Hollins University History Opens Fall Lecture Series

With summer disappearing, the Kegley Lectures return with talks planned on the history of Hollins University, a revisiting of Patrick Henry’s influence in the Revolutionary era and history with local photos of the Bent Mountain-Poages Mill section of Roanoke County.

Hollins Abroad in Athens, 1962. Copyright Wyndham Robertson Library Special Collections.

On Sept. 27, Beth Harris. Harris, Special Collections Librarian and Archivist, Wyndham Robertson Library at Hollins University, will discuss the school’s 175-year history. Established in 1842 as the coeducational Valley Union Seminary, the school became an institution for women six years later. Today, men are only allowed in its graduate programs.

Harris has published articles on Matty L. Cocke, Hollins University’s second president and daughter of founder Charles Louis Cocke; “I Must and Will Survive,” the Civil War-Era Diary of Virginia Daniel Woodroof, Class of 1866, and “Discovering the Unexpected: The Margaret Wise Brown Collection at Wyndham Robertson Library, Hollins University.”

Beth Harris, Jon Kukla, Nelson Harris

New Look at Patrick Henry

Jon Kukla, author and Richmond historian, will talk about his new book, “Patrick Henry, Champion of Liberty,” on Oct. 24. Kukla has served as director of historical research and publishing at the Library of Virginia, curator and then director of the Historic New Orleans Collection, and as director of Red Hill, The Patrick Henry National Memorial in Charlotte County. He also is the author of “A Wilderness So Immense: The Louisiana Purchase and the Destiny of America” and “Mr. Jefferson’s Women.”

His book on Patrick Henry “restores Patrick Henry to the front rank of American Revolutionary” patriots, according to reviews, which place Henry, a contemporary of Washington, along with John and Samuel Adams as a leaders of the colonial resistance to Great Britain that ultimately created the United States.

Roanoke County Communities Explored

In February, currently scheduled for Feb. 27, author Nelson Harris, who has published numerous books on the Roanoke region, will discuss his new book about Bent Mountain and Poages Mill, Cave Spring and Starkey areas in Roanoke County. The book includes vintage images of businesses, churches, stores, farms, civic events, schools, orchards and rural life.  Harris is the pastor at Heights Community Church in Grandin Village, a former Roanoke City mayor and a past president of the Historical Society of Western Virginia.

Lectures are traditionally on the fourth Tuesday of a month, although Beth Harris is speaking on a Wednesday. All lectures begin at 7 p.m. at Christ Lutheran Church, Grandin and Brandon avenues, Roanoke. Admission is free for members of the Historical Society and $5 for non-members. Light refreshments are served.


Board Member, Historical Society of Western Virginia Graduate: Hollins University, BA and MALS in English; Virginia Western Community College, AA in Business Administration Profession: Writer, editor