James Branch Cabell Library Associates Board
The James Branch Cabell Library Associates Board, founded in 1972, promotes the critical study and careful preservation of the collection of the Richmond writer for whom the library is named. During the 1970-era construction, the Associates worked diligently to build the library's collection and provide other support through private philanthopy. Now, this group supports public programs designed to encourage discussion among students, faculty, staff and community members. Additionally, the board supports the acquisition and preservation of Cabell-related materials housed in Special Collections and Archives.
The building bears not only Cabell’s name but also his legacy of literary inspiration through the careful preservation of his work. And it’s been the duty of the Cabell Associates to keep the legacy alive ever since. “Margaret Freeman helped create the Cabell Associates to safeguard her husband’s work,” said Walter Dotts III, president of the Cabell Associates. “Their home on Monument Avenue was also given to the board and its sale gave us a footing to support the libraries and to promote Cabell as an important Southern writer. I don’t think he’s ever gotten the recognition he deserved. That’s part of our purpose.”
One way the Cabell name lives on is through the Associates' sponsorship of the annual Cabell First Novelist Award. Each year hundreds of entries flood in from across the nation. They are judged through a panel managed by the Department of English and three finalists go through a deep review and analysis with the annual recipient honored by a fall semester event.