Clifton W. Potter Jr., PhD

Professor of History, College Marshal

Clifton Potter


505 Brevard

Experience/ Background

  • Three years study at Oxford University where I was a Fulbright Fellow.
  • Fellowships at the University of North Carolina and the Johns Hopkins University under the auspices of the National Endowment fort the Humanities.
  • Agecroft Association Summer Fellowship, 1987.
  • Fellow, Jessie Ball DuPont Summer Seminar for Liberal Arts College Faculty.

While at LC:

  • Chair, Division of Social Sciences, 1982-1990
  • Chair, Department of History, 1990-1996
  • Member of various faculty-student committees
  • Adviser-Omicron Delta Kappa
  • Sears-Roebuck Foundation Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award
  • T. Gibson Hobbs Award, Lynchburg College Alumni Association
  • Shirley E. Rosser Award for Teaching Excellence
  • Elsie Ervin Bock Award for Excellence in Citizenship
  • Thomas C. Allen Award for Excellence in Advising
  • T.A. Abbott Award for Faculty Excellence

Degrees and Certifications

  • 1962: BA, History, Lynchburg College
  • 1964: MA, History, University of Virginia
  • 1970: PhD, History, University of Virginia

Information on Courses Taught

Courses summary:

As our world rushes headlong into the next millennium there is an almost frantic desire to turn and catch one last long fleeting glance at the era that began with the year 1001, and particularly the last few centuries, which are but a moment in the history of our planet. This is my special area of study—not all our yesterdays, but those most recent moments that saw the world as we know it come into being. When I was a boy, I knew someone whose grandfather was a drummer boy in the Grand Army of Napoleon. The past is only yesterday, and we can make it live again. Why not come and explore it with me?

England to 1485:

Could Julius Caesar have ever imagined what he was starting when he fell flat on his face when he first stepped on the shores of Great Britain? The roots of our language, our legal system, and the essence of our culture may be traced to this island on the edge of the world. By exploring the races and cultures that inhabited Britain from the first invasion by the Iberian peoples, long before the birth of Christ, to the last by the Normans in 1066, it is possible to examine our own roots. Once the basic racial elements are in place, England’s story moves at a rapid pace from the tension between Saxon and Norman to war between France and England. After centuries of social turmoil and tension, England emerges as a great nation under the Tudors.

England since 1603:

Englishmen who lived during the reign of Elizabeth I believed that theirs was a golden age, but their grandchildren saw their nation torn apart by civil war. Fortunately out of this national tragedy emerged a people united and invigorated by their ordeal. As the Elizabethan age ended the English laid the foundations of a world state that would girdle the globe. In the 18th century the British lost an empire, and in the 19th century they acquired another one which gave birth to a family of nations in the 20th century. Britain is not only the birthplace of modern democracy, it is also the nation that witnessed the beginnings of the industrial revolution. From the glories of the Victorian era through the tragedy of World War I, to the triumph over Nazi Germany, Britain’s story is more fascinating than any story concocted by a novelist.

The Age of Courts and Kings:

Did the great Louis XIV really have fleas in his wig—and why was he wearing a wig in the first place? As we proceed from the trauma of civil wars and persecution to the refined society spawned by the Paris salons, this course examines the forces that produced the glories of eighteenth-century Europe while laying the groundwork for the French Revolution. It also offers a chance to view life as it existed for everyone from peasant to prince before the events occurred that changed the world forever.

From Revolution to Armageddon:

One of the images burned into the collective consciousness is that of the blade of the guillotine descending on the unfortunate victims of the French Revolution—and so this course begins. It ends with the fatally wounded Archduke Frank Ferdinand praying that his wife—who had already died—would survive to care for their three children. Between these two events lie the triumphs and tragedies of the era that gave birth to our own age. The men and women who lived and died in that 125-year period provide the excitement that draws the student into the kaleidoscope of the nineteenth century.

Recent Publications

  • A Forgotten Entrance to Hell: The Lynchburg Prisoner of War Camp, 1862-1865. Lynch’s Ferry, April 2014.
  • Lynchburg: Then and Now. Arcadia Publishing, 2011. Co-author Dorothy Potter.
  • Victorian Ambivalence About Queen Elizabeth I: The Political History of a Royal Reputation, 2010. (Foreword by Carole Levin)
  • Lynchburg 1757-2007. Arcadia Publishing, 2007. Co-author Dorothy Potter.
  • “The Long Parliament,” “The Popish Plot,” and “The Rye House Plot,” Great events from History: the Seventeenth Century, 1601-1700, Pasadena: Salem Press, 2005.
  • Lynchburg, a City Set on Seven Hills. Arcadia Publishing, 2004. Co-author Dorothy Potter.
  • Another Journey Through the Years, a play celebrating the centennial of the founding of Lynchburg College written with Dorothy T. Potter and produced in October 2003 by the Lynchburg College Theatre.
  • “George V and George VI.” The Dictionary of World Biography, Salem Press, Pasadena, 2000.

Professional/Research Interests

  • Research and writing about the Elizabethan Age, with a special emphasis on the use of art as propaganda.
  • Currently working on a comprehensive study of the prisoner of war camp that existed in Lynchburg from April 1862 until April 1865.
  • Special interests are in English history, modern Europe from 1700 to the present, and the history of Central Virginia.

Personal Interests and Information

  • President of the Board of Historic Sandusky
  • Member of the Board of the Friends of New London
  • Chair of the Eagle Board, Piedmont District, Boy Scouts of America
  • Restoration and preservation
  • Cooking
  • Travel
  • Fitness
  • Gardening

My wife, Dorothy-Bundy, and I are both graduates of Lynchburg College. We not only share a home—we share an office; I have taught at LC since 1965, and my wife has been a member of the history department faculty since 1984. Our son, Edmund, has a Masters in architectural history from the University of Virginia, and a PhD from Auburn University. He teaches history at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia.