Category Archives: State Records Blog Posts

- Vote For Me! Governor’s Election Records at the Library of Virginia

As everyone should be aware, it’s almost time to vote for a new governor of Virginia. Election Day is next Tuesday, 7 November, but going to the polls today can be rather boring compared to elections of the 18th and 19th centuries. In addition to casting a vote, early elections were an occasion to gather at the courthouse, socialize, have drinks, and catch up on the latest news. Over time, laws and regulations imposed a more serious and sober atmosphere on the elections: an act was passed in 1838 prohibiting betting, and another to prevent drunkenness and disorder was passed in 1866.

The Library of Virginia contains a variety of resources on elections, including election returns in both published and manuscripts sources. The website for the Virginia Department of Elections (formerly called the State Board of Elections) shows a variety of returns. The Library has also developed research guides and bibliographies for Presidential and Congressional Election Returns, Gubernatorial and State Office Elections Results, and Published Returns. A collection of materials related to the electoral college has also been digitized.

 

In addition to the two laws mentioned above, Virginia’s electoral processes have seen a number of changes over the past four hundred years.

Starting in colonial times and well into the 19th century, voters stated their vote publicly to the … read more »

- Statue Stories: Thomas J. Jackson and Civil War Remembrance


Statue of Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson (1874). John H. Foley (1818-1874). State Art Collection of Virginia

 This is the first in a series of blog posts about the statues of Virginia’s Capitol Square, which are a part of the State Art Collection. The State Art Collection includes around 450 works of art exhibited in the Capitol, the Executive Mansion, and state agency buildings. Pieces have entered the collection through donation, purchase, and state commission.

Virginia’s Capitol Square, which houses the State Capitol building and the Executive Mansion, is dotted with statues. While they may fade into the background for many, each of these statues has its own history, arising not only from the story of its subject but from the circumstances of its creation. This post will create an object biography for one of those Capitol Square statues, the piece created by John Henry Foley in 1875 to depict Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. The current debates over Confederate statuary focus mainly on the subject of the statue, while the process by which the statues were conceived, commissioned, created, and erected is overlooked.

Stonewall Jackson, who earned his famous nickname during the First Battle of Manassas in 1861, was one of the Confederacy’s most lauded generals. Jackson died on 10 May 1863 due to an injury sustained at the Battle of Chancellorsville, and the news spread quickly through the United States and abroad. By early … read more »

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- Opportunity Time: The Records of Virginia Governor Linwood Holton


Inauguration of Governor Linwood Holton, 17 January 1970, A. Linwood Holton Papers, 1943-1970. Accession 31535, Personal papers collection, Library of Virginia.

On Monday, 16 October 2017, the City of Roanoke will dedicate Holton Plaza, a new park named in honor of former Virginia Governor A. Linwood Holton (1970-1974). Out of the Box thought this would be a good time to spotlight some of the Library’s collections related to Holton.

Abner Linwood Holton Jr. was born 21 September 1923 in Roanoke, Virginia, to Abner Linwood Holton and Edith Van Gorder Holton. He attended local schools, before receiving his B.A. from Washington and Lee University in 1944. Holton served in the United States Navy from 1943 to 1946. He then attended Harvard Law School, receiving his LL.B. in 1949. Admitted to the Virginia bar that same year, Holton commenced practicing in Roanoke and became active in the Virginia Republican Party. Following an unsuccessful bid for governor in 1965, Holton then won election in 1969, serving as governor of Virginia from 1970 to 1974. After his term ended, he served as assistant secretary of state for congressional relations in 1974. Holton resigned that position and practiced law in Washington D.C. He married Virginia “Jinx” Harrison Rogers on 10 January 1953, and had four children with her: Anne, Tayloe, Woody, and Dwight.



Opportunity Time: A Memoir by Governor Linwood Holton, The University of Virginia Press, 2008.

Gubernatorial Records

  • The records of the Holton administration (1970-1974) are one of the largest 20th century gubernatorial collections held by the Library. Housed in
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- It Came From YouTube!: the State Records Film Collection


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Have you ever been curious about the birds who call Virginia home? Or wanted to explore the history of Richmond? Or maybe take a closer look at the administration of Governor Linwood Holton? Or perhaps catch a view of the early years of Pony Penning Day in Chincoteague? If so, check out the State Government Records Collection Playlist on the Library of Virginia’s YouTube channel.

