Author Archives Kelley Ewing
Breaking News! Fit to Print has joined forces with the Library of Virginia’s Out of the Box blog to form a new Library-wide blog called The UncommonWealth. While newspapers and archives will remain an important part of the new blog, it will also feature posts on the Library’s special collections, conservation efforts, Virginia authors, LVA programs & education, digital projects and public library news. Additionally, it will highlight LVA staff members with insights into their work and offer glimpses behind the scenes into the Library’s stacks.
With over 200 entries, Fit to Print has covered such topics as newspaper acquisitions, newly microfilmed & digitized newspapers, research methods, title histories, local history, big news stories, fieldwork, notable editors, and newspaper advertising and we plan to continue to do more of the same in The UncommonWealth. It’s not goodbye, but hello in a new and much improved format. And all archived Fit to Print and Out of the Box blog entries will continue to be accessible through The UncommonWealth.
In the coming days, an introductory post will be published by The UncommonWealth–it promises to be an entertaining, wide-ranging and highly informative endeavor for those who use, or plan to use, the Library of Virginia.
Settled in the Allegheny Mountains midway between Lexington and White Sulphur Springs, Covington is Virginia’s third smallest city with just under 6,000 residents. Today, the newspaper of record there is the Virginian Review, a direct successor of the Covington Virginian, which ran from 1914 until the name changed in 1988. While the Virginian, in some iteration, has been Covington’s newspaper for over 100 years, in April 1981 a competing newspaper made its debut:
Published from April 16, 1981 until July 18, 1982 the Covington Pioneer, a self-described “strike paper,” was the result of an unwavering effort by sixteen members of Roanoke Typographical Union No. 60 to negotiate better pay with their former employer, the Covington Virginian.
In its introductory issue, the Pioneer clearly laid out its intent: “With this edition of the PIONEER a new paper is on the scene in Covington. . .the PIONEER is a creature of a labor dispute.” The aim of the Pioneer was to pull revenue away from the Virginian to leverage bargaining power for striking employees. “The PIONEER is a strike paper,” the column continued,” It has no purpose beyond the terms of the Union’s negotiations. As soon as a fair contract is settled the PIONEER will cease to publish and go out of business.”
Several of the Pioneer’s writers offered editorial pieces in its first issue explaining their decision to strike. Emory W. Brackman, former sports editor of the Covington Virginian, wrote, “I had always vowed that I would never be involved in a strike, but the Covington Virginian changed that. I have never seen people treated so unfairly. We have been forced into our current situation by the Virginian because. . .they do not believe in paying honest wages to their employees.”
During its fifteen-month run, the … read more »
The Virginia Newspaper Project would like to give a big thank you to all of the Registered Users of Virginia Chronicle who have corrected text. Together, 363 text correctors have corrected over 1,000,000 lines of text–and the top five Registered Users have contributed more than 500,000 lines of corrections!
Please, let’s keep the text correction numbers climbing! The more text corrected on Virginia Chronicle, the more effectively searchable the digitized newspapers. By becoming a registered user and right clicking on a page, you’re ready to go. Becoming a registered user also offers perks like being able to create PDFs of pages and create categorical lists of articles you’d like to save.
The “help” menu has clear instructions on how to correct text or you can visit an old Fit to Print blog, which also provides text-correction instructions and explains why it’s necessary and important. THANK YOU all and let’s go for two million!
p.s. Virginia Chronicle has added some new titles this week:
The following titles are now on Virginia Chronicle:
Virginia Beach WeeklyThe Musical Advocate and Singer’s FriendAlexandria Daily Gazette, Commercial & PoliticalAlexandria Gazette, Commercial and PoliticalAlexandria Gazette & Daily AdvertiserAlexandria Gazette, 1835-1857Hall ChatterAugusta NewsTowers LeaderAnd the Library of Virginia has begun a project to digitize the Bath News (1895-1897), Salem Sentinel (1895-1902), Jeffersonian Republican (Lynchburg, 1828-1830), the Bedford Bulletin (1895-1903) and the Arcadian (1930-2007), a student newspaper published by St. Catherine’s School in Richmond. These will be available exclusively on Virginia Chronicle.
