Last weekend, UMW saw another successful Reunion Weekend take place. This year, we celebrated alums from years ending in 3 or 8, although all are always welcome! And as Special Collections & University Archives is a department of all alums, this is an especially fun weekend!
Each year during this exciting event, Special Collections sets up in the middle of the action to conduct our History Harvest. During this time, members of our staff and volunteers are available to take physical donations for the archives, digitize materials to add to our digital collections, and provide answers to any questions related to our collections or Mary Washington history. We also had a pop-up exhibit of a few artifacts from our permanent collection, including beanies and vintage copies of The Bullet (now Blue & Gray Press).
Our visiting alums were really in the spirit! Staff enjoyed speaking with the various visitors to our table about their unique memories from their time at Mary Washington. Many alums gleefully thumbed through pages of past issues of The Battlefield yearbook, searching for old friends and professors, and telling great stories along the way.
Alumni also gifted some wonderful gems to our collections this year. One alumna donated her diploma, excitedly pointing out that she was handing it to me exactly 50 years to the day after it was awarded: June 2, 1968. Another alum donated a fork that somehow found its way out of Seacobeck a few decades ago.
We also received a new beanie for our collection, complete with the student’s original name tag and a copy of “Mouse Week Rules” from September 1969. These are rules for how and when freshmen must wear their beanies, and the punishments for infractions. A freshman found without a beanie might be subject to “sing and dance to entertain sophomores and upperclassmen.”
Other gifts included a lovely framed print of some of the college’s buildings, a collection of campus handbooks and other publications from the late 60s, and a signed copy of a Dean Edward Alvey book.
In addition, this year, Special Collections & Archives stars Carolyn Parsons and Angie White co-taught a session for the Alumni College. About 35 attendees were present in the Digital Auditorium to hear about the fascinating history of our rare books, archives, and digital collections, and to learn some very useful preservation tips for both physical and digital materials.
If you’re an alum who’s wondering about how to make a donation, or if you’d like to know more about the topics covered in the Alumni College class, please let us know! Our staff is always happy to help.