Tag Archives: VA

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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The Big Stone Post

Big Stone Gap Post Dec. 15, 1892

The setting for John Fox Jr.’s 1908 novel Trail of the Lonesome Pine, Big Stone Gap in Wise County is situated along the Powell River in a remote and rugged valley of the far southwestern region of Virginia. In the 1880s, the town (once known as Mineral City) had three farms, two small country stores, and a handful of mills. But the laying of several railroad lines into the Gap in the early 1890s–for the transport of coal and timber between Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee–transformed the isolated hamlet into a bustling gateway of industrial activity. As the region grew, eastern speculators promoted movement to and investment in the area.

In 1890, Colonel Charles E. Sears, first president of the Improvement Company, took over the Commercial Club and shortly thereafter established The Big Stone Post, a weekly newspaper. Colonel Sears unabashedly pitched the considerable advantages of Big Stone Gap, sending out prospectuses and placing advertisements in metropolitan newspapers throughout the East. One such prospectus, appearing in 1890 in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper in New York City, described the Gap as a “wild and picturesque defile in Big Stone Mountain, an elongated spur forming a part of the Cumberland range of mountains just to the eastward of the Kentucky State Line.” The article also boasted of the town’s electric light plant, street railway, and waterworks.

In the first issue of The Big Stone Post, published on August 15, 1890, Sears explained that his purpose was “to advertise the material resources of the Appalachian district; [and] to show to the rest of the country that Big Stone Gap possesses paramount advantage over all other locations as a manufacturing and distributing point.” The same issue reported on railroads, coke plants, and other internal improvements … read more »

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How much was that? continued…

Advertisements from the Blue Ridge Herald (Purcellville, Virginia), Jan. 6, 1955

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How much was that?

What was the cost of tuna, sugar or rice in 1955?

How about a man’s coat?

A commode?A pair of pumps?

Advertisements are from the Blue Ridge Herald (Purcellville, Virginia) of January 6, 1955. Tune in tomorrow for more…….… read more »

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Using Chronicling America

Check out this series of video podcasts to learn how to use Chronicling America. Big thanks to the Ohio Historical Society for creating these helpful podcasts.

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Episode Title Host URL (YouTube)
NDNP Podcast 1 About the “Using Chronicling America” Podcast Series Jenni Salamon & 

Kaylie Vermillion

http://youtu.be/6NKMwneZF20
NDNP Podcast 2 What Is Chronicling America? Jenni Salamon http://youtu.be/Bvg73KAyTDA
NDNP Podcast 3 How Do I Browse? Kaylie Vermillion http://youtu.be/a9mD5A-c5jg
NDNP Podcast 4 How Do I Perform A Basic Search? Jenni Salamon http://youtu.be/cIB_Eso44B0
NDNP Podcast 5 What Will My Search Results Look Like? Jenni Salamon http://youtu.be/lzKLUwgzTuA
NDNP Podcast 6 How Do I Perform An Advanced Search? Kaylie Vermillion http://youtu.be/rEs4YgtpqB8
NDNP Podcast 7 How Do I Use The Image-Viewing Screen? Jenni Salamon http://youtu.be/iHvdqCOd4hw
NDNP Podcast 8 How Do I Zoom On An Image? Jenni Salamon http://youtu.be/Au-XwW50hJw
NDNP Podcast 9 How Do I Print An Image? Jenni Salamon http://youtu.be/NlguUm8agBE
NDNP Podcast 10 Overcoming Historical Language Barriers & Learning Alternatives To Controlled Vocabulary Jenni Salamon http://youtu.be/L_SBG7RLQIs
NDNP Podcast 11 Understanding Keyword Searching Kaylie Vermillion http://youtu.be/Dhf8Sx0ap-Q
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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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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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