If you are having trouble viewing this email please click here

The Library of Virginia e-Newsletter
February 2016

Click any excerpt below to read the full article.

Library of Virginia Launches First Phase of Virginia Untold: The African AmericanNarrative

The Library of Virginia is pleased to announce the first phase of Virginia Untold: The African American Narrative, a new digital collection of records that will help the public break through the "roadblock" that has long impeded African American history research. The project will bring to light the pre–Civil War experiences of African Americans documented in the Library's primary source materials. These include a variety of local records.

Researchers have long lamented the scarcity of primary sources for information about the pre'Civil War lives of African Americans. Noted historian and host of PBS' Finding Your Roots Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. referred to the Civil War as "a roadblock for many when researching their African American heritage." Documents recording the pre–Civil War experiences of African Americans, enslaved or free, either do not exist..."

The Library of Virginia and Dominion Resources Honor Eight African Americans as Strong Men & Women in Virginia History

The Library of Virginia and Dominion Resources commemorated the leadership and accomplishments of eight outstanding African Americans during the fourth annual Strong Men and Women in Virginia History awards program on February 3, 2016, at the Richmond Marriott.

The program honors prominent African Americans, past and present, who have made significant contributions to the commonwealth.

"Each year, the men and women honored through the Strong Men and Women program bear witness to the amazing accomplishments and contributions of African American Virginians throughout our history and up to the present day," said Sandra G. Treadway, Librarian of Virginia. "The Library of Virginia is proud to be a partner in this valuable program, which serves..."

vashop February Online Sale at the Virginia Shop

Learn about Virginia"s African American history through Arcadia"s African American series. Online purchases of these titles are 30% off in February only. Visit the Virginia Shop online at

Historic Circuit Court Records to Be Conserved through CCRP Grants from the Library of Virginia

The Library of Virginia is pleased to announce that the Circuit Court Records Preservation Grants Review Board met on December 14 and evaluated 69 applications submitted from 61 localities. The board awarded 69 grant projects to local circuit courts totaling $903,205.75. Among the items to be conserved are: deed books, surveyors' records, will books, order books, marriage registers, birth records, minute books, free persons of color records, superior court order books, rosters of Confederate soldiers, death registers, and plat books. Many of these materials are brittle, have torn and loose pages and broken spines, and show the results of previous repairs using glue or tape. In some cases they have been laminated and the ink is faded.

The books and records to be conserved are used heavily by genealogists, historians, lawyers, and title researchers. They contain pieces of family and local history found nowhere else. Jane L. Brown, clerk of the Nottoway County Circuit Court, recounts that an 1805–1809 deed book scheduled to be conserved survived the ravages of the Civil War and includes an inscription stating, "Johnny Reb you can thank me for saving Lawyer Jones Books. I saved them because I am sort of a Yankee Lawyer..."

2016 Virginia Women in History Program Honors Eight Outstanding Women

2016vwih A talented mathematician who calculated the trajectories for America's earliest manned space flights and the first moon landing, the first female photographer hired by the Roanoke Times, and the artistic director and founder of a Latin ballet company are among eight Virginia women recognized by the Library of Virginia as part of its Virginia Women in History program. The eight are also featured on a handsome poster and in the Library's 2016 Virginia Women in History exhibition, on display on the second floor of the Library of Virginia, during the month of March. The exhibition will then travel to libraries, schools, and cultural institutions across the state. Copies of the 2016 poster and learning activities tied to the Virginia Standards of Learning were distributed to public and private schools and cultural institutions across Virginia.

The 2016 Virginia Women in History program culminates on March 31 with an inspiring evening program recognizing the honorees. The evening begins with a reception at 5:30 PM, followed at 6:15 PM by an awards ceremony hosted by May-Lily Lee. The reception and program are free and open to the public. To RSVP, contact...

Russ Howell to Speak on Forsaken, the Story of Virginia Christian

Virginia Christian is one of the many people whose story can be told from records held at the Library of Virginia. On March 9 at noon author Ross Howell Jr. will speak about and sign his debut novel Forsaken, a gripping, finely wrought work of historical fiction that recounts a sensational crime, raising contemporary questions about the racial politics of justice. Forsaken tells the story of Virginia Christian, a young black girl who, in 1912 Hampton Roads, Virginia, was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in the electric chair. She was the only female juvenile to be executed in the history of the state.

