Included on the lists of historical highway markers and Virginia Landmarks Register are 33 sites of literary interest. Landmarks have been incorporated in this site's list if the state mentions in their official descriptions noteworthy literary contributions pertinent to the site or if landmark's main inhabitant is widely recognized as a literary figure in some way. This therefore includes such statesmen as Thomas Jefferson, whose tombstone notes two of his writings and the building of University of Virginia but not his presidency, George Washington, whose Farewell Address is included in most major American literature anthologies and James Madison, who is recognized as the Father of the U.S. Constitution. I have not included sites pertaining to James Monroe and Woodrow Wilson, presidents well-known for their political decrees or speeches, as both the Monroe Doctrine and the Fourteen Points are important historical, but not literary, documents.
Some sites require little explanation for their inclusion, such as Edgar Allan Poe's dormitory room at the University of Virginia or John Dos Passos' home in Westmoreland County, where he lived and worked for at least part of every year since 1949 until his death in 1970. Others have more interesting circumstances. Rokeby in Loudoun County, for instance, is on the list due to its supposed housing of central American documents like the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation during the British storming of Washington in 1814. The Charles Irving Thornton Tombstone in Cumberland County is included on the Virginia Landmarks Register and this list for one particular reason: Prolific novelist Charles Dickens wrote the inscription on the headstone. Each site on the list links to a page describing its location, which Virginia commemoration it received and a description of its significance.
In order to provide a closer look at what constitutes a literary landmark, 13 of these sites have been visited and evaluated. These particular sites are a diverse bunch demonstrating presentations of different kinds of literary figures, publications or actions. They are marked within their pages with the following icon on their main page photos:
On these pages, click on the icon in order to view the critical evaluation of the site. For a list of these sites, click here.
This site was created by Emily Kane as part of the University of Virginia's American Studies program.
For more information about AS@UVA, click below.