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Come on down to the Library of Virginia tomorrow night for what promises to be a fascinating discussion of the life and legacy of John Mitchell, Jr. For details, read the description below, taken from the Library’s calendar of events:
Early in the 20th century, the term “race man” described a public figure who promoted the interests of African Americans on every front. John Mitchell published the Richmond Planet from 1884 to 1929 and made it one of the most influential black newspapers of its time. Greg McQuade of Richmond news station WTVR moderates a conversation on this important figure with historian Roice Luke, biographer Ann Field Alexander, and journalist Brenda Andrews.
A reception follows the program and rarely seen editions of the Planet will be on display.
A perennial subject for newspapers is snow storms. In Richmond, forecasters are calling for 4 – 8 inches on Wednesday and Thursday. The debilitating effects of snow are much the same today as they were 75 years ago. Here are a couple of samples from historic snowfalls in Richmond, Virginia from January 24, 1940 and February 8, 1936.
As we all know, today’s storms are nothing compared with the blizzards of yesteryear. That’s as true today as it was in 1936 and here’s proof.
The February 4 Out of the Box blog, Fancy Skating, focused on John J. Christian Jr., champion “fancy skater of Virginia.” The first clues about Christian’s life came with the discovery of a broadside (to see the broadside, visit the Out of the Box blog) found in a Rockingham County chancery case. The broadside announced that Christian would give a roller skating exhibition at Mozart Hall on 5 May 1888.
Not long after the Out of the Box blog was published, alert reader Hank Trent notified the Archives of some newspaper articles he discovered in the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America database which provided additional information about the obscure – now a little less obscure – John J. Christian. One article Mr. Trent found, from the 21 April 1905 issue of the Iowa State Bystander, detailed Christian’s marriage to Julia C. Wilkes of Boston, Massachusetts. “The bride wore a beautiful gown of silk voile trimmed in crepe de chiene, with hat to match,” the Bystander recounted, “She carried a very pretty bouquet of Bride’s roses.”
The article not only gives more clues to Christian’s life, but also raises some interesting questions, such as what were the circumstances that brought Christian to marry a woman from Massachusetts in Iowa, so far from their home states? Another article Mr. Trent found from the 8 March 1890 Richmond Planet revealed that Christian was from Staunton and, because he was a “Jr.,” was most likely the son of John J. Christian, Staunton confectioner and bartender.
This unfolding of information once again proves the astonishing value of using digital materials for historical research, especially when those resources are cross referenced. The discovery of the broadside, a researcher’s curiosity and the accessibility to digital resources shed the first rays of light on the, … read more »
In September 2013, the National Digital Newspaper Program held its annual meeting in Washington, DC. Over 30 participating states attended. Included in the varied agenda were a series of presentations, beginning with a captivating talk by Ed Ayers, President of the University of Richmond and former professor of history at the University of Virginia. While at UVA, Ayers became one of the creators of a landmark digital history project titled, The Valley of the Shadow, a digital repository concentrating its scanned content on two localities on opposite sides of the Civil War.
Following Ayers on the video is a fascinating talk by Ryan Cordell and David Smith from Northeastern University on the old newspaper tradition of re-publishing items from one newspaper to another. Republished content included news items, poems, short stories, and the like, while often being edited or “improved” upon as it moved from newspaper to newspaper. Talk about digging into data!
The final presentation by Ahmed Johnson from the Library of Congress provides a concise and informative overview to doing genealogy at the Library of Congress.… read more »
The Virginia Newspaper Project wishes you and yours a very happy New Year!
Letters to Santa Claus printed in the Richmond Evening Leader, December 23, 1902. A copy of the full page is now on display on the second floor of the Library of Virginia near the microfilm readers. If you find yourself in the building, take a look. . .Rosa was kind enough to think of her father’s horse:
Richmond Newspapers to Lincoln: Address, What Address? An “Entirely Yankeeish” Affair. 150 Years Ago Today.
What did readers of Richmond’s press in late November of 1863 learn of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and the events attending to the dedication of a new National Cemetery? Not much, not even a reproduced text, which, we’ve been reminded in recent days, totaled but 272 words.
For the editors of the Richmond Enquirer, Dispatch, Examiner, Sentinel and Whig a fuller journalistic experience (after four days of perilous navigation through a war environment) was in hand: five pages of detailed reportage in the New York Herald. These editors paid close attention the Herald output. Below is what the Daily Dispatch decided to deliver (click to expand):
And, with special vitriol directed to the comparably verbose Edward Everett, here’s the choice of The Examiner (again, click to expand):
Other members of the Confederate press took their cue from Richmond and distributed similarly censored, sketchy accounts of the day. A speech reminding citizens of the Union’s loyalty “to the proposition that all men are created equal” was not a message deemed germane to the day.
Nor was it in 1913, when the fifty year anniversary coverage of the Times Dispatch republished its old inaccuracies without correction. Another newspaper that same year in its marking of the date did publish the complete Gettysburg Address-the black owned and operated Richmond Planet.
For more detail of the Virginia press response to the Gettysburg Address try this link to a book published just last month: http://www.siupress.com/product/The-Long-Shadow-of-Lincolns-Gettysburg-Address,6023.aspx
From the Times Dispatch, Nov. 14, 1913
An advertisement at the bottom of page one says, “Shop Now — There are only 35 more shopping days before Christmas.” Some things never change.
Great Lakes blizzard killed 167 and destroy 10 ships.
Lack of Tiller of Soil Given as Reason for Present High Cost of Living
“Professor Kennedy stated that since 1800 cities and towns had gained three inhabitants to the rural districts’ one. Ninety per cent of the population in 1800 was farmers, as against 33 per cent to-day.” Compare with today, farmers represent just 2 percent of the U.S. population.
Senator Asks Investigation of Telephone Company
Senator Norris, of Nebraska, suspected a violation of the Sherman antitrust act.
“ ‘The local phone company is doing business under a charter granted in New York,’ said Norris. ‘It’s stock is owned by another corporation, whose stock in turn is owned by still another corporation. Then, too, the Chesapeake owns the stock of several other companies. It is a perfect mass of corporations.’ ”
Several rail accidents were reported. One near Eufaula, Alabama killed 13 and injured over 100 more. Another wreck near Wooster, Ohio killed 3 and injured another 12. Then there was the “Strange Wreck” in Joliet, Illinois. “Running forty miles an hour, a Santa Fe train carrying many passengers, ran through an open switch in Joliet to-day, but outside of slight injuries to the engineer when the engine plunged thirty feet to the street below, no one was hurt. The first coach alighted on top of the engine and retained its balance. Officials pronounced it the strangest wreck in the road’s history.”
New York City Mayor-elect, John Purroy Mitchel, filed a campaign report the day before. “Two hundred and seventy dollars for boxing lessons and a course in physical … read more »
The Virginia Newspaper Project wishes you a very festive and super spooky Halloween. Enjoy some ghoulish tales, get helpful Halloween party tips and learn about some Halloween traditions of yesteryear in these articles from the Times-Dispatch, Free Lance and Our Church Paper. If you dare, read about the “Chain of Horrors” that haunted the site of Washington DC’s Commercial Club, and then savor the tale of Harry Brown and Frank Gray, who went into a haunted house to visit its ghostly inhabitants, and never came out. In “A True Ghost Story” learn how Mildred Edwards’s declaration that there are “no such things as ghosts” is challenged when she visits “the Old Walton Place.” For more tales of terror, visit Chronicling America and Virginia Chronicle and search “haunted house.” And, if you’re not sure how to decorate for a successful Halloween party, you can find creative ideas from the Woman’s Page of the October 27, 1912 issue of the Times Dispatch.
The R. M. S. Titanic sank 101 years ago but the memories of the disaster remain strong as ever as evidenced by the events at a recent auction.
A violin, confirmed to be on the Titanic, was sold at auction for 1.7 million dollars. Band leader Wallace Hartley played the instrument as the mighty ship slowly sank on a late night in April 1912. The final auction price is exhibit A for the enduring interest in one of the most notorious maritime disasters in modern history.
Many survivors said that the last tune played by the band was “Nearer My God to Thee,”
though Harold Bride, the surviving wireless operator, reported that he heard the band playing “Autumn.” But this creates its own sort of confusion as he didn’t say if he was referring to the Episcopal hymn or the popular song. Just one of the many details that provides a never ending source for discussion and investigation.
More evidence of the continued fascination with the sinking of the Titanic can be found in the R. M. S. Titanic: 100 Years Later, the Library’s web exhibit about the disaster created way back in 1996/97 – before the release of the blockbuster movie starring Leonardo DeCaprio and Kate Winslet!
For the video news report of the auction, please go to: