Browse Exhibits (23 total)

Washington and Lee in the 1960s

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The 1960s were a time of great cultural, social and political unrest.  Despite its conservative reputation, Washington and Lee University, a small, all-male liberal arts college in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, did not escape the decade's upheavals. From debates over desegregation and black power, to curricular changes, to coeducation, the sexual revolution, and the student movement to stop the War in Vietnam, W&L's faculty, staff and student body participated in and contributed to the 1960s.  

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The Rise and Fall of the Summer of Love


A collection of objects showing the anti-establishment message that defined the burgeoning counterculture movement as seen through the music and poetry that came out of the Summer of Love. The summer of 1967 was the beginning of the popularization of the anti-establishment, which was embodied by the artistic creativity of its members. The movement begins with a carefree, peaceful atmosphere but the rising drug culture of the time eventually ascends to greater prominence. The use of psychedelic drugs not only by the members of the counterculture, but also by the artists producing the soundtrack of the Summer of Love helps define the mood and tone of the time. While the counterculture began with idealistic thoughts of love and peace, the ultimate lack of direction and productivity made the Summer of Love an idealistic escape that turned into a drug-induced nightmare, instead of a legitimate social movement that led to wipespread cultural change.

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Washington and Lee and the May 1970 Protests


Washington and Lee University is a conservative campus today and was comparatively conservative in 1970 as well according to several members of the university community at the time. However in May of 1970 the University was caught up in the national Student Strike. May of 1970 was an extraordinary time when students at Washington and Lee and at campuses across the country stopped attending class to protest. Hundreds of thousands of students marched on Washington DC. These radical and nationwide events were immediately precipitated by the Nixon administration's decision to invade Cambodia and the shooting of students at Kent State by members of the National Guard on May 4, 1970 resulting in the deaths of four students. However longer arching sources of discontent and habits of protest had created the atmosphere that allowed this spectacular show of national student discontent. Student protest movements on Civil Rights in the early 1960s, the University of California Free Speech Movement in the mid-1960s, and growing anti-Vietnam movement throughout the middle and late parts of the decade had prepared students with the tools, the will, and the precedent to express their unrest.

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Mad Men: How the Real Men of Madison Avenue Sold the American Dream


Selling the American Dream in the golden age of advertising, 1956-1962

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Creating the Modern Taxing State


The United States has experimented with a variety of tax systems.  For most of the 19th century, American finance depended on tariff revenues.  The exception came in the 1860s, when the cost of the Civil War forced the Union to adopt a progressive income tax.  The tariff regime crumbled in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in face of criticisms that the tax on imports helped only the wealthy few.  In 1913, Congress and the states amended the Constitution to allow the federal government to levy a tax on incomes.  The income tax, however, did not become a major revenue source until the Second World War. The digital exhibit explores the politics of the federal income tax between 1860 and 1945 with particular attention to how wars and other crises affected both tax policy and tax politics.

How the Movements of the 1960s and '70s Led to Coeducation

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The Movement Culture was a period of time, concentrated mainly in the 1960s and 1970s when many movements, such as the Student Movement and Women's Rights Movement, kicked into high gear.  This culture created many changes in American society, one of the most important being the turn to coeducation by our nations most prestigous universities.  

In this exhibit, I will demonstrate how both the Student Movement and Women's Rights Movement were catalysts of the switch to coeducation.  I will highlight some of the institutions that made this transition at different times and I will decode some of the reasons behind the delay to move forward and admit women at one of the latest institutions to become coeducational, Washington and Lee University.

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The Bay of Pigs


Widely regarded as one of the biggest foreign policy blunders the U.S. has ever been a part of, the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961 was the brain-child of Eisenhower, but was finalized under Kennedy and his administration.  This exhibit traces the path of Cuban-American relations immediately leading up to the invasion, recounts on the invasion itself, and maps its legacy.  This event is often overshadowed by the Cuban Missile crisis, which Kennedy handled remarkably well, due in part with his learning from the Bay of Pigs.  

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Dr. Spock Knows Best: The Childcare Revolution

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Prior to the late 1940’s, childcare advice was very rigid. Parents were told to follow strict feeding times, and events such as toilet training were pinpointed down to very precise start dates. However, in 1946, a man by the name Dr. Benjamin Spock changed the childcare world forever. Dr. Spock released a manual on infant and childcare, The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care, which has been rivaled only by the Bible in number of copies sold. This manual has since been updated nine times, resulting in nine separate editions. 

Dr. Spock's advice manual is the only source of parenting advice which has dominated the field for so long, which makes it an invaluable tool in studying the formation and development of the accepted parenting ideas that exist today. Throughout the late twentieth century,  the parenting advice revolution sparked by this childcare guru was greatly influenced by a changing America, and can be clearly documented through published literature from this time.

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The Golden Age: Television during the 1950s


The grand opening of the American National Exhibition in Moscow in 1959 became an intense political standoff during the Cold War and helped bolster the United States’s prestige worldwide. Vice President Nixon and Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev argued over the ideologies of American capitalism and Soviet communism in the middle of a model kitchen displayed at the fair. This “kitchen debate” was an American propaganda victory for it validated that capitalism was the superior ideology. This debate illustrated that consumerism not only benefited the nation economically, but it could also be used as a way to delegitimize the Soviet Union.

American consumption, particularly the rise of television purchases, emerged as a propaganda weapon against Russia during the Cold War. The American economy prospered during the 1950s as consumption boomed after years of pent-up demand on goods such as televisions. Consumerism was thereafter seen as a way to boost the United States economically, and it seemingly provided a more egalitarian society without a massive social upheaval like under the tenets of communism. This cultural shift from saving to spending played a vital role in Cold War politics and had lasting implications on the United States politically, economically, and socially.

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Unprecedented: How the Rehnquist Court Changed America

The Rehnquist Court served the United States from 1986 to 2005. During that time the Supreme Court became a hotbed of differing views that, while appearing at times to show a permanent fracturing of judicial opinion, nevertheless gave the United States a new interpretation of stare decicis, some of the most famous justices in our nation's history, and a Republican president. 

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