“To The Editors of College Topics” (1890)

Henry Martin with BellHenry Martin in RetirementHenry Martin on the LawnHenry Martin Next to the University Chapel

In this letter to the editor of the student publication College Topics, published in 1890, Henry Martin describes his time working at the University of Virginia as an enslaved waiter at first and later as an employed janitor. Martin is writing to the university community; his employment was conditional upon their good opinion of him.



To The Editors of College Topics:
By your request I have consented to the state the history of my connection with the University of Virginia.
I came to the University in the year 1850. I first served for the term of two years as waiter, in the dining hall on Carr’s Hill, managed at that time by Mrs. Carr, after whom this renowned resort is named.
Remaining on Carr’s Hill until the war began, I then served as a waiter for the wounded Confederate soldiers that were in the different hospitals surrounding the University. After the close of the war I was employed as a janitor for the rotunda and in that capacity I have since served. During my connection with the University in these capacities for the term of forty years, I have been kindly treated by both the faculty and the students, and it has been my aim to treat every one respectfully, and if, in any instance, I have done otherwise it was when I was in a passion and was a mistake of the head and not one of the heart.
As the years have gone by, and students have come and gone, I have always welcomed the new ones, and have always been loath to part with old ones. Men who now occupy places of honor and distinction in this government, I have known and served, and I hope that for many years to come shall be treated as kindly as I have been in the past.

APA Citation:
Martin, Henry. “To The Editors of College Topics” (1890). (2021, October 28). In Encyclopedia Virginia.
MLA Citation:
Martin, Henry. "“To The Editors of College Topics” (1890)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (28 Oct. 2021). Web. 29 May. 2024
Last updated: 2021, October 28
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.