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John Garland Pollard Papers

Identifier: Mss. 70 P76

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

Letters, clippings, manuscript volumes, business papers, pamphlets, genealogical material, family papers, reports, memos, campaign literature, photographs of John G. Pollard (1871-1937), lawyer, educator, statesman, humanitarian, and governor of Virginia, 1930-1934. Prominent correspondents include Henry Watkins Anderson, Lady Astor, Frederic W. Boatwright, David K. E. Bruce, John Stewart Bryan, William Jennings Bryan, Harry F. Byrd, James Cannon, J. A. C. Chandler, Calvin Coolidge, Westmoreland Davis, Jessie Ball Dupont, Carter Glass, John D. Rockefeller, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, Claude A. Swanson, Lyon G. Tyler, Alexander W. Weddell, and Woodrow Wilson.

Series 3 contains the correspondence and papers of John Garland Pollard related to his career at the College of William and Mary. Box 4, Folder 98 contains plot plans for Pollard Park and Chandler Court in Williamsburg, Va.


  • Creation: 1683-1968
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1856-1937


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

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.

Biographical Information:

In 1930, John Garland Pollard, a professor at the College of William and Mary was elected governor of the commonwealth of Virginia. A progressive Democrat interested in reform, his administration as governor was marred by dealing with the country's worst economic crisis. From King and Queen County, Va. he combined a strong sense of public service with a firm belief in the separation of church and state and a whimsical sense of humor. Trained in law, he was elected to the Constitutional Convention of 1901 where he made his mark by opposing in the revised constitution, the use of phrase describing Virginia citizens as only Christian; his strong belief in the Baptist faith prompted his speech.

He rose to be elected in 1913 to be Virginia's attorney-general on a reform platform which included initiative and referendum, the short ballot, etc. In 1922 he was appointed William and Mary's director of the School of Government and Citizenship (School of Law) where he excelled as a teacher and was also elected Mayor of Williamsburg. He served as a Sunday School teacher at the Williamsburg Baptist Church.

His run for the gubernatorial seat had the approval of Harry Byrd, leader of the Virginia Democratic machine (called the Byrd Organization) and he worked with Byrd during his term as a maverick governor. One of his chief accomplishments by far during the Great Depression was the founding of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the first state-supported art museum in the United States. Unfortunately, the Byrd mandate of fiscal integrity and balanced budgets did not permit much help to the suffering citizens of the commonwealth. State salaries were cut ten percent including the salary of the governor.


30.00 Linear Feet

Arrangement of Materials:

Series 3 was originally the John Garland Pollard Papers, UA 6.025, and was combined with this collection in 2011.

Acquisition Information:

Donated to W&M Special Collections Research Center in batches between 1970 and 1987 by Violet M. Pollard, John G. Pollard, Jr., Charles Pollard, Susan P. Boatwright, Elizabeth P. C. Johnson, Jessie G. P. Dodge, and Joseph P. Pollard. 1989-38A received on 8/31/1989.

Separated Materials:

All audiovisual material from this collection has been moved to the Manuscripts Audiovisual Collection.

Physical Description

15,000 Items

Guide to the John Garland Pollard Papers
Special Collections Staff.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2010: Updated by Anne Johnson.
  • 2011: Updated by Ben Bromley.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository