A Guide to the William Couper Papers, 1901-1964 Couper, William. Papers. MS 0053

A Guide to the William Couper Papers, 1901-1964

A Collection in
Virginia Military Institute Archives
Accession Number MS 0053


Virginia Military Institute Archives

Virginia Military Institute Archives
Preston Library
Virginia Military Institute
Lexington, Virginia 24450-0304
Phone: (540) 464-7566
Fax: (540) 464-7279
Email: archives@vmi.edu
URL: http://www.vmi.edu/archives

© 2002 Virginia Military Institute

Funding: Web version of the finding aid funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Processed by: Virginia Military Institute Archives Staff

Archives, Preston Library, Virginia Military Institute
Accession number
MS 0053
William Couper Papers, 1901-1964
Physical Characteristics
The papers are filed in 36 manuscript boxes (13 cubic feet)and also contain oversized material located in map cases.
The papers consist largely of manuscripts (drafts, galleys, proofs), notes, and other research material relating to Couper's interest in the history of Lexington and Rockbridge County (Virginia), the Virginia Military Institute, and the Shenandoah Valley. Other topics include the construction of Fort Jackson, South Carolina in 1917, and General Stonewall Jackson.

Administrative Information


There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

William Couper Papers, MS 0053, Virginia Military Institute Archives, Lexington, VA.

Acquisition Information

The bulk of the collection was donated by John Lee Couper in 1964.

Biographical/Historical Information

William Couper spent the majority of his professional life devoted to the Virginia Military Institute and to the study of VMI, Lexington and Rockbridge County, and Virginia history. His terms as VMI's Business Executive and Historiographer encompassed thirty years, but before, during and subsequent to that period he served in many other official and unofficial capacities. He was a noted authority on local and regional history, and on the life and times of General Stonewall Jackson. At VMI, in addition to his official duties, he was responsible for the initial organization and preservation of the Institute's rich historical holdings, including it's unique collection of alumni biographical and genealogical materials.

William Couper Chronology.

Significant Events.
1884 Born November 16 at "Oakland" in Norfolk, Virginia.
1901 Graduated from the Norfolk Academy and entered the Third Class at the Virginia Military Institute.
1904 Graduated from VMI with distinction (Engineering course).
1906 Received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering (railroad option) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
1906 - 1917 Worked with the Pennsylvania Railroad at New York City on construction, operating and harbor work; he played a major role in the construction of the railroad tunnels and terminals for NYC.
1912 Published "History of the Engineering, Construction and Equipment of the Pennsylvania Railroad New York Tunnels and Terminals. "
1917 June Commissioned Major in the United States Army Quartermaster Corps and assigned as Construction Officer at Camp Jackson, Columbia, South Carolina.
1918 March Promoted to Lt. Col., in charge of the building of the camp that became Fort Jackson.
1920 Completed Army service in March; prepared on request a plan of development for the future of VMI, which was adopted by the VMI Board of Visitors in June.
1920 - 1921 Assistant General Manager of the Associated General Contractors of America
1921 - 1924 Employed jointly by the Texas Company and the Southern Acid and Sulphur Company as an engineer to develop sulphur properties in Brazoria Co., Texas.
1924 Appointed Business Executive in charge of the business activities at the Veterans's Bureau Station at Perry Point, Maryland, where a supply depot, hospital for neuropsychiatric patients, rehabilitation schools and automobile reconditioning shops were operated.
1925 Appointed Business Executive at the Virginia Military Institute.
1931 - 1933