About Us

Welcome to The Spinning Wheel, a blog about all things related to Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Mary Washington. We write about interesting archival finds, new digitization projects, exciting events, and much more.

Founded in 1908 and named for the mother of our country’s founding father, UMW has a rich history of traditions. The institution began as Fredericksburg’s State Normal and Industrial School for Women, and from 1944 to 1972 the school functioned as the women’s college of the University of Virginia. Shortly after Mary Washington became coed in the early 1970s, it was reorganized as an independent college, and in 2004 the General Assembly of Virginia renamed the institution as the University of Mary Washington.


Mirroring these institutional changes, the school’s official seal has changed from its original version to what it is today. The name of this blog is a nod to the original seal, which featured a spinning wheel as an homage to the domestic arts that were taught to the all-female student body.

To learn more about the history of UMW and Simpson Library’s Special Collections and University Archives department, please visit our website.

About the Authors

Carolyn Parsons is the Head of Special Collections and University Archives at UMW Libraries

Angie White is the Digital Resources Librarian for UMW Libraries

Sarah Appleby is the Cataloging and Processing Assistant for UMW Libraries