Forged in Print: The Shenandoah Iron Works’ Riverside

masthead“Who hath despised the day of small things?” read the motto of the Riverside, a company newspaper published in Shenandoah Iron Works (SIW), located in Page County, Virginia. To be sure, even the small things were important in what was then a remote and rustic company town, including a simple, little newspaper printed monthly for the people who lived in and worked for Shenandoah Iron Works.

Rockingham Register Dec. 8, 1881

Excerpt from an article on the history of the Shenandoah Iron Works, from the Rockingham Register, Dec. 8, 1881, available digitally on access.newspaperarchive.com

Thanks to a cooperative partnership with the Huntington Library in Pasadena, California, the Library of Virginia has one issue of the very rare Riverside available in its Virginia Chronicle database, which now contains over 900,000 digitized newspaper pages.

Shenandoah Furnace was built in 1836, though what ultimately became the Shenandoah Iron Works was conceived after brothers Daniel and Henry Forrer purchased 34,483 acres of land from Samuel Gibbens in 1837. Soon after acquiring the land, the Brothers established a post office and named the town Shenandoah Iron Works.  Two more furnaces, Catherine and No. 2, as well as a forge, were added to the iron works where pig iron and tools were produced.

After the Civil War, the Forrer brothers, financially scarred by the devaluation of Confederate currency, sold the operation to a group of Pennsylvania industrialists. “The scale of its operations as measured in the production of pig iron, blooms, iron manufacturers and numbers of employees made Shenandoah one of the foremost industrial establishments in the northern and central Shenandoah Valley,” wrote Charles Ballard in his history of the SIW, “This industry and the community clustered around it evolved from an antebellum iron plantation into a postbellum company town.(The Shenandoah Iron Works, 1836-1907, p.1)”

SIW reached … read more »

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Happy New Year from the VNP!

Rooster 2The Virginia Newspaper Project hopes everyone had a happy New Year.

The end of January 2017 marks the beginning of the Year of the Rooster in the Chinese Zodiac. To celebrate, we searched Virginia Chronicle for rooster-related stories and images–below is a sampling of what we found. It includes how a rooster saved the day for one little boy.

CC 13 Oct 1909

Clarke Courier, October 13, 1909

CC 13 Oct 1909 (1)

Clarke Courier Rooster article, continued.

Daily Press 22 Dec. 1907

Daily Press, December 22, 1907

TD 25 Aug 1908

Times Dispatch, August 25, 1908

RP 7 April 1906

Richmond Planet, April 7, 1906

RP 11 June 1904

Richmond Planet, June 11, 1904

AG 22 July 1908

Alexandria Gazette, July 22, 1908

TD 9 Aug 1903

Times Dispatch, August 9, 1903

Tazewell Republican 25 Nov 1909

Tazewell Republican, November 25, 1909

RP Nov 7 1896 (1)

Richmond Planet, November 7, 1896

RP 16 Jan 1904

Richmond Planet, January 16, 1904

FH 22 Mar 1901

Farmville Herald, March 22, 1901

Appomattox and Buckingham Times 3 Oct 1906

Appomattox and Buckingham Times, October 3, 1906

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Electronic Newspaper Resources from the LVA

http://www.lva.virginia.gov/public/using_collections.asp#_research-NewspapersandMagazines2

http://www.lva.virginia.gov/public/using_collections.asp#_research-NewspapersandMagazines2

We often talk about Virginia Chronicle and Chronicling America here at the Newspaper Project, but the library subscribes to a number of other excellent online newspaper and periodical databases you can access from home with a Library of Virginia library card.

Among the numerous databases that can accessed from home with your library card are: American Periodicals, Daily Press Digital Microfilm (2010-present), Gale Databases, HarpWeek (1857-1912), JSTOR, LexisNexis Library Express, Newspaper Archive, American Periodicals, Newspaper Source Plus, Proquest Civil War Era (1840-1865), Norfolk Journal and Guide (1921-2003), Washington Post (1877-1996), Richmond Times Dispatch (1985-present), Richmond Times Dispatch Historical (1903-1986), US History and the Washington Post Digital Microfilm (2008-present).

Journal and Guide

http://search.proquest.com/hnpnorfolkjournalguide?accountid=44788 Dec. 5, 2016

To access any of these databases from home, go to the LVA Homepage, click on “Using the Collections,” click on “Databases and EBooks,” choose “Newspapers and Magazines” (though there are several other categories to choose from as well), click on a database you’d like to use (for example, Norfolk Journal and Guide, 1921-2003) and enter your Library of Virginia library card number when prompted to do so. Then you’re ready to go.

