About: Dale

Dale joined The Library of Virginia in 2006 in the circulation department and liked the work so much that he decided to start library school as soon as possible. He has since graduated from Florida State University with a degree in library science and now works in the Local Records Department as an archival assistant. He is a native of Southside Virginia and was always interested in history, especially Virginia history.

Author Archives Dale

“Multiple Exposure” and “Out of the Box” voted LVA’s top two blogs!

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Once the new blog “Multiple Exposure” came online we knew we were going to have to share the digital spotlight with our friends from Special Collections. We love it when we find interesting images in the archive we can share with you at “Out of the Box” but at “Multiple Exposure” interesting images are its stock-in-trade! See the weekly offering of family albums, postcards, mixed ephemera, bookplates, postcards, photographic prints, etc. Many of these images you will see nowhere else. Take a look today and consider registering for e-mail updates.

-Dale Dulaney, Local Records Archival Assistant… read more »

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New Bedford County Database Available for Genealogists at LVA!

Apple Orchard Mountain, the highest point in Bedford County. Image courtesy Wikimedia.

There is a new database for researchers interested in Bedford County, Virginia. Filed as Accession 45528, the Donald E. Hill Collection: A genealogy database of over 80,000 families of Bedford County, is now available to researchers at The Library of Virginia. The database in RootsMagic4 is housed in the Manuscript Room and may be accessed by library patrons during regular hours of operation.

The long-time project of Mr. Hill, the database contains over 200,000 entries and includes birth, marriage, and death records when available, as well as a variety of relationships. The software allows searches by name and creates displays by pedigree, descendant lists, and/or immediate family group sheets. The user can shift between display formats and can pursue the ancestry by following red arrows indicating additional information.

It is also possible to create reports in numerous formats – Ahnentafel, Box Chart, Descendant list, Family Group Sheet, Individual summary, Narrative, Pedigree chart, Source list, and Wall Chart. These may be printed for a fee and some include an index.

We are excited to have this resource for Bedford County researchers. The compiler, Don Hill, is continuing to extract information from records and will periodically send updates to The Library of Virginia. They will be entered upon receipt and available to researchers.

We invite you to come by the library and try out this new database.… read more »

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Everybody’s Doing What? The Turkey Trot!: Irving Berlin’s Song and Latest Dance Craze Too Much For Newport News.

Watch the full episode. See more Masterpiece.

(Editor’s Note: The short scene above from Downton Abbey, part of PBS’s Masterpiece, though an English period drama, is set only weeks after the trial in Newport News and is a great example of a couple dancing the Grizzly Bear to “Everybody’s Doing It Now.”)

If you’ve ever heard “America The Beautiful” or “White Christmas” then you know the music of Irving Berlin. Considered by many critics to be the country’s greatest songwriter, many of his songs are American classics. It was very strange indeed then when one of our archivists discovered the sheet music to one of Berlin’s songs entered as evidence in an obscenity trial in Virginia.

On the evening of 3 April 1912, Newport News police arrested Olympic Theater owner E. T. Crall, song-and-dance troupe leader Palmer Hines, and his six dancing girls. That night’s act, judged too hot for the public good by police, combined Palmer singing the suggestively titled Berlin song “Everybody’s Doing It Now” with the girls dancing the Turkey Trot, the racy and very latest “animal” dance to sweep the nation.

The animal dances which emerged around 1909 and later, such as the Turkey Trot, Grizzly Bear, and Bunny Hug, were the dances of ragtime music, the popular music of its day. The Turkey Trot was the first … read more »

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A Few Of Our Favorite Things: Letterheads In The Archive Part 1

 Letterhead of Layman Brothers farm supply company in New Castle.

Commercial stationery can offer a fascinating snapshot of a place or time. Scholars of this subject point out that the rich illustrations and elaborate printing of commercial letterheads, billheads, and envelopes correspond with the dramatic rise in industrialization in America. According to one expert, the period 1860 to 1920 represents the heyday of commercial stationery, when Americans could see their growing nation reflected in the artwork on their bills and correspondence. As commercial artists influenced the job printing profession, the illustrations became more detailed and creative.

Robert Biggert, an authority on commercial stationery, wrote an extensive study of letterhead design for the Ephemera Society of America entitled “Architectural Vignettes on Commercial Stationery” and donated his personal collection of stationery, now known as the Biggert Collection, to the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University.

 The primary role of these illustrations at the time of their use was publicity. The images showed bustling factories, busy street corners, and sturdy bank buildings– all portraying ideas of solidity, activity, and progress. Other types of symbolism can be found in commercial stationery the most ubiquitous being “man’s best friend.” Dogs show up on all sorts of stationery, especially that of banks or other financial companies. Often seen is the illustration of the dog lying in front of a vault or safe, the “watch … read more »

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Kilroy Was Here. Pennsylvania Infantry Left Their Mark on Lynchburg’s Courthouse Records.

 

We presume this G-rated graffiti was provided courtesy of the 206th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry while it was stationed in Lynchburg Virginia just weeks after Robert E. Lee's surrender.

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Sometimes archivists encounter the unexpected. While looking through an unidentified business record, I expected to see the usual debits and credits typically found in nineteenth century business volumes. The ledger, found in the Lynchburg (Va.) Courthouse, belonged to a group of volumes entered as an exhibit in some long ago settled court case. Only one of the volumes was labeled – with “A. J. Ledger” inscribed on its spine. This volume turned out to be A. J. Ledger C (Barcode 1097496), but it contained more than the financial activities of an unknown Lynchburg area merchant.

 Amidst the notations of customer purchases and payments made in 1812, names were written in pencil at the bottom of pages – Charles B. Stewart, James Ellis, William H. McCune. Additional names and doodles were scribbled over the carefully organized ledger entries. Curious, I continued to thumb through the ledger and discovered it had been autographed by the 206th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry while the unit was on provost duty in Lynchburg, Va. The 206th  was among the first to march through Richmond after it fell, and the troops were later sent to Lynchburg where they spent two weeks on provost duty.

 Many members of the regiment signed their names in the ledger. Lieutenant Abraham E. Litz wrote an account of their march on Richmond in the … read more »

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LVA and CCRP Assist Hampton Circuit Court Clerk.

 LVA archivists in the Hampton Courthouse records room.

On Tuesday June 14, a team of archivists were in Hampton to assist circuit court clerk Linda Batchelor Smith in completing a records inventory of the court’s record room and to transfer selected archival records to the Library of Virginia (LVA) Archive. This visit is but one part of the Circuit Court Records Preservation Program’s (CCRP) effort to assist clerks and records officers statewide in managing their records more efficiently.

 A records inventory is a tool employed by archivists and records managers to gain intellectual control over a group of records and to help institute more efficient records-keeping practices. Once an inventory is completed, a records analyst will apply relevant records retention and disposition schedules – documents that inform record keepers how long they must keep and maintain certain types of records.

The LVA is charged by the Virginia Public Records Act (PRA) with publishing these records retention and disposition schedules .  The PRA also authorizes the LVA’s role in ensuring that public records are maintained and available throughout their life cycle. The Library presents workshops, monitors the disposal of non-permanent records, and assists with the transfer of permanent records to the Archives.

Besides helping to better identify hundreds of years of records, the consultation in Hampton also resulted in the transfer of approximately 120 drawers of pre-1913 law and chancery case files to the … read more »

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Fowl Play.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia/Katie Brady photo.

Death records provide familial information to genealogists, statistical information for researchers, and an occasional chuckle for archivists.  My morbid fascination with death registers paid off one day when I found the 1876 death record of one John Smith of Fairfax County.  The person who recorded his death couldn’t resist adding:

 ”Killed by trap gun set to shoot thieves.  It got Mr. S. on the first fire – It is feared there are no chickens where John has gone.”

 Naturally, this made my whole week.  Hope you enjoy it too!

 -Kelly Gilbert Sizemore, Senior Reference Archivist 

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FIRST AUGUSTA COUNTY IMAGES ARE HERE!

The Augusta County Courthouse in Staunton. Image by Taber Andrew Bain/Courtesy Wikimedia. 

The first images from the Augusta County chancery scanning project have been posted to the Library’s Chancery Records Index (CRI).  This initial posting represents the first 35 scanned boxes and includes over 550 case files ranging from 1867-001 to 1874-039. The cases can be viewed by accessing the CRI, selecting “Augusta” from the drop down menu and entering “1867” and “1874” into the two “Year of Case” fields.

The scanning portion of this 2-year project began in February 2011 with grant funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

All scanned documents undergo a vigorous review process to ensure image quality and that proper file-naming conventions are followed. The Library’s Imaging Services Section, a part of the Local Records Services Branch,  completes a variety of quality control processes prior to the images being posted.

This will be the first of many announcements of Augusta images being posted to the CRI – we will continue to keep you informed as we add new content. In the meantime,  please post a message and let us know what you think so far!

-Carl Childs Local Records Director… read more »

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Follow LVA on Twitter!

The Library of Virginia is now on Twitter, so there’s yet another way you can keep in touch with what’s happening at the library. We’ll use Twitter to post news about events, services, new resources, and everything else. Look for us to highlight some of our more interesting collections and resources. And, we will even answer your questions if you send us a Tweet. To follow us, simply visit our Twitter page at http://twitter.com/#!/LibraryofVA and click FOLLOW.  

-Bari Helms, Local Records Archivist… read more »

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CSI: OLD VIRGINIA: SCENES OF MURDER AND MAYHEM IN THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT RECORDS COLLECTION

Chesterfield County, County Court, Criminal Causes, and Grand Jury Presentments, Commonwealth v. Willis and Whitehead, 1870.

Editors Note: This post originally appeared in the Virginiana section of Virginia Memory.

The beautiful maps in the Voorhees collection and those that reside in Special Collections are well known to Library of Virginia researchers. Yet thousands of rough but informative maps exist in the Library’s local government records collection. Often classified as “plats,” these detailed property maps were created and filed as part of county land records, chancery records, or other legal proceedings.

Some of the most interesting local plats are found within criminal papers. Murder trials occasionally required jurors to consider a particular crime scene, and the resulting sketches created for this purpose offer fascinating glimpses into landscapes and violent episodes. One is featured on the Library’s 1997 web exhibit The Common Wealth: Treasures from the Collections of the Library of Virginia. This drawing shows a portion of Manchester, Virginia, in 1869, at the time of a barroom-related shooting, complete with building facades and streets. And in her 2003 book A Murder in Virginia, based on three Commonwealth Causes against Pokey Barnes, Solomon Marable, and Mary Abernathy, historian Suzanne Lebsock drew upon a court-directed plat from Prince Edward County to illustrate the scene of an infamous 1895 crime involving four black defendants.

While processing Henry County’s criminal causes, I came across a number of particularly gruesome plats. The most remarkable one … read more »

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