The Library of Virginia Newsletter
November 2009

Radulescu, Gordon-Reed, and Sparr Receive Literary Awards

John Grisham
Roger Mudd
Domnica Radulescu

The Library of Virginia is pleased to announce the winners of the 12th Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards honoring Virginia authors or, in the case of nonfiction, works on a Virginia subject. This year’s awards celebration was hosted by award-winning Virginia author Adriana Trigiani. Awards categories were fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and literary lifetime achievement. Winners of the Library of Virginia’s Annual Literary Awards and the People’s Choice Awards receive a $3,500 prize and a handsome engraved crystal book.

Domnica Radulescu is the recipient of the fiction prize for Train to Trieste, which the independent panel of judges labeled a stunning debut novel written in lyrically beautiful prose that transcends the pitfalls of first novels. Radulescu tells the story of a young woman’s quest for freedom and shelter in Soviet-dominated Romania during the late 1970s, of her escape to build an American life overshadowed by that she left behind, and her pilgrimage at middle age to reclaim the landscapes of her youth. Combining the intensity of first love with the stark realities of political repression and the melancholy of exile, Train to Trieste is a haunting journey to a distant country as well as an odyssey into the human heart.

Radulescu was born in Romania and came to the United States in 1983. She holds a Ph.D. in French and Italian literature from the University of Chicago, and is currently a professor of romance languages and chair of the women's studies program at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

The other finalists for the fiction prize were Geraldine Brooks for People of the Book and David A. Taylor for Success: Stories. Geraldine Brooks won the Library’s 2006 fiction prize for March, which also was honored with the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

The winner of the award for the best work of nonfiction is Annette Gordon-Reed for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family. The judges felt that The Hemingses of Monticello offers a bountiful meditation about race, family, and human choices that encourages readers to think differently about America and the contingencies of history. Gordon-Reed, a professor of law at New York Law School since 1992, won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in history for The Hemingses of Monticello.

The other finalists for the nonfiction prize were Drew Gilpin Faust for This Republic of Suffering: Death and The American Civil War and Nancy Ross Hugo and Jeffrey Kirwan for Remarkable Trees of Virginia. The judges also selected an honorable mention in this category: Three Generations, No Imbeciles: Eugenics, the Supreme Court, and Buck v. Bell by Paul A. Lombardo.

Lisa Russ Spaar is the recipient of the poetry prize for Satin Cash, her fourth collection of verse. The judges felt that Spaar’s poems abound in surprising inversions of syntax and a diction striking for its sudden shifts from demotic to baroquely laden speech—from imagistic precision to statement. Spaar’s Satin Cash is the work of a highly accomplished and ambitious poet. Spaar is an associate professor in English and the founder and director of the Area Program in Poetry Writing for undergraduates at the University of Virginia.

The other poetry prize finalists were Claudia Emerson for Figure Studies: Poems and Eric Pankey for The Pear as One Example: New & Selected Poems, 1984-2008. Pankey won the Library’s poetry prize in 2001 for Cenotaph: Poems.

The winner of the People’s Choice Award in the fiction category is The Legal Limit by Martin Clark and in the nonfiction category, The Place to Be: Washington, CBS, and the Glory Days of Television News by Roger Mudd. The finalists for People’s Choice Awards are selected by a panel of independent Virginia booksellers and librarians from the list of books nominated for the Library’s Literary Awards. Winners are decided by readers voting online and in libraries.

Also honored at this year’s Literary Awards was Doreen Rappaport for Abe’s Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln, winner of the third annual Whitney and Scott Cardozo Award for Children’s Literature. In selecting this book, a juried panel reviewed 21 nominated titles from authors whose works focused on literature for children ages four through eight. Nominated titles with a publication date of 2008 were accepted from the greater mid-Atlantic region.

Two outstanding Virginia poets were winners of this year’s Weinstein Poetry Prize: Eleanor Ross Taylor and Charles Wright. A longtime resident of Charlottesville, Virginia, Eleanor Ross Taylor has been publishing books of poetry since 1960, when her impressive volume Wilderness of Ladies appeared. Taylor is the author of Welcome Eumenides, Days Going/Days Coming Back, Late Leisure, and two volumes of selected poems, most recently Captive Voices: New and Selected Poems, 1960–2008. She is the recipient of the Shelley Memorial Prize awarded by the Poetry Society of America, the Library of Virginia Poetry Award, and the Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry.

Charles Wright's work is read and admired all over the world. Wright is the author of 21 volumes of poetry, two volumes of translations, and two volumes of “improvisations and interviews.” His poems have appeared 10 times in the Best American Poetry series. He has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Griffin Poetry Prize, the PEN Translation Prize, and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and he has twice won the Library of Virginia Poetry Award. In 1999 he was elected a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. For nearly three decades he has taught poetry and writing at the University of Virginia.

