Former State Senator donates personal papers to the VHS

Former Senator Elliot S. Schewel’s papers will be archived at the museum for research purposes.

Former State Senator Elliot S. Schewel has made a donation of his personal papers to the Virginia Historical Society in memory of fellow former State Senator Elmon T. Gray, the museum announced this week.

Papers of this type are valuable research tools to many studying the Commonwealth’s history.

From the news release:

The Virginia Historical Society (VHS) is proud to announce the donation of campaign records and materials concerning the service of the Honorable Elliot S. Schewel in the Virginia Senate (D) – Senate District 23 (1976–1995).

Senator Schewel and his wife, Rosel, are longtime members of the society. He was elected to the VHS board of trustees on January 1, 1998, and served for six years.

VHS President and CEO Paul Levengood said: “We are pleased to acknowledge this outright gift to the VHS. These important papers will not only enhance our growing collection of twentieth-century legislative records but will also serve many interested researchers for years to come.”

“Scholars and researchers mine these kinds of collections to study the impact of laws and their contribution to Virginia’s legislative history,” said Frances Pollard, Vice President for Research Services at the VHS. “This collection reveals the interrelatedness of people and politics and maps the conduct of campaigning at a specific point in time. We anticipate that scholars and students studying government history will find this collection most helpful,”

The VHS is already home to the personal papers of Gov. and Mrs. J. Lindsay Almond, Jr.; Gov. Gerald L. Baliles; Gov. Albertis S. Harrison, Jr.; Gov. A. Linwood Holton, Jr.; Gov. E. Lee Trinkle; Gov. William H. Mann; Sen. Garland Gray; Sen. Patricia S. Ticer; and other twentieth century Virginia politicians.

Senator Schewel, a graduate of Washington and Lee University, was Vice President of Schewel Furniture Company. During his twenty years in the Virginia Senate, where he proved to be influential and effective, he chaired the Education and Health Committee and served as a member of the Finance Committee. Senator Schewel served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He held a leadership position in such organizations as the Lynchburg Chapter of the American Red Cross, United Negro College Fund, Lynchburg Jewish Community Council, Red Cross Bloodmobile Program, Lynchburg Area Development Corporation, Family Services Bureau, Lynchburg Art Club, United Way of Central Virginia and Lynchburg College Board of Overseers. Senator Schewel was one of several organizers and vice president of the Friends of the Lynchburg Public Library, a group responsible for the creation of a public library in Lynchburg.

The gift is in memory of former State Senator Elmon T. Gray (D) Sussex. Senator Gray was a close friend of Senator Schewel. Both men shared a deep interest in history. They served together on the board of trustees at the VHS in the late 1990s.

“Elmon was a strong advocate for business of all types,” said Senator Schewel.

“In addition he championed the state’s institutions of higher learning and was a consistent supporter of Southside Virginia and its concerns.”

Photo: Virginia Historical Society

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Trevor Dickerson

Trevor Dickerson loves all things Richmond and manages RVANews’ West of the Boulevard and West End community sites.

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