of the William M. Waller family of Amherst County, Virginia. Includes VMI Appointment document (1848) for William M. Waller (Class of 1852).

Yager, William O., Journal. (MS 0188) 
VMI Class of 1852.  Journal fragment written during his cadetship. Bulk concerns dispute between his classmates John A. Thompson and William M. Gordon that led to a court of inquiry/court martial. 

Founders Day Cadet Speech. (MS 0466) 
Manuscript containing the text of a speech given by an unidentified cadet on the Institute's first Founders Day anniversary, November 11, 1843.

Arnold, William E., notebook. (MS 0018) 
Poetry notebook compiled by William E. Arnold (VMI Class of 1853), during the period 1849-1864. Such notebooks were popular among cadets of the mid-19th century.  Notebook also includes miscellany such as clippings, puzzles, and riddles.

Barksdale, Thomas F., papers. (MS 0062)  Online access (Jackson class notes) 
 b. 1833, Halifax County, VA; graduate VMI, Class of 1855. Two items. Letter dated January 25, 1855 from a Prussian official, denying Barksdale and his roommates permission to enter the Prussian army. Notebook contains class notes, including notes taken in Stonewall Jackson's class section; resolution issued by Cadets following murder of Cadet Thomas Blackburn, Class of 1854; poetry; autographs of the Class of 1855; list of roommates and room numbers.

Barton Family Papers. (MS 0020)   Online access (letter about Jackson) 
Miscellaneous papers of three Barton brothers who attended VMI. Includes letter of September 28, 1855 from Cadet Charles M. Barton (VMI Class of 1856)n which he complains about VMI life and his instructor Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson; Also notes from legal practice of Randolph Barton (Class of 1864) and expenses, 1868-1869, for Bolling W. Barton (Class of 1866, New Market Cadet).

Booth, Thomas B., Cadet Letters. (MS 0496)  
Letters, 1855-1858 (57 items) from Booth to his future wife Agnes Lyon of Petersburg, VA. Topics are primarily personal/courtship; occasional VMI references.

Breedlove, James W., papers. (MS 0168) 
b. 1843, New Orleans, LA; VMI Class of 1863; served with CSA Engineers during Civil War; Civil Engineer; d. 1889. Papers, 8 items. Includes two letters from Cadet Breedlove to his grandfather in which he discusses his studies, expenses; VMI quarterly grade reports; other items.

Cadet Love Letter (MS 0378) Online access
From "Willie" to his cousin Mary, largely discussing their relationship

Carpenter, Joseph H., papers. (MS 0333)  Online access (Civil War items)
Virginia Military Institute, Class of 1856; Captain, Co. A, 27th Virginia Infantry Regiment, wounded at Cedar Mountain, 1862; died from effects of the wound, February 5, 1863. Cadet notebook; and Civil War papers (6 items) including letter of June 16, 1862 describing fighting near Port Republic.

Chenoweth, Joseph H., papers. (MS 0107)  Online access (selected items) 
Chenoweth (b. 1837, d. 1862), VMI Class of 1859; educator; Major, 31st VA Infantry Regiment, CSA; KIA June 1862. Ca. 32 items. Letters, 1855-1861, written by to his parents. Letters dating from his cadetship cover topics such as exams, trips, demerits, and provide a good portrait of pre-war cadet life. Subsequent letters written while he was a Professor at Maryland Agricultural College and at VMI.

Davis, Alexander Jackson. Architectural drawings (MS 0276) Online access

27 ink and wash drawings by 19th century American architect Alexander J. Davis, who designed the VMI Barracks and several of the other original structures at the Institute. The collection includes plans for the Superintendent's residence, faculty residences, and other drawings.

Downing, Samuel. Papers. (MS 0167) Online access
VMI Class of 1862; 55th Virginia Infantry, CSA; farmer and tobacco merchant. Papers consist of 3 items including detailed letter describing cadets' 1859 trip to Norfolk, VA, in part via canal boat.

