The Library of Virginia Newsletter
December 2014

Time to Nominate Virginia's Finest

Are you a Virginia author with a 2014 book to your credit? An author with a 2014 nonfiction book out on a Virginia topic? A publisher with the next best seller among its clients? An avid reader who loves books on Virginia subjects or by local authors?

Now is your chance to nominate books for the Library of Virginia’s 2015 literary awards. The deadline to nominate books for the annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards is February 12, 2015. Books eligible for the awards must have been written by a Virginia author or, for nonfiction books, have a Virginia-related theme. A Virginia author is defined as a writer meeting one or more of the following qualifications: a native-born Virginian, an author living in Virginia, or an author whose permanent home address is in Virginia. Entries can be submitted in the following categories: fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

Entries for the 2015 awards must have been published and distributed between January 1 and December 31, 2014. Four copies must be submitted of each book nominated.

The following types of books are not eligible for the awards: reference works, anthologies, documentary editions, children’s and juvenile literature, photographic books, self-help books, and “how-to” books.

Entry forms can be submitted online ( or completed as an interactive PDF and mailed to: The Library of Virginia Literary Awards, 800 East Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia, 23219-8000. For more information, please call 804-692-3535.

<< back to e-newsletter

Please Remember the Semper Virginia Society in Your End-of-Year Giving

The Semper Virginia Society provides support for Library of Virginia programs, including acquisition of materials, conservation of our collections, the continued digitization of our archive, and funding for the exhibitions and educational programs. Your tax-deductible gift before December 30 will help us continue our work. You may make a donation by visiting or by sending your contribution to the Library of Virginia Foundation, 800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23219. Semper Virginia Society members receive invitations to members-only events, discounts to the Virginia Shop and Discovery Café, and more. Please call Amy Bridge at 804-692-3590 with any questions you might have. Thank you!

<< back to e-newsletter

VCOG Honors Kaine E-mail Project at Annual Conference

The Kaine E-mail Project at the Library of Virginia is the 2014 government winner of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government’s annual open government awards. The award was presented by VCOG’s president at its annual conference on November 14 in Roanoke.

A team of archivists at the Library has, for the past four years, combed through the 1.3 million messages sent and received by the members of Governor Timothy Kaine’s administration, including correspondence from the former governor himself. Along the way, the team has painstakingly reviewed each message to add context, organize related topics, and recreate chains of messages by different people on a single event, such as the mass shooting at Virginia Tech. The project is the first of its kind in the country and has been recognized for its ambition and originality by national groups.

VCOG is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to making the records, meetings, and proceedings of state and local government as transparent and accessible as possible so that citizens may fully engage in the democratic process.

–submitted by Megan Rhyne, Virginia Council on Open Government

<< back to e-newsletter

Register Now for the “Person of the Year: 1865” Symposium on Feb. 21

Two pairs of famous generals involved in fateful surrender negotiations. One president re-inaugurated, assassinated, martyred, and deified. Another pursued, captured, and imprisoned, yet unbroken. An “accidental” president left to govern a reunited nation. A war’s winners determined to make the losers pay for their alleged crimes. A few men and women fated to be scapegoats for a war that had become very uncivil. Women determined to bury, count, mourn, and honor their respective dead. Four million formerly enslaved people determined to make the most of their freedom. These are some of the notable people of 1865: a year that saw America move from war to peace, from a nation that condoned slavery to one that abolished it.

Who most influenced or personified events in 1865? This is the issue to be decided in the last installment of the American Civil War Museum’s “Person of the Year” symposia series, offered in partnership with the Library of Virginia. The speakers who will nominate and make the case for candidates are William J. Cooper of Louisiana State University, Will Greene of Pamplin Historical Park, Robert Kenzer of the University of Richmond, Cassandra Newby-Alexander of Norfolk State University, and prize-winning biographer Elizabeth Brown Pryor.

When: Saturday, February 21, 2015, 9:30 AM–4:00 PM
Where: Library of Virginia, 800 East Broad Street
Parking: Free parking is available in the Library’s underground garage or on the streets surrounding the Library (parking meters do not apply on Saturdays).

Although same-day registration is possible, you must register before Tuesday, February 17, 2015, to order a box lunch.
Fee: $60 ($40 for Semper Virginia Society members and Museum of the Confederacy members and donors). Make checks payable to: The American Civil War Museum

–submitted by John Coski, American Civil War Museum

<< back to e-newsletter

State Law Library Offers Resource on Supreme Court of Virginia Justices

The Virginia State Law Library is pleased to announce the availability of a new resource on the Virginia Judiciary website, Supreme Court of Virginia Justices, 1779–present. This online biographical directory can be accessed directly at or from the judicial branch website at

The directory features biographical information (and a portrait, if available) on each justice who has served on the Supreme Court of Virginia since 1779. Audio recordings and transcripts of oral histories on retired justices are also included. The Virginia State Law Library’s goal is to make this information available to the public, with the directory serving as an accurate scholarly resource for students, educators, historians, and others interested in the history of the court.

Kelly Parrish of the Department of Judicial Planning and the staff of the Washington and Lee School of Law shared resources gathered for The Supreme Court of Virginia: Historical Portraits of the Justices, 1799–2011, published in 2010 (now out of print). The publication of this guide made it possible to create an online directory illustrated with the portraits.

Several archivists, librarians, and others provided research assistance in the compilation of the online directory. The Virginia State Law Library offers sincere thanks to:

  • Meghan A. Townes, Visual Studies Collections Registrar, Library of Virginia
  • Audrey McElhinney, Senior Rare Book Librarian, Library of Virginia
  • the knowledgeable staff of reference archivists at the Library of Virginia
  • Cecilia Brown, Special Collections Archivist, Arthur J. Morris Law Library, University of Virginia
  • Lisa S. McCown, Senior Special Collections Assistant, James G. Leyburn Library, Washington and Lee University
  • John Jacob, Archivist and Special Collections Librarian, Washington and Lee University Law Library
  • Susan Riggs, Manuscripts and Rare Books Librarian, Swem Library, College of William and Mary Suzanne Corriell, Associate Director for Reference, Research, and Instructional Services, Muse Law Library, University of Richmond
  • student interns from the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of History and George Washington University internship programs

–submitted by Catherine G. OBrion, Virginia State Law Library

<< back to e-newsletter

VFH Celebrates 40th Anniversary with Live BackStory Program at Library of Virginia

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities announces “BackStory to the Future…Live!” a special event hosted in partnership with the Library of Virginia in celebration of the Foundation’s rich 40-year history, compelling programs, and shared commitment to shaping a more promising future. The event will take place on Thursday, January 22, 2015 from 5:30–6:45 PM at the Library of Virginia.

At the event, renowned historians Ed Ayers, Brian Balogh, and Peter Onuf will perform a special live version of BackStory with the American History Guys and take questions from the audience. Lecture Hall seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis; overflow seating with show simulcast will also be available. Doors will open at 5:15 PM and the program will begin promptly at 5:45 PM.

After the program, guests are invited to a private viewing of To Be Sold: Virginia and the American Slave Trade, a Library of Virginia exhibition curated by Maurie D. McInnis, VFH board member and University of Virginia vice provost for academic affairs and professor of art history, and supported by a VFH grant. McInnis will be available to answer questions about the exhibition.

–submitted by Maggie Guggenheimer, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities

<< back to e-newsletter