The Library of Virginia has a small collection of motion picture films that were created for K-12 classroom education or for other documentary purposes. These films were originally part of a circulating collection managed by the Library, providing libraries, public schools, and the general public with educational film resources. Some of the films are informative, some are entertaining, and some are just plain outdated, but all provide a glimpse into what students may have been learning in classrooms across the state before filmstrips went the way of the typewriter and the mimeograph machine. The following films have been digitized and are now available online:

See the collection’s finding aid for more … read more »

- Not If You Were The Last Man On Earth!: Virginia’s Board of Censors


Movie poser, The Last Man On Earth. Source: imdb.com/

The Virginia Board of Censors (1922–1966), later the Division of Motion Picture Censorship, was tasked with identifying obscene, indecent, and immoral scenes in motion pictures. The purpose of the body was to regulate motion pictures and provide a system of examination, approval, and regulation of banners, posters, and other advertising material related to films. The board also leveled penalties for violation of its requirements. The law establishing the board made it essentially illegal to sell or exhibit any commercial film that had not been officially approved and licensed by the board.

In 1924, a silent film, The Last Man on Earth presented challenges for the Board of Censors in several areas. The movie takes place in the future; a young man believes he has met the love of his life only to be rejected by the young lady.  He is so devastated by her rejection that he moves to the mountains, determined to live his life as a hermit. While he is away from civilization a devastating worldwide plague kills every fertile man on Earth over the age of 14.  The plague called “masculitis” results in an overpopulation of women. The disease manages to become a de facto women’s rights movement. In the United States, positions in Congress, the courts, and the presidency are all held by females.

A female aviator on a flight across the … read more »

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- Antiguo Dominio: The Virginia Latino Advisory Board


Governor Robert F. McDonnell signs Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month proclamation, Executive Mansion, Richmond, Virginia, 6 October 2010, Press Office, Governor Robert McDonnell Administration (2010-2014).

Latinos and Hispanics have roots in Virginia dating back five centuries. In honor of Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month in Virginia (15 September to 15 October), Out of the Box is spotlighting the Virginia Latino Advisory Board (VLAB) and related records at the Library of Virginia.

On 7 October 2003, Governor Mark R. Warner (2002-2006) issued Executive Order 57 creating the Virginia Latino Advisory Commission (VLAC) to provide the administration with information about the growing Latino community in the Commonwealth. “One of the things that makes [sic] Virginia special is the rich diversity of its people, and my administration views our diversity as a source of strength,” Governor Warner said in a press release. “Our diverse and growing population of Virginians of Latino descent presents new opportunities for the Commonwealth, and the members of this new Commission bring a wide variety of professional, cultural, and entrepreneurial experience, as well as extensive records of community leadership.” The Virginia General Assembly passed legislation in 2005 turning the VLAC into a permanent board.

Renamed the Virginia Latino Advisory Board, the board has the power to:

  • Advise the Governor regarding the development of economic, professional, cultural, educational, and governmental links between the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Latino community in Virginia, and Latin America;
  • Undertake studies, symposiums, research, and factual reports to gather information to formulate and present recommendations
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- “Breeding Places of Drunkenness:” Prohibition Crackdowns and UVA Football

College students have never been known for their avoidance of alcohol, and it was no different in the 1930s, despite the fact that alcohol was illegal nationwide. In 1930, Virginia Attorney General John R. Saunders attempted to crack down on violations of prohibition laws at the University of Virginia, especially at football games. Before the Thanksgiving Day game between UVA and UNC, one of the oldest rivalry games in the country, Saunders announced his intention to have seven prohibition inspectors patrolling the stadium in Charlottesville.

Some members of the community protested vigorously, concerned that the action would damage the reputation of the city and the university. Members of the Charlottesville Chamber of Commerce entered an “open telegraphic protest” against the attorney general’s plan, complaining that the action was unwarranted and that the “attendant publicity [was] exceedingly unfair to [the] city of Charlottesville and university.” Noble Powell, the rector of St. Paul’s Memorial Church in Williamsburg, told Governor John Garland Pollard that although he didn’t doubt that there was some drinking at the football games at UVA, he felt “our students are every bit as well behaved as any other and better behaved than most.” In Powell’s view, for the attorney general to single out the University of Virginia, where “these men try to have their games as decent and clean as possible,” … read more »

- Higher Aim: Guns, Safety and Healing in the Era of Mass Shootings



Release of Virginia Tech Panel Report, Patrick Henry Building, Richmond, Virginia, 30 August 2007, Office of the Governor.

Editor’s Note: The Library of Virginia, in partnership with the
Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, sponsored four residential fellows for the 2016-2017 academic year to conduct in-depth research in the Library’s collections. Tom Kapsidelis, an independent author and former editor for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, spent the spring semester researching and writing Higher Aim: Guns, Safety and Healing in the Era of Mass Shootings.

On one of the last days of my fellowship at the Library in July 2017, I peeked at a lock of John Randolph’s hair, read a letter from Ida Tarbell to Joseph Bryan about the aftermath of the Civil War, and delved further into Kaine administration archives and records on the 16 April 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech. It was the collection of the Governor Timothy M. Kaine records that attracted me to the library as part of my yearlong fellowship with the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH), the first semester in Charlottesville and the second here at the Library. The VFH has supported my continuing work on a book that examines some of the issues in the decade after the shootings, primarily through the experiences of survivors and others in the community who were deeply affected.

Over the past seven months I’ve peppered my office neighbors Brent Tarter, John Deal and Mari Julienne with questions about … read more »

- I’m A Sap: The WWI Letters of David J. Castleman


Good-Bye Kiss, ca. 1917.

My name is Chloe Staples, and I am from Richmond, Virginia. I am a rising senior at Lynchburg College with a major in United States history and a minor in Spanish. This summer, I am interning at the Library of Virginia (LVA) in the Information Security & Technology Services department.

My first month at the LVA has been so great. I have learned new skills that will help me down the road, worked with incredible people, and done work of which I can be proud. As one of my first assignments, I went through boxes of World War I-era documents from soldiers born in Virginia to determine which ones would be interesting for the public on Transcribe. The first few boxes were mostly boring—I read about a guy’s car sale for about ten letters! Things started to get more interesting as I went through the war correspondence files in the Executive Papers of Governor Westmoreland Davis, 1911-1922. The most interesting cache was definitely the letters from David J. Castleman—a Greensboro, Alabama native– fighting in the war abroad. His letters are some of the sweetest things I have had the pleasure to read in my, admittedly short, 21 years of life. It is both fascinating and moving to learn about someone through their letters and sort of put yourself in their position.

Castleman wrote … read more »

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- Drink Wet and Vote Dry

One of the hallmarks of the age of Prohibition is a certain level of contradiction. After all, the country was supposed to be entirely dry; the 18th amendment, passed in 1920, prohibited the manufacture, sale, or transportation of alcoholic beverages. And yet the 1920s are best remembered for the culture of speakeasies and flappers, flasks hidden in garters or walking sticks, and bootleggers, mobsters, and moonshiners. The prohibition movement had always been dogged by the hypocritical beliefs of political leaders who supported the general outlawing of alcohol but saw no reason to restrict their own consumption. Even Governor Harry F. Byrd, who was personally a “dry,” knew how to procure a supply of brandy for Winston Churchill’s visit to the Executive Mansion in October 1929.

 

This disparity was publicly called out in April 1930, when Vivian L. Page, a member of the House of Delegates from Norfolk, claimed that the House of Delegates would be overwhelmingly wet if a secret ballot were taken, and that he had personally “drunk with 95 per cent of the delegates.” The statement was reported in the Richmond Times-Dispatch the next day and caused something of an uproar. Reverend David Hepburn, the superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League of Virginia, wrote an angry letter to Governor John Garland Pollard, complaining both about the flagrant violations of the Prohibition Law by … read more »

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