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Leslie Wallace Jerrell Papers

Identifier: Ms-1972-005

Scope and Content

This collection contains papers of Leslie Wallace Jerrell, an 1895 graduate of Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University) and an instructor of mechanical technology at the school. The collection contains correspondence, grade reports, invoices from the Blacksburg businesses and the university, Jerrell's grade book, photographs, and textbooks.

The correspondence in the collection consists almost entirely of letters written by Jerrell in Blacksburg, Virginia to his parents in Brokenburg (Spotsylvania County), Virginia. Jerrell comments at length on student life and social activities, and later on his work as an instructor. Within Jerrell's correspondence is only a single piece of correspondence not addressed to family: a letter of application to the United States Revenue Cutter Service. Also among the correspondence are several letters from friends received by Jerrell at home during his final illness and by his parents following Jerrell's death.

Among the other materials in the collection are texts of several speeches delivered by Jerrell, including one titled "The Present South," and a number of invoices and receipts issued to Jerrell by the university and local Blacksburg businesses. The collection also contains the texts of Also included is the grade book maintained by Jerrell as an instructor in mechanical technology, together with a class roster, and a few exams written by some of his students. The collection also contains studio portraits of Jerrell and several books from his collection. Most of these books seem to have been used as textbooks, but also included is a book of specifications for a U.S. Revenue Cutter Service boat, apparently studied by Jerrell in the course of his interest in joining the service.


  • 1881, 1890-1898


Language of Materials

The materials in the collection are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials.

Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form:

Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: Please contact Special Collections and University Archives ( or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Biographical Note

Leslie Wallace Jerrell, the son of Robert H. and Nannie Johnson Jerrell, was born in Virginia on July 4, 1871. In 1890, Jerrell left Virginia for Florida and performed manual labor in several different jobs there. Jerrell had returned to Virginia by November, when he enrolled as a student at Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). To help defray his expenses, Jerrell worked at a number of jobs on campus: in the woodshop, the machine shop, and the president's office. In summer 1892, and while still a student, Jerrell was employed as a part-time instructor of woodwork. The following summer, he worked with a group of carpenters in remodeling campus buildings and erecting faculty housing. Later in 1893, Jerrell was provided a salary as head of the cabinet-making department of the woodshop. In 1894, Jerrell applied for a position as an engineer with the U. S. Revenue Cutter Service (later part of the U. S. Coast Guard) and interviewed with the service in December. He graduated the following spring. In the fall of 1895, Jerrell was awarded a teaching fellowship at Virginia Polytechnic Institute as he worked toward a master's degree in mechanical engineering. After obtaining his master's in June 1897, Jerrell accepted a position as full-time instructor in mechanical technology at VPI. In late 1898, Jerrell became ill and entered Johns Hopkins Hospital. He left the hospital in May and returned to his family's home in Spotsylvania County. Leslie Wallace Jerrell died on June 8, 1898.


0.7 Cubic Feet (2 boxes)


The collection contains the papers (including correspondence, grade reports, receipts, photographs, and textbooks) of Leslie Wallace Jerrell, a student and instructor at Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University).


The collection is arranged by item type.

Source of Acquisition

The Leslie Wallace Jerrell Papers were donated to Special Collections in 1972 and 1974.

Separated Materials

The papers of James Roger Mansfield, donated with the Jerrell Papers, were removed during the course of processing to form a new collection, the James Roger Mansfield Papers (Ms2011-062).

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Leslie Wallace Jerrell Papers by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Leslie Wallace Jerrell Papers commenced and was completed in August 2011.

Leslie Wallace Jerrell Papers, 1881, 1890-1898
John M. Jackson, Archivist
2011 (CC0 1.0)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US