The recipient of the 2009 Library of Virginia Lifetime Achievement Award is John Grisham. Since publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, and The Appeal) and all of them have become international best sellers. There are currently more than 235 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films.

The Library will be accepting nominations ( for books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for next year's awards—three copies each of titles with a 2009 publication date—until February 5.

Next year’s Literary Awards Celebration will be held on October 16, 2010.

<< back to e-newsletter

Map Collection Includes Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Materials



T. Gibson Hobbs helped obtain the Chesapeake and Ohio (C & O) Railway Company records from Chessie System Railroads for the Library of Virginia in 1978. The C & O Railway collection includes 288 maps, plans, and charts, almost all of which are manuscripts. An additional 15 items are filed with these maps in the Map Reading Room.

The C & O Railway Company was formed from several smaller rail lines. The collection consists of 196 maps, dating from 1836 to 1943, starting with the time the C & O Railway began as the Louisa Railroad in 1836 to transport farm produce to Richmond. The 67 plans from 1848 to 1927 cover the period when the Louisa Railroad became Virginia Central in 1849. Both the maps and the plans extend through the Civil War, when Virginia Central was vital to the Confederacy, to its takeover by Collis P. Huntington in 1869 when he intended Virginia Central to become an eastern arm to the transcontinental railroad. In 1878, it would become the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company. The 25 charts are from 1870 to 1927, ranging from Huntington’s takeover to the railroad’s becoming a major coal artery of the United States.

The collection spans the southeastern states in general to Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Within Virginia, the sweep of coverage runs from the Piedmont Region and Shenandoah Valley to such places as Richmond and Henrico, Albemarle, Nelson, and Botetourt counties, among others. The maps show railroad rights along the Kanawha Canal, surveys, condemned properties, lands taken, and lands purchased by the C & O Railway. Additionally, there are maps that show the quantities of land needed for the James River and Kanawha Canal and the lands through which the canal passed. They also show property holders’ names, deed book and company records’ citations, buildings, tobacco barns, mills, churches, pump houses, and farms in addition to tracks and railroad depots.

The plans include a bridge over the Manchester Canal, dams, and canal lock gates among other water-related operations, while the charts indicate the canal and river depths. Additionally, there are charts related to Richmond’s water-power use. The records, consisting of letters, proposals, a property assessment, and notes and calculations pertain to the maps, plans, and charts.

In 1973, C & O merged with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to form the Chessie System Railroads, and in 1980 Chessie merged with the Seaboard System to become the CSX Corporation.

—submitted by Leah Thomas, Collection Management Services

<< back to e-newsletter

George Washington Carver Wins 2009 Jefferson Cup

The 2009 Jefferson Cup Award Winner is George Washington Carver by Tonya Bolden. The Jefferson Cup honors a distinguished biography, historical fiction or American history book for young people. Presented since 1983, the Jefferson Cup Award's goal is to promote reading about America's past; to encourage the quality writing of United States history, biography, and historical fiction for young people; and to recognize authors in these disciplines. George Washington Carver is the latest book by Coretta Scott King Honor author Tonya Bolden. Bolden offers biographical details, including Carver’s early separation from his mother, and traces themes of his career. Bolden covers Carver’s trepidation about leaving the mostly white Midwest to join Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute. Directly and indirectly, Bolden also addresses criticisms of Carver for his lack of political activism.

The Jefferson Cup Committee selects the winning title. The committee has nine members: a chairperson (selected by the previous year's committee), one person from each of the Virginia Library Association’s six regions selected by the current chair, the chair of the previous year’s Jefferson Cup Committee, and the outgoing chairperson of the Youth Services Forum. All committee members must be members of VLA.

<< back to e-newsletter

New Vendor to Operate Library Café

Sweetpeas Café at the Library of Virginia has closed. We look forward to the opening of Great Foods to Go @ the Library of Virginia in December 2009. Great Foods to Go is a catering business in the Richmond area with more than seven years of success. It operates cafés at the Department of Corrections Administration Center and the Perimeter Center on Mayland Drive.

The new café at the Library will offer a standard menu of sandwiches, wraps, salads, and soups as well as specialty items. Daily hot specials will be adjusted seasonally. It will be open from 8:15 am to 2:30 pm. Breakfast will be served from 8:15 to 10:30 am and lunch from 11:00 am until 2:30 pm.

<< back to e-newsletter

Museum Stores of Richmond's 2009 Holiday Shoppers Fair

Poe: Man, Myth, or Monster

The 2009 Holiday Shoppers Fair will be held on Friday, November 6 and Saturday, November 7 from 9 am to 5 pm at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in the Visitors Center & Education and Library Complex. Admission to the Holiday Shoppers Fair is free and open to the public.
(Garden admission is required for those who wish to enter the garden).

