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Object Lesson

Telling the history of UVA one piece at a time

This collection of historical objects contains some of the tangible reminders of the University’s past that can be found on, or nearby, Grounds. From a lock of Thomas Jefferson’s hair cut off just after his death in 1826 to the basketball net cut down just after the Cavaliers won the 2014 ACC Tournament, each of these objects has a story to tell.

Objects courtesy of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, the Office of the Architect for the University, the Rotunda, the Eleanor Crowder Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry, the Lorna Sundberg International Center, UVA Athletics, the UVA Alumni Association, the McIntire School, the Leander McCormick Observatory, Monticello, the Virginia Historical Society, Bill Wulf, Paul Mott and Fred Shields

Jefferson’s Telescope
Several family stories tell of Jefferson strolling around Monticello with a spyglass in hand. Historians at Monticello believe that Jefferson used this mahogany-and-silver-plate telescope to watch British soldiers gathering in the streets of Charlottesville in 1781, when he narrowly escaped capture by Tarleton’s dragoons. Historians also believe that Jefferson likely took this instrument along for his walks on the North Terrace of Monticello to view the progress of the building of the University.

Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello

University Mace
The mace, the University’s symbol of power and authority, was presented by the Seven Society on April 13, 1961. The mace is carried in academic processions by the University’s grand marshal. Made by Patek Philippe of Geneva, Switzerland, it bears University scenes and emblems, including pictures of the Rotunda, the serpentine walls, a colonnaded walkway on the Lawn, and the statues of Thomas Jefferson and The Aviator. It is stored in the Special Collections Library, and receives a police escort every time it is removed for an official function.

Silk Handkerchief
Orange and blue were adopted as UVA’s official athletic colors at a mass student meeting in 1888. Previously, the teams had worn silver gray and cardinal red, but the colors did not stand out on muddy football fields, prompting a student movement to change them. Allen Potts, a star athlete on UVA’s first football team in 1888, showed up at the meeting wearing this navy-and orange handkerchief around his neck. He acquired it during a trip to Oxford University, where some students wore large silk handkerchiefs like this one in place of belts. Orange and blue were chosen as the official athletic colors after a student pulled this handkerchief from Potts’ neck, waved it to the crowd and yelled, “How will this do?”

Virginia Historical Society

Knife of “The Honor Men” Poet
Several years after James Hay Jr., the former editor-in-chief of Corks & Curls, graduated, he penned “The Honor Men,” which is given out at Convocation to first-years and expresses, in somewhat purple prose, how UVA emphasizes Honor on Grounds: “if you live a long, long time, and hold honesty of conscience/ above honesty of purse/ … pursue no woman to her tears/ and love the beauty of noble music and mist-veiled mountains and blossoming valleys and great monuments … then … you may say I have worn the honors of Honor. I graduated from Virginia.” It is believed Hay had this knife made in England during his postgraduation sojourn across Europe.

Collection of Paul Mott

Key to the Rotunda
Henry Martin was born enslaved at Monticello and worked as a slave at the University in a boarding house on Carr’s Hill. He later gained his freedom and worked as the University’s janitor and bell ringer from 1847 to 1909. Martin held keys to all of the buildings on Grounds. As he describes in the note below, in June 1895, Martin gave the original key to the Rotunda, which he had carried for 30 years, to Louis S. Greene, who graduated that year. In 1949, Greene’s son gave the key and the original note (below) to University President Colgate Darden.

Bust of John B. Minor
This bust, now displayed in the Law School library, was one of several items students and faculty rescued from the Rotunda as it burned during the infamous fire of October 1895. Minor, a UVA graduate, was one of the most renowned law professors in the nation during his 50-year teaching career at UVA

Hot Foot Crown
Organized in 1902, the Hot Foot Society was a student society on the Grounds. Its king was elected if he could down a gallon of beer from a chamber pot. The group was banned by the University after its members took a collection of stuffed animals that were stored in the basement of Cabell Hall—including a full-size moose—and placed them at the front doors of each professor’s residence on the Lawn. The animals had likely once been displayed at the Brooks Hall natural history museum. After the ban, Hot Foot members formed the IMP Society. This crown is made from a wide tin ring and decorated with seven feet. It is believed to have been first worn by Charles Moran, who took the name C-Ski II on his coronation in 1911.

Jefferson’s Hair
In the 19th century, people often kept a lock of hair from a loved one who had died as a token of remembrance. Nicholas P. Trist, Thomas Jefferson’s private secretary and husband of his granddaughter Virginia Randolph, clipped a lock of Jefferson’s hair shortly after he died on July 4, 1826. The hair came to UVA as part of a collection of Jefferson family documents.

Rotunda Cigar Box
This cigar box, believed to have been sold in the late 1800s, is one of the earliest commercial uses of the Rotunda image known to exist. From the collection of Paul Mott

Whalebone-and-Ivory Walking Stick
At Christmas in 1809, Virginia congressman Joseph Cabell presented this whalebone-and-ivory walking stick to his friend Thomas Jefferson, who had recently retired from the presidency. Both men had graduated from the College of William and Mary, went on to study law and spent time in Europe. Cabell entered the Virginia Senate in 1810 and soon became what Jefferson called the “main pillar of support” for his proposed state education system. Jefferson relied on Cabell to generate support in the Virginia legislature for Albemarle Academy, the school that would become the University of Virginia. Cabell continued to shape the University after Jefferson’s death, first as a member of the Board of Visitors and later as rector.

Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello

Faulkner’s Typewriter and Pipe
William Faulkner was writer-in-residence at the University of Virginia, starting in 1957, and a lecturer and consultant until his death in July 1962. While at the University, Faulkner used this Remington Standard typewriter to write works such as his novel The Mansion.

McGuffey Reader
William Holmes McGuffey, professor of moral philosophy at UVA, is best known as the author of the six McGuffey Readers, which were the most widely used textbooks in the United States in the 19th century. Poet Vachel Lindsay owned this copy, printed in 1879.

A Strip from James McConnell’s Crashed Plane
James McConnell was a popular student at UVA, serving both as king of the Hot Foot Society and editor-in-chief of Corks and Curls. A member of the Seven Society, he left UVA in 1910 and five years later enlisted in the French service to help in the fight against Germany in World War I. He was killed in aerial combat with two German planes in March 1917, the last American pilot to die under French colors before the United States’ official entrance into the war one month later. The Aviator statue of McConnell, which stands in front of Clemons Library, was designed and cast by Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor of Mount Rushmore and Stone Mountain.

Early Tools
In 2010, two early-19th-century tools were discovered in the corner of the attic of student rooms near Hotel F on the East Range by the consulting architect group Mesick, Cohen, Wilson and Baker, which was preparing a historic structure report for that building. The tool on the right was used for transferring angles of serrated roofs and belonged to James Dinsmore, Jefferson’s trusted builder. A native of Ireland and manager at Monticello from 1798 to 1809, Dinsmore created much of the intricate woodwork for the interior of Monticello. Dinsmore also helped build some of the University’s earliest buildings. The tool on the left is a saw handle that bears the Brockenbrough stamp. Arthur Spicer Brockenbrough was the University’s first proctor, and his family owned a hardware store in Richmond. Brockenbrough himself was not a contractor.

Cast of John Powell’s Hand
John Powell was a 1901 graduate who became an acclaimed pianist and composer; this cast of his hand shows he had unusually small hands for a concert pianist. Today Powell’s musical fame is overshadowed by his deep involvement in the eugenics movement. He is credited with almost single-handedly convincing the Virginia General Assembly to pass the notorious “Racial Integrity Act” in 1924, which forbade marriage between whites and “those with a single drop of Negro blood.” The act was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967 in the landmark Loving v. Virginia case.

Rotunda Chemical Furnace
In April 2013, a historic preservation firm discovered a chemical furnace in the Lower East Oval Room of the Rotunda. John Patten Emmet, UVA’s first professor of natural philosophy, wrote in an 1825 letter to Thomas Jefferson that the chemical furnace in Pavilion I “makes my room oppressively hot & myself even more so.” Emmet requested larger facilities for the chemical laboratory and appears to have been granted the use of the two lower oval rooms in the Rotunda. The furnace was apparently bricked over in 1845 and survived the 1895 fire and 1970s renovation of the Rotunda. When it was discovered last April, the furnace was piled with crucibles, stacks of small glass plates and glass tubes that had been heated and twisted in experiments.

