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The Library of Virginia e-Newsletter
December 2010


Click any excerpt below to read the full article.

Library Sponsors Essay Contest for Students in Grades 4–12

In conjunction with the Library of Virginia’s African American Trailblazers in Virginia History program, the Library of Virginia, James River Writers, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch are sponsoring an essay contest for students in grades 4–12. Original essays of no more than 500 words are sought in response to the following prompt...

Library Acquires Early Map with Washington Family Connection

The antiquarian dealer Boston Rare Maps recently approached the Library of Virginia about a collection of materials related to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company that it had acquired. The collection included a Map of the Country between Washington & Pittsburg referring to the contemplated Chesapeake & Ohio Canal and its General Route and Profile. October 1826. This map’s unique provenance and connection to George Washington’s family made it of interest to the Library. It was originally given as a gift from French general Simon Bernard to Eliza Custis, the eldest granddaughter of George and Martha Washington and daughter of Martha Dandridge Custis and Colonel George Washington...

Family Tree Magazine Names Virginia Memory as an Outstanding State Site

Virginia Memory has been named by Family Tree magazine as one of 75 stellar state-centric Web sites for genealogists. According to the magazine: “This roundup of digital collections from the Library of Virginia ranges from Revolutionary War bounty land warrants to questionnaires completed by Virginia WWI veterans. Recent additions include “cohabitation registers” for married former slaves and old photos from Fairfax County.”

Commission to Present Conference on Military Strategy in the American Civil War

The Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission’s third annual signature conference will feature noted historians discussing military strategy in the American Civil War. The conference will be held Saturday, May 21, 2011, at Cassell Coliseum at Virginia Tech. Tickets are $15. Conference registration and a lunch ticket are $25. The conference will highlight Virginia and the Eastern Theater, as well as the Western Theater of the war...

Virginia Author to Serve as Honorary Chair of National Library Week

John Grisham, who was honored with a Literary Lifetime Achievement Award by the Library of Virginia in 2009, has been chosen by the American Library Association as honorary chair of  2011's National Library Week. As part of his duties he will appear in print announcements promoting National Library Week, which will be celebrated April 10–16. "Create your own story @ your library®" is the 2011 theme. First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by ALA and libraries across the country each April...

Drover Plate Library of Virginia Participates in National Digitization Project

Thirty-four of the Library of Virginia’s rare and unique books from its Special Collections Department have been digitized by the Internet Archive through the LYRASIS Mass Digitization Collaborative. The digitization of these titles means that the public has free access to the books that are scanned, giving readers pictures of the actual text complete with color illustrations, underlined texts, and notes jotted in the margins. The reader views each fully searchable book as a flipbook with easy click-through page turning...

Museum of the Confederacy's 2011 Symposium to Decide "Person of the Year" for 1861

Who do you think was the Person of the Year for the pivotal year of 1861? Just as the recipient of the “Person of the Year” designation from Time magazine is not the best or most popular person, but the person (or persons) who most influenced that year’s events, so should your choice for Person of the Year of 1861 indicate his or her importance...

Byer's Choice Santa BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: Byers' Choice Santa 2010

The 2010 Santa will be coming back to town on December 15. Reserve yours today! Select quantities of 2009's Miller & Rhoads Santa are also still available. Contact the Virginia Shop (804-692-3524) for more information or order online at http://www.thevirginiashop.org.

Looking Ahead

On February 4, 2011, at 6:00 PM at the Library of Virginia, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson will discuss and sign The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration, her moving masterwork chronicling the decades-long migration of black people from the South to the northern and western cities of the United States. From 1915 until 1970 almost six million black people fled the South looking for better life. Wilkerson uses the lives of three unique individuals to tell this story. She interviewed more than a thousand people and researched official records to write this dramatic account of how these journeys changed people and America...

Editor's Note:

Please be advised that the name of John Halliday, director of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, was inadvertently left out of the list of nominees for the inaugural Elizabeth M. Lewis Award. The winner was selected by a vote of public library directors in Virginia.
Fun & Free at the library in December
Most events are free and are open to the public. For specific locations, times, and details on the events listed below please visit our calendar of events.

Monday, December 6, 2010 – Saturday, October 29, 2011

Union or Secession: Virginians Decide
Virginia was central to American identity for its role in the founding of the United States and its political principles. Both the Confederacy and the Union wanted to claim Virginia’s historical legacy. Union or Secession explores what Virginians thought and debated as the crisis unfolded. Explore the choices Virginians faced as they decided their fate and that of the nation—Union or Secession. Through letters, journals, newspapers, official documents and correspondence, and maps and broadsides (the vast majority of these items from the Library's incomparable collections), Union or Secession offers insight into the complex and conflicting geographic, cultural, economic, and political factors that faced Virginians in 1860 and early 1861. The exhibition shows that Virginians' choice on the question of secession was far from certain as dramatic moves were being made outside the state.

December 15th, 21st and 22nd

Union or Secession Exhibition Guided Tour
What were Virginians thinking and discussing as the first Southern states withdrew from the United States following the election of Abraham Lincoln in November 1860? Why was Virginia’s decision critical to America’s fate in 1861 and key to the ultimate course and outcome of the sectional crisis? Virginia was central to American identity for its role in the founding of the United States and its political principles. Union or Secession explores what Virginians thought and debated as the crisis unfolded. Explore the choices Virginians faced as they decided their fate and the lasting consequences of their decisions for Virginia and the nation.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Books on Broad Holiday Special: The Possibility
December's Books on Broad will feature live music, special discounts in the Virginia Shop, and, as always, complimentary light refreshments. The event will also feature a book talk and signing for The Possibility, which tells the story of Richmond's Positive Vibe Café and the inspiration behind the remarkable organization that provides employment and training opportunities for people with physical and cognitive disabilities. The Positive Vibe Foundation recently opened a satellite location at the Library of Virginia, Positive Vibe Express.

Monday, December 13, 2010—Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Struggle to Decide: Virginia's Secession Crisis
In the aftermath of the election of Abraham Lincoln as U.S. president in 1860 and the beginning of the secession crisis in December 1860, Virginia had a fateful choice to make: would it remain in, or secede from, the United States of America? In Virginia, the General Assembly called for a state convention to act for Virginia during the crisis. Meeting in February 1861, the 152 men elected to the convention faced the terrible task of deciding the fate of Virginia, and perhaps the nation. The Struggle to Decide exhibition, presented by the Library of Virginia, examines the actions taken by convention delegates and the governor that had a profound effect on Richmond and the Virginia State Capitol.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Reaping the Whirlwind: Virginians on the Eve of War
As a part of the opening of the Union or Secession: Virginians Decide exhibition, Elizabeth Varon discusses the tumultuous period leading to secession. Varon will put Virginians’ views of secession in the context of antebellum debates, with Unionists clinging to images of disunion as inherently chaotic and uncontrollable, while secessionists built the case that only disunion would ensure the state’s control over her own destiny.

Elizabeth R. Varon is a professor in the Corcoran Department of History at the University of Virginia. She is author of the award-winning Southern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, a Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy (2003) and We Mean to Be Counted: White Women and Politics in Antebellum Virginia (1998). Sponsored by Middleburg Trust.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Creating the "Union or Secession" Exhibition
As a part of the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, the Library of Virginia developed a unique exhibition on the commonwealth’s path to secession between the autumn of 1860 and the spring of 1861. Members of the Union or Secession exhibition planning team will discuss the challenges and successes of constructing an exhibition based on archival collections and other contemporary primary sources to give voice to a variety of perspectives about the crisis of 1861.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Educator Open House and Reception
Educators are invited to join us for a special review of the Union or Secession exhibition, and to learn about educational resources and scheduling school tours. Registration is required. Please call (804) 692-3999.

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