The Library of Virginia Newsletter
March 2011

Library of Virginia Receives Save America's Treasures Grant

The Library of Virginia has been awarded a Save America’s Treasures grant in the amount of $110,000 for the conservation of the gubernatorial papers of Thomas Jefferson, the first grant for the Library from this highly competitive program. The Library is one of only four Virginia institutions receiving a grant this year. Save America's Treasures is a matching grant program. For every dollar of federal funds awarded, the grantee must supply a dollar-for-dollar match of nonfederal funds.

The correspondence, letters, and documents pertaining to Thomas Jefferson’s service as the second governor of Virginia bring to life the daily challenges faced by him and other leaders during the Revolutionary War and while drafting the Articles of Confederation and addressing frontier relations. This Save America’s Treasures grant will facilitate the preservation and digitization of the collection, ensuring public access to these valuable materials.

“The Library of Virginia is delighted to have this opportunity to participate in the Save America’s Treasures program,” said Librarian of Virginia Sandra G. Treadway. “The state’s archives contain a myriad of treasures such as the records of Jefferson’s term as governor—treasures that tell not only Virginia’s story, but the nation’s. We are grateful for the recognition that this prestigious grant brings as well as for the financial assistance toward conserving this unique Jefferson material.”

The Library was one of 61 recipients from a pool of several hundred applicants. The grants are made in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and Save America’s Treasures private partner, the National Trust for Historic Preservation. With the grants, 61 organizations and agencies will conserve nationally significant cultural and historic sites, buildings, objects, documents, sculptures, works of art, and collections.

Each federal partner oversees the SAT awards to projects that reflect that agency’s mission. This year, the National Park Service will administer grants to 29 projects focused on structures and sites. The remaining 32 projects address the needs of documents, artifacts, and collections and will be administered by the NEA, NEH, and IMLS.

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Civil War Maps to be Focus of Voorhees Lecture

On April 9, 2011, the Library of Virginia and the Fry-Jefferson Map Society will present the 7th annual Alan & Nathalie Voorhees Lecture on the History of Cartography. The 2011 Voorhees Lecture will feature two speakers. Richard W. Stephenson, retired Library of Congress specialist in American cartographic history, will discuss "Jed Hotchkiss and Albert Campbell: The Army of Northern Virginia's Preeminent Mapmakers."

Cassandra Farrell, Library of Virginia map specialist and senior research archivist, will present "Highlights from the Library of Virginia's American Civil War Map Collection." There will be a special one-day exhibition of maps relating to the talks as well as a special showing of Virginia’s Ordinance of Secession in the Library’s Special Collections room. The exhibition will be open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM (special collections tours end at 12:30 PM), and the lectures will begin at 1:00 PM. The event is free and box lunches will be available for purchase at noon.

The Voorhees lecture honors Alan and Nathalie Voorhees for their generous donations to the Library of Virginia, especially of early Virginia and Virginia-related maps. Voorhees, a transportation consultant and innovator in urban planning, was a long-time benefactor to the Library of Virginia.

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Guide to Organizational Records Covers Gamut from Arts Groups to Vietnam War

The Library of Virginia houses more than 650 collections of organization records that range in size from one leaf of paper to more than 70 cubic feet of material. These collections contain accounts, agendas, architectural drawings, correspondence, financial records, minutes, photographs, programs, reports, schedules, and other papers that detail the goals and histories of these groups. Organization records include other types of media, including audio recordings in reel-to-reel tapes, cassette tapes, and CDs; video recordings in cassettes and DVDs; and even archived Web sites. Access to all these collections is now available through the Organization Records Guide, an online alphabetical guide located on the Library of Virginia's Web site.

The collections come from a variety of groups. There are records for educational organizations such as the Virginia Education Association and the Virginia Alliance for Arts Education, as well as individual schools and libraries. Collections include records of state and local historical societies, medical societies, and agricultural clubs and societies, such as the Virginia State Agricultural Society. Political materials include the records of the Henry Howell and Mills Godwin campaigns from 1973. Religious organizations and societies include records of various branches of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in Virginia. Examples of fraternal and social organizations include the records of the 2300 Club and the Order Fraternal Americans, Goodwill Council #3. Women's organization records include the League of Women Voters of Virginia and the Business and Professional Women's Clubs. African American organizations are highlighted by collections such as the Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the World, Greater Capitol City Lodge, No. 11 records. Rosters, muster rolls, day books, order books, and other items comprise the military records. These records contain information on Virginia militia units, the U.S. Army, the Continental army, and the Confederate army and provide information spanning all military conflicts from the Revolution to the Vietnam War. Organization records also include societies dedicated to memorializing those who served in the military, such as the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the American War Mothers.

The guide is organized alphabetically by organization name and includes a letter index at its top to facilitate searching. Each entry contains the name of the organization, the title of the collection (whether records, account book, etc.), the date range of the collection, and its size. The entries also contain the collection's accession number, a description of the material, and whether the materials are photostats, photocopies, or microfilm (with the reel numbers). Entries are linked to their catalog records as well as to any created online guide particular to the collection, database, or archived Web site. The Organization Records Guide will be updated on a regular basis as new collections are added to the Library and cataloged. Jason Roma and Doc Frank of the Library's Information Technology department provided the invaluable work to make the guide a viable and valuable online resource.

The Organization Records Guide can be found at:

Any organization or individual with a collection should consider donating it to the Library of Virginia. Please contact Trenton Hizer at with any questions concerning the Organization Records Guide.

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Essay Contest Winners Claim Their Prizes

The winners of the African American Trailblazers Essay Contest, co-sponsored by the Library of Virginia, James River Writers, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch, were recognized at the February 24 ceremony for the eight individuals named as 2011 African American Trailblazers in Virginia History.

John Stokes, a civil rights activist who helped lead a strike by students for better education facilities that contributed to the integration of public schools, provided the quote upon which the contest was based. In his memoir, Students on Strike, Stokes wrote: "It is important for you to realize that you did not get where you are by yourselves. The best way to get an understanding of self is to know where you came from and where you are going." Essay entrants were asked to consider these two questions after reading the quote: How does the past empower you? What event or person from history motivates you to be a better person and a better citizen?

In the elementary division, the second-place winner was Sarina Pickering, a 5th grader at Buffalo Trail Elementary School in Loudoun County, who wrote about Rosa Parks. Taking honors for first place was Jordan McKinney, who told about her personal hero, Eleanor Roosevelt.

In the middle school division, the third-place winner was the author of “The Inspiration of James Forten,” Jenna Brown, of the Veritas School of Richmond. Second place went to Kelly Norfleet, also a student at the Veritas School, for her essay on Helen Keller. And the first-place winner was Bryce Williams, of Bailey Bridge Middle School in Chesterfield County, for his essay on Frederick Douglass.

In the high school division the judges selected one student’s essay for an honorable mention. That student was Daisy Banta from Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School in Richmond. The third-place winner was Carrie Mills, a senior at Goochland High School, who wrote about civil rights leader Septima Poinsette Clark. Second place went to Allanna Daniels, a junior at Jamestown High School in Williamsburg, for her essay about enslaved African Americans. And first place went to the essay entitled “Mandela: A Lesson in Hope,” written by Samya Dyer, a senior at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School in Richmond.

The contest featured prizes of $500, $100, and $50 to the first-, second-, and third-place winners in each contest division—elementary, middle, and high school. Winning entries were featured in the newspaper's "Race in Richmond: The Next Chapter" project.

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Ordinance of Secession to Be on Display on April 16

The Library of Virginia houses a unique and important document related to Virginia’s Civil War history—the Ordinance of Secession. The Ordinance will be on public view at the Library of Virginia from 9:00 AM to 5 PM on Saturday, April 16, 2011. Because of its age and fragile condition, this rare piece of Virginia history will be displayed for the public only a few times during the run of Union or Secession: Virginians Decide, the Library’s exhibition exploring what Virginians were thinking and saying as the first Southern states withdrew from the United States.

On April 17, 1861, after months of debate, the Virginia Convention of 1861 voted 88 to 55 to repeal Virginia’s ratification of the Constitution of the United States, effectively withdrawing from the Union. For final approval, the secession referendum had to be submitted to the electorate for their ratification on May 23. Secessionists carried the day and Virginia was officially out of the Union. Members of the convention, on June 14, signed a specially created parchment text of the Ordinance of Secession. In May 1861, the secretary of the Virginia Convention commissioned a skilled Richmond artisan, William Flegenheimer, to inscribe a ceremonial copy of the Ordinance of Secession on parchment, which was signed by 142 members.

Flegenheimer’s parchment disappeared from Richmond in 1865 during the final chaotic days of the war when Charles W. Bullis, a United States soldier from New York, carried it home with him. In 1887, his widow sold the Ordinance of Secession to a collector. Following the death of the collector and his son, the original document was returned in 1929 to Richmond, where it was authenticated and placed in the collection of the then–Virginia State Library.

In addition to the Ordinance of Secession, the Library of Virginia will display archival records that document the emancipation of African Americans by Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Among the items displayed will be the journal of the 1864 Virginia Constitutional Convention that banned slavery and cohabitation records that formalized marriages between enslaved African Americans.

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Album of Virginia - Plate 1, Natural Bridge Illustrations of Virginia's Landscape Available through the Virginia Shop

The Virginia Shop at Library of Virginia offers historic maps, botanicals, vintage tobacco labels, photographs, posters, and more from the Library of Virginia’s vast collection through print-on-demand reproductions. The newest source of affordable art available at features the handsome prints of Virginia scenes originally done in 1857 by German artist Edward Beyer. He was captivated by the Old Dominion’s “lovely and picturesque views,” especially the Valley of Virginia. Among the 40 Beyer prints available are the Peaks of Otter, Natural Bridge, Yellow Sulphur Springs, Harpers Ferry, Weyers Cave, Kanawha Fall, Old Point Comfort, and many more from what has been called one of the 19th century’s finest series of landscape lithographs.

The Virginia Shop provides a range of sizes and can also accommodate custom size requests. Prices for the Beyer print reproductions range from $15.50 to $108.95.