Poe’s Library Fines
This ledger from the University’s archives lists Edgar Allan Poe as owing 58 cents for an overdue book he took out four months after enrolling at UVA in 1826. Poe left UVA in December of that year because of money troubles and never paid the fine. The ledger shows that Harry Clemons, the University Librarian, quietly paid the fine more than a century later.

Sidereal Clock
This Parkinson and Frodsham sidereal clock was purchased in London in 1827 for the University. Sidereal clocks, or “star clocks,” measure time based on the Earth’s rate of rotation relative to fixed stars, helping astronomers know where to point their telescopes to view the night sky. From 1827 to 1885, the clock sat in the Rotunda. Students would look through a Rotunda window to read the clock when they were outside working with their telescopes. The clock was moved to McCormick Observatory when it was built in 1885 and has been in nearly continuous operation at UVA since 1827.

Sally Cottrell Cole
There are few images of slaves at the University, but this one of Sally Cole survives. Cole was born enslaved around 1800 and worked at Monticello as a maid to Thomas Jefferson’s granddaughter Ellen Randolph. In 1825, the Jefferson family hired Cole out to UVA’s first professor of mathematics, Thomas Key, whose wife required a nurse and maid. Professor Key abruptly resigned in 1827 to return to England, purportedly because he and his wife could not stomach slavery. Before leaving, he purchased Cole on the condition that she be freed. Virginia law at the time required freed slaves to leave the state within 12 months. Defying that law, she remained, working for another professor, then on her own as a seamstress.

Samuel Miller Chair
This chair belonged to Samuel Miller, who was born into poverty not far from Charlottesville but became a wealthy merchant and tobacco trader. Shortly before his death in 1869, Miller created a trust to launch UVA’s agriculture program, which evolved into the department of biology. He left the majority of his estate to the establishment of the Miller School of Albemarle, one of the nation’s oldest co-educational boarding schools.

Dunglison Chalice
Thomas Jefferson gave this chalice to Robley Dunglison, UVA’s first professor of medicine, shortly before Jefferson’s death in 1826. While Jefferson was circumspect of Colonial-era doctors—he was quoted by Dunglison as saying, “‘It is not to physic that I object, so much as physicians”—the doctor earned enough of Jefferson’s trust to become his personal physician not long after arriving at UVA from England in March 1825.

Consent Form from Walter Reed’s Yellow Fever Experiment
Walter Reed graduated from UVA’s Medical School in 1869 at age 17. In 1900, working in Cuba, he began an experiment to find the cause of yellow fever. Reed convinced a group of U.S. soldiers and Spanish immigrants to sign what is believed to be the first medical consent forms ever used. He promised each participant $100, the equivalent of nearly $3,000 today, and an additional $100 if they contracted yellow fever. Reed put the participants in one of two cabins. In the first, the group wore bedclothes of fever victims, which were covered with dried, black vomit. In the other, participants shared a cabin with mosquitoes known to have bitten diseased people. After several nights, no one sleeping in the soiled clothes was sick, but six out of seven participants in the mosquito cabin had the fever. The cause was clear. His work led to the widespread eradication of the disease.

Wooden Doll
This wooden doll was likely used in the late 19th century to teach Medical School students where the body’s nerves are located. The maddeningly small writing covering the front and back of the doll was hand painted. It was given to the School of Medicine by a grateful patient who once worked at the University.

Nursing Cape
This wool cape, located in UVA’s Eleanor Crowder Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry, was worn by Juanita Easley (Nurs ’44) when she was a student nurse at the UVA Hospital. Nursing students wore these capes whenever they ran across the street in the winter to the hospital from the nurses’ dorm, which was in McKim Hall. Easley, whose initials are on the cape’s collar, went on to work in the University Hospital as the head nurse in the maternity ward. The capes went out of style in the late 1960s. The University began its nursing education program in 1901 and based its structure on Florence Nightingale’s nursing training school in London.

Civil War Trepanning Kit
It is unclear if this kit, which is housed in the School of Medicine’s archives, was used by doctors at the hospital that was established on Grounds during the Civil War. But School of Medicine curator Joan Klein says one like it would have undoubtedly been used by UVA physicians, mostly to control swelling of the brain from head wounds that were sustained in battle. The tools in this kit with the black handles would have been screwed into the head of a patient to remove a piece of skull.

Graduation Invitation
This University graduation invitation from 1892 shows the event by then was quite the affair, lasting at least three days. But it is perhaps most significant for its blue and gold tassels, which, together with some other artifacts that exist from roughly the same time period, suggest that the University’s official blue and orange colors, reportedly adopted in 1888, may not have been as firmly set in stone as is widely believed.

Collection of Paul Mott

Loving Cup
This sterling silver cup from Tiffany & Co. was presented to President Edwin Alderman, the University’s first president, in 1910 by UVA’s faculty “in grateful recognition of his devoted and efficient service to the University of Virginia … and also of his just and sympathetic attitude towards his colleagues.” From about 1915 through the 1960s, there was an annual tradition of the graduating class drinking sips of mint julep from the Alderman loving cup, passing it around in front of the Jefferson statue on the north side of the Rotunda just before Valediction Exercises.

Rouss Hall Floor Joist, Bracket and Nails
Rouss Hall, originally UVA’s physical laboratory, was designed by Stanford White and opened in 1898. It has served as the home of UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce from 1955 to 1975, and from 2007 to the present. This heartwood pine joist is one example of the original framing floor joists that created the structure for Rouss Hall. The wood came from some of America’s early cuttings. The bracket from the wood roof truss system was cast for the original construction in 1896 by P. Duvinage & Co. The three nails provide an early example of penny-type cut nails used at that time. During later renovations of Rouss Hall, these pieces of hardware and timber were saved to provide a remembrance of how Rouss Hall was originally constructed.

William Barton Rogers Cabinet
Family history maintains that this cabinet belonged to William Barton Rogers, a professor of natural philosophy at the University between 1835 and 1853. Rogers went on to found the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Rogers taught geology in the Lower East Oval Room of the Rotunda, and likely used the cabinet to store mineral specimens for teaching purposes. The cabinet’s doors, moldings and graining are similar to carpentry in the Academical Village at the time. Preservationists say it may be the only original piece of furniture from the Rotunda that exists.

UVA Track Medal
This medal, awarded at a meet between UVA and Johns Hopkins in 1910, is most significant for the symbol of a phoenix in its center. Some collectors of University memorabilia believe the bird—a symbol of renewal, rising from its own ashes—became the University’s icon for several decades following the Rotunda fire in 1895. Paul Mott (Col ’82) has several UVA items from the era adorned with the same phoenix.

Collection of Paul Mott

Bust of Lafayette
A gift to the University from France in 1904 to commemorate the friendship between Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette, this Sèvres porcelain bust of Lafayette is a copy of the original created by famed French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon. The bust’s location in the Rotunda is fitting. In November 1824, Lafayette was the guest of honor at a Dome Room banquet attended by dignitaries including Jefferson and James Madison. “I found [Jefferson] … bearing marvelously well under his eighty one years of age, in full possession of all the vigor of his mind and heart which he has consecrated to the building of a good and fine university,” Lafayette wrote in a description of his visit.

Album of the University of Virginia
Before the Corks and Curls yearbook was first published in 1888, students could purchase an ornate, gold leaf autograph book like this one from 1859. It was produced by Sachse & Bohn, a printing company that also made a popular colored lithograph of the University, copies of which are still sold today.

Collection of Paul Mott

Garrett Hall Ceiling
This ornate ceiling hangs above the “Great Hall” in Garrett Hall, which was built in 1909 and designed by McKim Mead & White, the architectural firm that designed the rebuilt Rotunda after the 1895 fire and Old Cabell, Cocke and Rouss halls. Known originally as the Commons, the building housed a large student dining room until the University’s main dining facility was moved to Newcomb Hall in 1958. Renovated in 1959 to accommodate the bursar’s office, it was renamed for Alexander Garrett, UVA’s first bursar. Now the home of the Batten School, Garrett’s most recent renovation included the preservation of this original ceiling—made of plaster of Paris on a burlap backing and suspended from the rafters by burlap straps.

The Cracker Box
A small, two-story building at the rear of Hotel F and at the foot of Pavilion Garden X, the Cracker Box is currently used as graduate student housing. The Cracker Box, built some time between 1826 and 1840, is one of only a few remaining service buildings associated with the Academical Village. The building originally served as a kitchen and cook’s quarters for the East Range hotels. University officials believe that slaves either worked or were housed in this building.

Bowie Kuhn’s Student ID Card
This identification card once belonged to Bowie Kuhn, who graduated from UVA’s Law School in 1950 and went on to become the commissioner of Major League Baseball. During his tenure from 1969 to 1984, baseball attendance and revenue grew dramatically. Kuhn conceived the idea to broadcast World Series games at night, which caused television ratings to skyrocket. But he also presided over bitter disputes with owners and players, including Curt Flood’s failed attempt to end the league’s reserve clause, which bound a player to a team unless it traded or released him. While Kuhn and baseball owners won that suit, players a few years later earned the right to free agency. Kuhn died in 2007.

Collection of Paul Mott

Mama Rotunda’s Outfit
Mary Hall Betts, known as “Mama Rotunda,” served as the Rotunda hostess for nearly 25 years, starting in 1958. On various occasions at the Rotunda, she would wear this hand-painted muslin dress with the south elevation of the Rotunda on one side and the Jefferson statue in front of the north side of the Rotunda on the other. The outfit was complete with a derby hat, altered to resemble the Rotunda.

Everard Meade’s Cannon
In 1955, as the first cohort of Darden School of Business students sat listening to opening day remarks of Henry McWane, a member of the Board of Visitors, they were jolted by a loud blast from a second-floor window of Monroe Hall. Professor Everard Meade had shot off this small, 2-foot cannon from his office window. Meade hadn’t informed anyone of his plans, but he meant the blast to symbolize the rigor and dynamism of the program students would find themselves immersed in during the next two years. Meade was a producer and writer for the radio shows of Jack Benny, George Burns and Gracie Allen, and Fred Astaire, and had a successful advertising career before he taught. After Meade died in 2000, Darden named its annual award for creative leadership in his honor.

First Women’s NCAA Championship
The UVA women’s intercollegiate athletics program grew rapidly after the University became fully coeducational in 1970. In 1973, tennis, field hockey and basketball were the first teams to compete on a varsity level. The 1981 women’s cross-country team won this NCAA Championship trophy, marking the first national title for a women’s team at UVA The team would repeat as NCAA champions in 1982, the second of a total of seven national championships won by Virginia women’s teams—women’s lacrosse has won three and crew has won two.

Control Panel from UVA’s First Computer
The University bought its first computer, a Burroughs 205, in 1960, and installed it in the basement of the physics building. It took up a full room, had to be carefully air conditioned and needed two hours of engineering work each day to maintain. The Burroughs 205 was used solely for scientific computing. In 1964, the University purchased its second computer, a Burroughs 5000. Professor Emeritus Bill Wulf (Engr ’68), who received UVA’s first Ph.D. in computer science, recalls the end of the Burroughs 205: “My dissertation adviser, Alan Batson, declared we would have a ‘bring your own screwdriver’ party. We took the machine apart.” Wulf ended up with the computer’s control panel, and it has been in his possession for nearly 50 years.

Coffee Carafe
Former Darden School of Business Dean Charles Abbott initiated the idea of a coffee break in 1955 during the school’s first year of existence. He saw it as an opportunity for students to meet faculty on an informal basis with questions about academics or job searches. The tradition, now called “first coffee,” continues to this day, illustrating Darden’s commitment to communal learning and close interaction among faculty, staff and students. This carafe was given to the Darden School by the Class of 1958.

Coeducation Lawsuit
In early 1969, the Board of Visitors voted to gradually provide greater access for women to all parts of the University. The University proposed increasing the number of female students over 10 years and capping their number at 35 percent. Mere months later, four women—Jo Anne Kirstein, Virginia Anne Scott, Nancy L. Anderson and Nancy Jaffe—represented by American Civil Liberties Union lawyers Philip Hirschkop and John Lowe (Law ’67), brought a lawsuit against the University. The plaintiffs claimed that the University “severely discriminates against women in their admissions policies” and petitioned for the College to admit women. The court mandated full coeducation within three years. In September 1970, 450 undergraduate women, 350 of whom were first-years, entered the College.

