To Be Sold Symposium: A Two City Event!

SymposiumTomorrow, March 21, 2015, the Library of Virginia is co-hosting what promises to be a fascinating two city symposium To Be Sold: The American Slave Trade from Virginia to New Orleans. Noted speakers will discuss the slave trade between Richmond and New Orleans–how it operated and its impact on families and communities. Unfortunately, all spots for the event have been taken, but don’t despair! The event will be streaming live and filmed by the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab for later viewing through the Library’s website.

Featuring distinguished scholars Maurie McInnis, Charles B. Dew, Alexandria Finley, Calvin Schermerhorn, and Phillip Troutman, the first half of the event, from 9 am to 12:45 pm, will be held at the Library of Virginia. The afternoon session will shift focus to the Crescent City, as Walter Johnson, Stephanie Jones-Rogers, Larry Powell and Adam Rothman will be telecast from the Williams Research Center in New Orleans. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage in discussions with panel members in both cities.

This highly anticipated event is in conjunction with the Library’s To Be Sold exhibit, which examines the slave trade in Richmond and the “second passage” or the forced passage of slaves from the Upper South to the Deep South. To tell the story, the exhibit relies on a wide variety of primary source materials from receipts and census records to slave inventories and newspapers—central to the exhibit, are oil paintings done by nineteenth century English artist Eyre Crowe, depicting slave markets in Richmond and Charleston, S.C.  The collection of materials used in the exhibit, drawn from the Library and other institutions, powerfully conveys the devastation of slavery and the slave trade.

Because this is the Fit to Print blog, we’d like to mention newspapers and their part in telling the … read more »

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Buckingham County historian gives nod to Virginia Chronicle

The Virginia Newspaper Project will jump at any opportunity to publicize itself and Virginia Chronicle.

To that end, the 2015 issue no. 1 of the Library of Virginia’s Broadside magazine (page 8) offers an excellent article by Joanne Yeck that describes using Virginia Chronicle for genealogical and county research. Ms. Yeck wastes no time providing helpful search tips!

If your interest is at all related to Buckingham County and the immediate surrounding area, please take a look at Ms. Yeck’s blog, slate river ramblings, as well as her print publications, though they cover a wide range of topics.

Here is an image from a recent slate river ramblings blog entry:

Hanes Chapel

 … read more »

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Progress At Last-Twenty Years, Actually. The Caroline Progress of Bowling Green–Now Entering VNP Preservation.

Caroline Progress MastheadCaroline County mapBetween 1883 and 1909 six of the seven newspapers that ever claimed Bowling Green as home appeared, and then disappeared, after publishing for no more than two or three years.  Now I can’t describe the following as an especially significant curiosity, but it certainly qualifies as at least a noteworthy anomaly – though admittedly one only an archivist might find amusing.  It so happens each of these papers chose the county name and a single word identifier for their title.  This does, however, provide an excuse to summarize the disappointing state of the Project’s Caroline County collection at the Library of Virginia in the following abbreviated manner:  a Courier without arrival, an Echo unheard, a Promoter without promotion, an Advance never forwarded, News never read, and a Sentinel in lonely solitude.  Here’s the single Caroline Sentinel (minus a bite) in our possession.

Caroline SentinelThat’s five members of the regrettably lengthy Project “wish list” (not to mention the “wish more” list of which the Sentinel is a part).  We do learn from our 1936 go-to reference, Virginia Newspapers, 1821-1935, A Bibliography, by Lester Cappon, PhD. (the Mighty Cappon at the desk!…the reference desk) that the University of Richmond holds one copy of the Caroline Echo, the Virginia Historical Society has a few additional copies of the Sentinel and about a year of the Caroline Promoter.  The Caroline Courier, Advance, and News-POOF–the departure sfx for transport to oblivion, the default site for the great unfound.  Sigh.

Caroline ProgressAfter the demise of the Caroline Echo in 1909, Cappon tells us, for the next ten years local readers had no choice but to seek a newspaper from Ashland to the south (the Hanover Weekly Herald or Progress-they merged in 1919), Fredericksburg to the north (most likely the Daily Starread more »

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The Mountain Laurel

Virginia Chronicle is currently home to over 50 newspapers online. We are particularly happy to include late 20th century newspapers such as the Virginia Farm Bureau News as part of the array of titles that provide rich content, documenting the events and lives of citizens throughout the commonwealth.

Main Page Mt. Laurel

Another newspaper/journal of note from the late 20th century is the Mountain Laurel: The Journal of Mountain Life, a publication that for years recorded engaging stories, both big and small, about the people living in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains in an area known as the Meadows of Dan.

The Library’s online collection matches the print run of the Mountain Laurel: 1983 – 1995.

But the Mountain Laurel lives on online at http://www.mtnlaurel.com/.

backroads_logo

Bob Heafner, one of the founders of the Mountain Laurel, continues to add stories and photographs to the site and with each contribution the journal provides yet another tantalizing glimpse of mountain life.

I don’t think the founders and editors of the Mountain Laurel would be offended if it is said that the journal is redolent of the best that the Foxfire series had to offer over the years.  By reading the pages of the ML online at Virginia Chronicle or at the mtnlaurel.com, get ready to learn a few practical things about living in the mountains and to soak up a bit of timeless wisdom from voices that stretch back generations.

Roza

For example, I was curious about a couple of the more arcane food items that I have heard about over the years: ramps and poke sallet. Sure enough, a search on Virginia Chronicle of the pages of the Mountain Laurel gave me a nice starting point for additional research when it comes to local usage of each … read more »

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Yes Virginia, there is a Yes, Virginia

SantaA now chastised member of the Project staff expressed the feeling that the newspaper editorial “Yes, Virginia” was perhaps reaching the end of its cultural lifespan–that the heartbeat of this century old defense of Santa Claus was fading fast and exiting the collective memory.

This person was misinformed. And promptly Wiki-corrected. And then experienced the Wiki-fatigue he richly deserved.  You may follow in his tracks if you wish: Yes, Virginia.

If you made it through the opening section of the Wiki entry, you now know the history of the “most reprinted editorial ever to run in any newspaper in the English language.” To further reinforce that reputation, we’re reprinting it below, from the 21 September 1897 issue of the New York Sun.Yes, Virginia 1Yes, Virginia 2Yes, Virginia 3How many newspapers reproduced this editorial in the next century? Lots. Lots and Lots. For example, here it is in the Clinch Valley News of 23 December 1921.

Clinch ValleyAll of us here at the Virginia Newspaper Project want you to know that we believe in Santa Claus. And we believe in a newspaper editorial that supports the belief in Santa Claus. And we believe in the reprinting and reproduction of editorials that support the belief in Santa Claus. And we believe in the historical preservation of editorials that support the belief in Santa Claus. And we believe in the historical preservation of editorials that support the belief in Santa Claus in both microfilm and digital formats.

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE VIRGINIA NEWSPAPER PROJECT!

p.s. The editorial read by Virginia, herself.

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My Heart Went Right Down–The Devil’s Half Acre and the Richmond Slave Trade

The Library of Virginia’s current exhibit, “To Be Sold,” open through 30 May 2015, examines the slave trade in Richmond. Viewed through the lens of primary source material–broadsides, court records, city directories, business receipts, census records, artifacts, books and paintings–the exhibit provides the visitor with vital information from which the stories of Richmond’s past emerge.

Newspapers, of course, are another critical resource for historical study in this area–free, online digital resources, like Virginia Chronicle and Chronicling America, provide easy access to hundreds of thousands of newspaper issues and the history therein.

Together, the documents of the time create a more complete,  deeply layered account of those directly involved in and affected by Richmond’s slave trade:  Like Robert Lumpkin, one of the city’s most active slave dealers from the 1840s until 1865. And Anthony Burns, a slave who escaped to Boston, only to be captured and returned to Virginia under the Fugitive Slave Law.

Lumpkin's Jail

The small piece of open land in the middle of the photo, which sits between a parking lot and route 95, was the site of Lumpkin’s Jail.

The storied land that was home to Lumpkin’s Jail, aptly called the Devil’s Half Acre is, today, mostly covered by a sprawling parking lot and interstate 95. But from 1844 until the end of the Civil War, it was “a human clearinghouse and. . .purgatory for the rebellious.”[i]

In 1844 Robert Lumpkin purchased three lots on Richmond’s Wall Street, a commercial district and home to several of the city’s profitable slave auction houses. The lots, previously owned by Lewis Collier, contained a brick dwelling house, outbuildings and a jail when Lumpkin bought them. Under his ownership, the jail became known as “Lumpkin’s Jail” and established itself as Richmond’s most notorious compound for runaway slaves and slaves … read more »

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In Leaps of Ten: A Six Decade Tour of Seasonal Ads from The Clarke Courier, Berryville, 1928-1988

Thanksgiving 19281928 Grocery #21928 Highest Prices

Thanksgiving 19381938 Masthead1938 Norfolk & Western1938 Grocery1938 A & P1938 Phone1938 Ramsburg's Grocery1938 Shk. Grocery

