The Friends of Preston Library will host its Fall Program on Tuesday, 27 October at 3:00 p.m. in the Turman Room, Preston Library. Our guest speaker will be Col. Turk McCleskey, who will give a talk based upon his recently published book, The Road to Black Ned’s Forge: A Story of Race, Sex, and Trade on the Colonial American Frontier.
Turk McCleskey has written a revealing account of Ned Tarr, an enslaved Pennsylvania ironworker who purchased his freedom in 1752 and moved to Virginia on the upper James River. He was the first free black landowner west of the Blue Ridge. He established a blacksmith shop, helped found a Presbyterian congregation, and married a white, Scottish woman. Later, another white woman joined the household. Tarr’s unconventional life became more complicated with the arrival of the son of his former owner, who tried to reenslave him. This remarkable, true story provides insight into the complexities of race relations in early America.
Col. McCleskey is a professor of history at VMI. His well-received book tells a fascinating and unlikely story of frontier life.
“With keen insight and thorough research Turk McCleskey vividly recovers the frontier world of Black Ned. Bold, proud, and clever, Black Ned lived at a crossroads in time and place. On Virginia’s colonial frontier, a forceful black man could prosper as a blacksmith, defend his freedom in court, and marry a white woman. But that defiance eventually provoked resentments that, during the next generation, would close loopholes in the system of racial slavery, gaps that Ned had exploited so resourcefully. McCleskey has worked wonders in recovering and telling Ned’s powerful story.”—Alan Taylor, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, University of Virginia.
Please join us for a stimulating, educational, and engaging program by Col. McCleskey. Refreshments will be served and books will be available for sale and signature by the author.
Gen. Peay and Ms. Wells display her award.
VMI recognized Ms. Cathy Wells for outstanding service in its 2015 Institute Awards ceremony on May 14, 2015 in Cameron Hall. Ms. Wells has worked in the Media Services department in Preston Library for almost 30 years. She was recognized for her many outstanding contributions to cadets and faculty in helping them use media and technology effectively.
Cadet Patrick Finn with Mr. Bob Camper and Friends’ Chairman, Lt. Col. Eric Osborne
The Friends of Preston Library awarded Cadet Patrick Finn, ’15 with this year’s Camper Award in the Periodicals Room of Preston Library on 30 April. Friends’ Chairman Lt. Col. Eric Osborne, Col. Don Samdahl, members of the Friends’ Board, library staff, and Mrs. Camper’s son, Bob, recognized Mr. Finn for his leadership and service to Preston Library. Mr. Finn served this past year as as the Head Library Cadet Assistant.
The award’s namesake, Mrs. Frances Camper, was a great teacher and role model for library cadet assistants. Cadet Finn received a letter of recognition, a certificate, and a cash award. Cadet Finn is a Civil and Environmental Engineering major who will commission in the United States Air Force. He will enter flight school following commissioning. We wish all the best to this outstanding cadet.
Congratulations Cadet Pillow!
Congratulations to Cadet Cody Pillow, ’15, for winning $150 in this year’s Preston Library Cadet Library Survey drawing. We thank all cadets who participated in the survey. Cadet input provides us with valuable information about how we can improve library resources, services, and facilities. The results of the survey can be viewed here.
Many thanks to faculty and cadets who participated in our library surveys. Your comments provide helpful information about our resources, services, and facility in order that we may serve you better. The survey results are available at the below links.
Preston Library Cadet Survey 2015
Preston Library Faculty Survey 2015
Crucible of Command
by William C. Davis
The Friends of Preston Library will host its Spring Program on Tuesday, 24 February at 3:00 p.m. in the Turman Room, Preston Library. Our guest speaker will be Dr. William C. Davis, who will give a talk based upon his recently published book, Crucible of Command: Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee–The War They Fought, the Peace They Forged.
Exploring their personalities, characters, ethical and moral compasses, and political and military worlds, William C. Davis, uses substantial, newly discovered evidence on both men to find surprising similarities between them, as well as new insights and unique interpretations on how their lives prepared them for the war they fought and influenced how they fought it.
