Tag Archives: Acquisitions
The Wawaset Disaster, August 9, 1873: An “Extra” Alexandria Gazette, Over The Transom And Into The Archive
Each year the Newspaper Project receives papers from private collections which are generously offered as archival candidates. Many are duplicates of papers already cataloged. But some aren’t. Some are added to our select collection of singular editions with headlines announcing moon landings, assassinations, the end of wars, and dramatic presidential elections. Then there is the unexpected item that provokes the response, “Wait…what is…that?” Most recently, the following:
Curious, the masthead’s absence of a year and its resemblance to the precursor of the “extra” edition — the single page, single-sided broadside of early newspaper history. Much like below (which I wish was in our collection, but is taken from a volume from the Library main stacks):
But do we already have this in our possession? Is this Gazette upstairs in the archive in original or on film? Or both? Our hard copy archive of bound editions of the Alexandria Gazette is as extensive and space consuming (and heavy, not to be dropped on a foot) as any on the shelf. But there is a gap of some years after the Civil War and among the years in that gap, yes, 1873.
What about the microfilm? The film, shot by the Library of Congress, includes a complete run of 1873, and is the source of the digital images on both Chronicling America and Virginia Chronicle. While it does contain the standard edition of the Gazette for the 9th, there is no indication of the earlier extra edition. In short, while we can’t conclusively speak to its rarity, so far our research points to a genuine find.
In the links I’ll provide to the press coverage of the Wawaset’s demise you’ll see references … read more »
The most recent Ebay acquisition for the Library of Virginia’s newspaper collection is the Safety News of Omar, West Virginia. Published “monthly for employees of the West Virginia Coal and Coke Corporation,” it focused on topics related to company and employee news. The Library purchased three issues from March-June 1953, but the full publication span of the paper is unknown as there are no cataloged issues outside of these precious few.
Safety was of the utmost concern to the Safety News, hence its motto, “Wise men learn by other men’s mistakes—fools by their own.” The first page of Safety News sometimes included the feature “Safety Pays Everyone” describing recent accidents, injuries and deaths in mines. The brief accounts give a good deal of specific information related to each incident: “Arnold E. Lee, American Machine helper, Omar No. 15 Mine” included one report, “Injured February 4, 1953, at 3:30 a.m. Victim was caught between cutting machine and timber, resulting in fracture of seventh rib on left side. Disability undetermined. Foreman: Billy Bishop.”
Keeping things light, the following joke was printed just below the accident reports of the same issue:
The medical officer at the front was discussing the drinking water supply with the platoon sergeant:
“What precautions do you take against germs?”
“First, we boil it, sir.”
“Then we filter it.”
“And then, just to play it safe, we drink beer.”
Each month the Safety News also included the front page column “Our Board of Directors,” providing a detailed biography of a board member with accompanying photo. The March issue featured Charles R. Stevens, president of the consulting management firm Stevenson, Jordan & Harrison, Inc. “Mr. Stevenson’s firm,” the article explained, “consults to a number of important industrial companies, among which might be mentioned Pittsburgh Plate Glass … read more »
An auction purchase is but an occasional means of adding to the VNP archive but this was an occasion difficult to resist: some 100 copies of Page County papers, mostly post Civil War to early 20th century, presented for sale by Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates of Mt. Crawford, Virginia.
This constitutes a significant boost to the Project’s holding for this northern Shenandoah Valley county, modest in population (about 8500 in 1870, just under three times that figure today), but varied and active in its publishing history.
The discovery in 1878 of an enormous and oddly decorated hole in the ground transformed Luray, the county seat, from a quiet Page Valley town to a still reasonably quiet but increasingly popular tourist destination. Visitors arrived first by train and then, as the 20th century progressed, by car and then even more cars after the completion in the 1930’s of Skyline Drive atop the Blue Ridge, the town’s very permanent neighbor to its immediate east. Of the eight Luray papers in the purchase, the Times claims the most impressive and detailed masthead. From an issue of 1890:
The Reconstruction period is represented by copies of the Page Valley Courier, which in two years underwent a rapid turnover of owners resulting in a trio of mottoes reflecting the political reordering of the time. Pictured below (click to enlarge), the masthead as it appeared in its inaugural issue of March 15, 1867:
By the issue below of January 10, 1868, original editors Larkins and Price have departed, and for that matter so have two other editors, H. H. Propes and J. D. Price. The Courier is now run by James F. Clark who chose a motto endorsing the primacy of white citizenship over that of recently emancipated blacks and the paper’s … read more »
While the Library of Virginia’s historical newspaper collection is extensive and varied, it has a genre of newspaper that may be surprising to some: twentieth century high school newspapers. Thanks to a generous donation, the Library of Virginia recently added another high school newspaper to its collection, the Star, of South Boston. Edited and published by the students of Halifax County High School, it featured stories on student life with a graphic sophistication that encouraged comparisons to the look of a professional daily. That’s certainly one reason the Star attracted a diverse advertising base from a student hang-out such as Johnny’s Place (“Eat a Snack and You’ll Be Back”) to Wilborn’s Toytown and the Main Street department store G. J. Hunt & Son.
Issues of the Star span from 1955-1960, and offer a fascinating depiction of the teenage experience from a small city in Virginia’s southern Piedmont.
Other high school newspapers in the Library’s collection include, the Monocle (Richmond), the Highland Fling (Highland Springs), the Shooting Star (Middleburg) and Tattle Tale (Harrisonburg) among many others.
How much was a bottle of bourbon in 1941? How about a “beautifully rebuilt” Electrolux vacuum? The prices of these and other items can be found on the back page of an issue of the Washington Daily News that was recently given to the Library of Virginia. While the nation was preoccupied with impending war, evidenced by the issue’s bold headline, “IT’S WAR, SAYS JAPAN AFTER ATTACK ON US,” the everyday life of people is revealed in the ads, classifieds, movie announcements and local news found in the Daily News.
The gift given to LVA also includes several issues of the Evening Star, a daily published in Washington DC from 1854-1972. Among them is a January 20, 1941 Inaugural Issue of Franklin D. Roosevelt with three sections devoted to full page photo layouts of the people, places and events on the political scene as Roosevelt entered his second term. There are also issues of the Star from December 1941 announcing the US’s declaration of war with Japan and Germany.
A supplement of the Richmond Times Dispatch celebrating the 350th anniversary of Jamestown, a Bicentennial Edition of the Progress-Index (Hopewell) and a Richmond News Leader announcing the death of King George are part of the gift as well.
Come take a look at history as it was written in the newspapers. To search titles held by the Library of Virginia, visit the Virginia Newspaper Project’s Newspapers in Virginia Bibliography on the Library’s web site.… read more »