The Library of Virginia Newsletter
September 2012

Constitutional Experts to Explore Relevance of Virginia's Constitution on Sept. 21

A. E. Dick Howard is the go-to person on all things related to Virginia’s Constitution, advising governors and legislators. He served as the executive director of the commission that drafted Virginia’s current constitution and directed the successful referendum campaign for its ratification. He is the White Burkett Miller Professor of Law and Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. A Rhodes Scholar, he was a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black.

On September 21 at 5:30 PM, Howard will lead a spirited discussion that traces the evolution of Virginia's constitution up to the most recent revision (1971) and explores its applicability to its citizens' needs in the present day. Joining him will be Virginia Supreme Court Senior Justice Elizabeth B. “Liz” Lacy, the first woman on the Virginia Supreme Court, and H. Lane Kneedler, partner at Reed Smith LLP and former chief deputy attorney general of Virginia (1986–1992).

This program complements our exhibition You Have No Right: Law and Justice in Virginia. Using Virginia cases—and the stories of the people behind them—You Have No Right will demonstrate how the law affects individuals directly and how people have used the law to achieve political and social goals. Using original records and electronic resources to convey the themes of human rights, citizenship, and the rule of law in a lively and engaging presentation, the exhibition will explore questions about citizenship, marriage rights, eminent domain, and why prosecutors have to prove guilt and defense lawyers don't have to prove innocence.

Style Weekly is the print media sponsor of exhibition programming for You Have No Right:  Law & Justice in Virginia.

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Virginia Memory Repeats on Family Tree Magazine's Top Genealogy Website List

The Library of Virginia has retained its spot on Family Tree Magazine’s list of best genealogy websites. In recognizing Virginia Memory, the magazine said, “This Library of Virginia site stands out for the richness and genealogical usefulness of its digital collections. Local history lessons are nice, but what we love are the real records found here: Revolutionary War land bounties, court records, family Bibles, Civil War pension rolls and disability applications, WWI veterans questionnaires and more. Even if you don’t have Virginia kin, the index to Confederate Veteran magazine may be worth a visit.”

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The Virginia Literary Festival Returns in October

The Virginia Literary Festival, a week-long series of book talks, workshops, celebrations, and literary events for readers and authors, returns to Richmond October 17–21. We’ve prepared a full schedule of events for readers and writers of all ages. Don’t miss the Literary Luncheon—featuring Tom Robbins, 2012's Literary Lifetime Award Recipient—and 15 other Virginia authors, including Adriana Trigiani, David Baldacci, and many others. It all culminates with the 15th annual Library of Virginia Literary Award Celebration. Visit for more information and tickets.

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Governor Appoints Sofia Starnes Poet Laureate of Virginia

Sofia Starnes, a resident of Williamsburg, has been named to a two-year term as Poet Laureate of Virginia by Governor Bob McDonnell. As poet laureate she will promote poetry and the written word and will be available for speaking and reading engagements across the state.

Starnes is the author of five books of poetry and her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies. She is the recipient of the Transcontinental Poetry Prize (Editor's Choice), The Whitebird Poetry Series Prize, the Rainer Maria Rilke Poetry Award, the Marlboro Review Prize for Poetry (Editor's Choice), and the Christianity and Literature Poetry Prize, among others. U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins during his tenure chose her chapbook “The Soul's Landscape” as one of two co-winners of the 2001 Aldrich Poetry Prize. Her 2003 publication, A Commerce of Moments, received an honorable mention from the Library of Virginia at its literary awards celebration in 2004. Starnes has also received a poetry fellowship from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and a Pushcart nomination.

She was born in Manila and fled the Philippines with her family to Spain to escape the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. Starnes was educated at the Institución Teresiana (Saint Pedro Poveda College) and has an advanced degree in English philology from the University of Madrid and a degree in English pedagogy from the Instituto de Idiomas in Madrid. She arrived in the United States in 1986 and became a U.S. citizen in 1989.

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Public Library Directors to Meet at LVA in September

Public library directors from across the state will gather here on September 20 and 21 for the 2012 Virginia Public Library Directors’ Meeting, presented by the Library of Virginia. Directors will receive updates from Librarian of Virginia Sandra Treadway and from Library Development and Networking staff on issues and projects for the coming year.

Maurice Coleman and Paul Signorelli will give a joint keynote address focusing on two approaches to the future of libraries on September 20. The duo brings a wealth of practical experience and an open 21st-century perspective to their topic.

Coleman is the technical trainer at Harford County Public Library in Maryland. He has 20 years of experience training individuals of all ages how to sensibly use technology and computer hardware and software. He also offers training on effective technology planning and deployment, social media skills, and nonprofit organizational development and fundraising. He hosts the library training podcast “T is for Training” and writes for the American Library Association’s Learning Round Table blog, ALALearning. He was named a 2010 Library Journal Mover and Shaker and received the Citizens for Maryland Libraries Davis McCarn Technology Award.

Signorelli has more than 20 years of experience as a learning leader for libraries and other organizations and businesses. As director of staff training and volunteer services for the San Francisco Public Library System, he created, implemented, and managed numerous training plans. He serves as a writer, trainer, on-site and online presenter, and consultant for a variety of organizations and remains active in the American Library Association Learning Round Table and with the American Society for Training and Development.

On the second day of the meeting Coleman and Signorelli will work with directors on developing an effective trainer-teacher-learner relationship. Directors will share their experiences—good and bad—in preparing staff to meet the needs of library users. Building on these experiences, Signorelli and Coleman will guide the group to develop practical and innovative training tools that produce positive results.

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Database Spotlight: American Periodicals Series Online

Proquest’s American Periodicals Series Online (APS) database features digitized copies of more than 1,500 periodicals published from colonial times to the mid-twentieth century. Titles range from Benjamin Franklin’s General Magazine and America’s first scientific journal, Medical Repository, to popular magazines such as Vanity Fair and Ladies’ Home Journal. Readers will also find pioneering journals such as The Dial, Puck, and McClure’s.

The journals in the database can be divided into three broad time frames:

1740–1800: The 89 journals included for this period provide insights into America's transition from colonial times to independence. Titles include Massachusetts Magazine, which published America's first short stories, and Thomas Paine's Pennsylvania Magazine, which reported on inventions. One of the first mass printings of the Declaration of Independence is also among the content highlights from this period.  

1800–1860: This 60-year span includes coverage of more than 20 journals published for women, as well as general interest magazines and children’s titles. Many of the publications include articles regarding the debate over slavery, and the serialization of Harriet Beecher Stowe's “Uncle Tom's Cabin,” which preceded the novel, can be read in National Era. Also available are Edgar Allan Poe's contributions to the Southern Literary Messenger, as well as the first appearances of Nathaniel Hawthorne's stories in New England Magazine, and Margaret Fuller's contributions to The Dial.

1861–1900: This time frame includes 118 periodicals published during the Civil War (1861-1865) and Reconstruction (1865–1877), in addition to titles published from the 1880s through 1900, which provide coverage of the settling of the West and the emergence of modern America. Early professional journals such as Publications of the American Economic Association are included, as are popular titles such as Scribner's Monthly.

Because the database contains digitized images of periodical pages, researchers can see the typography, drawings, and article layouts as they were originally published.

Your Library of Virginia library card is your key to exploring this wonderful resource. Stop by the Library to get a card today and visit the Library’s Using the Collections page to begin your research!

–submitted by Lisa Wehrmann, Public Services and Outreach

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Library Cardholders Can Tap into a Wealth of Resources to Help with School

Students and teachers returning to school need look no further than their local public library to gain access to invaluable databases. The good news is that this free service is provided by the Library of Virginia, supported by federal funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The collection of databases known as Find It Virginia provides free, 24/7 access to resources such as newspapers, magazine and journal articles, and books such as encyclopedias. Materials are available for all age ranges and interests.

Resources for elementary school students are grouped under "Kids Infobits" and feature reference materials, magazines, newspapers, maps, flags, charts, and images with reading levels clearly noted. Resources for middle school students include Infotrac Junior Edition and Infotrac Student, with access to numerous full-text newspaper, magazine, book, audiovisual databases, and websites. Similar resources are available for high school students and members of the public.

Librarian of Virginia Sandra Treadway wants students, teachers, and parents to be aware of the extensive materials available from local libraries and the Library of Virginia. “I want more people to use these databases. They can help students increase their grades and are of interest to all library patrons with a love of lifelong learning. There is something for everyone from elementary school students to adults researching genealogy or financial planning,” said Treadway. “The beauty of the databases in Find It Virginia is that they are vetted, reliable, and available 24/7. If the library is closed, it’s Saturday night, and the assignment is due Monday, the chances are excellent that students can find the resources they need through the online portal of Find It Virginia.”

