American political ephemera is older than America itself. Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" set the tone for using plain language for persuasion to a political side. Flyers, pamphlets, posters, buttons, television ads, and more use the same plain persuasive language today. "Running for Office" highlights 20th century political ephemera found at the Library of Virginia.
No one familiar with today's public and political debates about religious liberty and the relationship of church and state can doubt that Thomas Jefferson's Statute for Religious Freedom holds lasting significance. The Library of Virginia's exhibition First Freedom: Virginia's Statute for Religious Freedom explores the intent and interpretation of the statute, one of the most revolutionary pieces of legislation in American history. First Freedom is on view at the Library of Virginia through March 4, 2017. Register to attend a free panel discussion on Religious Diversity and Immigration in Virginia, Tuesday, June 21, 2016, Time: 5:30 PM–7:30 PM, Library of Virginia. Registration required
For more about religious freedom and Virginia, explore Shaping the Constitution.
This online exhibit focuses on the evolution of the District of Columbia, Alexandria and Virginia as told through maps. Maps from several Library of Virginia collections show the District from the eighteenth century through the American Civil War, and when the Town of Alexandria was a part of the District from the 1790s until 1846, when it was retro–ceded to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Here, you will find maps from several collections that tell that story and were exhibited as part of the Library's 13th annual Alan M. and Natalie P. Voorhees Lecture on the History of Cartography on April 16, 2016, titled "Virginia's District of Columbia."
The Alan M. Voorhees Map Collection extends from the 1493 Nuremberg Chronicle through the U.S. Civil War period with the bulk of the collection consisting of pre–20th century maps. Included are maps made by Schedel, Ptolemy, deBry, Mercator, and Smith among many others. In a variety of map formats, such as nautical charts and views, the collection focuses primarily on the Chesapeake Bay area and the development of Virginia within the larger geographical and historical contexts of Europe and America.
These German-American early printed works are items produced by the Henkel Press, established by two brothers, Solomon and Ambrose, in New Market, Shenandoah County, Va. In 1806. Staying true to their German heritage, many items were available in German or bilingual format, particularly the illustrated primers displayed within. The Henkel family also included several prominent Evangelical Lutheran ministers, as well as entrepreneurs, farmers, and early pharmacists. Their broadsides marketing their own medical products and early printed religious works are also found in this visually striking and informative exhibit with materials held in Manuscripts & Special Collections.
These colorful illustrations, by Benjamin Henry Latrobe (1764-1820), detail the waterways and natural beauty of Virginia, found within his "Essay on Landscape," a two volume sketchbook (1798-1799). He was particularly fond of the James River and sketched it often within these pages. Best known as a premiere architect; Latrobe was also a naturalist and traveler who studied water, rock formation, vegetation and architecture in a variety of Virginian & European settings. His colorful watercolor & pen & ink illustrations complete with exacting descriptions in legible, neatly done penmanship are engaging and honest. His preference was for natural beauty in a landscape. These images provide excellent visual sources for Virginia landscape & culture at the turn of the eighteenth century.
Americans took up cycling in record numbers during the latter half of the 19th century. The invention of the safety bicycle, the bicycle form we know today, allowed more people to ride bicycles with ease. Cycling hit its peak during the 1890s and this period is known as the Bicycle Boom. The Bicycle Boom spurred on societal change through manufacturing, increased mobility, and women's reform. This exhibit explores those changes through illustrations featured in Puck Magazine from 1894 to 1898.
Marking the end of the 150th commemoration of the American Civil War, Remaking Virginia: Transformation through Emancipation explores how the end of slavery and emancipation affected every Virginian, forcing people to renegotiate and transform their relationships. Remaking Virginia focuses on how African Americans made the change from property to citizens and explores the societal transformation experienced by all Virginians through labor, church, education, families, political rights, military service, and violence.
Remaking Virginia is on view in the Library of Virginia's lobby and gallery, July 6, 2015-March 26, 2016.
Remaking Virginia online exhibition
Take a tour of classic components of architecture and the realization of these marvels coming together to create some of the world's most iconic buildings in Wonder of Architecture. The beautiful plates in this exhibit are from Encyclopaedia Londinensis, part of the Library's Rare Book Collection. Compiled by John Wilkes of Milland House between 1810 and 1829, this volume explores the mathematical balance and proportion required for many components of architecture, such as the five classical orders of columns. It also depicts the evolution of architectural forms and components, leading finally to plates depicting iconic structures in Europe. St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Parthenon, and Salisbury Cathedral are just some of the notable architectural wonders that can be found.
Take a stroll through our garden! Botanica is an exploration of botanical texts and art through the volumes of the Rare Book Collection at the Library of Virginia. Early herbals which describe plants for their medicinal value (Gerard's Generall Historie of Plantes, 1633 & Salmon's Botanologia: The English Herbal, 1710), textbooks and floras (Elements of Botany by Benjamin Barton Smith, 1804 & Flora Carolinaensis by John Linnaeus Edward Whitridge Shecut, 1806) which study plants scientifically based on their botany and taxonomic relationships. The exhibition also highlights the plant images as art objects that are not only beautiful but portray their subjects faithfully and timelessly.