In the footsteps of Ann Woodlief

After checking and packing field gear at the VCU OAP in the morning, we kicked20140519_162305 off the academic side of “Footprints on the James” with a lecture by Ann Woodlief and discussion of her book “In River Time: The Way of the James.” Dr. Woodlief joined the VCU English faculty in the early 1970s and published “In River Time” in 1985. This was a pivotal time in the history of the river. Her writing was heavily influenced by American transcendentalist author Henry David Thoreau’s book “Walden.” Noting this source of inspiration she commented that “I did not have a pond, but I did have a river!” Her book, we learned, had its origins in a VCU Honors class she taught nearly 35 year ago. Like the Footprints class, this course was a multidisciplinary look at the James River watershed. The class provided  a forum where she and her students started “making connections” between what they were learning from expert guest lecturers from diverse fields. Dr. Woodlief became interested in viewing history from the lens of the river and capturing how the use of language has shaped (or misshaped) the reality of the river over the years. The resulting book provides a reflection on how the river shaped the peoples and events within the watershed, and how the people, in turn, shaped the river.

2014 FOTJ class: Bottom row - Katherine Spencer; Brian Daugherity (History); Ann Woodlief (English); Wes Owens; Top Row - Maya Walters; Luke Murray; James Vonesh (Biology); Ryan Levering; Dan Carr (Biology); Taylor Price; Martin Edwards; Hannah Zaino; Lelia Overton

2014 FOTJ class: Bottom row – Katherine Spencer; Brian Daugherity (History); Ann Woodlief (English); Wes Owens; Top Row – Maya Walters; Luke Murray; James Vonesh (Biology); Ryan Levering; Dan Carr (Biology); Taylor Price; Martin Edwards; Hannah Zaino; Lelia Overton

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Footprints on the James. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to In the footsteps of Ann Woodlief

  1. Sue Paisley says:

    I recently came across an article you had written, “Huguenot Influence on Thomas Jefferson,” and found it quite interesting. I am a descendant of Abraham Sublette who came to Manakintown in 1700 aboard the Mary and Ann. My family only recently learned of our ancestors challenging arrival in this country. Your article mentioned that many stories of those early days are still being passed down in some of these Huguenot families. Do you know if these stories are being captured in any way? How would I go about obtaining some of this information?

    Sue

    • Ann says:

      You have many Sublette cousins! Yes, we have many stories–and some of them may even be true! Check out our website at huguenot-manakin.org.

  2. Kate Woodlief says:

    Hi Ann,

    I hope this message finds you in good health and good spirits. I came across some of your work online and wanted to reach out. I am in my last year of a BA in English at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. Reviewing some of your writing today has reignited my passion for writing. I, too, am greatly fascinated by transcendentalism and Thoreau! I have noticed your interest in family lineage study and was curious if you had looked into the Woodlief line. I’m not sure whether you acquired that name by birth or marriage but as you may have observed I am a Woodlief myself; a descendant of Captain John Woodlief of England who arrived on the ship Margaret in 1609 and headed the Berkeley Hundred settlement in Virginia. If you have not looked into the family I highly suggest you do so as we tends to be a well-documented group and, if nothing else, rather interesting. Thanks for taking the time to read my message and I will be looking forward to your response.

    Best regards,
    Kate

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s