About: Silver

I am a citizen of Richmond, Virginia since 1990 when I moved here to attend VCU. I've been at the Library of Virginia for over ten years and worked with the Virginia Newspaper Project for most of that time. When I'm not working, I spend much of my time editing and uploading videos of live music, stand-up comedy, and Richmond City Council meetings.

Author Archives Silver

When in Our Nation’s Capitol

There was a story on yesterday’s Morning Edition about an exhibit at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The exhibit is called “Shock of the News” features works of art that utilize newspaper.

Listen to the NPR story (7:20 minutes) and see some photos from the exhibit, here.

If you find yourself in Washington, D.C. you should check out the show. Admission is free. The National Gallery of Art, located on the National Mall between 3rd and 7th Streets at Constitution Avenue NW, is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Gallery is closed on December 25 and January 1.… read more »

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100 Years Ago Today: Chaos at the Republican Convention

Front page of June 21, 1912 issue of the Times Dispatch.
The ascension of Mitt Romney, though drawn out, is boring by comparison to the Republican Convention of 1912. The June 21, 1912 issue of the The Times Dispatch devoted nearly the entire front page to the activities of the major parties in preparing for the November election. The headline declares “Beat to Frazzle, Roosevelt May Quit Republican Party.” The previous evening in Chicago, former President Theodore Roosevelt spoke to the convention saying, “If the people want a progressive party, I’ll be in it,” and “I shall have to see if there is a popular demonstration for me to run.” There were challenges to the credentials of delegates for Taft and Roosevelt, each seeking to advance their own candidate’s interests.

Two articles describe the chaos of the day’s events at the Republican Convention. One article describes that the official business at the meeting for the previous day lasting 5 minutes.… read more »

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Conserving to Preserve or “Ironing Newspapers”

Original condition of the May 13, 1862 issue of The New York Tribune we recently received, showing tattered edges, large tears, and old tape repairs

One of the things that I do with the Newspaper Project is mending newspapers.  Last week I repaired an issue of The New York Tribune, a 12-page newspaper from New York City dated May 13, 1862 that was recently donated to the Library.  Although it is not a Virginia newspaper, it still contains relevant information about the conduct of the war in Virginia.  Many of the articles are simply reprinted dispatches from Union Generals.  The articles on the front page describe the capture and occupation of Norfolk, Virginia.  The map depicts Union and Confederate positions just southeast of Williamsburg, Virginia.

Another interesting feature of the paper is a 4 page section listing of properties that were going to be auctioned off in order to pay off assessments.  This was a public notice that the properties could be redeemed if the owner paid the amount due with a penalty of 14% interest per year within a 2 year period.

Below are before and after photographs of reassembled pages.

Before and after images of page 1.

Before and after images of page 2. The dark spots on the paper are the result of tape residue left behind from a previous attempt to repair the newspaper.

Detail photographs of repairs using Filmoplast R.

How It is Done

With a few household items and one specialty item, I am able to make my repairs.  The required items are a pair of scissors, parchment paper (like what you would use to bake cookies — I also prefer the unbleached parchment paper), an electric iron, and Filmoplast R.   Another item that is helpful is a large smooth board to iron on.  I use a piece of 1/8″ cardboard that is not corrugated and I also have a piece of parchment paper taped onto the board.… read more »

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Do you have old Virginia Newspapers?

A storage shelf holding stacks of deteriorating newspapers.

Despite the fact that the Library of Virginia holds the largest collection of historic Virginia newspapers with 2616 titles on microfilm and over 2000 titles in original format, we are always interested in locating new issues of old Virginia newspapers to enhance our collection.  If you or someone you know has old newspapers moldering away in an attic or basement, please send them our way.

We may be interested in your collection (even if it only a few scattered issues), especially if it contains newspaper titles we do not currently have represented in our collection.   One of our main goals at the Virginia Newspaper Project is to promote access to these one-of-a-kind primary sources.  You may donate your old newspapers or loan them to us long enough to allow us to microfilm them.  Once on microfilm, they will be available to the public at the Library of Virginia and through our inter-library loan service.  We are available to travel to your location to pick-up original newspapers, and depending on the quantity and condition of your newspapers, we can usually complete the microfilming task in the course of several months.  If it is a significant collection, we can also provide a copy of the microfilm to be deposited to your local library so it may be used by your community.

You may direct your questions and inquiries to our Director Errol Somay at 804-692-3559 or by email errol.somay@lva.virginia.gov .

 … read more »

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Real Estate Newspaper Sheds Light on Role Played by Developers


richmondprogress1886-1

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 »

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