Monthly Archives: April 2012
The Virginia Newspaper Project recently purchased two issues of an eight page newspaper entitled The Richmond Progress from a historic newspaper dealer. The issues are not dated but believed to be from 1884 and 1886 and they are printed as Volume I, numbers 4 and 6 respectively. The Library of Virginia previously had just one issue in our collection, Volume 1, Issue 1 which is only 4 pages and appears to be from 1882.
The paper was published in Richmond, Virginia by J. Thompson Brown & Co., Real Estate Agents and Auctioneer with offices at 1113 Main Street. The papers are largely made up of listings for houses, buildings, and land for sale.
The later issues are interesting for their feature articles. In the 1884 issue, one article references the illustrations that had been prepared for the publication. Three etchings depict the growth of the city in 1800, 1830, and 1870. Brief historical sketches are drawn for each period. I enjoyed hearing the population numbers for Richmond; 5,730 in 1800, 16,000 in 1830, and 65,000 by 1870.
There are brief articles about the value of owning real estate, a short history of City Directories in Richmond, articles advocating a bridge between Church Hill and Shockoe Hill and a street railway line to Manchester, largely to promote business and increase real estate values. In recent years, there has been discussion about the City purchasing Mayo Island and developing it as a park. So it is humorous to see on page 5 proposals to develop the same lands. “By opening up pleasure resorts along the route, which is most peculiarly adapted by nature for these purposes, such as boat houses, dancing pavilions, mercantile and mechanics’ pleasure clubs of every variety–that something, in which our city is woefully deficient, to attract business like … read more »
What follows is a listing of some recent additions to the Project microfilm archive, each from Northern Virginia and each resulting from a generous loan by the Thomas Balch Library of Leesburg.
The Times-Mirror publishing history begins in 1924 and continues today in a decentralized form, with separate bureaus and editions spread across Northern Virginia. Our holdings are strong from the mid century on but there are gaps especially in the late 1920’s and into the early years of the Depression. It is most gratifying then, for this addition from the Balch which addresses one year, 1934, in a complete January to December run.
The image above (click to enlarge) is the front page of February 22. The paper, a weekly, with its seven column width and assortment of staggered, vertically stacked headlines suggests the vitality of a more metropolitan base than its actual home in Leesburg. The use of the Cheltenham font in three headlines (“Racing Bills Pass Today In House”, for example) and, for that matter, the design of the masthead, lend a curiously contemporary quality to the Times-Mirror by mirroring (sorry) today’s New York Times (print edition, for readers of only the internet).
That drawn depiction of George Washington on this same front page provides a segue to the next paper from Leesburg,
With a lifetime five years shy of a hundred (1808-1903) perhaps no other Virginia newspaper crosses the breadth of the 19th century with so continuous an identity. You’ll see below examples here of The Washingtonian early and late from its history.
The roughly 300 hundred copies loaned to us by the Balch Library filled numerous gaps in our microfilm archive and replaced earlier images with improved versions. Restoration prior to filming was no minor undertaking, so credit here to Silver Persinger of … read more »
Located in Spotsylvania County, 61 miles north of Richmond and 60 miles south of Washington, D.C., between the Tidewater and Piedmont regions of Virginia, Fredericksburg was a major port on the Rappahannock River, a significant crossroads during the late 18th and early 19th centuries and an important center of trade and commerce. The town was also the scene of fierce fighting and considerable destruction during the Civil War.
In an attempt to offer an alternative voice in postwar Virginia and to help boost the slowly recovering regional economy, the Free Lance was established in Fredericksburg in 1885 under the leadership of William E. Bradley and John W. Woltz, a former chairman of Virginia’s Republican delegation. Thirty-four stockholders also contributed to the operations of the paper as investors in the Free Lance Newspaper and Job Printing Company. It was apparent from the earliest issues of the Free Lance that the war was deeply imprinted on people’s minds and that political divisions in the South were still bitterly contentious. The Free Lance characterized itself as an “Independent” paper “devoted to Agricultural, Commercial and Manufacturing Interests of Fredericksburg and its Vicinity.” Its chief competitors, the Fredericksburg Star and the News, were decidedly Democratic. The Star immediately questioned the political leanings of Woltz and the paper’s stockholders, prompting the Free Lance in its second issue to reply: “We repeat, we see enough already to convince us that the Star is disposed ‘to pick a quarrel’ with the Lance, which we shall be slow to enter, and which we now proclaim will be unprofitable, unwise and which, we shall avoid if possible and permitted.”
In fact, the Free Lance defended its mission–and its stockholders–with vigor. “Republicans, (even though they be unnatural human beings from the standpoint of the Star), don’t feel like … read more »