From the 22 January 1922 issue of The New York Times.


New School of Journalism at Washington and Lee According to His Plan.

A SCHOOL of journalism backed by the press of the Southern States is to be established at the Washington and Lee University as a memorial to General Robert Edward Lee. The Southern Newspaper Publisher’s Association is behind the movement, every member of the committee that has been entrusted with the working out and financing of the proposition being the editor or publisher of a prominent Southern newspaper. The number of newspapers identified with the movement, representing as they do every nook and corner of the South, exceeds 1,000, and the list is still growing.

The movement on the part of the newspapers of the South to establish the Robert E. Lee Memorial School of Journalism was officially launched on Thursday last, which was the 115th anniversary of the birth of General Lee. It has been suggested that the great dailies of New Orleans, Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Dallas and other large Southern cities should have as their goal $100 per 1,000 of circulation, while the biweeklies and weeklies are expected to add $50 for every 1,000 subscribers.

In a bulletin to the Southern newspaper men—editors, publishers and reporters—the Southern Newspaper Publishers’ Association points out that the campaign now under way is “not the job of the Daughters of the Confederacy, of the veterans, or of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, or of the alumni of the Washington and Lee University.”

“The members of these organizations,” the bulletin adds, “will all help, but this is the special job of the newspaper men of the South. The school will be at once their tribute to General Lee, their contribution to Southern progress and their enduring monument.”

It is not generally known, but the fact is that the first school of journalism in the United States was established at Washington College, now the Washington and Lee University, fifty-three years ago by General Lee, then the President of that institution. In the official files of the United Stats Bureau of Education there is a document which recites the fact that the inception of the movement to add instruction in journalism to the curriculum of American universities and colleges occurred at Washington College in 1869, during the Presidency of Robert E. Lee.

The idea of General Lee was not generally welcomed at the time, particularly by the newspapers, a large number of prominent editors being included among those who frowned on the proposition. It is recalled that Frederic Hudson, then managing editor of The New York Herald, when asked “Have you heard of the proposed training school for journalists?” replied:

“Only casually, in connection with General Lee’s college, and I can’t see how it could be made very serviceable. Who are to be the teachers? The only place where one can learn to be a journalist is in a great newspaper office.”

E. L. Godkin of The New York Evening Post characterized the proposed school as an “absurdity,” and other famous editors of that time were just as pessimistic.

And so the first Lee School of Journalism passed into history, and nearly half a century passed before the Southern Newspapers Publisher’s Association, desiring to create in the South a new and permanent memorial to General Lee, unanimously passed a resolution to establish a modern school of journalism.

“The response of the newspaper men of the South to the appeal of the Southern Newspaper Publishers’ Association,” says Dr. Henry Louis Smith, President of Washington and Lee Univesity, “has been amazing. For instance, in a single State out of seventy-five newspapers only one failed to immediately sign a definite promise to participate in the campaign which was inaugurated in fourteen Southern States on Thrusday of this week, the natal day of General Lee.

“A statement of the Southern Nespaper Publishers’ Association is to the effect that the response from all parts of the South is practically 100 per cent. and that there is every reason for the assertion that the movement will go forward to success without ‘a slacker, a knocker or a quitter in the entire South.’

“This is the first time that the editors of a great section as a class without regard to politics or other matters on which they may differ have undertaken a joint enterprise. Furthermore, a school of journalism nas a monument to a professional soldier is something new in the world, and still stranger is the fact that it should be but the revival of that soldier’s own enterprise, to carry out his own unselfish and far-seeing purpose, and this being so it is appropriate that the school should be a part of General Lee’s own university, in sight of his home, his working office and his tomb, in the Valley of Virginia, and also, I may add, in sight of the home and the tomb of Lee’s greatest lieutenant, General Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson.

“As has been pointed out by the Southern publishers and editors, the original school was established by General Lee in order to create for the war-wrecked and perplexed South a trained leadership during the stormy era of reconstruction. And today as an agency for the future welfare of the Southern States what can be more to be desired than a constant stream of journalistic leaders of the Lee type, trained amid surroundings that are for all time a part of the Lee history and imbued with the ideals and principles of the great commander, to aid our people in the solution of the probloems in another era of storm and reconstruction, men who will lead the public opinion of their country along the lofty paths of General Lee’s own broad-minded and unselfish patriotism?”

The Central Committee of the Southern Newspaper Publishers’ Association in charge of the campaign for the Lee Memorial School of Journalism consists of E. W. Barrett of The Birmingham Age-Herald, Edgar M. Foster of The Nashville Banner, James H. Allison of The Fort Worth Record, Curtis B. Johnson of The Knoxville Sentinel, Alfred M. Sanford of The Knoxville Journal and Tribune, W. T. Anderson of The Macon Telegraph, Marcellus E. Foster of The Houston Chronicle, L. E. Pugh of The Newport News Press, F. G. Bell of The Savannah Morning News, Victor H. Hanson of The Birmingham News and W. T. Hall of The Dothan (Ala.) Eagle.