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Thomas O. Sandy Papers

Identifier: Ms-2006-022

Scope and Content

This collection contains correspondence, farm records, receipts and other papers relating to Thomas O. Sandy, a Nottoway County, Virginia farmer and the first state demonstration agent for agricultural extension in Virginia. Sandy's correspondence relates largely to his farm business and extension work, though some personal matters are also addressed--particularly, Sandy's attempt to secure a military discharge for his son to return home and oversee the farm's operation. The collection also contains correspondence (mostly incoming), to Sandy's wife and sons, primarily relating to the settlement of Sandy's estate following his 1919 death. Also included, however, are letters regarding Thomas O. Sandy Jr.'s own farming business, as well as personal matters. Significant correspondents include Ella Agnew, J. D. Eggleston, L. M. Levering, G. S. Ralston, William C. Schmidt, and A. G. Smith Jr. Among the collection of receipts are many from local businesses for household goods, services and utilities, as well as receipts for farming expenses. The collection also contains Sandy's farm record book for 1914, and a published copy of briefs filed in the 1915 right-of-way dispute case of Norfolk & Western Railway Co. v. T. O. Sandy et als. Also included are a few other legal and financial papers, relating primarily to Sandy's estate, and a small set of Cooperative Extension information.


  • 1910 - 1928


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

Thomas Oldham Sandy (better known as T. O. Sandy) was born February 22, 1857, in Essex County, Virginia. He matriculated at Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Virginia Tech) in 1875 but did not complete a degree and departed the following year. He married Sallie Thweat Miller, and the couple settled at "Locust Grove, her Nottoway County ancestral farm located a few miles from Burkeville. With their two sons--T. O. (Oldham) and E. S. (Scott)--the Sandys raised Holstein cattle, Burkeshire hogs and Plymouth Rock chickens. Sandy also served as rector of the Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute's board of visitors.

In 1907, Sandy was appointed Virginia's first county farm demonstration agent. Working from the state's first extension office in Burkeville, Sandy served a three-county region and hired other agents to assist him. Under his leadership, boys' corn clubs and girls' canning clubs were developed. In 1914, the agency's administration was transferred to Virginia Polytechnic Institute, becoming the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service. Sandy served as a demonstration agent until 1917, when illness and his sons' absence from the farm forced him to retire. Thomas O. Sandy died on June 7, 1919. Sandy Hall, on the Virginia Tech campus, is named in his honor.


0.5 Cubic Feet (1 box)


The collection includes correspondence, receipts, farm records, and other papers of Thomas O. Sandy, a farmer in Nottoway County, Virginia, and the first state demonstration agent for agricultural extension in Virginia. The papers relate to Sandy's farm, extension work, and estate.


The collection is arranged by document type. Correspondence is divided by family member, then further subdivided by outgoing and incoming, with outgoing mail arranged chronologically; incoming, alphabetically by sender's name. Receipts are arranged alphabetically by name of business, then chronologically. Other papers are arranged chronologically.

Source of Acquisition

The Thomas O. Sandy Papers were donated to Virginia Tech and transferred to Special Collections in 2006.

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Thomas O. Sandy Papers by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Thomas O. Sandy Papers was completed in October 2008. Preliminary work had been performed November 2006-February 2007.

Thomas O. Sandy Papers, 1910-1928
Katie Cox, Student Assistant, and John M. Jackson, Archivist
2008 (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