This year’s Charter Day marked the 325th anniversary of the founding of The College of William & Mary by William III and Mary II, the first and (to date) only joint-monarchs in British history. An exhibition in the lobby at Swem Library brings the focus to William and Mary – the people, not the university.
On February 8, 1693, the Royal Charter establishing the College of William & Mary in Virginia was written. William & Mary President James Blair brought both English and Latin versions of the twelve page document with him from the Court of William & Mary at Kensington Palace. The original copy of the charter establishing the College was lost about the time of the American Revolution.
In my everlasting search for materials relating to African Americans in Special Collections, I was pointed to the 1921 edition of the Colonial Echo. Within its worn cover, there is a single page spread entitled “The Dark Side of College Life.” These are the only words. The rest of the page is filled with several black and white photographs of exactly what one might expect – black employees of the College.
In 2000, the presidential election pitted Vice-President Al Gore against George W. Bush in a contentious and mudslinging campaign season. Issues at the forefront of the campaign focused primarily on domestic topics, such as Medicare and Social Security reform, foreign policy, and taxes.
The records of the Office of the Bursar contain an array of financial information dating back to the 18th century. One of the more interesting aspects of these records that has recently come to light pertains to William and Mary's involvement in the slave trade. Many of the documents contain references to enslaved people who were held by the university as well as payments to slaveholders for the hire of their slaves.
The Bursar's Records contain accounting and financial information for the College of William and Mary dating back to the mid 1700s. Unfortunately, some of these records have been lost due to fires and other events. However, the surviving records contain a wide variety of information that illuminate different aspects of life in early Virginia.
The records of the Office of the Bursar contain a wide array of financial information dating back to the 18th century. Recently, these records have provided additional information about the College of William & Mary's involvement in slavery and the slave trade. Many of the documents contain references to enslaved people who were held by the College, as well as payments to slaveholders for hiring enslaved people.
The records of the Office of the Bursar are some of the earliest and most comprehensive records of the College of William and Mary, some from the 18th century survive to the present day! The accounts document the financial interactions of the College of William & Mary and its personnel in the 18th-19th centuries.