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LVA Records Analysts Offer Online Training

Without leaving the office, Glenn Smith and Corey Smith, records analysts at the Library of Virginia, are training state and local records managers how to identify and protect their essential records. This Webinar delivery has been made possible through the Intergovernmental Preparedness for Essential Records project, an initiative of the Council of State Archivists funded by a $2.6 million award from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The training consists of almost 16 hours of instruction plus homework within two courses spread out over eight weeks.

The IPER project fills an important need by providing state and local records managers with the knowledge and skills needed to help protect the information critical to providing services to Virginians.

The first course, which kicked off February 17, provides participants with a step-by-step approach to developing an essential records program based on FEMA’s Continuity of Operations Plan, a resource to help ensure that government departments and agencies are able to continue performing their essential functions in case of a natural or manmade emergency. The course provides Virginia-specific guidelines and resources to records managers. The second course will focus on developing, analyzing, and testing a Records Emergency Action Plan.

In the early stages of the course, feedback from participants has been very positive.

There are 30 slots available in each course and the first registration filled quickly. The next course should be offered in the fall and there is currently a waiting list. Specific dates have not yet been set; however, check the Library of Virginia’s Web site in the upcoming months for updates.

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LVA Staff Presents Straight to the Source Sessions on March 25 at the Library of Virginia

This year's Straight to the Source conference on March 25 will feature presentations by Library of Virginia staff on how to research using the archival records of the Library. This marks the 19th year that the Friends of the Virginia State Archives and the Library of Virginia have presented this annual spring conference. The fee for Friends members is $25, and includes a box lunch. The fee for nonmembers is $40 and includes a one-year membership to the Friends and a box lunch. For registration information, contact or Anne Brown at 804-741-0136 or Registration is limited to 75 people. The deadline for registration is March 21.

Tom Crew, senior reference archivist at the Library, will present a session on the legislative petitions of the General Assembly. Petitions to the General Assembly were the primary catalyst for legislation in Virginia from 1776 until 1865. Public improvements, military claims, divorce, manumission of slaves, division of counties, incorporation of towns, religious freedom, and taxation were just some of the concerns expressed in these petitions. They are a rich source of information, often containing hundreds of signatures, maps, deeds, wills, and other items.

Laura Drake Davis, Civil War 150 Legacy Project archivist senior, will offer an overview of the Civil War 150 Legacy Project, which is a multiyear initiative of the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission and the Library of Virginia to locate, digitize, and provide worldwide access to the private documentary heritage of the American Civil War era located throughout Virginia.

Minor Weisiger, coordinator of Archives Research Services, will demonstrate to participants how to use newspapers for genealogical research. The Library of Virginia offers access to a wide array of resources for researching newspapers, from its broad collection of more than 2,500 titles, both in original ink press copy and on microfilm, to a suite of online resources that provide gateways to a significant range of historical newspapers.

Greg Crawford, local records coordinator, will show how to use the "Lost Records" collection at the Library of Virginia. This collection includes surviving records from localities, most of whose records are no longer extant. Numerous Virginia localities, most of them in the eastern part of the state, have suffered tremendous losses of their early records because of intense military activity (predominantly during the Civil War), courthouse fires, and/or natural disasters.

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2011 Virginia Forum to Be Held in Lexington

The 2011 Virginia Forum, a conference devoted to all aspects and time periods of Virginia history, will be held in Lexington, Virginia, March 24–26, 2011. The first two days of the conference will take place at Washington and Lee University. Saturday sessions will be held at the Virginia Military Institute.

The Virginia Forum brings together historians, teachers, writers, archivists, museum curators, historic site interpreters, librarians, and others engaged in the study and interpretation of Virginia history to share their knowledge, research, and experiences. The 2011 Virginia Forum registration fee is $75 ($50 for graduate/undergraduate students) until March 11. The late registration fee after March 11 is $90.

To review the conference program see

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Scholars Discover 74 Books from Jefferson's Personal Library

It was with great excitement that Library of Virginia staff learned of the discovery by Monticello scholars that 74 books in the libraries of Washington University in St. Louis originally were part of Thomas Jefferson’s personal library. The books had been believed missing since Jefferson's heirs sold his library in 1829 to pay off his debts after his death. The books had been donated to the university's library in 1880 by a grandson-in-law of Jefferson, who did not mention that the books had belonged to the former president. With this discovery, Washington University is now the third-largest holder of Jefferson’s books, after the Library of Congress and the University of Virginia.

The Library of Virginia boasts a strong affinity for Thomas Jefferson. While Jefferson was governor he drafted a “Bill Establishing a Public Library.” The legislature did not act on the bill, and it was not until 1823 that legislation was enacted creating what is now the Library of Virginia. Our collections include a few books from Jefferson’s private library as well as some letters and official Jefferson records. The enrolled bill of “An Act for Establishing Religious Freedom” written by Jefferson is one of the treasures of our archives.

To learn more about how the 74 books were discovered, see A Find of a Lifetime: Jefferson Books Quest Ends at Washington University, a blog post by Ann Lucas Birle and Endrina Tay.

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