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Year of Graduation

1997

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

MALS: Social Sciences

Directing Professor

Daniel Kilbride

Abstract

The nineteenth century was an era of transition for the young American nation. George Plater Tayloe was born in 1804 and died in 1897. His life spanned an age of American politics from Jefferson to McKinley. He grew up in the post-colonial period and matured during the antebellum years. By the end of the Civil War he was in his sixties and lived on through Reconstruction and the emerging capitalism of the late nineteenth century. He grew up in a slaveholding society and was a man of his times. A member of one of the "first families of Virginia," he fulfilled the role of civic leader, patron of institutions, and slaveholder. His antebellum plantation home still overlooks the modem city of Roanoke. Much has been written about his civic involvements and philanthropy. Little known and less talked about is his role as plantation master, an owner of over 200 slaves by the Civil War.

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