Author Archives Kelley Ewing
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, 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 simply … 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 »
Maud ruins a new Easter suit, Uncle Sam feeds the chicks of prosperity, Easter bargains, poison-free Easter egg dye, a delightful Easter egg hunt, and Mrs. & Mr. Seldomgo go to church. . .Below are just a few results from doing an “Easter” search in Virginia Chronicle: … read more »
In 2017, a generous patron of the Library of Virginia donated several issues of the Patrician, the student newspaper of Richmond’s St. Patrick’s School. The issues added to the Library’s collection, published from 1946 to 1955, provide a glimpse of post-war life in Richmond through the lens of young writers. The papers also offer a unique historical record of one of Richmond’s treasured and bygone institutions, St. Patrick’s School.
On September 3, 1866, only a little over a year after the Civil War’s end, St. Patrick’s Female Academy opened its doors in Richmond’s Church Hill neighborhood. In a Daily Dispatch article, “Catholic Schools on Church Hill,” published November 12, 1866, the Dispatch reported three Catholic Schools in the area: the Academy of Visitation, the School of the Sisters of Charity and a school run by St. Patrick’s Church, which had seventy students. “At these schools,” it explained, “scholars who are unable to pay for tuition (whether they are Protestants or Catholics) are received free of pay.”
Initially St. Patrick’s was located in the 100 block of North 25th Street, but in 1914 James Fox & Son constructed a larger school and adjacent housing for the sisters at 26th and Grace Streets. Designed by distinguished Richmond architect Marcellus Eugene Wright, Sr., the Times Dispatch described the new St. Patrick’s Academy as “one of the most modern [buildings] in the city.” Wright designed several buildings of note in Virginia, including the Chamberlin Hotel in Hampton, the George Washington Hotel in Winchester, and the Hotel John Marshall, William Byrd Hotel and Altria (formerly the Mosque) Theatre in Richmond.
In 1922, St. … read more »
In honor of George Washington’s 286th birthday, we thought we’d share some of the many front page renderings of the nation’s Founding Father drawn by men of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Nearly 100 CCC newspaper titles have been digitized and are available on Virginia Chronicle. The rest of the collection will be added soon: .… read more »
Just in case you caught yesterday’s depressing article in the RTD about Virginia’s own groundhog (warning, it’s sad) and his tragic demise, we thought we’d share some sunnier stories on the forecaster of spring’s arrival. We searched “Groundhog Day” in Virginia Chronicle, and here’s a sampling of what we found: