The Library of Virginia Newsletter
March 2010

Award-winning Journalist's Papers Available at LVA

The Library of Virginia is pleased to announce the donation of the papers of journalist and author Charlie McDowell. The papers cover the years 1944 to 2004 and document his career as a reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, panelist on the PBS program Washington Week in Review, and his other journalistic activities. The collection includes his columns, correspondence and subject files, books, and videotapes.

McDowell joined the staff of the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 1949, where he would remain until his retirement in 1998. He covered local news, and was then assigned to the State Capitol, where he reported on the Virginia General Assembly and state politics. In 1954, McDowell began to write a syndicated column that would span the remainder of his career. He was a panelist on PBS's Washington Week in Review for 18 years, beginning in 1978, and he was a writer, narrator, and host for other PBS programs. He also provided voice-overs for the productions The Civil War and Baseball by Ken Burns.

The collection contains photocopies of McDowell's column, which appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch from 1954 until 1998. He wrote on a wide variety of topics of local, state, and national interest, including politics, history, personal news, society and popular culture, weather, and sports. Recurring fictional characters appeared in the column over the many years it ran, namely McDowell's Aunt Gertrude, Mr. Bumbleton (his neighbor), Reliable Source, and Alfred the Capitol Square Squirrel. McDowell's columns were laced with satirical musings and political punditry. There are also copies of his special feature stories for the paper.

The correspondence includes reactions, both pro and con, to McDowell's writings and viewpoints. There are also congratulatory letters relating to the many awards he received and on his retirement in 1998, as well as invitations to make appearances and speeches, ideas for future columns, and resumes from prospective journalists

The subject files contain a wide variety of biographical information and materials relating to McDowell's nearly 40 years as a journalist and author. There is background information for his articles, columns, and speeches, especially on the subjects of Congress, television and political conventions, elections, inaugurations, and campaign finance reform. The collection contains articles and reviews, notes, correspondence, clippings, and scripts for his work on productions for Ken Burns. There are also get well cards, Gridiron Club dinner programs, speeches, scripts, clippings, membership lists, photographs, programs, and speech notes and drafts.

The collection also contains videotapes, including many of McDowell's appearances on For the Record, as well as programs that he narrated, including Summer of Judgment: The Watergate Hearings, The James: Revolutionary River, and Richmond Memories. There are also taped interviews with McDowell, speeches, and other appearances.

The Charles McDowell Papers are a wonderful resource for students and scholars of mid- to late-20th-century Virginia and national politics. For more information, go to the online Guide to the Charles McDowell Papers, 1944–2004 at

The Library of Virginia is grateful to Charles and Ann McDowell of Alexandria, Virginia, for their generous donation.

—submitted by Jim Greve, Archival and Records Management Services

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LVA Volunteer Chosen for Leadership Academy

The Leadership Development Forum has announced the members of the first cohort of the Virginia Library Leadership Academy, the first-ever statewide leadership development training program for professionals and paraprofessionals from all types of libraries in Virginia. The cohort will provide opportunities for participants to develop as leaders, prepare a project to benefit Virginia libraries, and network with peers and mentors throughout the process.

Autumn Reinhardt Simpson, a volunteer archivist at the Library of Virginia, is among the group selected for this training. Simpson has been processing small collections of local records and learning to create EAD and MARC records. She has indexed the Cohabitation Registers, one of the most important resources for those researching African-American history in Virginia, and worked at the archives reference desk. Simpson began working at the Library in January 2008, completed two internships here while pursuing an online MLIS degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and has since stayed on as a volunteer.

Others selected for the program are:

  • Rhonda Belyea, Youth Services Librarian II, Central Rappahannock Regional Library
  • Nan B. Carmack, Library Director, Campbell County Public Library System
  • Mary Catherine Coleman, Lower School Librarian and Library Department Director, St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School
  • Toni Cox, Public Services Librarian, Radford Public Library
  • Daza Craig, Manager, Middlebrook Library Station of Augusta County Library
  • Myra Cramer, Technical Services Department Manager, Pamunkey Regional Library
  • Sara Elisa Day, Administrative Services Librarian, Bedford Public Library System
  • M. Teresa Doherty, Access Librarian and Head of Circulation and Information Services, Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries
  • Barbara Dawn Fisher, Assistant Manager, Forest Library of Bedford Public Library System
  • Olivia Kardos, Library Associate, Arlington Central Library
  • Karen A. Kuhn, Director of Library Services, Clifton Forge Public Library
  • Deborah Lammers, Manager, Dumbarton Area Library of Henrico County Public Library
  • Jody Lewandowski, Youth Services Librarian II, Central Rappahannock Regional Library
  • Elizabeth Marsh, Technology Assistant, Pittsylvania County Public Library
  • Nicole McGee, Emerging Technologies Librarian, Virginia Beach Public Library
  • Chandra McPherson, Deputy Director, Appomattox Regional Library System
  • Kirk Morrison, Head of Reference Services, North Suffolk Library of Suffolk Public Library System
  • Jason Rodgers, Branch Manager, Columbia Pike Branch Library of Arlington County Public Library
  • Judith Rodriguez, Librarian II, Chinn Park Regional Library of Prince William Public Library System
  • Nancy Schleh, Children’s Librarian I, Bull Run Regional Library, Prince William Public Library System
  • Sandra Shell, Assistant Branch Manager, Blue Ridge Regional Library
  • Jaime Stoops, Branch Manager II, Mechanicsville Branch, Pamunkey Regional Library

The first on-site training session will take place April 19–20, 2010, in Charlottesville. Dr. Robert Burgin, a member of the faculty of the School of Library and Information Science at North Carolina Central University, will lead the training.

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Library Creates Exhibitions for Visitor Center at the Capitol

The next time you visit the State Capitol in historic downtown Richmond, be sure to visit the exhibitions in the Visitor Center. Working with the General Assembly of Virginia, the Library of Virginia created two exhibitions to help visitors learn more about our history. Virginia's Capitol is a long-term installation that explores Thomas Jefferson's role in designing the Capitol and how the building has changed over time to meet the needs of the General Assembly. Working Out Her Destiny examines the role women have played in shaping and influencing Virginia. This exhibition will be on view through the summer of 2010. The Capitol is open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00 PM.

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"First Fridays East": Spring Feature of First Fridays Art Walk

Richmond's popular arts and cultural program First Fridays Art Walk makes a special expansion east this spring with "First Fridays East" to connect with the Library of Virginia, Richmond CenterStage, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, and the University of Richmond Downtown on March 5, April 2, and May 7 between 5:00 and 8:00 PM.  All activities are free and open to the public. For more information call the Virginia Shop at the Library of Virginia at 804-692-3524 or e-mail

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Spring FVSA Set for March 26

The Friends of the Virginia State Archives will hold their annual spring conference, Straight to the Source, at the Library of Virginia on Friday,March 26, from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM. The conference offers an introduction to genealogical research and features presentations by Library of Virginia archivists. Sessions will include using school record resources; finding and using church records; researching West Virginia ancestors; and using topologic and other related maps for genealogical research. The cost is $25 for Friends members, $40 for nonmembers, and includes lunch. Attendance is limited to 75. To register, contact or Anne Brown, 804-741-0136, Registration closes March 22.

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Virginia Authors Circle Raises Needed Funds for New Titles

Last month the Library of Virginia Foundation began a new initiative to help preserve and expand the Library’s vital collection of works by Virginia authors. In response to cuts in the Library's budget, especially in the area of book acquisition, the Foundation has created the Virginia Authors Circle to ensure that the Library can maintain its commitment to collecting these works during challenging times. Membership in the Virginia Authors Circle is open to Virginia authors and their families and all funds raised go directly toward purchasing titles by Virginia authors. Each book purchased by this fund receives a bookplate acknowledging the support of the Virginia Authors Circle and resides in the Library's Virginia Authors Room—where signage recognizes the support of circle members. A companion copy of each book will be held in the stacks.

The initial response from Virginia authors has been overwhelming. In the first month, members of the Virginia Authors Circle have raised more than $10,000 to support the purchase of new titles. If you are a Virginia author and would like to help with this important effort, please call Dan Stackhouse at 804-692-3813.

—submitted by Dan Stackhouse, Library of Virginia Foundation

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Mark Your Calendars for the 2010 Voorhees Lecture on the History of Cartography

Join us on April 10 at the Library of Virginia for the 2010 Alan M. and Nathalie P. Voorhees Lecture on the History of Cartography featuring Ralph Ehrenberg, author and internationally recognized authority on the history of cartography. The talk will be held in the Lecture Hall at 1:00 PM. Rarely seen maps from the Library’s collections will be on display beginning at 11:00 AM.

How do you construct a geologic map, one of the basic visual languages of geology? What do geologists contribute to the process? Cartographers? Map engravers and lithographers? Drawing on the formidable cartographic resources of the Library of Virginia, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives, Ehrenberg will address these questions and more in an illustrated PowerPoint presentation that traces the early effort to synthesize and map the complex rock formations that underlie the rich world of Virginia’s landscape. Special focus will be given to the pioneering work of “The Father of American Geology,” William Maclure; Virginia’s first official geologist, William Barton Rogers; Confederate cartographer Jedediah Hotchkiss; and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Ehrenberg is the former chief of the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress and former director of the Center for Cartographic and Architectural Archives at the National Archives and Records Administration. He is a founding member and past president of the Washington Map Society, and past president and Fellow of the Society for the History of Discoveries. He has lectured widely on the history of cartography and geographical exploration, and is the author of Mapping the World: An Illustrated History of Cartography; The Mapping of America (with Seymour Schwartz), and Scholars’ Guide to Washington, D.C. for Cartography and Remote Sensing Imagery.

Box lunches will be available for purchase. Massy Energy is the presenting sponsor of this year’s Voorhees lecture. This event is free but reservations are required. Please call 804-692-3813.

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Apply for NEH Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions

National Endowment for the Humanities Preservation Assistance Grants help small and mid-sized institutions—such as libraries, museums, historical societies, archival repositories, cultural organizations, town and county records offices, and colleges and universities—improve their ability to preserve and care for their humanities collections. Preservation Assistance Grants may be used for general preservation assessments; consultations with professionals to address a specific preservation issue, need, or problem; purchase of storage furniture and preservation supplies; purchase of environmental monitoring equipment for humanities collections; or education and training.

Small and mid-sized institutions that have never received an NEH grant are especially encouraged to apply. Outright grants of up to $6,000 will be awarded. Nonprofit organizations are eligible, as are state and local governmental agencies and tribal governments. The deadline for this grant is May 18, 2010. For more information visit

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Library Offers Records Training for School Personnel

The Library of Virginia, in collaboration with the Public Schools Records Consortium (PSRC), hosted a day of training for public school personnel on Friday, February 26. The workshop covered several aspects of records management including compliance with the Virginia Public Records Act, electronic records management, procedures for transferring archival records to the Library, and use of the General Schedule 21 for Public School Records. More than 130 participants from Virginia's public schools, representing more than 50 school districts, attended the training.

This event complements the Library's strong working relationship with Virginia's educational agencies. The PSRC meets at the Library of Virginia every other month during the academic year to discuss records management issues in the public schools. Additionally, the Library hosts a listserv where public school personnel can address issues unique to school records.

The Library of Virginia is responsible for ensuring that public records are maintained and available throughout their life cycle. The Library supports localities and state agencies with the efficient and economical management of their public records.

—submitted by Anita Vannucci, Archival & Records Management Services

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Festival Celebrates Books and Authors

The 16th Annual Virginia Festival of the Book will be held in Charlottesville, March 17–21, 2010. The Virginia Festival for the Book is an annual public celebration featuring readings, panels, and discussions with authors, illustrators, and publishing professionals. This year’s 206 events feature 353 participants, including 175 nonfiction writers, 78 fiction writers, and 38 poetry authors. Programs range from traditional author readings and book signings to a panel on how to publish a novel to a discussion on running a book club. All programs are open to the public; with the exception of a few ticketed events, programs are free of charge.

As the largest gathering of authors, writers, and readers in the Mid-Atlantic region, the Festival of the Book has become an integral part of the community. Among the authors participating this year are Rhys Bowen, Alan Cheuse, Michael Gelb, Nikki Giovanni, Woody Holton, Michael Malone, Colum McCann, and Karen Spears Zacharias. For a schedule of this year’s events visit

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Paterson Named National Ambassador for Young People's Literature

Katherine Paterson, two-time winner of the Newbery Medal (Bridge to Terabithia and Jacob Have I Loved) and the National Book Award (The Master Puppeteer and The Great Gilly Hopkins),was recently appointed the second National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. Paterson, who will serve in the position during 2010 and 2011, has chosen "Read for Your Life" as the theme for her platform. She aims to stress the importance of literature in our lives and for the general good, and will encourage young readers to read widely to expand their horizons and delight their imaginations.

Born in China to missionary parents, Paterson first came to the United States when she was five and moved eighteen times before she was 18. During World War II she lived in Virginia and North Carolina. Paterson earned her undergraduate degree from King College in Bristol, Tennessee, and then taught sixth grade in Lovettsville, Virginia, in Loudoun County. She attended graduate school at the Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond before serving as a missionary in Japan for four years.

Paterson was named a "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress in 2000.

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