Scope and Contents
Records of the Pulaski Club of Williamsburg, a men's social club, named in honor of Count Pulaski of American Revolutionary War fame. Includes minutes, correspondence, photographs, poetry, stationery and clippings. Two letters by John D. Rockefeller are included.
Language of Materials
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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.
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In about 1777, a group of Virginians began meeting as a social club at the Raleigh Tavern in Williamsburg, Virgina. General George Washington mentions the Williamsburg club in some of his letters, and tradition holds that in 1779, the members accepted the General's recommendation to venerate the memory of Casimir Pulaski and name their group in his honor as a tribute to Pulaski's valiant service and personal sacrifice in the cause of American freedom.
Herbert L. Ganter, for years archivist at the College of William and Mary, and Dr. Henry E. Davis of Eastern State Hospital, club members, spent hours in the early 1960s researching the club. Based on the information they collected, including published accounts and the club's surviving minutes, it appears that the organization lapsed sometime during or after the "Late Unpleasantness of 1861-1865." It reappeared in the guise of a college club sometime between 1870 and 1875, when Henry Dennison "Den" Cole of Williamsburg was a student.
Cole, evidently, carried the club from the college to his family-operated business-the Cole Shop-on Duke of Gloucester Street. Gradually the group comprised businessmen of the town and college professors, many of them prominent citizens. As the years went by, it was not unusual for members to be found at the Cole Shop sitting around a wood stove in the back room.
The club has records that go back over 100 years. It is probable that any older records were lost or destroyed during the "Late Unpleasantness" of 1861-1865.
2.80 Linear Feet