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Entries Tagged as 'Documents'

This Day (What’s in a Name? Edition)

December 8th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1811, when little Edgar Poe was only a month shy of three years old, his mother, an English immigrant named Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins, died in Richmond. Poe’s father had been a traveling actor who had abandoned the family a year earlier and died of unknown circumstances. All of which left Edgar, his older […]

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Tags: Documents · This Day

Report Card

December 7th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

From the National Archives: Before the War, most Southern states had laws against educating slaves. The Freedmen’s Bureau and Norther benevolent societies invested heavily in education. They established and supported day, evening, Sunday, and industrial schools. Education was also a high priority within the black communities. Even poor communities often provided land and pay for […]

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Tags: Documents · Virginia History

What Abigail Implied

November 29th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

In part 10 of our series on primary resources related to Sally Hemings, we consider two letters written by Abigail Adams, then living in London, to Thomas Jefferson, in Paris. Jefferson had recruited Mrs. Adams to receive his nine-year-old daughter Mary (also known as Polly) and her fourteen-year-old companion Sally Hemings after their trans-Atlantic voyage […]

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Tags: Documents · Thomas Jefferson

This Day (Manhood Crying Out Edition)

November 16th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1922, the kligrapp (secretary) and exalted cyclops of the Portsmouth branch of the Ku Klux Klan signed a letter reminding their members to pay their poll tax, lest they not be legally eligible to vote. They described voting as a way “to combat the rottenness which is nauseating” in the world. […]

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Tags: Documents · This Day

What the Poet Rhymed

November 13th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

In part 9 of our series on primary resources related to Sally Hemings, we consider an anonymous poem that appeared on the same page of the same issue of the same Richmond paper that first aired James Thomson Callender’s famous allegation about Thomas Jefferson and one of his slaves. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part […]

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Tags: Documents · Reading the Paper · Thomas Jefferson

What the Census Taker Wrote

November 8th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

In part 8 of our series on primary resources related to Sally Hemings, we consider a single page from the United States Federal Census, enumerating the inhabitants of Washington Township, Ross County, Ohio, on July 7, 1870 (above left). (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7.) This document is important because […]

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Tags: Documents · Thomas Jefferson

What the Friend Affirmed

November 7th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

In part 7 of our series on primary resources related to Sally Hemings, we consider “Life Among the Lowly, No. 3,” the recollections of Israel Gillette Jefferson published in the Pike County (Ohio) Republican on December 25, 1873. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6.) Earlier in the year, the Republican‘s editor, S. F. […]

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Tags: Documents · Thomas Jefferson

What the Editor Argued

November 6th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

In part 6 of our series on primary resources related to Sally Hemings, we consider “Life Among the Lowly,” an editorial published in the Waverly (Ohio) Watchman on March 18, 1873. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.) In it the paper’s editor, John A. Jones, attacks the recollections of Madison Hemings, titled […]

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Tags: Documents · Reading the Paper · Thomas Jefferson

What the Son Insisted

November 2nd, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · 3 Comments

In part five of our series on primary resources related to Sally Hemings, we consider the recollections of Madison Hemings. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.) This particular document is better understood as a “recollection,” rather than a memoir, because it’s the product of an interview with S. F. Wetmore, editor of the Pike County Republican in […]

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Tags: Documents · Reading the Paper · Thomas Jefferson

What the Overseer Said

October 26th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

In part four of our series on primary resources related to Sally Hemings, we consider the recollections of Edmund Bacon. (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.) Bacon was an overseer at Monticello from 1806 until 1822 before retiring to Kentucky. There he was interviewed by the Reverend Hamilton W. Pierson, who published Bacon’s words […]

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Tags: Documents · Thomas Jefferson

What the Journalist Claimed

October 25th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

This is now our third in a series of primary resources associated with Sally Hemings. (Parts 1 and 2 can be found here and here.) Our not-yet-published entry on Hemings explains why “The President, Again,” by James Thomson Callender, was so important: In 1802, James Thomson Callender, who once had been Jefferson’s own hatchet man […]

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Tags: Documents · Reading the Paper · Thomas Jefferson

What the Granddaughter Heard

October 24th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · 4 Comments

As we noted yesterday, we’re beginning to publish some of the primary resources associated with Sally Hemings. And, as it happens, it was on this day in 1858 that Thomas Jefferson‘s granddaughter, Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge, penned an oft-quoted letter to her husband, Joseph, on the still-swirling controversy regarding the dead president’s sex life. As […]

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Tags: Documents · Thomas Jefferson

What the Blacksmith Saw

October 23rd, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · 1 Comment

Ahead of the publication of our entry on Sally Hemings, we are beginning to publish some of the primary resources associated with her life story. One of these is the recollections of Isaac Granger Jefferson, the product of an interview the blacksmith gave in 1847 while living in Petersburg. (That’s him above, in the blacksmith’s […]

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Tags: Documents · Thomas Jefferson

So Say-ah Kamehameha

September 12th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

From the National Archives: In August 1861, King Kamehameha IV proclaimed that the Hawaiian Islands would remain neutral in the conflict between the United States and “certain states thereof styling themselves The Confederate States of America.” The King prohibited his subjects from helping either side raid commercial vessels. Since commerce raiding was a key component […]

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Tags: Documents

With a Bull Dog Grip

August 29th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · 1 Comment

From the National Archives: When Lincoln arrived as President-elect in 1861, the nation’s leaders did not fully appreciate the relatively new technology of the telegraph. The famous words “What hath God wrought!” had been telegraphed from the Capitol building almost 17 years earlier. But to most people of the 1860s, the very idea of electricity—much […]

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Tags: Documents · Virginia History

Banned in Kentucky

August 28th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

From the National Archives: Only months after Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson‘s death at the May 1863 Battle of Chancellorsville, Union authorities in Kentucky confiscated this advertisement for his biography. They sent the broadside to a Union headquarters with a letter asking: “Is such Books allowed to be sold in your D[epartment]?” Sale of the biography […]

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Tags: Documents · Virginia History

Reporting for Duty

August 21st, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

At the Library of Congress we find this weekly report on troop strength for the 2nd Virginia Regiment, commanded by the Honorable William Byrd, Esq. It’s dated August 21, 1758. If you look closely, you’ll see that Mr. Byrd’s second in command was one Lieutenant Colonel George Mercer, who appears in the encyclopedia as, in […]

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Tags: Documents · Virginia History

Look, Ma!

August 21st, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

From the National Archives: Union Maj. Henry Barnum received a bullet wound to his groin at the Battle of Malvern Hill on July 1, 1862. Left for dead, he was captured and exchanged for a Confederate prisoner of war. While still recovering, Barnum returned to the Union Army, fought at the Battle of Gettysburg and […]

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Tags: Documents

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

August 7th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

From the National Archives: As head of a a very successful spy ring in Richmond, Virginia, Elizabeth Van Lew provided regular and timely information to Generals Benjamin Butler and Ulysses Grant, assisted escaped prisoners, and even placed a spy [Mary Elizabeth Bowser] in Confederate President Jefferson Davis‘ home. After the war, her trusted lieutenant, William S. […]

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Tags: Documents

Help Wanted

August 4th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

In this document dated August 4, 1755, twenty-two-year-old William Buckland, a carpenter and joiner from Oxford, England, agrees to become an indentured servant for four years “in the Plantation of Virginia beyond the Seas.” George Mason, overseeing the construction of his house, Gunston Hall, was in need of a skilled woodworker, and he called upon […]

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Tags: Documents · Virginia History

Food for Freedom

July 31st, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

From the National Archives: [top] World War II poster, 1942 [bottom left] Demand for sugar was high during World War II. It was used both for explosives (to create industrial alcohol) and for beverage alcohol. Posters like this one encouraged farmers to convert their fields to sugar beets. [bottom right] In wartime, soybeans became important […]

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Tags: Documents

I Shall Faint!

July 27th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

From the National Archives: Virginia had one of the most energetic and well-funded Civil War centennial commissions. Besides staging reenactments of the Battle of First Manassas and the surrender at Appomattox, Virginia constructed a new Civil War visitor’s center in Richmond.

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Tags: Documents · Virginia History

Dear Diary

July 23rd, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

From the National Archives: On July 21, 1861, Lt. Col. John Withers, a Confederate officer who served with the General Staff of the Confederate Army in Richmond, wrote in his diary. He recorded the details of his son’s funeral, noting that Varina Davis (Jefferson Davis‘s wife) attended. In the same entry he described the Battle […]

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Tags: Documents · Virginia History

With Good Behavior

July 23rd, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

Letter from U.S. president Andrew Johnson, dated July 17, 1865, granting parole to former Confederate general Richard S. Ewell (Library of Congress)

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Tags: Documents · Virginia History

Memento Mori

July 16th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

From the National Archives: The Telegraph dramatically increased the speed with which military officers communicated with each other and with civilian authorities. Newspapers also used the telegraph and rapidly delivered war-related information to readers. Early in war however, the Lincoln administration censored telegraphic communication, arguing that while news of the war could be delivered with […]

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Tags: Documents · Robert E. Lee · Virginia History