The Virginia State Penitentiary Collection includes some unique items related to executions in Virginia in the late 1980s and early 1990s: keys to the electric chair control panel, head electrodes, and death chamber at the Penitentiary. These items were owned by Raymond M. Muncy, who served as warden from February 1987 until the Penitentiary closed in December 1990. They were donated to the Library of Virginia by Richard Oliver, a former Virginia Department of Corrections official. Other records include execution files for Earl Clanton (14 April 1988), Alton Wayne (30 August 1989), Richard Boggs (19 July 1990), Wilbert Evans (17 October 1990), and Buddy Justus (13 December 1990); and four audio cassettes describing the executions of Richard Whitley (6 July 1987), Wayne, Boggs and Evans. The recordings, made by unidentified Department of Corrections staff members in the death chamber, provide a chilling step-by-step description of each execution as it happened: the reading of the death sentence by the Warden, administration of last rites, final statement by the prisoner, attachment of the prisoner to the chair, administration of electric voltage, time of death, and removal of the body from the death house.
These records are part of the Virginia State Penitentiary Collection, 1796-1991 (Accession 41558). Access to the execution files and four audio cassettes … read more »
The Library of Virginia’s Chancery Records Index (CRI) program received an impromptu endorsement last week from members of Virginia’s local historical societies attending the Where History Begins workshop held at the Library.
During a panel discussion titled Facing Digitization Issues, Digital Initiatives & Web Services Manager Kathy Jordan was showing off the LVA website and highlighting various digital collections. When she mentioned the Chancery Records Index, “the room broke out into loud, sustained applause,” according to Local Records Services Director Carl Childs. “Needless to say, [it was] a good feeling and testament to our good work and how much it is appreciated.”
In addition to historical and genealogical information, chancery court records offer a unique glimpse into the everyday lives of Virginians from the early 18th century on because the records rely so heavily on testimony from witnesses. The CRI is the result of a sustained effort to process, preserve, microfilm and digitize those records to make them available to the public. Access the CRI at http://www.virginiamemory.com/collections/chancery/.
It is always nice to feel appreciated but it is especially nice to know that local historical society members – the people who are often on the front lines of preserving and celebrating Virginia’s local history – recognize the LVA’s work.
An estimated 115 people representing 58 local historical societies from around Virginia attended the workshop. It … read more »