International Center Egyptian Plate
Mohamed Arafa (Grad ’86) gave this commemorative plate to UVA’s International Center in 1988 when he and his wife came back to Grounds and stayed at the center as guests. Arafa, a native of Egypt, had this plate specially made for the center, and it still hangs in the center’s foyer today. The International Center, located on University Circle, was founded in 1972 with help from UVA’s foreign student adviser Lucy Hale, and quickly became an important educational, cultural and social center for international students and visitors to the University. The center is now named for Lorna Sundberg, who worked as its program coordinator for decades.

Walter Ridley Scrapbook
This scrapbook, housed in UVA’s Special Collections Library, contains photos and articles about the life of Walter Ridley. Ridley, who received a Ph.D. in Education in 1953, was the first African American to graduate from UVA and the first to receive a doctoral degree from a Southern state university. This page from the scrapbook contains a photo of Ridley walking the Lawn in 1953, as well as copies of international newspaper clippings about Ridley’s achievement. The Alumni Association administers a merit-based scholarship program for African-American students named in Ridley’s honor, which was established in 1987.

Edgar Shannon’s Blue-and-Orange Phone
Telephone manufacturer Stromberg-Carlson presented Virginia’s two-millionth telephone to UVA President Edgar F. Shannon in 1967. He used the phone in his office during his tenure as president until he stepped down in 1974.

Newcomb’s Tea Service
This tea service was owned by John Lloyd Newcomb, who served as the University’s second president from 1931 to 1947. Newcomb led the University through the Great Depression and World War II, when finances and enrollment shrank significantly. In 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt family’s visited their son, Franklin Jr., who was in his second year of law school at UVA and had tea with President Newcomb and his wife, Grace.

Ed Roseberry’s Ciro-flex Camera
Charlottesville photographer Ed “Flash” Roseberry (Com ’49) purchased this twin-lens, synchronized-shutter Model F Ciro-flex in 1946 for $123 at a camera shop on East Main Street in downtown Charlottesville. This was shortly after he’d returned from his years of service in World War II and resumed his studies at the University of Virginia. The Ciro-flex offered the latest technology with a synchronized flash. Roseberry made great use of this camera to capture some of his iconic images of UVA concerts, fraternity parties, athletic events, and Easters.

Carroll’s Tea Room Menu
Carroll’s Tea Room was a popular eatery and watering hole frequented by UVA students, especially on big dance and party weekends. It was located just north of Grounds, where the Bank of America in Barracks Road Shopping Center stands today. Carroll Walton, the owner, created the iconic slogan on the establishment’s sign out front: “No Carroll’s, No Tea, No Room.” In the summer of 1957, in preparation for the development of Barracks Road Shopping Center, Carroll’s was lifted up and moved up Route 29 near Rio Road. The structure was later demolished.

Collection of Fred Shields (Col ’62)

Parachute Wedding Dress
During World War II, the U.S. government created medical units from teams of doctors and nurses working in hospitals. UVA’s was named the 8th Evacuation Hospital, which was stationed in Africa and then Italy. On May 26, 1945—the same month the war ended in Europe—a nurse in that unit, 1st Lt. Hilda Franklin, married Capt. Richard P. Bell, with whom she served. This dress was made from a silk parachute. While it is not known whose idea it was or who sewed it, School of Medicine curator Joan Klein says the bride likely wore several layers underneath: the silk is quite sheer.

Abercrombie & Fitch Catalog
In the spring of 1997, renowned fashion photographer Bruce Weber auditioned and shot photos of UVA students on Grounds for Abercrombie & Fitch’s inaugural quarterly catalog. Weber’s hallmark style of semi-nudity and overt sexuality caused an uproar throughout the country when the catalog began hitting mailboxes in the fall of 1997.

UVA Barbie
In his role as Special Collections librarian, Edward Gaynor stood in line at the Charlottesville Toys R Us in 1997— amid a group of young mothers with strollers—to purchase this Barbie doll outfitted as a UVA cheerleader. Special Collections acquires items such as this to document how UVA is portrayed in popular culture.