Listed below are titles arriving to both the Chronicling America site and Virginia Chronicle in the coming months. Digitized with generous funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the focus of this National Digital Newspaper Program grant cycle, the fifth for Virginia, is antebellum newspapers. So, the vast majority of this group of newspapers will be pre-Civil War era. A noteworthy exception is the Tribune, an African American newspaper published out of Roanoke from 1951-1957:
- Alexandria Herald, 1813-1825
- Central Gazette/Virginia Advocate (Charlottesville), 1824-1829
- Chronicle and Old Dominion (Norfolk), 1843-1845
- New Era (Portsmouth), 1845-1847
- The Recorder (Published in Richmond, includes infamous reportage of the Thomas Jefferson/Sally Hemmings relationship), 1802-1803
- Tribune (Roanoke), 1951-1957
- Virginia Argus (Richmond), 1797-1816
- Winchester Gazette, 1811-1824
- Additional issues of the Alexandria Gazette, Central Presbyterian, Richmond Enquirer, Richmond Planet and Staunton Spectator.
Keep a look-out for new newspapers arriving to Chronicling America and Virginia Chronicle soon!… read more »
Recently, while researching a totally unrelated topic in the Richmond Times Dispatch, I stumbled upon an intriguing article from Dec. 2, 1928 titled, “Ninth Woman in Congress Believes Men Spendthrifts,” about New York Congresswoman, Ruth Pratt.
In the article, Pratt called men “the spenders, the happy-go-luckies, the sentimentalists, the ‘bunk artists.’” She went on to say that, “Men do not like strong and brainy women. They prefer them helpless.” While in Washington, she hoped to put her thrifty-mindedness and managerial skill to good use. She also mentioned her relief at not being the sole woman in Congress—as she entered office in 1928, she shared the sorority of seven fellow Congresswomen.
But the first woman to win a seat in the US Congress actually came 12 years before Pratt. Jeannette Rankin of Montana was elected in November 1916, well before the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Being the first and only woman in Congress inspired much newspaper commentary–both critical and complimentary–not only across the country, but in Virginia’s press as well.
The Nov. 15, 1916 issue of Presbyterian of the South announced her election with little fanfare—as a matter of fact, the publication didn’t even take the time to learn which party she belonged to, but it did comment that she’d “feel pretty lonesome in Washington.”
The Highland Recorder, to its credit, not only knew what party she belonged to, but also printed a large photo of America’s “First Congresswoman” on the front page of its Nov. 24, 1916 issue:Commenting on Rankin’s record, the author of this the Richmond Times Dispatch article, published August 11, 1917, obviously had little confidence in her abilities. “Mrs. Jeannette Rankin’s record in Congress thus far,” reported the RTD, “does not very much encourage the idea of filling men’s places … read more »
Richmond’s John Marshall High and its outstanding student newspaper, the Monocle, have had a lot to be proud of over the years and a recent Style article reminded readers of just that, with a story on prominent artist and John Marshall alum, Nell Blaine.
Born in Richmond in 1922, Blaine attended John Marshall High during the late 1930s and worked on the Monocle’s editorial staff, contributing writings and illustrations. Known as a visual artist, her writings in the Monocle convey serious talent on the literary front as well. She also worked on other student publications, including the Recorder and El Aguila, a Spanish language newspaper created by John Marshall’s Spanish Club. Below is an excerpt of one of her articles published in the Feb. 10, 1939 issue of the Monocle:
After high school, Blaine attended Richmond Professional Institute (RPI)—what later became Virginia Commonwealth University—where she studied art and served as associate editor of RPI’s newspaper the Postscript. Her artistic talent won her two Virginia Museum of Fine Arts traveling fellows, leading her to New York to study under artists Hans Hofmann and Stanley William Hayter. As the Style article points out, she also became the first art director of New York City’s beloved and long running Village Voice, designing its original masthead:
As an eminent “Marshallite,” Blaine’s name appears in the Monocle many times over the years from 1937 until well into the 1960s. To be exact, a search of “Blaine” in the Monocle in LVA’s Virginia Chronicle database turns up over forty articles written by or about her. Long after Blaine’s graduation, the paper continued to report on aspects of her life from her rising art career to a bout with polio in 1959. Check out the Monocle… read more »
Recently, the Library of Virginia acquired two Baptist newspapers, the Primitive Baptist and the Tazewell Baptist, both from Tazewell, Virginia. The two papers share more than just denomination and place of publication: both are small format, measuring 9.5” x 12”, both issues are dated April 1890 and both are volume one, number four. It seems there was a rift in the Baptist Church and it played out in competing, and very similar, newspapers that began at about the same time. There is only one extant issue of each, so the duration of each paper is unknown.
