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William Thornton Owen Papers

Identifier: WLU-Coll-0673

Content Description

The William Thornton Owen Papers consists of a three page letter written by Owen to his father, Robert E. Owen, dated September 24, 1855 on his experiences as a new student at Washington College in Lexington, Virginia. The letter initially details his trip to the school from his home in Halifax County, Virginia, via Richmond, Waynesboro, Staunton, then Lexington, Va. by rail and stage. Also included is Owen's autograph album dated February 29, 1856 which is prolifically inscribed by friends and classmates at Washington College. Inscriptions are comprised of poetry, well wishes, memories, and satire. The album includes a memorial to student William George Booker, of Richmond, Va., who died while at Washington College in May 1856. In his description of college life, he is critical of both the college and its president, George Junkin. The autograph album includes a playful poem about Junkin. Rounding out the collection are three books inscribed by Owen and others - two while at Washington College - volume one of a two volume history of Scotland, 1833, and an undated pocket sized book titled “Come to Jesus,” and the third book is “The Works of Lord Byron,” 1831, signed by Owen, his father, and a brother.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1855 - 1856

Language of Materials

Material is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for 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.


.5 Linear Feet

Condition Description


Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

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

204 W. Washington St.
Lexington VA 24450 USA