Fauntleroy, Archibald M., papers. (MS 0065)
Testimonial letter written by Superintendent Francis H. Smith on behalf of Fauntleroy (VMI Class of 1857), and drawing done as a class assignment at VMI.

Fife, William E., document (MS 0345)
VMI quarterly grade report for Cadet William E. Fife (Class of 1855), 1852.

Fulkerson, Abram (Class of 1857) Cadet Letters. (part of MS 0363)   Online access
Two letters, 1853-1854, written to family members while cadet at VMI

Gunn, Giles. Papers (MS 0292)  Online access
Five letters, 1848-1854, written by Giles Gunn, a teacher from Connecticut who was working in Lexington, Virginia during the mid-nineteenth century.  He describes his teaching duties, events at VMI, and life in Lexington.

Hardy, William T., collection. (MS 0084)
Class of 1855; during Civil War was Captain, Quartermaster, Confederate States Army; farmer; d. 1911. Cadet drawing exercises (bound notebook and unbound drawings); one  wartime letter (May 12, 1864) to his wife, in which he briefly discusses battle at Spotsylvania Court House.

Hunter, Robert M. T., manuscript. (MS 0116)
b. 1809; d. 1887.  lawyer and politician; 41 page manuscript of speech given at VMI July 3, 1857.

Hutter, Edward S., Diary. (MS 0013) 
Diary of Cadet Hutter (b. 1839; d. 1904; VMI Class of 1859), covering period Jan.-April 1858.

Lynch, Jacob. Letter (MS 0195) 
Letter, 1859 from Jacob Lynch to his son, VMI Cadet David C. Lynch. Mr. Lynch reprimands David for excessive demerits and for acquiring debts that have not been paid.

McDonald, Craig W., document (MS 0254) 
VMI Class of 1859; killed in battle at Gaines Mill, 1862. Descriptive note: A humorous document from VMI cadet life, dated January 23, 1856. The item is an excuse, in verse form, addressed to the Commandant's office.

Phillips, James J., documents. (MS 0497)
Class of 1853. VMI diploma, drawing, and Confederate Army commission.

Rumbough, George P. C., manuscript. (MS 0249) 
Class of 1856; staff officer, CSA; Civil Engineer and State Engineer of Arkansas; d. 1916. Commencement speech delivered by VMI Cadet George Rumbough on July 4, 1856.

Ryland, Josiah. Autograph Album (MS 0022)
Autograph album, Class of 1859. Contains inscriptions by his classmates, including Scott Shipp, later Commandant and Superintendent.

Shepherd, Edward C., Papers, (MS 0019)
Class of 1855. Includes cadet notebooks containing drawings and class notes; account book and misc.

Smith family letter. (MS 0163) 
VMI Class of 1857. Letter, 1856 from VMI's Superintendent Francis H. Smith to the mother of Cadet John J. Smith, in which he discusses Cadet Smith's religious awakening.

Taylor, Richard C., letter. (MS 0159)
Class of 1854; Letter, 1854, to his father describing in detail the circumstances surrounding the murder of his classmate Cadet Thomas Blackburn.

Waddell, James H., papers. (MS 0130)
Class of 1855. Letter (1855) to sister, containing detailed description and pencil drawing of his room (#14) in Barracks and of his roommates; a second drawing of a barracks room & roommates (similar to a sketch found in the Shepherd Collection, MS#0019); pencil map Battle of Bethel Church, 1861. Letter of recommendation, 1879

Williams, Walter W., diary-notebook. (MS 0136) 
Class of 1853; Diary-notebook, 1852-1860, kept by Walter W. Williams; ca. 100 pages. Diary entries are from VMI (1852); University of Virginia (1855-1856); Theological Seminary of Virginia (1857-1858); and Leesburg, VA (1859-1860). VMI entries include information about cadet life; many entries focus on Williams' religious beliefs.

Beverley, John H. C., letter. (MS 0093)
Class of 1873. Letter from Cadet Beverley, 1869, to his friend John, describing life at VMI.

Coleman, George T., letter. (MS 0073)
Class of 1870. Two letters, one regarding reinstatement to VMI and the other defending the Corps of Cadets against accusations that they had been harassing black citizens of Lexington.

Cooper, James W., letter. (MS 0185)
Class of 1870.  Letter, 1869, from Cadet James W. Cooper to Commandant Scott Shipp, tendering his resignation.

Dinwiddie, Hardaway H., papers. (MS 0177)
Class of 1867 and New Market Cadet.  Miscellaneous papers, including manuscript of VMI valedictory speech, 1867, and poem about the New Market Cadets. program.

Forbes, Thomas., Letter. (MS 0075) 
Class of 1872.. Letter from his father, 1869. Mentions sending money so that Thomas can go on Corps trip.

Jerdone, William M., papers (MS 00231)
Class of 1871.  Papers consist of Jerdone's handwritten mathematics examination essay (64 pages) submitted to Professor James W. Massie and 25 drawings completed as class assignments at VMI.

Letcher, Samuel H., valedictory address. (MS 0148)
Class of 1869 and New Market cadet. Manuscript of VMI valedictory address of Cadet Samuel H. Letcher, 1869.

Sims, John. Papers. (MS 0475)
14 letters written by VMI Cadet John Sims (Class of 1871), to members of his family.  Dated 1868-1871, the correspondence provides rich details of cadet life during that era.

Watson, Edward M., Letter. (MS 0011) Available online 
Letter (September 17, 1868) from Cadet Watson, Class of 1871, to his father. Detailed account of daily cadet routine during the post-Civil War years.

Beverley, Robert. Notebooks. (MS 0024)
Two poetry notebooks owned by Cadet Robert Beverley, VMI Class of 1876. Contains original poetry composed by cadets as well as copied verses. 

Boney, Richard K., collection (MS 0325)
Class of 1878. Diary dating from his cadetship, with daily brief entries, 1874-1878, noting weather and significant events. The collection also contains a poetry notebook and scrapbook fragment.

Clark, Francis B., collection (MS 0270) 
Class of 1870.  Notebook containing original poetry largely composed during his cadetship.

Dudley, William H., Papers. (MS 0007)
Two documents reflecting 1870's cadet life including letter to his mother and grade report.

Exall, Alexander D., papers (MS 0354) 
Class of 1876. Cadet scrapbook, autograph album, photos.

Forsythe, James A., collection (MS 0307) 
Class of 1875. Cadet notebook containing poetry and company rosters; bible.

Hall, Julien., Notebook (MS 0495) 
Contains VMI-related poetry and misc. other poetry and notes, ca. 1875.

Keitt, Thomas.,  Drawing. (MS 0056)  Available online
Drawing of Washington Arch facade of Barracks by Cadet Keitt, Class of 1878. 

Mercer, William N., Papers. (MS 0090) 
Mercer was a benefactor of VMI during the 19th century. Legal documents (1874-1875) regarding Mercer's bequest of 1,000 books to the VMI Library and misc. other personal papers.

Mosby, John B., papers. (MS 0128) 
Class of 1875.  Six letters from John B. Mosby to family members; letters written in 1873 from VMI contain references to faculty, academics, and cadet life.

Nalle, William. Letter. (MS 0042)  Available online
One letter, 16 October 1870, from Cadet William Nalle to his mother, Mrs. Thomas Botts Nalle. Contains a detailed account of the death and funeral of General Robert E. Lee. Letter also mentions flood in Rockbridge County that destroyed canal locks, bridges, and other property.

Neill, William. Collection (MS  0301)
Class of 1880. Cadet notebook, containing copied and possibly original poetry; sketch of barracks room number 38, drawn 1877.

Osburn, Howard. Notebook (MS 0251)  
Notebook (ca. 1870-1872) compiled by Osburn, Class of 1875, containing copied poetry, miscellaneous orders, and misc. other.

Paine, Robert A., notebook (MS 0455) 
Notebook compiled by VMI Cadet Robert A. Paine in 1879. The book contains lyrics of songs popular during the 1870’s.

Tams, William P., notebook. (MS 0023) 
Class of 1873. Notebook with class notes, a copy of a lecture by Superintendent Francis H. Smith, grade reports.

Wiegand, William E., notebook (MS 0250)  
 Poetry notebook compiled by Cadet William E. Wiegand, Class of 1874, containing original and copied poetry.

Amiss, Frederick T., letter (MS 0479)
Class of 1886. Letter to his father, dated December 1884. Describes confrontation between cadets and Commandant Scott Shipp regarding an investigation into an explosion of the VMI magazine.

Baker, Harry B., account book. (MS 0290) 
Class of 1889. VMI account book with entries for school expenses, 1886-1889.

Balmer, Charles. Document (MS 0220) 
Class of 1886. Cadet laundry list, 1882.

Best, Carl M., papers (MS 00209) 
Class of 1886. Letter of appointment to cadetship; letter of recommendation by Supt. Francis H. Smith

Cochran, John L., Papers. (MS 0025) 
VMI Class of 1883. Papers consist of four volumes of class notes (1882-1885) taken while Cochran was a student at Swarthmore and UVA (following his VMI attendance), with some examples of VMI poetry and sketches interspersed; diary, with sketches (1881), containing short and sporadic entries made while at VMI; other items.

Gilliat Company documents (MS 00306) 
The firm of John K. Gilliat & Co. (London) advanced money to VMI in 1863 to purchase books & cadet clothing. The firm later forgave the interest on the loan & was commemorated in the Gilliat Scholarship. 

Goodwyn, Richard T., collection (MS  0210) 
Class of 1887.  18 pencil and ink drawings by Cadet Goodwyn; one letter (1896) from VMI Superintendent Scott Shipp to Goodwyn.

Irvine, William A., notebook (MS 0269) 
Class of 1889. Cadet notebook, 1888-1889. Contains poetry, sketches, programs from the Lexington Minstrel and VMI minstrel clubs.

Lybrook, Philip H., document (MS 0218) 
Class of 1889. Document, ca. 1886, listing clothing for VMI Cadet Philip H. Lybrook. 

Moncure, William A., collection. (MS 0170) 
Class of 1884.  Miscellaneous papers of William A. Moncure, including 8 drawings completed as class exercises; bible presented at graduation by Superintendent Francis H. Smith; map of Caroline Co., Virginia.

Nottingham, Thomas J., Diary. (MS 0017) 
Diary (1883-1885) written by Cadet Nottingham, Class of 1886. Consistent record of daily cadet routine as it existed during the mid-1880's.

Rutledge, Oliver M., Papers. (MS 0009) 
Class of 1882. Papers consist primarily of letters received at VMI from parents, siblings and friends. A few letters written by Rutledge contain references to cadet life in the 1880's.

Stewart, Robert E. B., collection (MS 0263) 
Class of 1886.  Misc. papers; includes  notebook containing orations delivered before VMI cadet debating societies; drawings; clippings.

Terry, Thornton. Collection (MS 0213) 
Class of 1887. Four page handwritten and illustrated VMI cadet newspaper called "The Sunday Pie," published on April 18, 1887 by the occupants of Barracks Room 32.

Vance family letter (MS 0215)
Letter, 1887, to Cadet Paul O. Vance (Class of 1890) from his father. The father is replying to a request for money.

Varner, Charles R. K., collection (MS 0445) 
Class of 1884. Misc. cadetship items including grade reports, letter of recommendation.

Vest, William W., letter. (MS 0097) 
Class of 1892. Letter, 1887, from Cadet Vest to his cousin. Topics include treatment of new cadets; routines such as drill and inspection; restrictions.

Carter, Spencer L., Collection. (MS 0036) 
Notebook concerning VMI football and baseball, compiled by Spencer L. Carter, Class of 1893. Includes lists of teams, game scores, plays. Misc. other cadetship items.