To access the resources, you'll need a local public library card. Then visit

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Join us on October 3 for "A Woman's Place Is in . . . the Voting Booth!: A History of the Woman Suffrage Movement"

The Library of Virginia, Maymont Foundation, and the League of Women Voters team up for a rousing rally at noon on October 3 that is sure to inspire everyone to cast their vote on Election Day! Costumed interpreters bring the struggle for woman suffrage to life as Librarian of Virginia Sandra G. Treadway describes the victories and setbacks of the determined female citizens who sought the right to vote during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The program shows that although most southerners were not sympathetic to woman suffrage by the start of the 20th century, this attitude was changing. In 1909 the Virginia Equal Suffrage League held its first meeting in Richmond. Members included prominent women such as Lila Meade Valentine, Ellen Glasgow, Mary Johnston, Kate Langley Bosher, and Nora Houston. Support for woman suffrage was not universal, as can be seen in the formation in 1913 of the Virginia Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage, whose membership included Sallie Mae Dooley, Jane Rutherfoord, Maria Blair, and Sally Finch Valentine.

The coming of World War I and the increasing number of women working outside the home made it difficult for President Woodrow Wilson to sidestep the growing movement for votes for women. In 1918 he endorsed a constitutional amendment giving women the vote and asked Congress to pass it. The amendment failed, but was re-introduced in 1919 and passed both houses. The amendment was then sent to the states for ratification, where agreement by three-quarters, or 36, of the state legislatures would ensure adoption. On August 26, 1920, the Tennessee legislature ratified the amendment guaranteeing that “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex.” Virginia was not one of the 36 states that ratified the 19th Amendment. In a purely symbolic gesture, the Virginia General Assembly did not ratify the amendment until 1952.

In addition, documents and materials related to the League of Women Voters' predecessor—the Equal Suffrage League—will be on display. This program complements our exhibition You Have No Right: Law and Justice in Virginia.

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The Amazing Raise Is Coming Sept. 19th and 20th!

The Amazing Raise, sponsored by the Community Foundation serving Richmond and Central Virginia, is a chance to turn your $50 gift into up to $20,000 in matching prizes for the Library of Virginia Foundation. Last year the Library was the top earning cultural organization, with $12,500 raised in just two days. We would love to repeat that honor! Be sure to visit and, starting September 19 at 6:00 AM, search for the Library of Virginia Foundation and make your gift!

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Proposals Sought for 2013 Virginia Forum

The eighth annual Virginia Forum will be held on the campus of Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, March 21–23. 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 Virginia Forum seeks proposals from scholars, teachers, students, and professionals in all fields. This year’s theme, “Writing Virginia,” encourages submissions that analyze the ways in which Virginia has been represented, constructed, and recorded in nonfiction, fiction, other literary and historical forms, the visual arts, and historic and monumental sites.

The Virginia Forum invites proposals for individual papers, complete panel sessions, roundtable discussions, workshops, poster sessions, or electronic/multimedia presentations. The deadline for submitting proposals is September 30, 2012. Additional information is available online at

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Fireside Chat on the Emancipation Proclamation to Be Held on September 21

The preliminary Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Lincoln on September 22, 1862, five days after the bloody Battle of Antietam. It became effective January 1, 1863, as the nation entered its third year of conflict, forever changing the course of the Civil War. Without question, the Emancipation Proclamation is one of the great American documents of freedom.

Join the nation's foremost Lincoln scholars on the evening of September 21 at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, as they gather to interpret, evaluate, and remember the Emancipation Proclamation on its 150th anniversary.

Panelists are:

Edna Greene Medford, professor and chair of the Department of History at Howard University

Frank Williams, Chief Justice Emeritus of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island and member of the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission

Harold Holzer, chairman of the Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation and vice president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

James I. Robertson Jr. will offer introductory remarks. Participants will discuss the Emancipation Proclamation from three distinct perspectives:

  • The legal, political, and military pressures on Lincoln
  • Its historical influence and how African Americans responded to it
  • The role pictorial images played afterward in establishing the document and its author in public memory

The 7:00–9:00 pm program will be held in UMW’s Dodd Auditorium, located in George Washington Hall. The program is free but registration is required. To register, visit

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