A Guide to the Olivia Tutwiler Hill Diary, 1919 Hill, Olivia Tutwiler Diary Ms2016-004

A Guide to the Olivia Tutwiler Hill Diary, 1919

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number Ms2016-004


Special Collections, Virginia Tech

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/

©2016 By Virginia Tech. All rights reserved.

Processed by: John M. Jackson, Special Collections

Special Collections, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.
Collection Number
Olivia Tutwiler Hill Diary, 1919
Physical Characteristics
0.1 Cubic Feet 1 folder
This collection has been digitized and is available online .
Hill, Olivia Tutwiler
Diary of Olivia Tutwiler (later Olivia Tutwiler Hill), a young teacher living in Blacksburg and Childress, Virginia, in 1919. The focus is primarily on a crush that Tutwiler had on a Virginia Tech cadet, but entries also chronicle an active social life.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from Olivia Tutwiler Hill Diary must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Olivia Tutwiler Hill Diary, Ms2016-004, Special Collections, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

Acquisition Information

The Olivia Tutwiler Hill Diary was donated to Special Collections in 2016.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Olivia Tutwiler Hill Diary commenced and was completed in February, 2016.

Alternate form available

This collection has been digitized and is available online .

Biographical Note

Olivia Tutwiler, daughter of James B. M. and Meta Anderson Tutwiler, was born in Lexington, Virginia on February 13, 1889. In 1904, the Tutwilers moved to Blacksburg, where they operated the Blacksburg Inn. After obtaining her teaching certificate from Longwood College (now Longwood University) in 1918, Tutwiler accepted a position as teacher at Childress (Montgomery County), Virginia, where she boarded with the Palmer family. Later returning to Blacksburg, she taught kindergarten for a year.

In 1922, Olivia Tutwiler married Henry H. "Bunker" Hill (1880-1954), a professor of chemistry at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. The couple would have two children, and Olivia Hill would continue to operate a boarding house near the Hill's Main Street home. Hill eventually opened her own kindergarten on Washington Street and also provided private tutoring in her home. In 1952, she established a school in Blacksburg Presbyterian Church and continued as its head until 1969; Hill continued to teach until retiring in 1973. Olivia Tutwiler Hill died on August 6, 1974.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of a diary maintained by Olivia Tutwiler (later Olivia Tutwiler Hill), a young teacher living in Blacksburg and Childress, Virginia, during the first two months of 1919. The diary begins with January 1, finding Tutwiler in Blacksburg, perhaps during her school's winter break, living at home with her parents. The diary entries are overwhelmingly concerned with Tutwiler's crush on an unidentified cadet at the nearby Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and the entries are addressed to him as "dear boy." The diarist writes often of her love for the cadet, while complaining of his lack of consideration and of her frustration in trying to win his affection. She also mentions a number of other cadets and young men, several of whom are pursuing her, but in whom she has little interest. (Mentioned only a couple of times in passing is the name "Bunker," being Henry "Bunker" Hill, whom Olivia Tutwiler would eventually marry.)

Interspersed within these entries are details of Tutwiler's activities: while staying in Blacksburg, she picks up extra employment by performing clerical duties at the nearby Virginia Cooperative Extension. She also mentions a number of social activities--attending university basketball games and dances, throwing a birthday party, frequently making candy--and discusses the movies she sees and the books she reads. Occasionally, her entries touch on some of the larger issues of the day, mentioning people who have fallen victim to the influenza epidemic of that year and acquaintances who have shipped overseas for service in the war.

By February 3, Tutwiler is again living and teaching in the Childress community (but returns at least twice to Blacksburg), and she mentions her local acquaintances, sometimes relaying gossip. She frequently describes the weather and road conditions. She also makes mention of some of the problems she encounters as a teacher, frequently complaining of her students' lack of knowledge and discipline. The entries end with March 4, 1919.

Related Material

Henry H. Hill Collection. Finding aid available online.

Subjects and Indexing Terms


  • Hill, Olivia Tutwiler
  • Subjects:

  • Blacksburg (Va.)
  • Local/Regional History and Appalachian South
  • Montgomery County (Va.)
  • Women -- History

Container List

Folder 1

This collection has been digitized and is available online .