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An Eye of Silver: The Life and Times of Andrew D. Lytle

The Growth and Change of Louisiana State University

Louisiana State University evolved over time from a small seminary and military academy in north central Louisiana to an aspiring university situated near the state capitol. The image on the left shows cadets on parade at the third home of LSU, the Pentagon Barracks and Arsenal grounds near downtown Baton Rouge. The churches lining Fourth Street appear in the background.

The military nature of education at LSU in the 19th and early 20th centuries can be seen in this image of the staff under the Commandant of Cadets. The quality of the education offered, as well as the discipline, has been a point of pride for the University for well over a century, as the November 1872 issue of The Reveille demonstrates.

Of course, for students it wasn’t all drill and study. The “Commencement ‘Hop’” dance card from 1871 gives a good indication that dances still occupied some of the student’s time. Robert Nicholls Sims, Jr., a cadet, kept a diary during the winter of 1885 – 86, in which he often notes having other cadets to his rooms for “chocolate,” mentions going to the river for groceries, and talks about a Firemen’s dance and entertainment.

Both Howard Lytle and his son, Andrew David Lytle, Jr., attended LSU. Howard became a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity. His son also joined the fraternity, played on various sports teams, and became quite popular on campus. When he died of typhus on 15 November 1911 at the age of 19, LSU closed for the day in his memory. He attended LSU for two years before his death. The portrait on the right shows him in uniform around the time of his death.

A.D. Lytle, Jr.’s death hit his grandfather particularly hard. A.D. had already experienced the deaths of his first two children and lost his wife Mary (d 19 February 1898) after more than forty years of marriage. A.D. would celebrate his seventy-seventh birthday a few months after his grandson’s passing.

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