On March 9, the Washington and Lee University Bookstore and the Lee Chapel Museum Shop removed a book from their shelves after a Washington and Lee (W&L) professor accused the book of painting a sympathetic picture of the Confederate States of America and the Old South.
The book in question was a children’s book written about Robert E. Lee’s beloved companion and most trusted warhorse, Traveller.
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My Colt: The Story of Traveller was written by Margaret Samdahl, who worked at the Lee Chapel Museum for 13 years. Samdahl says that she decided to write the book to respond to Lee Chapel patrons’ demands for a child-friendly book on Traveller. Using the Special Collections archive at Washington and Lee as well as other research materials available at Leyburn Library on W&L’s campus, Mrs. Samdahl embarked on a decade-long effort to bring the story of Traveller to a younger audience.
Lee Chapel purchased copies of My Colt on February 27, and the University Bookstore followed suit on March 3.
However, after the book and a book signing event at the university were advertised in the daily Campus Notices on March 8, the administration received a complaint from a professor who objected to the content of the book. It was subsequently removed from both the Museum Shop and the University Bookstore, and the book signing event was abruptly cancelled on March 9.
Though the professor’s outrage over the contents of the book was cited as the initial cause of the book’s removal, the university called Samdahl two weeks later to explain that the book had been removed because it was self-published and had not been peer-reviewed.
This explanation by the university administration does not hold up because the book had already been accepted by the Museum Shop and the University Bookstore, implying that it had already received some sort of review by the managers of those respective venues, and had been for sale in those venues for almost two weeks before it was removed. Meanwhile, both Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and Stratford Hall, Robert E. Lee’s birthplace, reviewed and accepted the book with no problems.
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An uproar soon erupted within the W&L and Lexington communities. Don Samdahl, Margaret’s husband and a longtime librarian at
Read more: https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=10920