Howell did much of his research at the Library of Virginia, and images in the book are from the Library. He attended the University of Virginia, where he was awarded the Gray–Carrington Scholarship Award, the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, and the Raven Award. Howell earned an AM degree at Harvard University and an MFA at the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa before pursuing a career in fund–raising, marketing, and book publishing. His fiction as been published...

Fun & Free at the Library

Through Saturday, March 12, 2016
Virginia General Assembly in session.
Parking at the Library will be very limited.

Please note that the Virginia General Assembly, the oldest continuous law–making body in the New World, will be in session for 60 days beginning January 13.

Saturday, February 13–Monday, February 15, 2016
The Library will be closed for the George Washington Day holiday weekend.

Saturday, February 20, 2016
The 2016 Symposium: The Road from Appomattox
Time: 9:30 AM–4:00 PM
Place: Lecture Hall, $60 ($40 for American Civil War Museum and Library of Virginia members/donors) Includes boxed lunch if registration is submitted by February 16.
Cosponsored with the new John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History at the University of Virginia and hosted by the Library of Virginia, the American Civil War Museum's 2016 symposium will explore "The Road from Appomattox: Political Violence, Military Conflict, and National Reunion" and feature lectures about violence and the contest over the scope of African American freedom, a comparative look at the U.S. Army"s treatment of Southern civilians and Native Americans, and the relationships between the Civil War and the Spanish–American War. The symposium will consider questions of continuity between the Civil War and postwar violence and the role of violence in shaping postwar America. Register now. Questions? Contact John Coski at jcoski@acwm.org.

Saturday, February 27, 2016
Time: Noon–2:00 PM
Place: Library of Virginia, Network Training Center
Join other volunteers to transcribe handwritten pages by reading written text and typing it into digital form. Participate in enhancing access to collections of more than 400 years of Virginia history and culture. Twelve computer stations will be available. If you have your own laptop, please bring it! Transcribe–a–thons are facilitated by the volunteer organization HandsOn Greater Richmond. Minimum age is 16 (12 with an adult). Registration required.

Tuesday, March 1–Thursday, March 31, 2016
2016 Virginia Women in History Exhibition
In observance of Women's History Month, the Library of Virginia celebrates the lives and contributions of eight extraordinary Virginia women in this traveling exhibition as the 2016 Virginia Women in History.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Remaking VirginiaTime: Noon–1:00 PM
Place: Conference Rooms, Free
In his debut novel Forsaken, Ross Howell Jr. tells the story of an uneducated African American servant, Virginia Christian, who was tried for killing her white employer in 1912. She died in the electric chair one day after her 17th birthday, the only female juvenile executed in Virginia history. The author researched the case using a variety of documents and images concerning Christian's execution found in the Library of Virginia's collections.

Saturday, March 19, 2016
Remaking Richmond: A Walking Tour of Emancipation Sites
Time: 10:00 AM–Noon
Place: Starts and ends in the lobby of the Library. Free, but registration is required.
The struggle for African American civil and political rights has been a continuous process since the founding of America. From the efforts of the slave rebel Gabriel to win freedom to the modern struggles for civil rights, Richmond has been the scene of many dramatic moments in the still-ongoing path to racial equality. This walking tour will look at how black Richmonders organized themselves after emancipation and fought for their rights in the halls of the State Capitol, in courts, on streetcars, and in churches and schools. The tour will begin and end in the lobby of the Library of Virginia. The tour route covers several miles and includes hills, so be prepared for some exercise and wear comfortable shoes.

Through Saturday, March 26, 2016
Remaking Virginia: Transformation through Emancipation
Remaking Virginia Time: 9:00 AM—5:00 PM, Monday–Saturday
Place: Lobby and Exhibition Hall, Free
Even as the Civil War was still being fought, the status of almost a half–million African Americans in Virginia began to change. No longer were they someone else's property—they were free. They anticipated the promise of change from their former status as slaves: the promises of education, political participation, and full citizenship. Yet, in their struggle to achieve these goals, freedmen and freedwomen faced the hostility of their former masters and the society that had long benefitted from their labor.



All personal information is used solely by the Library of Virginia in accordance with our Privacy Policy