Category Archives: State Records Blog Posts

- Kaine Email Project @ LVA – Human Touch Edition



Secretary of Public Safety John Marshall, Governor Tim Kaine, and Chief of Staff Bill Leighty, 9/11 Fifth Anniversary Ceremony, Bell Tower, Capitol Square, 11 September 2006, Press Office, Office of Governor Tim Kaine.

This is the third in a series of posts spotlighting recently released email from Governor Tim Kaine’s administration.  These posts are not meant to be comprehensive but to encourage further exploration in the Kaine administration records (electronic and paper).

Much of the Kaine email deals with public policy, legislation, and governing.  Issues such as the state budget, transportation legislation, and the governor’s State of the Commonwealth Address garner wide media attention.  But there other messages that focus on less publicized aspects of a governor’s administration:  life and death decisions, grief, and remembrance.    This week’s post focuses on, for me, some of the most powerful and moving email in the Kaine collection.

Tim Kaine opposes capital punishment.  But when he ran for governor in 2005, he promised, if elected, he would uphold the law.  Eleven executions took place during Kaine’s administration.  The decision to proceed with an execution was not easy for Kaine.  John Yancey Schmitt was executed on 9 November 2006.  This brief exchange that night between Sherrie Harrington, Kaine’s confidential assistant, and Larry Roberts, Counselor to the Governor, that evening conveys this. 


Voice Mail, 2006-06-05 22:58, LRoberts3.pst, Email Records from the Office of the Governor (Kaine: 2006-2010), Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA.

Capital cases also took a toll on Larry Roberts.  A few days before the 10 June 2006 scheduled execution of Percy Lavar Walton, Marilyn Tavenner, Secretary of Health and Human Resources, reached out to Roberts.  There was some question … read more »

- Mug Shot Monday: Ed Carr, No. 11516


Photograph of Ed Carr, No. 11516, Records of the Virginia Penitentiary, Series II. Prisoner Records, Subseries B. Photographs and Negatives, Box 171, Accession 41558, State Records Collection, Library of Virginia.

Welcome to Mug Shot Monday!  This is the latest entry in a series of posts highlighting inmate photographs in the records of the Virginia Penitentiary.  Ed Carr, the subject of this week’s post, escaped from a convict road camp in 1913.  Jealousy led to his recapture in 1932.

Ed Carr was arrested in April 1913 and charged with grand larceny of a diamond ring.  Hoping to get a shorter sentence, Carr lied about his age.  “At this time,” Carr wrote Governor John Pollard in 1932, “I was 15 years old.  When I was arrested on the charge the people who were in jail with me, told me that if I told my correct age they would send me to a reform school until I was 20 or 21 years old, but that if I ran my age up, and in case of conviction, I would get a year in the Penitentiary.  I listened to this, and gave my age as 25 when I came up for trial.”  It did not work.  Carr was convicted on 3 May 1913 in the Corporation Court of Norfolk City and sentenced to 10 years in the Virginia Penitentiary.  Carr was assigned to State Convict Road Force Camp No. 5 in Russell County.  He didn’t stay long.  Carr escaped on 7 August 1913 having served less than 90 … read more »

- Kaine Email Project @ LVA – Transportation Edition


Governor Tim Kaine, Press Conference, Patrick Henry Building, 2007 April 4, Office of the Governor.

This is the second in a series of posts spotlighting recently released email from Governor Tim Kaine’s administration.  These posts are not meant to be comprehensive but to encourage further exploration in the Kaine administration records (electronic and paper). 

Transportation was one of the issues that dominated the Kaine administration.  In 2007,  Kaine reached an agreement with the Republican General Assembly on a compromise transportation package that would have been the largest transportation funding increase since 1986.  This week’s post focuses on this legislation, HB 3202, and the controversial abusive driver fees it contained.  The legislative process is messy and complicated.  John Godfrey Saxe’s quote, “Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made,” applies to this blog post.  Consider yourself warned.

House Bill 3202, Chapter 896 of the 2007 Acts of Assembly, was enacted on 4 April 2007.  Through a mixture of bonds, new taxes and fees, the law was designed to generate more than $500 million in new dedicated funding for highway construction and transit capital projects as well as highway maintenance and transit operating costs.  Passing this package required compromises from both Republicans and Democrats.  In this series of emails from February 2007, Governor Kaine informs his senior staff of conversations he’s had with members of the General Assembly and his thoughts … read more »

- Kaine Email Project @ LVA – Budget Edition


Governor Tim Kaine budget signing, 30 June 2006, Office of the Governor.

This is the first in a series of posts spotlighting recently released email from Governor Tim Kaine’s administration (2006-2010).  These posts are not meant to be comprehensive but to encourage further exploration in the Kaine administration records (electronic and paper).

Governor Kaine took office shortly before the beginning of the “Great Recession,” the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s. From 2007 to the end of his administration in January 2010, Kaine cut nearly $5 billion in state spending in order to balance the budget without raising taxes.  This week’s post focuses on the budget development process, budget cuts, and what might have happened if Virginia did not have a budget by 1 July 2006.

The Virginia Department of Planning and Budget website provides an excellent overview of the Commonwealth’s budgetary process.  Virginia has a biennial budget system, which means it adopts a two-year budget. The biennial budget is enacted into law in even-numbered years, and amendments to it are enacted in odd-numbered years.  This process takes months and has five distinct phases:  agency budget preparation, budget development, legislative action, governor’s review, and execution.

Budget Process

The governor has vast authority in shaping a budget that reflects the administration’s priorities.  A great example from the collection is a 15 October 2007 email from Governor Kaine to his leadership team with the subject line:  … read more »

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- Governor Bob McDonnell: A Web (archive) of Opportunity


Governor McDonnell Announces Virginia Sets New Tourism Record, 4 September 2013, Office of the Governor, photo by Michaele White.

Looking for the Web site of Governor Robert F. McDonnell (2010-2014), which was taken down at the end of his term?  The Library of Virginia can help.  The Web sites of the McDonnell Administration (Governor, First Lady, Cabinet Secretaries, and his initiatives) are preserved as part of the Library of Virginia’s Virginia Web Archive.

Since 2005, the LVA has been “archiving” Web sites of enduring cultural value, especially those created and maintained by Virginia government. The collection includes the Web sites of the administrations of Governor Mark Warner (2002-2006) and Tim Kaine (2006-2010).  We have also expanded into special topics of Virginia interest, such as the 2006 Senate race between George Allen and Jim Webb, the 2007 and 2009 General Assembly elections, and the Virginia Tech tragedy.  We are already archiving Web sites of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s administration, Virginia’s 2014 Congressional candidates, and various organizations that have donated their paper records to the Library.

The Virginia Web Archive can be accessed from Virginia Memory under Digital Collections.

-Roger Christman, LVA Senior State Records Archivist… read more »

- Adam Raised a Kaine: Archiving the Records of a Governor


Governor Tim Kaine, Roger Christman and Amber Amato, Governor's Cabinet Room, 14 January 2010.  Photo courtesy of the Library of Virginia.

Today, the Library of Virginia made the first batch of email from Governor Timothy M. Kaine’s administration (2006-2010) available online.  The initial release consists of 66,422 of the approximately 1.3 million emails the Kaine administration transferred to the Library four years ago.  It has taken a small but dedicated staff of Library archivists and IT professionals nearly three years to bring this project to fruition.  Access to the collection, information on related content and the nuts and bolts of processing this collection are available at http://www.virginiamemory.com/collections/kaine/.

“We are proud to be the first state government archives in the United States to make the emails of a previous administration freely available to the public online,” said Librarian of Virginia Sandra G. Treadway.  The Library can’t take all the credit.  We could not have achieved this distinction without the assistance of the Kaine administration records officers.  Records don’t magically appear at the Library at the end of a gubernatorial administration.  During those four years, the Library partners with the Office of the Governor to ensure that the official state records that document the activities of a governor’s administration are preserved and transferred to the Library.  The work of the Kaine records officers make today’s email release possible.


Electronic Data Archive Policy, 2007-12-07/15:07:35, kparis.pst, Email Records from the Office of the Governor (Kaine: 2006-2010), Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA.

At the beginning of the Kaine administration in 2006, Virginia State Archivist Conley Edwards (now retired), did … read more »

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- Mug Shot Monday: Ted K. Calvert, No. 24376


Photograph of Ted K. Calvert, #24376,  Escaped Inmate Card, Records of the Virginia Penitentiary, Series IV. Office of the Superintendent, Subseries B. General Correspondence, Superintendent Rice M. Youell, Box 420, Folder 8, Accession 41558, State Records Collection, Library of Virginia.

Welcome to Mug Shot Monday!  This is the latest entry in a series of posts highlighting inmate photographs in the records of the Virginia Penitentiary.  Ted Calvert, the subject of this week’s post, escaped the State Lime Grinding Plant after a gun battle, only to be recaptured in California.

In May 1929, 24-year-old Ted K. Calvert was sentenced by the Stafford County Circuit Court to five years in the Virginia Penitentiary for forgery.  Calvert was assigned to work at State Lime Grinding Plant No. 1 in Augusta County.  On 6 October 1931, six prisoners, including Calvert, attempted to escape during a daytime shootout between the convicts and guards.  Plant officials believed that the prisoners’ friends planted several guns in the limestone quarry where they were working.  Two prisoners were shot by the guards and seriously wounded.  Four others, including Calvert, escaped.

Calvert, using the alias James Livingston, was recaptured two months later in Bakersfield, California.  He waived extradition and returned to the Virginia Penitentiary on 23 December 1931.  On 29 February 1932, the Augusta County Circuit Court sentenced Calvert to an additional five years in the Penitentiary for conspiracy and attempted escape.

Photograph of Ted K. Calvert, alias James Livingston, #6127, Bakersfield Police Department, ,  Records of the Virginia Penitentiary, Series IV. Office of the Superintendent, Subseries B. General Correspondence, Superintendent Rice M. Youell, Box 420, Folder 8, Accession 41558, State Records Collection, Library of Virginia.

Upon his return to Virginia, Calvert was assigned to State Convict Road Force Camp 29.  In a letter to Penitentiary Superintendent Rice M. Youell, dated 3 September 1932, Calvert promised “to make … read more »

- Mug Shot Monday: Clifton Roberts, No. 18699 and Sam Washington, No. 21202


Photograph of Clifton Roberts, No. 18699, Records of the Virginia Penitentiary, Series II. Prisoner Records, Subseries B. Photographs, Box 43, Accession 41558, State Records Collection, Library of Virginia.

Welcome to Mug Shot Monday!  This is the latest entry in a series of posts highlighting inmate photographs in the records of the Virginia Penitentiary.  Clifton Roberts and Sam Washington, the subjects of this week’s post, are linked by the stabbing death of Roberts by Washington in front of 800 prisoners in the Penitentiary in 1929.

According to Penitentiary Superintendent Rice M. Youell, Clifton Roberts was “the most dangerous Negro criminal serving time there.”  The 27-year-old West Indies native was convicted of robbery in the Henrico County Circuit Court in January 1923 and sentenced to 10 years in the Penitentiary.  Within four months of his arrival, Roberts lost 20% of his good time for falsifying his work ticket.  In 1924 Roberts, now at the State Farm in Goochland County, threatened to kill two prisoners.  Roberts attempted to kill a prisoner with a hammer but was stopped when another prisoner, John Byrd, broke a stool over Roberts’ head.  Roberts later attempted to stab Byrd.  In November 1924, Roberts twice escaped from State Convict Road Force Camp No. 5.  He was recaptured and two additional years were added to his sentence for attempted escape.

Sam Washington, a 26-year-old from Greensboro, North Carolina, was convicted in Richmond City in 1926 on one count of store breaking and two counts of housebreaking and sentenced to 23 years … read more »

- Mug Shot Monday: Charles E. Beckner, No. 16663


Photograph of Charles E. Beckner, #16663, Records of the Virginia Penitentiary, Series IV. Office of the Superintendent, Subseries B. General Correspondence, Superintendent Rice M. Youell, Box 418, Folder 8, Accession 41558, State Records Collection, Library of Virginia.

Welcome to Mug Shot Monday!  This is the latest entry in a series of posts highlighting inmate photographs in the records of the Virginia Penitentiary.  Charles Beckner, the subject of this week’s post, began his life of crime at the age of 14.  By the time Beckner died in 1943, he had escaped three times from Virginia correctional facilities.

Charles Edwin Beckner, the ninth child of Winfield and Augusta Beckner, was born on 26 July 1898 in Tennessee.  After Winfield’s death in 1902, the family moved to Richmond, Virginia.  Charles probably was exposed to crime through his older brother Chester.  Chester, alias The Tennessee Kid, was arrested numerous times between 1906 and 1916 for highway robbery, stealing, and fighting.  He served several short sentences in jail but was never sentenced to the Penitentiary.  Charles wouldn’t be so lucky.

Beckner’s first brush with the law came in March 1913 when he was arrested for theft.  Beckner and three other boys were part of a gang of thieves who fenced their ill-gotten loot through Richmond fortune teller “Professor” Wilbur R. Lonzo.  The Richmond City Juvenile Court sentenced the boys to the Laurel Reformatory in Henrico County for an unspecified amount of time.  In September 1918 Beckner completed his World War I draft card in the Portsmouth City jail.  He was arrested on 9 May 1920 for committing … read more »

- Latest Digital Images of Legislative Petitions Now Available


Account of the services of slave Cuffy during the Revolutionary War, Petition of Eleanor Bowery, 1788, Elizabeth City County, Legislative Petitions to the Virginia General Assembly, State Government Records Collection, Library of Virginia.

Digital images of Legislative Petitions to the Virginia General Assembly, 1776 to 1865, from Bath County through Essex County are now available on Virginia Memory, the Library of Virginia’s digital collections website. The list of localities added includes present-day West Virginia counties such as Barbour, Berkeley, Boone, Braxton, Brooke, Cabell, Calhoun, and Doddridge Counties. It also includes numerous localities classified as Lost Records Localities such as Bland, Buckingham, Caroline, Charles City, Dinwiddie, and Elizabeth City Counties. With this addition, the number of legislative petitions available for viewing online currently number over 5000.

For researchers of African-American history and genealogy, the legislative petitions are an invaluable primary source on the topics of slavery, free African-Americans, and race relations prior to the Civil War. One will find petitions from slave owners seeking approval to import their slaves into the Commonwealth from another state; free African-Americans seeking permission to remain in the Commonwealth; heirs of slave owners seeking to prevent the emancipation of slaves freed by their parent’s will; free African-Americans seeking divorce from their spouse. The following are specific examples of the research potential on African-American history and genealogy that can be found in the collection.

John S. Harrison of Berkeley County petitioned the General Assembly in 1810 asking for permission to import three slaves, named Paris, Letty, and Daniel, from Maryland to Virginia. Harrison … read more »