The editors of Out of the Box would like to give a belated good-bye to Carl Childs, the Library of Virginia’s former Local Records Services director. Last month, Carl started his new job as Director of Archives and Records for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. When former local records archivist Dale Dulaney first proposed our little blog five years ago, Carl’s support, encouragement, and leadership helped Dale’s idea become a reality. The result: the Out of the Box blog may be the most successful outreach tool used by the Library of Virginia. For the fiscal year ending 30 June 2013, Out of the Box had 435,859 page views, 221,667 visitors, and 369,123 visits.
Out of the Box is one of many innovative projects that Carl has been a part of at the Library. In a 20-year career at the agency, Carl moved into increasingly responsible positions, from his first job as a front desk attendant, to state records archivist and then local records archivist and, beginning in 2005, Local Records Services director. Carl brought enthusiasm and a willingness to try new things to every position. Accordingly, in his tenure overseeing the Circuit Court Records Preservation (CCRP) grants program, Carl helped strengthen the application and oversight process, resulting in a more efficient and beneficial program to care for historic records in Virginia’s circuit courts. Similarly, … read more »
While processing collections, archivists often come across items that don’t directly relate to the collection at hand but which often provide a window into a different subject altogether. One good example of this is from an 1888 Rockingham County chancery case. Amid the various items in the case is an advertisement that reads: “Mr. John Christian, Champion Colored Fancy Skater of Virginia, will give an exhibition at 9:15.” Having never heard of “fancy skating,” I wanted to know more about the sport and who John Christian was. After a little research some questions were answered and others were not.
Roller skating became very popular in the 1880’s, and most towns had their own rinks where the general public could skate. Industrial advances made this fad possible, allowing for average citizens to own their own skates. At its height, in 1885, it is estimated that $20 million of roller skates and related equipment were sold. Local newspapers seem to back up this trend. The People, a Harrisonburg newspaper, reported on 1 May 1885: “it is hard times, but the skating rink is furnished nightly with $30.00 houses.” This new craze appeared to be popular with black as well as white citizens. It was also segregated. In the same issue of The People it was reported that “the colored people have a skating rink over Kavanaugh’s … read more »
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 »
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.
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 »
Processing of the Montgomery County chancery began in August 2013, and one of the early finds was Chancery Cause 1848-016, Letitia Floyd vs. Executors of Elizabeth Madison, which involved two locally well-known Virginia families, the Prestons and Floyds. While much of the history of these families revolves around the military, economic, and political exploits of the men, this particular suit reveals great politicking among the females as well. Additionally, this case permits researchers to evaluate changes in women’s economic and social status over several generations.
William Preston, an Irish immigrant who arrived in Virginia in 1737, moved to western Virginia and became a surveyor in Augusta and Botetourt Counties. He fought in the French and Indian War, became an officer in the colonial militia, and eventually served in the House of Burgesses and as a sheriff and surveyor in Fincastle County. In 1775, he signed the Fincastle Resolutions and helped to recruit soldiers for the militia, ultimately serving as a colonel in the newly-created regiment mustered from Montgomery County. Preston and his friend and fellow surveyor, John Floyd, (among others) advanced land claims for prominent Virginians by surveying tracts (legally and illegally) in Kentucky.
Numerous local and area histories celebrate adventurers and pioneers but few of these accounts consider the experiences of the women who carved out a home for their families in the … read more »
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.
-Roger Christman, LVA Senior State Records Archivist… read more »
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.
At the beginning of the Kaine administration in 2006, Virginia State Archivist Conley Edwards (now retired), did … read more »
During the holiday season we are warned to avoid overindulgence. There are many temptations around this time of year—turkey and stuffing, grandma’s pecan pie, and, perhaps, even eggnog. Sadly, we often hear of folks who would have done better to take a more moderate approach during holiday festivities. Addison Williams was one such person.
On 25 December1872 in Bedford County, Virginia, Williams paid a visit to the home of Cornelia and Charles Abram. He arrived “about light” and was given a dram of whiskey by William Ogden. Ogden then made a gallon of eggnog, and Williams “drank a glass and repeated several times.” Everyone present “drank eggnog freely,” but Williams enjoyed it most of all, drinking more than the rest of the party. He “left the house and threw up,” only to come back and take another drink. Afterwards, Williams “left in a run, as in a prank,” never to be seen again. Williams “had commenced showing he was under the influence of liquor,” but no one at the party thought him too drunk to make it home. As one partygoer put it, “…as I thought he was going so well it was useless for me to go with him.”
Unfortunately, Williams could have used a little assistance. He was found on Christmas morning “dead and frozen” mere yards from his house. The resulting coroner’s … read more »
Additional images of documents from counties or incorporated cities classified as “Lost Records Localities” have been added to the Lost Records Localities Digital Collection available on Virginia Memory. The bulk of the new addition consists of copies of wills from the following localities: Botetourt, Buckingham, Dinwiddie, Fairfax, Gloucester, Hanover, James City, King and Queen, King George, King William, Prince George, Prince William, Rockingham, and Spotsylvania counties. These wills were used as exhibits in Augusta County and City of Petersburg chancery causes. The index number of the chancery suit that the “Lost Record Locality” document appeared in is included in the catalog record. Be sure to search the Chancery Records Index for the chancery suit to learn how, for example, a will from King and Queen County recorded in 1749 ended up as an exhibit in an Augusta County chancery case that ended in 1819.
Also, images of Buckingham County (Va.) Tithable List A-G, 1764 have been added to the Lost Records Localities Digital Collection. Most of the early court records from Buckingham County were destroyed during a courthouse fire in 1869. The 1764 tithable list was spared destruction because, at the time of the fire, it was located in the Prince Edward County courthouse. From 1789 to 1809, Prince Edward County was the seat of a district court that heard civil and criminal suits … read more »
The release of the film 12 Years a Slave had us talking here at Out of the Box. Discussions on slavery are a common occurrence at the Library of Virginia, but it is an entirely different experience to see the brutality and violence of slavery on screen. Based on the 1853 autobiography of Solomon Northup, a free African American living in Saratoga Springs, New York, kidnapped in Washington, D.C., and sold into slavery in Louisiana, the film offers an unflinching portrayal of slavery in the United States.
12 Years a Slave never pulls back from the brutality of its subject matter, and most importantly the film gives a human face to slavery—a system characterized by its dehumanization. So many of the records here at the LVA do the same, putting a name to those who suffered, and telling their stories. In addition to an original 1857 edition of Northup’s narrative, the experiences of slaves can be found in the state, local, and private records held at the LVA. Some of those stories have already been recounted here on Out of the Box. Unfortunately many of these stories end as tragically as they began.
After 12 long years, Northup managed to escape slavery, but for a young woman wrongfully enslaved in Alexandria, Virginia, that would not be the case. The details appear in the … read more »