|“||Aaron is Aaron Whitmore and he comes from a very long line of vampire-probing, blood-testing, organ-removing freaks called Augustine.||”|
Augustine was a secret society based in Whitmore College. They were known to gather in Whitmore to identify potential candidates for membership in college students. Augustine members were aware of the supernatural and were especially interested in vampires and the magic and science behind their enhanced senses and abilities. Highly qualified doctors such as Grayson Gilbert and Wes Maxfield experimented on vampires, and intended to use what they learned in their research to benefit humanity, such as using vampire blood to cure fatal illnesses. However, in order to accomplish this goal, the doctors captured and tortured vampires by doing experiments on them to test their theories.
After discovering what they were truly doing, Aaron Whitmore, the sole surviving member of the Whitmore family, who owned Whitmore College and who was the last person in charge of the trust that funded Augustine's experiments, eventually cut the entirety of their funding. A while later, two former Augustine vampires, Damon Salvatore and Lorenzo St. John , were finally reunited after each escaped captivity, and began tracking down and killing all the known Augustine members in revenge for all the they went through while used as test subjects. The sole living Augustine member, Wes Maxfield, managed to continue some of his research on conditioning vampires to feed on their own species instead of humans without the Whitmore family's funding, and was able to create what became known as the Ripper virus.
Grayson Gilbert, Jeremy's father and Elena's adoptive father, was a member of Augustine before his death. While Elena and Jeremy knew their father was a vampire hunter, they never assumed that he would ever torture vampires, even in the name of science. While Elena was horrified at the thought of her father doing horrible things to vampires, she did acknowledge the good work that he did, including treating Megan King's fatal heart defect with vampire blood.
The Augustine Society had regular meetings at Whitmore House, implying that the society has been in existence for a while and has some sort of connection to the college. Wes Maxfield revealed that no vampire could get into Whitmore House uninvited, and the only reason why Elena could was because Aaron, not knowing she was a vampire, invited her in.
Elena Gilbert was considered as a member, as a result of her father being such a highly esteemed doctor in their ranks. However, once Augustine began suspecting she was a vampire, she was rejected as a candidate. Aaron Whitmore was also a legacy to Augustine, but after he learned about what happened to vampires who were used as test subjects, (as well as the fact that retribution from former test subjects and their loved ones resulted in the death of his entire family) he immediately rejected his invitation as a member. Other known members were Dr. Wes Maxfield, a researcher, and Dianne Freeman, who worked in Campus Security at Whitmore College, and who aided Wes in covering up deaths relating to Augustine vampires.
Dr. Wes was conducting research on vampire physiology for the society. He was so dedicated to his scientific research that, when he learned his research assistant, Jesse, had ingested vampire blood, he killed him in order to use him as a test subject for a new process that would condition vampires into feeding on their own, instead of hurting and killing humans.
Elena and Caroline were first “introduced” to the society when their roommate, Megan, was murdered by a vampire, which was quickly covered up by campus security. Dr. Wes later admitted (while being compelled to tell the truth) that the Augustine Society covered it up because it was their vampire who committed the killing. It was later revealed that it was, in fact, Enzo, who killed Megan in Whitmore House, after she had become suspicious about how her heart defect was healed and began to investigate while enrolled at the college. She accidentally found herself near where Enzo was being held captive, and Enzo, having been starved for centuries, could not help but feed on her.
Damon was captured by Augustine in 1953, after his relative, Joseph Salvatore, sold him out in exchange for money. Damon spent five years of captivity there, where he met Lorenzo St. John for the first time. They became very close friends in their captivity. In the episode Total Eclipse of the Heart, Wes injected Damon with the Ripper Compound, which caused Damon to involuntarily feed on other vampires instead of humans. He was later cured of the Ripper virus in While You Were Sleeping.
According to Wes, most members recruited have deep connections within the society, such as legacies. However, Augustine has been known to choose those without connections within the society who possess unique talents that will greater serve their ends, such as Grayson Gilbert and Wes Maxfield, who were both brilliant doctors in their fields.
- Augustine shares many traits with the Mystic Falls Founder's Council, as both are responsible for keeping their respective areas safe from vampires. Also, Grayson Gilbert was a member of both.
- Elena was considered for membership before she was suspected of being a vampire, although while posing as Elena, Katherine's ability to pass over the porch without invitation seemingly cleared Dianne's suspicion. However, when Caroline and Katherine (who initially posed as Elena) went to question Dr. Wes Maxfield on Augustine and their intentions, Katherine carelessly ended up re-outting Elena as a vampire.
- Damon became an Augustine vampire in the episode Total Eclipse of the Heart. Damon was the only known Augustine Vampire in existence until Elena became one in Gone Girl. They were both cured of the virus in While You Were Sleeping.