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Records of the Office of the President, Julian A. Burruss

 Record Group
Identifier: RG-02-08

Scope and Content

This collection contains mostly correspondence, including with the Board of Visitors (1919-1928) and with faculty (1919-1946). Some of the material in this collection pre-dates the beginning of Burruss' presidency.

The collection also contains lecture notes and writings (1906-1922, 1930-1931); reports to Board of Trustees of the State Normal School for Women at Harrisonburg (1908-1919); Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station financial reports (1910-1921); minutes of Normal School Board (1915-1917); payrolls (1918-1921); applications for faculty positions (1920-22); budget materials (1920-1924, 1926/1927-1928/1929, 1941-1942); reports of various committees (1921-1925); invoices and insurance policies (1923-1924); contracts (1925-1946); departmental reports (1928); library annual reports (1935/1936-1936/1937); academic reports (1935-1940); Virginia Academy of Science Planning Committee material (1940); items relating to the Radford-VPI merger (1943-1944); reports of Treasurer to Department of Interior and Agriculture on income from fund derived for Land Grant Act of 1862 or from land grants made in lieu of 1862 grant; Public Works Administration records relating to buildings constructed on campus using PWA funds.

In addition to titles, some folder entries include information about topics covered in the folder. Please note, these are highlights and not exhaustive lists of subjects contained in the file.


  • 1906 - 1946


Language of Materials

The materials in the collection are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproductions 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

Julian Ashby Burruss was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1876. He was the first alumnus-President, having graduated with honors in civil engineering from VPI in 1898. A hallmark of his long tenure in the presidency was a major administrative reorganization, which included: abolishing four deanships; broadening the scope and authority of the Deans of Agriculture and Engineering; establishing post of Dean of the College; abolishing College surgeon office and hiring full-time health officer; establishing office of business manager; placing directors of Agriculture Experiment Station and Extension Services under Dean of Agriculture; abolishing Registrar office; and placing athletic activities directly under control of college authorities.

Other highlights of Burruss' administration included: establishment of Engineering Experiment Station, 1921, and Engineering Extension Division, 1923; admittance of women to all departments, except military, 1921; founding of Future Farmers of Virginia, which became Future Farmers of America; first Ph.D. awarded; Radford State Teachers College merged with VPI and became Radford College, the Women's Division of VPI.

When mounting pressures and advancing age began to take a toll on Burruss, the Board of Visitors granted him a six-month leave of absence on 4 January 1945, and named John Hutcheson, Director of the Agriculture Extension Service, as Executive Assistant to the President. On 10 January 1945, Burruss suffered a fractured vertebrae in an automobile accident, so on 12 January, the Rector of the Board requested that Hutcheson assume the duties of the presidency immediately. At the Board meeting on 15 May, Burruss was elected "President Emeritus" and the search for a new president began. Burruss died two years later.


72 Cubic Feet (52 boxes, 1 oversize folder)


The bulk of the collection contains correspondence concerning Julian Ashby Burruss' tenure as president of Virginia Polytechnic Institute, as well as lecture notes, reports to the Board of Trustees of the State Normal School, and Experiment Station reports.


The collection is arranged into seven series, plus oversize materials. Within each series or subseries, folders are arranged in alphabetical order by folder title.

  • Series I: Personal Correspondence and Papers, 1906-1945
  • Series II: Board of Visitors, 1919-1935
  • Series III: Correspondence, 1919-1944
  • Series IV: Subject Files
  • Series V: Virginia State Survey, 1929-1930
  • Series VI: Subject Files
  • Series VII: Defense and the War Effort, 1940-1945
  • Oversize Folders

Physical Access

Please note: This collection is in off-site storage and requires 2-3 days notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives for more information.

Source of Acquisition

The Records of the Office of the President, Julian A. Burruss were transferred to Special Collections and University Archives in March-June 1973. Additional materials were received prior to 2000.

Related Archival Materials

See also the Julian Ashby Burruss Papers, 1904-2005, UA 0023, at Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Records of the Office of the President, Julian A. Burruss by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 ( work/public-domain/cc0/).

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Records of the Office of the President, Julian A. Burruss commenced in July 2005 and was completed in May 2006. The collection was previously processed by Digital Library and Archives staff.

  • Payrolls, 1918-1921, included payroll records for the mines: VPI coal mines, Black mine, Wall mine, coal haulers. These were weekly payrolls as well as summaries by months.
  • Estate papers of John H. Squires removed from RG 2/8. - lmr 2/6/2020
Records of the Office of the President, Julian A. Burruss, 1906-1946
Special Collection and University Archives Staff
2020 (CC0 1.0)
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