Tag Archives: Library of Virginia

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 .

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New Newspapers at LVA

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 »

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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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Titanic Daily Coverage, Times Dispatch Tuesday-Sunday 4/16-4/21/1912

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The Free Lance

Located in Spotsylvania County, 61 miles north of Richmond and 60 miles south of Washington, D.C., between the Tidewater and Piedmont regions of Virginia, Fredericksburg was a major port on the Rappahannock River, a significant crossroads during the late 18th and early 19th centuries and an important center of trade and commerce. The town was also the scene of fierce fighting and considerable destruction during the Civil War.

In an attempt to offer an alternative voice in postwar Virginia and to help boost the slowly recovering regional economy, the Free Lance was established in Fredericksburg in 1885 under the leadership of William E. Bradley and John W. Woltz, a former chairman of Virginia’s Republican delegation. Thirty-four stockholders also contributed to the operations of the paper as investors in the Free Lance Newspaper and Job Printing Company. It was apparent from the earliest issues of the Free Lance that the war was deeply imprinted on people’s minds and that political divisions in the South were still bitterly contentious. The Free Lance characterized itself as an “Independent” paper “devoted to Agricultural, Commercial and Manufacturing Interests of Fredericksburg and its Vicinity.” Its chief competitors, the Fredericksburg Star and the News, were decidedly Democratic. The Star immediately questioned the political leanings of Woltz and the paper’s stockholders, prompting the Free Lance in its second issue to reply: “We repeat, we see enough already to convince us that the Star is disposed ‘to pick a quarrel’ with the Lance, which we shall be slow to enter, and which we now proclaim will be unprofitable, unwise and which, we shall avoid if possible and permitted.”

In fact, the Free Lance defended its mission–and its stockholders–with vigor. “Republicans, (even though they be unnatural human beings from the standpoint of the Star), don’t feel like … read more »

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Jezebel Goad: Heroine of Hillsville

Illustration of Jezebel Goad used in many newspapers after the courtroom shooting

While the events of March 14, 1912 produced many villains, a notable heroine stands out. Jezebel Goad, the daughter of Deputy Dexter Goad, was in her father’s office the day of the Allen hearing. When she heard gunshots, she ran to the courtroom to see what was going on. Without a thought, she fought her way through the gunfire to help her father and aid the wounded.

Goad’s heroics were covered extensively in newspapers. The Lexington Gazette‘s account of August 7, 1912 read:

Photograph of Jezebel Goad from the Washington Times Aug. 9, 1912

“Instead of fainting or leaving the scene when the firing began, Miss Goad sought to enter the courtroom to go to her father. To gain entrance she was obliged to pull from the doorway a man who barred the way. Then she reached her father, and seeing that he was not badly hurt, she helped the wounded and dying.”

According to Jerry Leonard’s Travesty of Justice, the Mount Airy News ran the following account of Jezebel Goad: “Of all the heroes you have read about in story and song none will measure up with Miss Jezebel Goad, the beautiful daughter who stood bravely by her father last Thursday. Talk about your women melting up pewter plates and carrying water from springs, when the men dared not go, all such stories took little by the side of what the Hillsville beauty did last Thursday when she saw her father in danger. She was in the clerk’s office when the fight started and she rushed into the bullet ridden room as if she had not one thought for her own safety. . .of all the heroes who were that day brought to light none … read more »

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100 Years Ago — Law and Disorder

This month marks the 100th anniversary of events surrounding the Allen family and the infamous “Hillsville Massacre.” The sensational coverage and gripping photos of the characters and events surrounding the courtroom shooting captured America’s imagination in 1912 and until the sinking of the Titanic a month later, the “Hillsville Massacre” took up a good deal of front page copy in newspapers across the country.  In the coming days, to mark the anniversary, the Virginia Newspaper Project will feature entries on the events and people involved accompanied by front pages, articles and photos from newspapers in the collection of the Library of Virginia and from the digital newspaper resource, Chronicling America.

To find out more about the “Hillsville Massacre,” please visit Out of the Box, the official blog of the  Archives Division at the Library of Virginia.

The front pages shown below represent only a small sample of the newspapers that covered the story across the nation, many of them reporting on the massacre the same day it happened. These pages can be found at Chronicling America.


Carroll County Virginia

In 1912, Carroll County, Virginia was a sparsely populated Appalachian farming region with few modern conveniences. Located in the southwestern part of the state and bordering North Carolina, it had no paved roads and only a single phone line connecting Hillsville, its county seat, to nearby Galax, Virginia. Its remote location and lack of modern convenience made it a world unto itself.  On March 14, 1912, however, tragedy propelled this small farming community into the national spotlight when Carroll County native Floyd Allen, a prominent businessman and large land owner, became the central character in a controversial courtroom shooting that left five dead and seven wounded.

Events leading up to the courtroom shooting had taken place more … read more »

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