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O.W. Riegel Papers

Identifier: WLU-Coll-0387

Scope and Contents

Highlights of this collection include material concerning the Washington and Lee Journalism Department, including course material, student papers, and lecture notes. Supplementing this course material are published materials on the history of film, 20th century war propaganda, the Nazification of Germany, Paris in the 1920's and the "Lost Generation." There also includes wide selections of personal research materials for projects such as Riegel's books Mobilizing for Chaos and Crown of Glory; collections on Riegel's travels to Central and South America and Europe including Germany during the 1930s, and the typescript of his unpublished autobigraphy to 1945 titled "Hacking It."


  • Creation: 1900 - 1992


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to research use.

Conditions Governing Use

The materials from Washington and Lee University Special Collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user assumes full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used should be fully credited with the source. Permission for publication of this material, in part or in full, must be secured with the Head of Special Collections.

Biographical / Historical

Oscar Wetherhold Riegel, also known as Tom, was born in Reading, PA in 1903. Riegel's professional career began as a reporter and editor for the Chicago Tribune in the 1920s. He then shifted his focus to the information gathering and application, attaining a Bachelor's degree in the field from Dartmouth College and later attending Washington and Lee University.

Riegel became an internationally-known expert on the topic of propaganda in the 1930s after extensive studies of its importance in modern politics. His monograph, Mobilizing for Chaos: The Story of the New Propaganda, was published in 1934 and focused on the role propaganda was playing in the rise of National Socialism in Germany. In his studies he amassed an extensive collection of American, European, and Asian propaganda spanning World War I through the Cold War. Aspects of his compilation of propaganda studies are included within this collection. Riegel joined the Washington and Lee University Journalism Department in 1930 and was named department head in 1934. He served as department head until his retirement in 1973. During his tenure with the university, he taught various courses on film, journalism, propaganda, and information application. He passed away in 1997 in Lexington, VA.


75 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Washington and Lee University, University Library Special Collections and Archives Repository

204 W. Washington St.
Lexington VA 24450 USA