Try it out today–a world of information awaits!

 

 

 

 … read more »

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Now on Virginia Chronicle: The Smithfield Times

The Virginia Newspaper Project is delighted to announce the newest title, The Smithfield Times, available on Virginia Chronicle, the Library of Virginia’s online digital newspaper database. Smithfield TimesWith its first issue published in 1920, the Smithfield Times was known as the ”Official paper of Isle of Wight County” and the earliest issue on Virginia Chronicle, dated Jan. 28, 1928, is chock full of colorful local news.

Making the front page of this issue were the details of Mary Hatchell’s divorce, newsworthy for divorce’s near nonexistence at the time.”The sadness of the situation,” the Times reported, “was brought forcefully before the court when the 14 year old daughter of the couple, Jacqueline, bared unrelentlessly the conditions which had existed in their home.” On the front page of the same issue, an article outlining a bill to protect Smithfield Hams from what amounted to counterfeiting. The bill hoped to limit the “fattening territory” for hogs labeled “Smithfield” from Virginia and North Carolina to exclusively the peanut growing territory of Eastern Virginia.

With nearly a century of local news stories like the ones mentioned above, plus its birth and marriage announcements, social columns, editorials, obituaries, classifieds, cartoons, photographs, and advertisements, the now digitized Smithfield Times offers a rich and detailed look at the history, the people and the places of southeastern Virginia. Issues from 1928-1984 of the Times are currently accessible on Virginia Chronicle and 1985-2013 will be available soon.

And today, nearly 100 years after its inaugural issue, the Smithfield Times is still going strong, serving the Isle of Wight and Surry counties.

Bus schedule from Jan. 5, 1933 Smithfield Times.

ST Mar 4, 1943

Local advertisements from Mar. 4, 1943.

ST July 7 1955

Front page of the Smithfield Times, July 7, 1955.

Smithfiel Ad Aug 1960

Advertisement printed in the Smithfield Times August 1960.

ST 26 May 1982

Marriage and birth announcements from May 26, 1982

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A Thanksgiving Message From the Virginia Newspaper Project

projectFrom the Highland Recorder, November 28, 1947

Recroder 28 Nov 1947Stay tuned for more blog posts and look for new content on Virginia Chronicle as we approach the new year. . .… read more »

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Nat Turner Re-examined

Professor Patrick H. Breen, author of The Land Shall be Deluged in Blood: A New History of the Nat Turner Revolt, spoke at the Virginia Historical Society on Thursday, November 10, 2016.

Here is a video of the talk which includes the question and answer segment:

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The Virginia Newspaper Project on TV, Live, and in Print

On October 28, 2016, a WTVR story aired about the Virginia Newspaper Project’s very own, Errol Somay. Greg McQuade, investigative reporter and history buff, visited the Library of Virginia to interview Errol about the Library’s extensive newspaper collection, as well as to learn a bit about Mr. Somay’s library career and his stint as a rock music critic.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Virginia Newspaper Project and Mr. Somay’s path to becoming Director of the Newspaper Project, check out the video by visiting: http://wtvr.com/2016/10/28/errol-somay-story/.

Errol

Errol Somay (left), director of the Virginia Newspaper Project, pictured with Greg McQuade looking at an old newspaper from the Library’s collection.

The work of the Newspaper Project was also featured in the Rappahannock Record‘s 100th Anniversary Edition. Big thanks must go to those at the Record for their full cooperation with the Project over the years. It is because of rewarding partnerships like this, that the Rappahannock Record is now available on Virginia Chronicle.

Click here see the entire edition which provides in depth local history and photographs from a century of newspaper publishing in Kilmarnock, Virginia:

Errol 2

Finally, at 7:00 pm on Monday, November 21, Errol will offer a brief presentation about John Mitchell, Jr. and the preservation of the Richmond Planet at Richmond’s Gallery 5 as part of, Headlines: Behind the Bylines of Richmond Journalism. Journalists will talk about their careers, the process and challenges of getting a story in print, and examples of their favorite reporting.… read more »

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Transcribe Postscript: Big Thanks to All of Those Who Helped Transcribe the PCI Newspapers!

The Virginia Newspaper Project would like to give a big thank you to those who transcribed the Petersburg Classical Institute manuscript newspapers on the Library of Virginia’s Transcribe page–It happened faster than we could have imagined!

