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Category Archives: Special Collections/Rare Books

- Once Upon a Midnight Dreary…

Happy Halloween! And what would Halloween be without Virginia’s very own master of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe? Check out these illustration from different editions of Poe’s works in the Library’s collections.


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- “Will there come a time when the memories fade?”: Song, Memory, and Stonewall Country

Editor’s Note: The Library of Virginia, in partnership with Virginia Humanities, sponsors residential fellows during the academic year to conduct in-depth research in the Library’s collections. Nicole Maurantonio, an associate professor of Rhetoric & Communication Studies at the University of Richmond, spent the year researching and writing Changing Hearts & Minds: Memory, Race, and the Confederacy in 21st Century Richmond.

As I walked out one evening

To breathe the air and soothe my mind,

I thought of friends and the home I had,

And all those things I left behind


Will there come a time when the memories fade.

And pass on with the long, long years,

When the ties no longer bind?

Lord save me from this darkest fear.

Don’t let me come home a stranger,

I couldn’t stand to be a stranger.


The first time I heard Jerome Clark and Robin Williams’s song “Don’t Let Me Come Home a Stranger,” I was captivated. My fascination did not stem from the song’s haunting lyrics and soothing folk guitar. Rather, I was struck by the song’s context: “Don’t Let Me Come Home a Stranger” was sung as part of Donald H. Baker’s musical Stonewall Country, as a soldier’s meditation on the vagaries of the American Civil War. Stonewall Country, described by critics as “a history lesson … read more »

Also posted in Civil War-Related Posts, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities
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- “United to the Countryside:” Recent Rare Book Acquisitions

Garden gate, Agecroft Hall, undated. Charles F. Gillette Papers, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.

You never know what might turn up when someone calls, emails or comes in with “old books,” and so with each contact, the adventure begins anew. Several months ago three such instances led to the discovery of several rare gardening and architectural books which will enhance the LVA collections. It’s perfect timing, as we begin to plan our spring gardens, anticipate those spring plant sales, and buy tickets for Historic Garden Week tours.





The recently acquired treasures are:

                La theorie et la pratique du jardinage, by Antoine-Joseph Dezallier d’Argenville, Paris, 1747.

                A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, by A. J. Downing, New York, 1854.

                The gentleman’s house, by Robert Kerr, London, 1865.

                Thoroughbred seeds, Geo. Tait & Sons, Norfolk, Va., 1911.

                Garden design, by Marjorie Sewell Cautley, New York, 1935.

La theorie et la pratique du jardinage

Dezallier d’Argenville first published this book containing his theory and practice of gardening in 1709. Second and third editions followed in 1713 and 1722. The Library copy is the fourth edition from 1747, which included many additions. Dezallier d’Argenville’s monumental work predates most English-language treatises on gardening and landscape architecture.

Although there is no record of Thomas Jefferson owning an edition, he must have known of the works. Dezallier … read more »

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