The Library of Virginia Newsletter
October 2011

Celebrate Archives Month at the Library of Virginia

Archives Month

Please join the Library of Virginia as we celebrate Archives Month and the value of Virginia's historical records. Visit us on October 26 from 11:00 AM until 2:00 PM to see displays from the Library's many collections, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the archives stacks and conservation labs, and watch staff demonstrations on using the collections. Staff will be available to talk about their work and collections and share expert tips about archival research and records preservation.

Since 2002, Virginia has celebrated those institutions and individuals that help preserve and make accessible the important records of our actions as citizens, businesses, religious groups, government, and society. Archives Month is a collaborative project of the Library of Virginia, in conjunction with the Virginia State Historical Records Advisory Board, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference.

This year's Archives Month theme is "Celebrating Advocacy for Archives" and is reflected in the 2011 Virginia Archives Month poster, which contains images from archival repositories around the state. In addition, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has issued a proclamation that recognizes the value of the state's archives and archivists. The certificate recognizes October 2011 as Virginia Archives Month. There are many activities planned both at the Library of Virginia and at institutions around the state to celebrate and recognize Virginia's archives and archivists. A full listing of these can be found on the Archives Month Web page.

- submitted by Carl Childs, Archives, Records and Collections Services

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Library Board Approves Lowering Age Requirement for Researchers

At its October 3 meeting the Library Board approved a staff recommendation to lower the age limit for researchers from 18 to 16. This change will allow younger users to borrow circulating Library materials and use the archival and map collections. The younger users must be residents of Virginia and provide the signature and photo identification of a parent or guardian.

The recommended change came from the Access Work Group, part of the Library's strategic planning process. The group explored ways of increasing access to the Library of Virginia's collections and resources. The change puts the Library in line with its peer institutions.

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Local Records Archivists Offer Presentations on Court Records

The Library of Virginia's local records archivists are on the road these days spreading the word about the valuable information to be found in circuit court records. So far they have been to the Staunton Public Library and have presentations scheduled for Smyrna Baptist Church in Dinwiddie County on October 12, the Tazewell Public Library on October 17, the Scott County Rotary Club on October 18, and the Middlesex County Museum & Historical Society in Saluda on November 20.

Greg Crawford, local records program manager, reports that these programs are important in showing how chancery and criminal records in the Library of Virginia's collections are useful for learning about local history as well as genealogy. At the presentation in Staunton, Crawford was able to help someone from Craig County find her great-grandfather using the Library's online Chancery Records Index. "Turns out he was the defendant in a 1902 divorce case. She said that was not surprising given that he had been married three times" said Crawford. "Local court records provide tremendous insight into the manners, customs, and character of Virginians. The local records staff is excited about going to the places where these records originated to share with the public the stories found in them."

If you are interested in scheduling a presentation by one of the Library's local records archivists, please contact Greg Crawford, or 804-692-3505.

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Exciting Programs Abound During Virginia Literary Festival

The second annual Virginia Literary Festival (October 6-15) is offering fans of great writers and books a week's worth of wonderful events celebrating the rich literary culture of Virginia. From a conversation with Earl Hamner (the creator of the iconic television series The Waltons), to a mystery writers' extravaganza, to a program featuring authors, artists, and art, the Virginia Literary Festival has a great mix of genres and speakers.

To see the schedule and register for individual events go to:

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Citizens Advisory Council and Library to Publish History of Executive Mansion

In 2013, Virginia's Executive Mansion-the oldest occupied governor's residence in the 50 states-marks its 200th anniversary. To celebrate this milestone, the Citizens Advisory Council for Interpreting and Furnishing the Executive Mansion and the Library of Virginia will co-publish an official bicentennial history of Virginia's "First House."

This handsome coffee table book, written by historian Mary Miley Theobald with an introduction by novelist David Baldacci and designed by Carol Roper Hoffler of Literati, will chronicle the mansion's important role as residence, office, and social setting for the past 54 Virginia governors. Research has unearthed a wealth of stories and illustrations never before published. Tales of famous guests, pets and pranks, and ghosts weave through two centuries of additions, modernizations, and changing interior fashions. Newly discovered photographs, drawings, paintings, and antiques from private and public collections throughout Virginia and around the country bring these stories to life. Interviews with all ten living First Ladies will provide a peek into the upstairs lives of the commonwealth's First Families.

The Library of Virginia had previously collaborated with the Executive Mansion on a book with author William Seale published in 1988. The new book is intended as a well-illustrated overview of the history of the mansion written for a popular audience. The council will fund the writing, editing, design, and production of the book. The Library will provide in-kind services such as image acquisition.

This official bicentennial book, as yet untitled, is scheduled for release in October 2012. It includes a welcome from Virginia's current governor and first lady, Governor and Mrs. Robert F. McDonnell.

The book will be sold at the gift shops at the Library of Virginia, the Capitol, and local museums as well as at book stores and online. Proceeds will help the CAC continue its work of maintaining the building's historical integrity.

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Thomas Kidd to Deliver Annual Governor Henry Lecture

Thomas S. Kidd, associate professor of history and senior fellow at Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion, will deliver the annual Governor Henry Lecture at the Library of Virginia on Tuesday, November 15, at 5:30 PM and at Hampden-Sydney College's Crawley Forum, on Wednesday, November 16, at 7:00 PM. Entitled "Henry, Madison, Jefferson, and the Contest for Religious Liberty in Revolutionary Virginia," the lecture will explore Henry's relationship with dissent and toleration in Virginia.

Kidd is the author of Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots, The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America, and American Christians and Islam: Evangelical Culture and Muslims from the Colonial Period to the Age of Terrorism.

The lecture is jointly sponsored by the Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation and the Library of Virginia. The lectures are open to the public at no charge. Free parking is available, and a reception follows each event.

The Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation ( owns and operates Red Hill, the patriot's last home and burial place overlooking the Staunton River in Charlotte County, Virginia. The Library of Virginia ( holds the world's most extensive collection of material about the Old Dominion and has been a steward of the commonwealth's documentary and printed heritage since 1823. Founded in 1775 as a private liberal arts college for men, Hampden-Sydney College ( is the tenth oldest in the United States.

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Visit LVA's Wish List on

The Library of Virginia Foundation has established a "Wish List" for Library of Virginia acquisitions at Initially, the list will be used to purchase circulating copies of books the Library already owns. The Library also hopes that a generous donor will purchase the Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine for its collection.

To view the list, click the link below or go to, select "Gift and Wish Lists" from the tabbed menu, and enter Library of Virginia in the wish list box on the right.

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2012 Winter Reading Program Features First Dog

First Dog

The 2012 Winter Reading Program, presented by the Library of Virginia, features the cover art of First Dog by J. Patrick Lewis and Beth Zappitello and illustrated by Tim Bowers, a wonderful picture book with adorable illustrations of a Portuguese water dog. Image used with permission from Sleeping Bear Press TM, a Gale.Cengage Learning Company.

The Library of Virginia promotes this annual winter reading program that begins in February, "I Love to Read" Month, and concludes on March 2, Read Across America Day. The winter reading program is designed to instill a love of reading in young children by having the child's parent or other special adult read to them.

Libraries participating in the winter reading program will receive reading records, stickers, posters, and activities to help children develop reading skills. Winter reading materials will be available in Spanish.

The winter reading program builds on the special relationship public librarians have with children and the adults who bring them to the library. The desired outcome of the program is the creation of communities where children are ready to learn when they attend kindergarten.

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The Virginia Shop's 30 for 30 Special for October Features 30% Off All State Seal Merchandise

The Great Seal of Virginia was originally approved during Virginia's 1776 Constitutional Convention. The female figure is Virtus, the Roman goddess, dressed as an Amazon. She stands with spear in her right hand and in her left, a sheathed sword over a defeated opponent: a tyrannical foe, his crown cast upon the ground.

Show your Virginia pride and enjoy a significant discount on custom state seal merchandise produced exclusively by the Virginia Shop at the Library of Virginia.

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Library of Virginia Offers Trustee Workshops

In Virginia the governance of most public libraries is placed with citizens of the community, organized as a library board of trustees. If you are a new or even a longtime library trustee and want a better understanding of the laws and rules that affect your duties, the Library Development and Networking Division at the Library of Virginia can help.
This fall the division will conduct a series of half-day workshops for trustees. October sessions will run from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM and be held at:

  • October 17 - Shenandoah County Library, Edinburg
  • October 20 - Library of Virginia, Richmond
  • October 21 - Staunton Public Library, Staunton
  • October 24 - Smyth-Bland Regional Library, Marion
  • October 25 - Campbell County Public Library, Rustburg

Contact Kim Armentrout at 804-692-3601 or e-mail: for additional information. There is no cost for the workshops. Advance registration is required. To register click on the Library of Development Division's calendar and select the date of the workshop you wish to attend. The agenda is attached to the registration link,

To learn more about being a public library trustee, see the Virginia Public Library Trustee Handbook at

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Clay Papers Open to Researchers

Robert Young Clay

The Library of Virginia is pleased to announce the acquisition of the Robert Young Clay Papers. Clay, a former research archivist at the Library of Virginia, passed away on May 6, 2010. The collection includes his extensive research files on the Clay family, especially the lines that descend from Thomas Clay (ca. 1745/6-1812) of Dinwiddie County, Virginia, and the allied families of Ballow, Escue, Kittrell, and Young. There are also records relating to his involvement with the Clay Family Society. Clay's papers also contain correspondence, general subject files, and many of the speeches and talks he delivered to various genealogical and historical societies around the nation. There is a good deal of information relating to the history of his hometown, Dixon Springs, Tennessee, and the surrounding communities in Smith County. In his later years, he undertook a project to abstract the pension files of Smith County, Tennessee, soldiers of the Revolutionary War and War of 1812. Also of note are files concerning his artistic pursuits, including landscape painting and his interest in coats-of-arms and heraldic art.

- submitted by Jim Greve, Archives, Records and Collections Services

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