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Found in the Shuffle: Photo of the McDowells and Dean Williams

Today’s featured photo shows, from left, Katherine F. McDowell, Prof. Charles R. McDowell, Dean Clayton E. Williams, and Charles McDowell, Jr.  The photo was taken on what appears to be the west end of Wilson Field in 1959.

This is a wonderful and previously undiscovered photo of three of the most important people in the history of the law school, and a renowned journalist who grew up in “the holler” below the Colonnade.  It was provided by George Anthou, 1960L.

Katherine McDowell was the wife of Charles, Sr. and mother to “Charley.”  To say that she was secretary to the law Deans is both accurate and wholly missing her significance.  “Mrs. Mac” was said, without irony, to have made the law school run.  In the days before assistant and associate deans, before offices such as student services and faculty services, she did all of this and much more.  The law school has a named scholarship in her honor.

Charley McDowell, along with Prof. Williams, Light,Johnson and Moreland, formed the Old Guard professors, so called for their devotion to, and longevity at W&L Law.  He was one of the most beloved professors and a master at teaching contracts.

The lanky “Skinny” Williams taught at W&L just short of half-a-century, beginning the year after the WWI armistice, and ending with his death just months before the first moon landing.  He was acting dean in 1944 and served as dean from 1946-1960.

Charley McDowell, Jr. was an alumnus of the college at W&L and as beloved as his father, no mean feat for top flight journalist.  Many recall his speech at the unveiling of his father’s portrait at W&L in 1999.  It was a vintage display of his humor and eloquence as he spoke about his parents, and about growing up on the W&L campus.

Found in the Shuffle: John W. Davis Photo

The photo featured today, is an undated studio portrait of alumnus and (briefly) professor John W. Davis.  The dedication in Davis’ hand on the mat is to long-time W&L university librarian, Annie Jo White. Miss White was the founder of the Fancy Dress Ball, landlord to Lewis F. Powell, Jr., and is the namesake of Annie, the online catalog of W&L libraries.

This is the first in a series of featured items that came to the archives in the frenzied clearing of offices for this summer HVAC rennovation.

Department of Corrections: Mary Kay DePoy Harris, Washington and Lee Law Review’s First Female Editor-in-Chief

An  exhibit honoring women graduates of W&L Law School was assembled in the brick lobby cases of Sydney Lewis Hall for April’s reunion weekend.  The archives supported this effort with research on the alumnae.  Unfortunately, the first woman to be editor-in-chief of the law review was misidentified.  (The alumna so identified, Meredith Susan Palmer, 1985L, was the second woman in the top spot.  Apologies to our former administrative colleague Susan.)

It was, in fact, the late Mary Kay DePoy, 1978L, who added Harris to her married name. You can read more about her  and see the law review’s tribute to her from our Scholarly Commons.

Archives Closed for In-person Research Through May 18

With faculty and administrative offices being emptied for a summer HVAC rennovation, the archives has been flooded with records for appraisal and destruction, and artwork for storage, as well.  The research room has needed to be employed for temporary secure storage.

During this period, the archives remains open for distance reference and to administrators and others stopping by for ready reference.