The first blog entry I wrote back in 2009 was about the shredded first pages of an old family Bible that were part of a Rockingham County Chancery Cause. The sense of wonder and excitement I felt when I opened the letter marked “Exhibit A” filled with those fragments and tucked away in the court papers was not an unusual experience. Hardly a week went by for me during my nearly six years here at the Library of Virginia when I didn’t feel that way at least once, twice, or three times.
Today I leave the Library of Virginia and, hopefully, leave our state’s historic records in a little better shape than when I first came through the door. Like the archivists who worked here before me and those who will come after me, we try to save the building blocks of history, organize and preserve them, and make sure that they are accessible not only to visiting scholars but also to the citizens of this state and those who live around this country with roots deep in the soil of the commonwealth’s history.
I once heard a career counselor say that a job is what you do and the things you are passionate about become hobbies. I have been fortunate enough to do for nearly six years what most people could never dream of – having a job that is a passion and a passion that is a job. It has been an honor to work here and I am so sad to leave the Library of Virginia and my wonderful, dedicated co-workers and supervisors.
Yesterday the expertly-conserved pages of the Smith family Bible landed on my desk. This afternoon I’ll put them in a folder and reunite them with the chancery court case of which they have been a part for more than 100 years. And then I will clear my desk and walk out the doors of the Library of Virginia one last time. The caretakers come and go; the records and the institution remain.
-Dale Dulaney, Former Local Records Archival Assistant