Sweet Briar College – The Campus History Series
On October 29, 1900, Indiana Fletcher Williams died, leaving her 8,000-acre plantation estate and almost $1 million to create the Sweet Briar Institute. Later renamed Sweet Briar College, it was founded by Williams to honor her daughter, Maria Georgiana “Daisy” Williams, who died tragically in 1884 at age 16. For over a century, Sweet Briar has recruited dedicated faculty and staff to teach exceptional students. The school’s award-winning lands include old-growth forests, rare arboreal and floral species, scenic hiking and riding trails, and two lakes. Complementing these natural resources are beautiful campus buildings, many of which are listed in national and state historic registers. Each of these features is rare for a college campus; taken together, they compose the rich physical and community heritage of a historic college that celebrates its 115th birthday in 2016.
About Lynn Rainville (Chicago, Illinois Author)
Lynn Rainville is a research professor and the founding director of the Tusculum Institute for local history, located at Sweet Briar College. Although her PhD is in Near Eastern archaeology, she has spent the last two decades studying historic American cemeteries, segregated schools, enslaved communities, poor farms, and ancient Assyrian households. She has synthesized this research through online databases, crowd-sourced inventories, and dozens of publications (compiled at lynnrainville.org). She is the author of several books, including Hidden History: African American Cemeteries in Central Virginia (University of Virginia Press, 2014), Virginians in the Great War: One State’s Role in Mobilizing for, Fighting, and Commemorating World War I (McFarland Press, 2018), and Invisible Founders: Two Centuries of African American Labor at Sweet Briar (Berghahn Press, Forthcoming 2018). Her research has been supported by numerous foundations including the NSF, NEH, Wenner-Gren, Mellon, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.
About Lisa Johnston (Co-Author)
Lisa Johnston was a senior librarian at Sweet Briar College for many years.