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Philomathean Literary Society Records

Identifier: UA 7.004

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

This collection contains minutes, constitutions and by-laws, official correspondence, treasurer's books, financial records, library records, and copies of the society's literary magazine.


  • Creation: 1874-1938


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

The collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use:

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Historical Note:

Among the oldest records of student organizations are those from the various literary societies, of which William and Mary had several. These societies, which were popular all over the country in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, sought to train their members in public speaking by sponsoring debates and dramatic readings. Some also assigned their members to write essays, which were then critiqued. While the Archives does not have a complete set of records from all of the literary societies, substantial quantities of these records do exist, including nineteenth and twentieth- century minute books, constitutions, by-laws, membership lists, and treasurer's books. Because they flourished at a time when college libraries were all but closed to undergraduate students, a number of literary societies had their own libraries. Archives has the library accession book for the Philomathean Literary Society. The Phoenix and Philomathean Societies, although not the oldest groups, were the longest lived and therefore more material exists for them. Further information about this individual or organization may be available in the Special Collections Research Center Wiki: .


1.20 Linear Feet

Acquisition Information:

Various items were transferred to the University Archives from Manuscripts on 07/28/1982 as Acc. 1982.046 including: the constitution Mss. Acc. 1930-106, a gift received from B.D. Peachy on 1/14/1937; Philomathean magazine Mss. Acc. 1937-36, a gift of B.D. Peachy received on 2/26/1937; minute book Mss. Acc. 1937-107, a gift of B.D. Peachy received on 1/14/1937; minute book, 1905-1910 Mss. Acc. 1933-11, a gift of Dr. N.T. Hodges received on 2/22/1933. An additional accession was received on 08/30/1984.

Related Materials:

Jackson, Phoenix, and Philomathean Literary Societies Records (UA 7.023); Phoenix Literary Society Records (UA 7.005); University Archives Artifact Collection (UA 13)

Guide to the Philomathean Literary Society Records
Finding Aid Authors: Special Collections Staff.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
The collection description/finding aid is written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository