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Virginia Suffrage News

IVirginia Suffrage News was a monthly newspaper published by the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia. Beginning with its first issue in October 1914, the paper aimed to link the many suffrage leagues throughout the Commonwealth in their common mission of acquiring the right to vote for women.

This goal Iwas summed up in a foreword to the first issue by Lila Meade Valentine: “For this is pre-eminently a cooperative movement- one in which good teamwork is required- one in which we must all pull together with a right good will. To do this effectively, we need the stimulus of the exchange of ideas, we need to inform ourselves of the activities of our local leagues, as well of the larger movement outside. [The Virginia Suffrage News] should bind us together in one harmonious whole.”1

 

Mrs. Mary Pollard (G. Harvey) Clarke was the editor-in-chief of the paper, with Alice Overbey Taylor managing publication.

Imaged at the Library of VirginiaMay 2017

In January 1915, just three issues into publication of Virginia Suffrage News, the Richmond Times-Dispatch wrote, “The Virginia Suffrage News, the official organ of the State organization, which she [the editor] says is ‘suffering from suspended animation’ just now, but will resume publication in the near future.”2

The Library of Virginia holds originals of issues 1-3, published in October, November, and December 1914. While it is unsure if publication ever resumed, and how many issues were published in total, it seems likely that the only issues published are the three in the Library of Virginia’s collection. These issues are now digitized and can be read on Virginia Chronicle.

The paper followed a consistent format. Each issue contained editorials, dispatches from the various Virginia suffrage leagues, national news items relating to women’s suffrage, and information regarding both past and upcoming suffrage … read more »

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Mary Johnston: A Suffragist of, and Ahead of, Her Time

This gallery contains 9 photos.

By Claire Johnson, Virginia Newspaper Project Intern

Mary Johnston, circa 1908Mary Johnston, born 1870 in Buchanan, Virginia, was a prolific author of 23 books, outspoken suffragist, and founding member of the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia. Her most critically successful books were historical romantic fiction, though her writing also focused on her personal beliefs, including women’s rights, and later, race and lynching.

In 1909, Mary Johnston, Ellen Glasgow, and Lily Meade Valentine founded the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia. On November 20, 1909, the inaugural meeting was held at Anne Clay Crenshaw’s home at 919 West Franklin. At the meeting, Valentine was chosen as president by the group of women in attendance.1

Fittingly, the site of this first meeting, purchased by Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in the 1960s, is now Crenshaw House, the home of the department of Gender,
Sexuality, and Women’s Studies.

Equal Suffrage League of Virginia, The News Leader, November 23, 1909

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not long after this first meeting, on December 12, 1909, the Times-Dispatch published Johnston’s essay, “The Status of Women.” Johnston believed women should gain the vote for multiple reasons, but a common thread in her writing was the idea that throughout human history, men placed an undue burden on women. Johnston expands her theory, writing that long before men had gained social power over women, cavemen had seen the advantages of selecting a mate “not so physically strong as himself, upon whom, therefore, he could impose his will.” In her article, she detailed at length what this “stone” placed on women entailed:

[An] enormous top-heavy mass of conventions, senseless restrictions, superstitions, sentimentalities, mock modesties, rules of conduct dating from nowhere on earth, but her seraglio experience, sequestration from healthful activities, premiums on mental indolence, a vast incubus of bric-a-brac and filigree teachings, of discriminating laws, taboos, taxes, vetoes, and

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VNP Announces the CCC

Big Timber Times Onion CCCThe Virginia Newspaper Project (VNP) is thrilled to announce an ongoing project to make the Library of Virginia’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) newspapers available on Virginia Chronicle. The camp newspapers in the LVA’s collection, published from 1934 to 1941 by the young men of the CCC, were mostly distributed in camps throughout the Commonwealth, though a handful are from locales outside Virginia.

The array of titles vary in sophistication, regularity and skill, but as a whole they offer a vivid picture of camp life during the Depression.  Though the physical demands of CCC work could be exhausting, a youthful spirit radiates from the pages of the CCC newspapers: work safety reminders, camp classes and events, health columns, editorials, sports reports, cultural news and illustrations were regular features in many of the papers, but each had its own distinct flavor.

The camp newspapers are also packed with the names of people who were active in the CCC–you might find a mention of one of your relatives among the pages. Click here to learn more about the CCC and the newspapers they produced.

There is a great side note to this project we can’t neglect to mention. The CCC newspaper collection was preserved on both microfilm and microfiche for the Center for Research Libraries in 1991 by MicrogrAphic Preservation Service (MAPS):Kally targetDid you happen to notice the name “Kelly L. Barrall” under the list of camera operators? The very same Kelly L. Barrall recently managed the project to digitize the microfiche she  helped create over 25 years ago! Though MAPS has changed its name to Backstage Library Works, the company is still going strong, microfilming and digitizing archival collections.

Kelly Barrall digitizing the very same microfiche she helped create over 25 years ago.

Kelly Barrall digitizing the same microfiche she helped create over 25 years ago.

Big thanks to all of those at Backstage … read more »

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From Decoration Day to Memorial Day

Editorial cartoon from the Highland Recorder, 29 May 1925:Memorial Day

For a history of the holiday once known as “Decoration Day,” read Ralph Cavenali’s excellent article, “The Evolution of Memorial Day.” Cavenali is Deputy Director of the Division of Preservation and Access at the National Endowment of the Humanities.… read more »

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Seeds of Resistance: The Richmond Streetcar Boycotts

A graduate student in Public History and two film students have created a short but excellent documentary for The National Museum of African American History and Culture. Titled  Seeds of Resistance,  the film is described as, “An untold story of community activism centered around the African American community in Richmond, Virginia during the 1904 streetcar boycotts.”

The documentary focuses on Richmond in the early 20th century, local activism, and the crushing impact of Jim Crow laws on the African American community.

Errol Somay, Director of the Library of Virginia’s Virginia Newspaper Project, contributed to the narration. Also included, from the Library of Virginia’s collection, are stunning images from the Richmond Planet.

Anyone interested in the Richmond streetcar boycotts will benefit from viewing Seeds of Resistance.

Produced by: Bethany Nagle
Associate Producer: Chelsey Cartwright
Cinematography and Editing: Elizabeth Herzfeldt-Kamprath… read more »

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Woe Unto Him: Anti-Liquor on Virginia Chronicle & Say Goodbye to Booze tonight at the LVA

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In conjunction with the Library of Virginia’s current exhibition, Teetotalers & Moonshiners: Prohibition in Virginia, the Virginia Newspaper Project has made its sole issue of the Prohibition newspaper Anti-Liquor available on Virginia Chronicle.

Established in 1890 by John R. Moffet, Reverend of Memorial Baptist Church in Danville, Virginia, the weekly newspaper was, “issued for the sole purpose of educating the people upon the evils of the drink habit, and especially to turn light upon the question of Legal Prohibition.”

According to Lester Cappon’s Virginia Newspapers 1821-1935, a Lynchburg temperance monthly, the Truth, was absorbed by Anti-Liquor in 1891. Moffet continued editing the paper after the merger until he was gunned down by one of his many political opponents in Danville on November 11, 1892.  A history of the Reverend Moffet’s church explained, “John R. Moffett died a martyr’s death at the hand of an assassin’s bullet for the cause of temperance.” Anti-Liquor ceased publication shortly after his death.

And visit the Library tonight, May 5, for what promises to be a fun event: “Goodbye, Booze”: The Music of Prohibition (with a Beer Chaser), offering traditional live music and beer crafted in honor of the Library’s exhibition. The event goes from 5:30 to 7:30, so come thirsty and ready to learn more about Prohibition, one of our nation’s most intriguing experiments.

 … read more »

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Yes, The Titanic

The Virginia Newspaper Project cannot resist the compelling story that is the Titanic. On April 16, 1912, the Richmond Times Dispatch issued its Tuesday morning paper with a full report about a tragedy at sea. The newspaper’s staff could not possibly know that 100 plus years later, the story would continue to fascinate and be studied in minute detail.

Fit to Print offers just one image, the front page of the Times Dispatch, April 16, 1912. While reporting a story of disaster, hubris, and loss of life, the staff at the RTD also managed to assemble one of the most beautifully designed front pages that the Newspaper Project colleagues have seen, given that we have scanned literally hundreds of front pages over the years.

Times Dispatch April 16, 1912read more »

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Prelude to Prohibition: The State Referendum Vote September 22, 1914: The Recorder, Post & Enterprise

BallotIt was Wet vs. Dry and City vs. Country and Dry Country won.  It wasn’t even close.  The advocates for Prohibition themselves might have been surprised by the disparity of the result–a win for Virginia prohibition by over thirty thousand votes–94,251 to 63,086.  City drinkers likely peered into their empty glasses the evening of September 22, 1914, surer in the knowledge that legislation to ban liquor in the state would soon follow.  And it did.

For more detail and the broader context of this debate–more votes were cast in the prohibition referendum vote than in the presidential election that November!–I refer you to two articles by our LVA sister blog “Out Of The Box.”

The Mapp Act passed and went into effect November 1, 1916.  Virginia, then, had a head start of four years to the arrival of national prohibition.

The specific purpose of this blog entry is the encouragement of your physical presence at the Library of Virginia’s exhibit “Teetotalers & Moonshiners:  Prohibition in Virginia, Distilled,” now open to the public.  A hundred years after prohibition, we’re confidant you’ll depart with a different awareness of an unusual episode in the state’s history.MapEach state in the Union took its own particular route to prohibition until the constitutional amendment of 1920. A key date in Virginia’s path was the approval of local option in 1886, allowing for a community or county’s voters to determine their stance on the sale and distribution of alcohol.  The map above illustrates the camps and lines of the liquor divide.  Note, for example, in a concentration of ink, Fort Norfolk, a seaside stronghold hostile to the dry life.

There was no shortage of political contentiousness in the run-up to the referendum. The very organized, determined drys, abetted by grassroots religious fervor, drove the … read more »

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Recent Gifts to the Library of Virginia

It provides great satisfaction to the Virginia Newspaper Project staff when rare, historical newspapers surface thanks to thoughtful Library patrons–recently some twentieth century newspapers were donated that are wonderful additions to the Library of Virginia’s current collection. Camp Pickett News

The Camp Pickett News, a weekly camp newspaper published out of Blackstone, Virginia during World War II, was given to the Library by the daughter of a soldier stationed at the camp during the war.

Three issues, from July 1942, offer a vibrant picture of camp life for the young soldier. The News included articles like “V-Mail Forms Now Available at Post Office” and “An Innocent Looking Weapon,” with a photograph of a machine gun that could “spew death at the enemy too fast for comfort.” Each issue also listed a schedule of religious worship services and contained an array of photographs, comics, sports news and local advertisements.

One article, “Soldiers Take 300 Pictures of Themselves,” foretold of the now common selfie:”‘Vanity, vanity, all is vanity,’” the story reported, “When the Bard of Avon penned those immortal lines he, of course, had no idea there would ever be a World War 2, nor that hundreds of perspiring Camp Pickett soldiers would be cheerfully standing in line awaiting the opportunity to drop their dimes in anLynchburg automatic picture-taking machine.”

The July 29, 1942 issue contains a sweet personal touch on its masthead. Referring to an article about a royal holiday in Lynchburg, there is a hand written note, penned by our donor’s father to his mother which reads, “This is the trip I was going to make. It fell through but will try it again, probably Aug. 8th.”

A newspaper called Onward was also recently given to the Library by a patron whose mother had collected it. The donated issues of Onward, a … read more »

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A Much Obliged and Humble Servant: Clementina Rind’s Virginia Gazette

Sept. 22, 1774 Va GazetteIt was out of necessity that Clementina Rind became Virginia’s first woman newspaper publisher. After the death of her husband, William, in 1773, she had to keep his printing office going to support herself and her children.

Though little is known of Clementina’s early life, she and her husband arrived in Williamsburg from Maryland in late 1765 or early 1766 on the invitation of influential Virginians, including Thomas Jefferson, to start a newspaper to compete with the already established Virginia Gazette.

Obit Aug 26 1773

William’s Obituary, Virginia Gazette (Rind), August 26, 1773

The first issue of Rind’s Virginia Gazette was published May 16, 1766 with the motto, “Open to ALL PARTIES, but Influenced by NONE.”  For seven years Rind built a successful newspaper and printing business in Williamsburg, also winning the appointment of public printer to the colony. But in 1773, in the midst of his success, William died from what was described as a “tedious and painful illness” at age 39.

“As Clementina traversed the liminal space that Saturday morning after the funeral,” explains biographer Martha J. King, “she was not simply retreating to a private domestic life but also entering a public arena as a printer’s widow. Home and work were integrally tied. With living quarters and printing office under the same roof, it is likely that Clementina and her older children had worked alongside William Rind (Virginia Women: Their Lives and Times, 75).”

Faced with the death of her husband and the reality of supporting her family without him—a daunting prospect, for sure—she seized the opportunity and used her skills to carry on as printer of the Virginia Gazette. She continued William’s endeavor without any suspension in publication and in the same issue of the Gazette which printed William’s obituary,  Clementina is named as its printer.

Clementina printer Aug 26 1773

Publisher’s block

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