We encourage those who have not yet visited Transcribe to do so to see the many other documents awaiting transcription. The image below shows some of the varied collections on Transcribe:

Transcribe (1)

http://www.virginiamemory.com/transcribe/ Oct. 27, 2016

Another way history lovers can help make historical information more accessible is to become a registered member of Virginia Chronicle and correct OCR text. To learn how, simply go to the Virginia Chronicle site, click the “help” tab and choose “how to correct OCR text.” If you have questions, please email kelley.ewing@lva.virginia.gov. So far, volunteers have corrected over 615,000 lines of newspaper text in the Virginia Chronicle database. Huge thanks to them too!

Va Chronicle

http://virginiachronicle.com/ Oct. 27, 2016

 … read more »

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Now on Transcribe: the Manuscript Newspapers of Petersburg Classical Institute

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software does the amazing work of converting newspaper type into searchable text, but the task of making hand written documents searchable requires human intervention.

Transcribe, the Library of Virginia’s crowdsourcing transcription tool, gives volunteers the opportunity to transcribe digitized primary source materials from the LVA’s collections, thus making the documents searchable and much more accessible. Letters, diaries, legislative petitions, court records, receipts, coroners’ inquisitions, WPA life histories and, now, newspapers, can all be found on Transcribe.

Transcribe

http://www.virginiamemory.com/transcribe/ Oct. 17, 2016

While manuscript, or hand-written, newspapers are exceedingly rare, the Library has a notable collection (part of the Petersburg Classical Institute records, 1838-1847 Accession 23479) dating from 1842-1843 done by the students of the Petersburg Classical Institute. Because OCR will not work on these pages, we thought they’d be a perfect addition to the Transcribe catalog where they can now be transcribed by dedicated volunteers.

The Petersburg Classical Institute, originally known as Petersburg Academy, was incorporated in 1838 under the guidance of Rev. Ephraim D. Saunders. Its aim was to teach the “higher branches of liberal education” to boys ages ten to eighteen and it Imaged by LVA Photo and Digital Imaging ServicesAugust 2016generally taught 140-150 pupils per year. Richard McIlwaine, eleventh president of Hampden-Sydney College, attended in 1844 and described it as “one of the finest, if not by all odds ahead, of all schools of its grade in the Commonwealth.” Many of its students went on to prominent careers as clergymen, educators, lawyers, and businessmen.

The Tattler, Hit Him Again, Dies Festus Tempora and The Democrat, beautiful examples of manuscript newspapers, were written with humor and sarcasm by the Institute’s students–it is not a stretch to imagine K-12 aged boys creating something similar today. Typical content consisted of student gossip, political news, poetry and advertisements–columns also contained cut out etchings, … read more »

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Portraits of a Prophet: 100 Years of Nat Turner in Print

GoL Sept. 3, 1831“I have a horrible and heart-rending tale to relate,” read a letter from the editor of the Norfolk Herald and printed in the Sept.3, 1831 issue of the Genius of Liberty, “and lest even its worst features might be distorted by rumor and exaggeration, I have thought it proper to give you all and the worst information that has reached us through the best sources of intelligence which the nature of the case will admit.”

The “horrible and heart-rending talethe letter described was a violent slave rebellion which had taken place about sixty miles west of Norfolk in Southampton County, Virginia. “A fanatic preacher by the name of Nat Turner (Gen. Nat Turner),” reported the Richmond Enquirer, “was at the bottom of this infernal brigandage. (Aug. 30, 1831)”

By the time the revolt was over, sixty men, women and children had been killed. But as Scot French’s book, The Rebellious Slave: Nat Turner in American Memory, explains, “First the white people fell. . . Then the black people fell.” The Richmond Constitutional Whig of Sept. 3, 1831 reported that many slaves were slaughtered by retaliating mobs “without trial and under circumstances of great barbarity.” The death toll among the enslaved, many of whom played no part in the revolt, was in the hundreds.

Rather than describe the events of “Nat’s War”, the Newspaper Project hopes to show how newspapers talked about Nat Turner and how they variously portrayed him in the decades following his life and death.  With a myriad of descriptions over the years, from “distinguished immortal spirit” to “wild fanatical,” Turner’s legacy was appropriated by different groups to both frighten and inspire.

On Aug. 12, 1867 the Richmond Dispatch published a long editorial titled “Nat Turner’s Massacre.” The Dispatch, Richmond’s daily newspaper … read more »

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