Washington and Lee University, 1930–2000 tells the history of one of the nation’s oldest colleges as it evolved to face changes in higher education and in American society. In the early part of the twentieth century, Washington and Lee was a small, all-male institution known for its conservative inclinations, coats and ties, social life dominated by fraternities, and venerable honor system run exclusively by students. In the seven decades after 1930, the university confronted economic depression and world war, and faced the challenges and opportunities posed by subsidized athletics, integration, changing student customs and attitudes, new emphases in higher education, and the controversial move to coeducation. Each of the presidents who led the university during this era encouraged Washington and Lee to adapt to new demands while retaining its core traditions and identity.
The alma mater of three United States Supreme Court justices, over a hundred members of congress and state governors, and winners of the Pulitzer, Nobel, Tony, and Emmy awards, Washington and Lee University receives a full and complex depiction in this authoritative history.
Blaine A. Brownell is a former professor of history, senior academic administrator, university president, and higher-education consultant. He is the author or coeditor of several books, including The Urban Ethos in the South, 1920–1930.