Thanksgiving 1948

Mast 1948#2  1948Norfolk and Western 1948No Va Power 1948Thanksgiving 19581958 Grocery1958 Norfolk and WesternThanksgiving. Sometimes it’s work. Who needs a drink? Four of the six liquor ads from this 1958 issue.1958 Bellows Bourbon1958 Old Stagg1958 Apple Jack1958 Alcohol adThanksgiving 1968Mast 19681968 Bank of1968 Car Dealer1968 Clarke County Motors1968 SafewayThanksgiving 1978Mast 19781978 Bank of Clarke1978 Farm Credit1978 The Barn1978 Men's WearThanksgiving 19881998 Masthead1988 Food Lion1988 Bank of Clarke County1988 Black Penny1988 Chevy Turkey ShootAnd the Christmas encroachment begins…1988 Christmas Open House

p.s. One more from 1958. Something to consider when you’re deciding whether to leave your phone in your pocket or on the Thanksgiving table…1958 Phone
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Mind the Gaps: The Virginia Newspaper Project Adds Issues to Fill Gaps on Virginia Chronicle.

The Virginia Newspaper Project recently added issues to three titles that are currently available on Virginia Chronicle.

The Monocle.
Peninsula Enterprise.
Alexandria Gazette.

The added issues help to fill gaps in three popular titles published in three different parts of the state.

The Monocle was the high school newspaper for John Marshall High School in Richmond, VA while the Peninsula Enterprise was published for years in Accomac and eventually superseded by the Eastern Shore News.MonPEAnd then there’s the Alexandria Gazette, a daily that has origins dating back to the early 19th century. The Newspaper Project’s plan is to eventually have a complete run of the Alexandria Gazette from 1836 through 1922.AGThe new issues push the total number of pages in Virginia Chronicle to just fewer than 400,000. Look for another spike in Virginia Chronicle’s page count in the coming weeks as we add new issues as well as brand new titles to our ever growing database.

 … read more »

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A Newspaper Connection–”Slaves Waiting for Auction”–Thackeray & Crowe Check-In

Left: William M. Thackeray. Center: Crowe's illustration of Richmond 1853. Right: Eyre Crowe.

Left: William M. Thackeray. Center: Crowe’s illustration of Richmond 1853. Right: Eyre Crowe.

Daily Dispatch, March 2, 1853

Daily Dispatch, March 2, 1853

In November of 1852, William Makepeace Thackeray, still enjoying the considerable success and fame accruing from his novel of the previous decade, Vanity Fair, arrived after a two week voyage from Liverpool (on the Royal Mail ship “Canada”) in Boston harbor.  Thackeray’s purpose, besides adventure, was financial gain, a cushion for his daughters from a life he suspected might be foreshortened. In fact, it was–He died ten years later at only 52.

The lecture route, somewhat planned and somewhat improvised, would take a leisurely southern direction, with an appearance in Richmond scheduled for the following February.   Thackeray was accompanied by Erye Crowe, who acted as personal secretary, tour manager, amanuensis and, most importantly, good company during what promised to be a stimulating, but inescapably trying and lengthy journey.

Like Thackeray, Crowe was a skilled sketch artist.  Unlike Thackeray, who abandoned art studies as a young man to sketch words as a journalist, Crowe, 29 years of age and about a dozen years the author’s junior, still aspired to be an artist.  While Thackeray’s lectures and impressions of America inscribed in his letters now interest only scholars, Crowe’s oil painting, “Slaves Waiting for Auction”, derived from his drawing above, can still jab the conscience.

The work acts as centerpiece for the Library of Virginia’s exhibit opening later this month, “To Be Sold,” a close examination of Richmond as a distribution hub for the business of selling human beings.

Yet minus the intercession of a book and a newspaper, the painting might not exist at all. “I expended 25 cents”, writes Crowe in his memoir of 1893, With Thackeray in America, “in the purchase of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and was properly … read more »

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Before & After: The Staunton Tribune and Staunton Reporter

Last year, The Augusta County Genealogical Society generously donated rare African American newspapers to the Library of Virginia.

While the collection is comprised of a mere five issues, three issues of the Staunton Tribune from 1928-1931 and two of the Staunton Reporter from 1916, as historical resources these items are priceless, invaluable for the study of African American and Virginia history.

Historical newspapers such as these are especially rare and often in deteriorating condition when they are discovered–when this collection arrived at the Library, the papers were torn, brittle and extremely fragile. It is often the case that newspapers from the early twentieth century are in worse condition than papers published 100 years earlier due to the evolving methods of mass paper production.

The Library’s talented conservator, Leslie Courtois, de-acidified, mended and encapsulated the newspapers so they may be handled safely and studied for generations to come. After conservation, the originals were able to be microfilmed, making them even more accessible to researchers, students, historians, authors and genealogists.

Below are the photographs of the newspapers before and after conservation. The pictures speak for themselves:

BEFORE CONSERVATION14_0407_01

AFTER CONSERVATION15_0256_002BEFORE 14_0407_06Before 1AFTER15_0256_001After 1BEFORE14_0407_07AFTER15_0256_006read more »

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