A Personal Perspective from Pavilion X

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On November 6, 1882, William Minor Lile (1859-1935) penned the first entry in what became an eleven-volume series of journals spanning fifty years. A graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and dean of the Law School from 1904 to 1932, Lile began his diary when he left his native Alabama to open a law practice in Lynchburg. He penned the majority of his journal entries while living in the Pavilion X at the end of East Lawn in UVA’s historic Academical Village.

The view from Pavilion X, captured in Lile’s diaries, looked out onto the immediate setting of the University of Virginia and Charlottesville and the larger world beyond. Now available in a digital, searchable, unabridged format, the Lile diaries are a valuable testimony to the interplay of local and global events, captured in the life of a Virginia lawyer and law professor. Lile writes of courtship, personal politics, the law profession, family and friends, and life at the University of Virginia, his small-town experiences interwoven with changing national mores, technological innovation, world war, Prohibition, and the Great Depression. The breadth of its chronological span and depth of detail make The Diary of a Dean an especially useful tool for scholars of the University of Virginia and American law practice as well as for students of history interested in exploring broader themes of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.

William Minor Lile

Find out more about the diarist, a UVA law professor whose eleven journals provide a thought-provoking account of academic and family life in the South from the 1880s through the 1930s.

The Diary

Explore the Lile diaries through a complete transcription that allows for both easy, entry-by-entry reading and quick searches of keywords, names, and places.


Consider the many historical uses of the Lile diaries through a series of essays on some of the most conspicuous themes of the Lile diaries, including family life, Prohibition, and the Great Depression.