Cocke, Henry T., papers. (MS 0113) 
Class of 1895.  Letter, 1894,  to his mother. Topics include snowstorm, debating society orations, raiding local hen houses for "rooster fighting" in Barracks; cadet account book.

Cocke, John T. B., papers. (MS 0469)
Student notebook owned by VMI Cadet John T. B. Cocke, VMI Class of 1890, including poetry, class notes, roommates list.

Hinton, Erasmus G., letters. (MS 0193) 
Class of 1896. 8 letters, 1894-1895, from to his father. Focus on family matters.

Howard, Conway. Scrapbooks (MS 0121) 
Class of 1900. Two cadet scrapbooks, 1896-1900. Contents include VMI memorabilia, clippings, photographs illustrating cadet life, programs and other items pertaining to athletic events.

Humphreys, William L., letter. (MS 0080). 
Class of 1897. Letter, 1893,  to his father, written from Staunton after he ran away from VMI. For related collection see George W. Rouss letters (MS 0077).

Janney, John. Account Book (MS 0336) 
VMI and personal account book of John Janney (VMI Class of 1896).

Naylor, John C., letter. (MS 0086). 
Cadet for one year (1890-1891) as a member of the Class of 1894. Letter, 1890, to his father, in which he complains about roommates.

Orr, John. Papers. (MS 0008) 
Letters (ca. 25 items) from Cadet John Orr, Class of 1894, to his parents. The correspondence contains details about cadet life during the early 1890's.

Perry, Sidney R., Collection. (MS 0456) 
Diary and photographs dating from the cadetship of Sidney Perry, Class of 1892.

Portner, Robert F., letter. (MS 0063) 
Class of 1895.  Letter fragment from Cadet Portner to "Eddie," written from VMI on October 20, 1892. Discusses experiment using telephone receiver.

Rouss, George. Collection. (MS 0077) 
Class of 1897. Three letters, 1893,  pertaining to Cadet Rouss's decision to run away from VMI.

Weddell, William S., letter. (MS 00192) 
Class of 1894. Letter, 1890, describing death of Cadet Warner T. Taliaferro after a fight with a fellow cadet, Frank W. McConnico.

Baldinger, Ora M., papers. (MS 0125). 
Class of 1910. Misc. papers dating from the cadetship, including cadet account book, grade reports, receipts, and class notes.

Bond, Robert N., collection (MS 0435) 
VMI Class of 1919. Scrapbook, 1915-1916, including snapshots, dance programs, other VMI memorabilia; two letters, including details about new cadet life and hazing.

Bowering, Benjamin Collection (MS 0122) Online Access
Original manuscript score of the "VMI Spirit", written by alumnus Benjamin Bowering while he was an Assistant Professor at VMI in 1916.

Dillard, William E., letter (MS 0274) 
Class of 1913. Letter to his mother, 1910, describing the Corps' march to Staunton, VA, including events in camp.

Fickes, Frank E., drawing (MS 0214) 
Class of 1908. Charcoal sketch (ca. 1908) published in the 1911 VMI yearbook. The sketch features a skull, snakes, and ghost , symbols of "TKL," a cadet secret society.

Fry, Henry P., collection (MS 0266) 
Class of 1901. Typescript, "Memories of the Old VMI," written ca. 1950, describing cadet life 1898 - 1901. Particular emphasis is placed on the Class of 1901 and Fry's classmate Cadet George C. Marshall.

Hood, C. Rodes, papers (MS 0530)
Letters detailing cadet life, 1916-1917

Parker, John C., notebook (MS 0272) 
Class of 1914. Chemistry lab notebook containing experiments conducted during the academic year 1912-1913.

Plants, George S., Collection. (MS 0029).
Class of 1908. Cadet account book; notebook containing popular VMI football yells, ca. 1905; letter from Plants' classmate Jesse P. Jarvis, dated July 1909.