The Tazewell Baptist, published by Rev. Joseph Albert Leslie, described itself as “Devoted to the work of the New Lebanon Association” and, among other causes, hoped to raise money for state missions. Leslie arrived in Tazewell to minister for the “fledgling flock” of the Tazewell Baptist Church and later served as a teacher at Tazewell College. The Primitive Baptist was published by John Newton Harman, Sr., also a teacher and one of the founders of Tazewell College. Harman’s newspaper espoused the ideas of the Primitive Baptist movement, a more conservative sect of Baptists, which claimed to adhere strictly to the teachings of the New Testament, with rules that forbade instrumental music and the collection of tithes and dancing, among others.
Page one of the April issue of the Tazewell Baptist posed the following question: “By What Right? We mean, by what right do our brethren assume the titles of “Regular” and “Primitive” Baptist? Do they mean that they are the only lawful representatives of the “first,” or “regular” Baptists of the New Testament, or even of America? We … read more »
Virginia Chronicle has surpassed a major milestone: 1,000,000 pages! Thanks to grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, agreements with publishers, cooperative projects, generous gifts, and continued support from the Library of Virginia, the Virginia Newspaper Project has added over 1,000,000 newspaper pages to Virginia Chronicle–and looks forward to adding many more in the coming months. Recent additions include: 1879-1959 of the Northern Neck News of Warsaw, additional West Virginia titles and the Idle Hour of Glen Allen.
For newcomers, check the feature-laden menu that offers an alphabetical list of titles, a pin map of digitized newspapers, titles grouped by category and much more.
Visit often to see what’s new!… read more »
Fit to Print invites you to read yesterday’s Out of the Box blog which tells the tragic story of Albemarle County native, John Henry James. In his excellent blog entry, Greg Crawford, Local Government Records Program Manager, uses newspaper articles found on Chronicling America to reveal the starkly contrasting press coverage of the story. It is no surprise that John Mitchell Jr., editor/publisher of the Richmond Planet, is unsparing in his condemnation on the horrors of mob rule. … read more »
Looking for something fun to do this summer? Well, look no further. Recently, the staff of the Virginia Newspaper Project returned newspapers to the Civilian Conservation Corps Museum at Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield, Virginia. The museum generously lent newspapers from its collection for the VNP’s CCC newspaper digitization project. As luck would have it, team VNP picked a beautiful day for a visit.
Located near the Education Center, nestled in the woods and housed in a small cabin built with materials from homes that once stood on the land, the museum shows how CCC members lived and the public projects on which they worked. For example, in one corner of the exhibition area, a visitor can see a standard issue cot among other memorabilia. Also on display are common tools workers used, uniforms enrollees wore and historic photos, letters, architectural drawings, ephemera and other documents related to the CCC. The Museum even has a bird egg collection, with eggs that date back to the 1880s!
As described in its pamphlet, “Visitors can learn about the dedication and sacrifice in the words and letters of the men whose contributions will last forever.”
In addition to the Museum, the park offers a long list of other fun things to do—and all for just a five to seven-dollar admission fee (depending on the time of year you visit). With 25 miles of off-road trails, Pocahontas State Park has some of the best hiking and mountain biking Virginia has to offer. It also has thirteen miles of bridle trails, picnic areas, an Aquatic Recreation Center (A.K.A. an impressive swimming pool complete with water slides), an Education Center, fishing and boating, camping and even has yurts available for nightly rental—as described on the … read more »