Library history is an important part of the library profession. Despite this, it seems to receive little attention in modern library school programs. This is unfortunate, because an understanding of library history can greatly enhance our understanding of why modern libraries have developed into what they are today. An analysis of one library is the easiest way to accomplish this as a single library can be seen as a microcosm of the larger library community. Based largely on archival research, this paper briefly reviews the history of the Washington and Lee University Library from 1938 to 2003 and evaluates it in relation to the development of academic libraries in general during that same period.