Scott, Thomas B., collection (MS 0314) 
Class of 1917. Approx.  20 items, 1915-1919, including cadet scrapbook, World War I postcards.

Tardy, Thomas H., collection (MS 0291) 
Class of 1914. VMI account book, loan agreement, writing exercise book.

Virginia Military Institute Civil War Claims documents (MS 0241) 
2 documents concerning VMI's claim against the United States government for "damages and destruction of library, scientific apparatus and the quarters of professors in June 1864," while Union troops occupied Lexington, Virginia. VMI was awarded $100,000 in 1915.

Wills, Waller H., Jr. misc. papers (MS 0450)
Class of 1919. Misc. papers, 1916-1956. Included is a notebook containing unfinished memoirs , "Reminiscences of Cadet Days," in which he discusses many aspects of cadet life during the his rat year, 1915-1916

Wilson, Samuel B., Jr., letters. (MS 0437) 
Class of 1921. Notebook containing typescript copies of the cadet letters, 1917-1921, providing detailed account of cadet life during that period.

Berry, M. Keith, papers (MS 0447) 
Class of 1921.  Incoming and outgoing correspondence, 1917-1921, bulk 1920.

Hankins, James D., papers. (MS 0144) 
Class of 1923. Six letters, 1920-1921, written to his cousin Florence, describing many features of cadet life during the early 1920's.

Houston, Levin J., drawings (MS 0279) 
Class of 1925. 17 watercolor and pen/ink drawings; several were featured in the cadet magazine known as "The Sniper," published during the 1920's.

Hubbard, Mont. Collection (MS 0444) 
The collection contains three items that document Virginia Military Institute cadet life, 1928-1929, including letter to friend mentioning VMI events.

Kyle, John H., collection (MS 0262) 
Class of 1923. Ca. 20 items from cadetship (1919-1923), including scrapbook, grade reports, sketchbook, photographs.

Langford, Lee E., Diary (MS 0470)
Diary, January-June 1927. Short daily entries document the typical routine and events of cadet life during the late 1920's.

Montague, Ludwell L., letters  (MS 0446) 
Class of 1928. Transcriptions. Letters provide a detailed view of cadet life during the 1920s.

Scott, George C., Jr. Cadet diary (MS 0513) Online Access
Details about a cadet "mutiny", October 1927

Wallace, Robert L., collection (MS 0388) 
Class of 1924. VMI account book containing entries for cadet expenses, 1920-1924; VMI scrapbook fragment.

Brother Rat Collection. (MS 0005)
Photographs, playbills, clippings and other items documenting the stage and film versions of Brother Rat by Fred F. Finklehoffe and John Monks, Jr.

Cooper, George L. H., Papers (MS 0197) 
Class of 1932. VMI scrapbook including photos, athletic and dance programs, clippings, and other mementos, 1928-1932.

Couper, John L., papers (MS 0486) 
The papers include Couper's (Class of 1937) cadet photograph album. Also extensive WWII service papers.

Coxe, Simeon O., Jr., letters (MS 0033) 
Clas of 1933. Typewritten transcriptions of letters written to his parents; detailed record of cadet life during early 1930's.

Davis, Albert D., papers (MS 0198) 
Class of 1935.  Papers, including diary, scrapbooks, and miscellaneous correspondence dating from cadetship; 3 other scrapbooks date from his tour of duty in Korea, 1951-1952, and contain clippings, military documents, and photographs.

Dew, Joseph D., letters. (MS 0147) 
Class of 1934.  Letters, Feb.-April 1931, from Dew to his parents, written on board ship en route to and while touring Europe. Dew and William F. Ransom (VMI Class of 1932), secured jobs as deck hands on a freighter.

Finklehoffe, Fred F., Collection (MS 0230)
Includes early version of the play "Brother Rat" ("When the Roll is Called"), which was submitted to VMI Professor of English Raymond E. Dixon by Finklehoffe and John Monks, Jr.

Keith, James. Collection (MS 0245) 
Class of 1932. Misc. cadetship papers, including scrapbook fragment, essays, photos.