Participating museums include: Agecroft Hall Museum & Gardens, Chesterfield Historical Society, Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Library of Virginia,Science Museum of Virginia, St. John's Church, Old Dominion Railway Museum, Poe Museum, Preservation Virginia, Valentine Richmond History Center, Virginia Center For Architecture, Virginia Historical Society, Virginia Holocaust Museum, and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Look for an announcement later in November about the reopening of the Virginia Shop. The Library of Virginia Foundation has assumed management of the Virginia Shop and is working diligently to reopen the shop in time for the holidays.

In the meantime, enjoy a nostalgic holiday treat—the Byers' Choice Miller & Rhoads Santa returns for 2009. A new Byers' Choice Miller & Rhoads Santa—a favorite among collectors and Miller & Rhoads Department Store fans—is available now.

Byers' Choice, a family-owned business based in Pennsylvania, employs a team of 180 artisans to create unique handcrafted Christmas figures. Each character is designed by a different artist so that its personality can shine through.

There is a very limited number of these Santas, so purchase yours today or visit the Virginia Shop at the Museum Stores Holiday Shoppers Fair.

<< back to e-newsletter

Transitions at the Library

November 1 marked the retirement of three members of the Library of Virginia’s senior staff: Conley Edwards, State Archivist and director of Archival and Records Management Services; Ann N. Harris, director of Finance and Administrative Services; and Elizabeth M. “Libby” Lewis, director of Library Development and Networking.

Each of these directors has worked extremely hard to ensure a smooth transition after November 1, knowing that the Library’s financial situation will require their positions to be vacant for an indefinite period. Suzy Szasz Palmer, deputy director of the Library of Virginia, will serve as interim State Archivist, handling external contacts and information requests relating to the state archives. Day-to-day operations of the Archival and Records Management Services Division will be coordinated by John Metz, director of Collection Management Services. Managers in the Finance and Administrative Services Division will report to Sandra G. Treadway, Librarian of Virginia, in the interim. Carol Adams, deputy director of Library Development and Networking, will be the point person coordinating the efforts of that division’s consultants.

The Library is committed to making sure that all these programs remain vital and strong. Filling these important positions will a priority of the Library as soon as the state revenues improve. “The Library of Virginia will do all in its power to serve our constituents, protect our priceless collections, manage our resources responsibly, and meet the most important needs of our users,” said Librarian of Virginia Sandra G. Treadway.

<< back to e-newsletter

VGS Donates Books to Libraries

The Virginia Genealogical Society generously donated selected genealogical books to Virginia’s public libraries at the annual conference of the Virginia Library Association in Williamsburg last month. VGS also offered other titles from its backlist to libraries at a substantially reduced cost. As an added benefit, VGS representatives passed the books along to interested libraries at the conference in order to avoid shipping charges.

Recognizing that budget cuts have affected libraries’ capacity for book purchasing, VGS offered public libraries copies of the following volumes at no charge:

Cavaliers and Pioneers, Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants
Volume 4, 1732–1741
Volume 5, 1741–1749
Volume 6, 1749–1762
Volume 7, 1762–1776

Index to Virginia Estates, 1800–1865
Volume 1: Counties of
Arlington (including the City of Alexandria), Fairfax, Fauquier, King George, Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford

Volume 2: Counties of
Clarke, Culpeper, Frederick, Greene, Madison, Orange, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah, Spotsylvania and Warren, Cities of Fredericksburg and Winchester

Volume 3: Counties of
Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Craig, Dickenson, Floyd, Franklin, Giles, Grayson, Henry, Lee, Montgomery, Patrick, Pulaski, Roanoke, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise and Wythe

Charlotte County, Virginia, 1816–1850, Marriage Bonds and Ministers’ Returns (with Additions to Marriages, 1764–1815)

Middlesex County, Virginia, Marriage Bonds and Minister Returns, 1740–1852

Marriage Notices from Richmond, Virginia, Newspapers, 1841–1853.

<< back to e-newsletter

Community College System Works with Lyrasis and Library of Virginia to Provide Resources for Job Seekers

Virginia’s Community Colleges Workforce Development Services, the Library of Virginia, and Lyrasis, a regional membership for libraries and information professionals, have collaborated, to create a customized collection of current e-books and electronic reference sources for job seekers in the state. The resources will be available to public library users across Virginia through a link on public libraries’ online catalogs.

The collection includes resources on careers, business, test-taking strategies, résumé writing, and other tools for job seekers. Lyrasis assisted in finding the best resources that offer the most useful content for library patrons statewide.

<< back to e-newsletter