The Last Easters T-Shirt
Easters began in the late 19th century as formal dances held the week following Easter Sunday. By the 1970s, the celebration had devolved into a muddy drinkfest held in Mad Bowl. In its later years, the winner of a student art contest would have his or her design printed on t-shirts commemorating what Playboy called “the best party in America.” In 1982, the party was over when University officials banned the increasingly chaotic event.

Peach Bowl Coke Bottles
In his third season as Virginia’s head football coach, Coach George Welsh led the Cavaliers to the Peach Bowl, their first postseason bowl game in school history. After coming back from a 10-point halftime deficit, UVA defeated Purdue 27-24, finishing the season 8-2-2. During Welsh’s 19 years at Virginia, he became the winningest coach in school history, leading UVA to 12 bowl games and a pair of ACC Championships. Before his arrival, Virginia had enjoyed only two winning seasons in the previous 29 years.

Shoe from Sullivan Controversy
During the controversial firing and rehiring of current UVA President Teresa Sullivan in 2012, her office received numerous letters of support. None was more unusual than this red shoe, sent by the Reverends Mary and Milton Cole from Des Moines, Iowa. Postage was placed on the insole and the shoe mailed without any packaging on July 2, 2012. The note reads: “Dear Dr. Sullivan – If only we could click our Red Ruby slippers together and make our way to Charlottesville we would!!! We would congratulate you on your continued tenure @ UVA. You are a class act! One we wish we knew! Peace.”

Bice Device
Psychology professor Ray Bice taught at the University from 1948 to 1991. An inventor and self-described tinkerer, Bice developed a device for every lecture in his “Bice Psych” course because he believed “a demonstration is worth a thousand words.” One of the best-known Bice Devices, the electronic pseudophone, demonstrates how the brain localizes sound by altering the location from which noise seems to originate. “It’s what would happen if you could place your right ear on the left side of your head.” Bice died in 2011.

ACC Basketball Tournament Net
After winning the 2013-14 regular-season men’s basketball ACC title, Virginia defeated Florida State, Pittsburgh and Duke to win its first ACC Championship since 1976, when Coach Terry Holland and tournament MVP Wally Walker knocked off three ranked opponents in the Capital Centre in Landover, Md., to capture the title. Thirty-eight years after the “Miracle in Landover,” the Cavaliers—led by Coach Tony Bennett and All-ACC Tournament first-team members Malcolm Brogdon and tournament MVP Joe Harris—cut down this net in the Greensboro Coliseum March 16.

University Historian
If you stop Alexander “Sandy” Gilliam (Col ’55) on the street and give the University’s protocol and history officer a pop quiz on almost any aspect of UVA’s history, not only will he give you the answer but he’ll likely share some twist on the subject that you never knew. “I’ve just always been interested in the history of the University,” Gilliam says. Part of the reason is that his family has ties to the University that go back to 1829. Gilliam, 81, who began working for UVA nearly 40 years ago, officially retires in June. His career includes stints as an aide to three UVA presidents and secretary to the Board of Visitors. He says one of his first challenges in retirement will be getting his wife used the idea of him being around the house more. “I expect we will have to negotiate boundaries,” he says, smiling.

A Rare Finder
Paul Mott (Col ’82) began collecting UVA historical objects a few years after graduation. “You become shocked that some of this stuff is publicly available,” Mott says. “You see these amazing objects and say, ‘This really belongs in a museum.’ And that turns you on to see what else you can find.” A former top executive for Fisher Auto Parts, Mott now owns the Ruckersville Gallery, a popular antique mall north of Charlottesville on Route 29. His assortment of UVA items is considered by some collectors to be perhaps the finest that exists outside the University. In addition a number of rare UVA photographs he owns, his collection includes two of the original 20 copies of an 1856 Sachse and Bohn lithograph of the Lawn, reproductions of which are still widely sold. Mott says his four are in better shape than what the Library of Congress has. “I still get chills when I see some of these things,” he says. “Who wouldn’t? Even if you didn’t graduate from UVA, the history of the place has so many threads, some of these items are relevant to American history, not just UVA”