Crucible of Command is both a gripping narrative of the final year of the war and a fresh, revealing portrait of these two great commanders as they took each other’s measure across the battlefield with the aid of millions of men.
Dr. Davis is one of the nation’s preeminent historians and teaches at Virginia Tech. He has been twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and is the only three-time winner of the Jefferson Davis Prize for Confederate history. He was also awarded the Jules F. Landry Award for Southern history.
“This refreshingly new comparative study rises above overworked analyses of strategy and tactics and concentrates on character and personality. For those who like their history human, here is the starting point for an accurate understanding of what Lee and Grant meant—to each other as well as to the nation they molded.”—James I. Robertson, Jr., author of Stonewall Jackson.
Please join us for a stimulating, educational, and engaging program by Dr. Davis on Generals Lee and Grant. Refreshments will be served and books will be available for sale and signature by the author.
Holiday Greetings from Preston Library!
The staff of Preston Library wish cadets, faculty, and staff Happy Holidays. We will close, Friday, December 19 at 1630 and reopen, January 5, at 0800.
Rebel Yell by S. C. Gwynne
The Friends of Preston Library hosted its Fall Program on Thursday, 13 November at 3 p.m. in the Turman Room, Preston Library. Our guest speaker was Mr. S. C. Gwynne, who gave a talk based upon his recently published and best-selling book, Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson. The book has received outstanding reviews. For example, Peter Cozzens, author of Shenandoah 1862: Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign wrote, “Rebel Yell is the best biography of Stonewall Jackson I have ever read. . . . A magnificent achievement, Rebel Yell represents a milestone in Civil War literature.”
Stonewall Jackson has long been a figure of legend and romance. As much as any person in the confederate pantheon, even Robert E. Lee, he embodies the romantic Southern notion of the virtuous lost cause. Jackson is also considered, without argument, one of our country’s greatest military figures. His brilliance at the art of war tied Abraham Lincoln and the Union high command in knots and threatened the ultimate success of the Union armies. Jackson’s strategic innovations shattered the conventional wisdom of how war was waged; he was so far ahead of his time that his techniques would be studied generations into the future.
S. C. Gwynne
Mr. Gwynne wrote, “The book is the result of a lifelong interest in the Civil War and particularly in Jackson, whom I consider one of its most compelling characters. The book is really about transformation: how an unpopular and highly eccentric college physics professor becomes, in the space of fourteen months, the most famous military figure in the western world. I have made a series of research trips to various archives and battlefields. It’s title comes from the fact that Jackson invented the Rebel Yell, a pretty impressive thing to put on your resume.”
Mr. Gwynne spoke to a group of about 90 persons and presented a stimulating, educational, and engaging media presentation on Jackson–which included the “Rebel Yell.” The author answered questions following the talk and signed his book Rebel Yell.
Lt. Col. Eric Osborne, Cadet Megan Scheetz, Col. Don Samdahl, Mr. Bob Camper
The Friends of Preston Library awarded Cadet Megan Scheetz with this year’s Camper Award. Friend’s Chairman Col. Eric Osborne, Col. Don Samdahl, library staff, and Mrs. Camper’s son, Bob, joined by family members recognized Ms. Scheetz for her leadership and service to Preston Library. Cadet Scheetz worked in Preston Library’s circulation services department and served the past year as the Head Library Cadet Assistant.
The award’s namesake, Mrs. Frances Camper was a great teacher and role model for library cadet assistants. Cadet Scheetz received a letter of recognition, a certificate, and a cash award. Cadet Scheetz plans to go to China to teach English following graduation. We wish all the best to this outstanding cadet.
Cadet Yousuf Malik, ’17 receives $150
Congratulations to Cadet Yousuf Malik, ’17, for winning $150 in this year’s Preston Library Cadet Library Survey drawing. The survey was available to cadets from Monday, March 24 until CAD on Friday, March 28. We had good participation from the Corps (350 cadets) and representation from each class was equally distributed. We thank all of the cadets who use Preston Library and for participating in the survey. Cadet input is a valuable resource which we use to improve library resources, services, and facilities. Survey results can be viewed here.