Neikirk, Joseph D., collection (MS 0308) 
Class of 1932, who served as Executive Vice President of the VMI Foundation from 1954 until his retirement in 1978. Includes cadet scrapbook, cadet account book.

Smith, Otis D., papers. (MS 0150) 
Class of 1933. Misc. papers from cadetship, including VMI appointment, letters, misc. memorabilia.

Stewart, Henry M., collection (MS 0349)
Class of 1935. Includes memorabilia from Stewart's high school years at the Staunton Military Academy and his cadetship at VMI.

Atkison, George V., notebook (MS 0321) 
Chemistry and misc. class notes kept by Cadet George V. Atkison, VMI Class of 1940.

Boehm, Frank L., collection (MS 0294) 
Scrapbook containing clippings, correspondence, and programs related to the establishment of the first varsity lacrosse team at VMI, 1948-1950

Eickelberg, William T., papers (MS 0353) 
4 items, including a "three year testimonial" that was presented to each member of the Class of 1944, in lieu of a diploma, when the class members were called to active duty in May 1943.

Morrison, James L, Jr.,  memoirs. (MS 0134). 
Typescript, "Reminiscences of a Keydet Cavalryman," by Col. James L. Morrison, Jr., VMI Class of 1945. Morrison gives a detailed account his years as a cadet participating in ROTC cavalry unit.

Niess, Richard C., collection (MS 0324) 
Class of 1944. The collection consists of a typescript reminiscence, written in 1986, of life at VMI during World War II: "Recollections of a VMI Cadet; The Early War Years- 7 December 1941-Jan 1944;" misc. items.

Phillips, H. Franklin., document (MS 0316) 
One certificate presented to VMI Cadet H. Franklin Phillips in May 1943. This "three year testimonial" was presented to each member of the Class of 1944, in lieu of a diploma, when the class members were called to active duty in May 1943

Cincinnatus Monument scrapbooks (MS 0243) 
2 scrapbooks documenting the history and dedication of VMI's Cincinnatus Monument, 1983. Compiled by Monument Committee member Percy M. "Pete" Lincoln, Jr., VMI Class of 1957.v

Conner, Albert Z., drawings (MS 0293) 
Drawings by Cadet Albert Z. Conner, Class of 1966., including 21 sketches of various VMI scenes and one sketchbook containing illustrations used in the 1966 publication "The VMI Coloring Book"

Yorktown Bicentennial collection (MS 0310) 
Collection of materials concerning the participation of the VMI Corps of Cadets in the Yorktown Bicentennial celebration, October 1981.


Cadet Literary Society Certificates (1842-1874)

Cadet Scrapbooks (popular ca. 1910- early 1930's)  Example

Cadet Autograph Albums  

Cadet Account books  Example
Ledger books issued to cadets listing expenses/items purchased during their cadetships.

Letters of Appointment.   
This collection consists of notices of appointment sent to new cadets at the Virginia Military Institute. Other individual manuscript collections contain examples of this document

Cadet Quarterly Report documents.   
A collection of 19th century quarterly report documents (1849-1897) issued to parents of VMI cadets. Other individual manuscript collections contain examples of this document

Cadet drawing exercises  
A collection of 19th century cadet drawings (approximately 200 items) completed primarily as assignments for Professor Thomas H. Williamson's architecture, engineering, and drawing courses at the Virginia Military Institute. A few of the drawings were completed for a geometry course or were not class assignments.

VMI Music collection  
A collection, (1857-1930) of published music written for or about the Virginia Military Institute during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The earliest is "The VMI March" (1857) by C. M. Stephani. The collection also includes the "VMI Spirit," "The VMI Alma Mater," "The VMI Cadet Waltz" and others.

Cadet Life collection 
A collection of miscellaneous documents from various eras in VMI's history, reflecting the humorous side of cadet life, 19th-early 20th centuries. Other collections may include related documents.


VMI: Forging 21st Century Leaders