A Guide to the Herman Bruce Hawkins Papers, 1958-1970 Hawkins, Herman Bruce Papers Ms1974-014

A Guide to the Herman Bruce Hawkins Papers, 1958-1970

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number Ms1974-014


Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Special Collections, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
Phone: (540) 231-6308
Fax: (540) 231-3694
Email: specref@vt.edu
URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu/

© 2012 By Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. All rights reserved.

Processed by: John M. Jackson, Special Collections

Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.
Collection Number
Herman Bruce Hawkins Papers, 1958-1970
Physical Characteristics
0.2 cu. ft. 1 box
Hawkins, Herman Bruce
Papers of Herman Bruce Hawkins, graduate of Virginia Tech (BS, electrical engineering, 1910), consisting largely of correspondence exchanged with classmate Charles Taylor Adams on topics such as communism, race relations, and nuclear disarmament. Also includes a file regarding Adams' attempt to organize a protest march in response to the appearance of General William Westmoreland on the Virginia Tech campus in 1969, and material relating to the Virginia Tech Distinguished Alumni Citation awarded to Hawkins in 1961.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from Herman Bruce Hawkins Papers must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Herman Bruce Hawkins Papers, Ms1974-014, Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.

Acquisition Information

The Herman Bruce Hawkins Papers were donated to Special Collections in 1974.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Herman Bruce Hawkins Papers commenced and was completed in May 2012.

Biographical Note

Herman Bruce "Bill" Hawkins, son of William B. and Alice G. Slayton Hawkins, was born in Waverly, Virginia, in 1889. He graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute with a BS in electrical engineering in 1910. Hawkins worked for General Electric in Schenectady, New York from 1910 until 1913, when he was hired as an electrical engineer for Canadian Explosives, Ltd., in Montreal. Hawkins founded the Hawkins-Hamilton Company in Richmond, Virginia in 1914, and served as the company's president until retiring in 1959. He was an active alumnus of Virginia Tech, serving as the alumni association's first vice president and president and was also a member of the association's board of directors and the Alumni Fund Council. Hawkins married Mary Edith Lynn in 1919; the couple had two children. Herman B. Hawkins died on March 1, 1981 and was buried in Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery.

Charles Taylor Adams (more widely known as Taylor Adams) was born in Richmond, Virginia on November 18, 1888. The son of Robert Lee Adams, he entered Virginia Polytechnic Institute as a sophomore in the school's horticultural program in 1908. As editor of the school newspaper, The Virginia Tech, Adams became involved in at least one controversy relating to editorials issued under the title "Asbestographs." In response to criticism, Adams on Februrary 2, 1910, issued a "spotless edition" of the paper; the issue contained only only advertising, all text columns remaining blank. Adams left school in 1910 and was hired as a reporter by The Lynchburg News. Later, he moved to New York, where he spent nearly 50 years working in advertising. Following the death of his first wife, Adams married Muriel Haynes--also an advertising executive--in 1956. Charles Taylor Adams died on in New York on December 10, 1981.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the papers of Herman Bruce Hawkins, a graduate of Virginia Tech (BS, electrical engineering, 1910), president of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, and 1961 recipient of the university's Distinguished Alumni Citation. The collection includes correspondence and printed materials.

Much of the collection focuses on Charles Taylor Adams (more widely known as Taylor Adams), a classmate of Hawkins. The collection includes two files of correspondence exchanged between Hawkins and Adams, largely concerning the topics of communism, civil rights, and nuclear disarmament. Adams, an avowed communist, rails against the ills of western society, especially those of the southern United States, and extolls the virtues of communism in Russia and China, foreseeing a utopian ideal in the distant future. Adams frequently advocates civil rights for African Americans and, in doing so, encloses a number of printed materials from the NAACP and CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) concerning Freedom Riders; Robert F. Williams; events in Monroe, North Carolina; and (briefly) desegregation of schools in Prince Edward County, Virginia. Elsewhere, Adams writes of nuclear disarmament, enclosing printed materials to support his views. Hawkins, meanwhile, defends capitalism and the existing social structure, concluding that a utopian society would be "frightfully dull... a world of ants." Also within these folders are a few letters exchanged between Hawkins and Virginius Dabney (editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch), with whom Hawkins was surreptitiously sharing some of Adams' correspondence.

In addition to the correspondence file is a subject file on Adams, mostly relating to his attempt to remotely organize a protest march at Virginia Tech in response to a 1969 campus appearance by U. S. Army Chief of Staff General William Westmoreland. Included are copies of advertisements placed by Adams in The Virginia Tech school newspaper, letters to the editor from Adams and others, and correspondence (regarding Adams) exchanged between Hawkins and others, including Virginia Tech President T. Marshall Hahn.

The collection also contains a folder of material relating to Hawkins as recipient of the Virginia Tech Distinguished Alumni Citation. Included are correspondence, memoranda, biographical material, and printed materials.


Arranged by subject matter.

Index Terms


  • University Archives
  • University History
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute

Contents List

Box-folder 1-1-2
Taylor Adams correspondence, 1958-1963, n.d.
Box-folder 1-3
Taylor Adams subject file, 1966-1970, n.d.
Box-folder 1-4
Distinguished Alumni Citation, 1961