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Entries Tagged as 'Virginia History'

Guest Post: Help Unearth the Secrets of Mary Richards Bowser

February 27th, 2014 by Caitlin Newman · No Comments

We’ve just published our entry on Mary Richards Bowser. Born into slavery, Bowser played an important role in the pro-Union spy ring that Elizabeth Van Lew ran in Richmond during the American Civil War. Lois Leveen, the author of the entry, has unearthed a tremendous amount of new information on Bowser—but it is likely that more documents related to Mary Richards Bowser […]

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Tags: Inside the Encyclopedia · News & Updates · Spotlight · Virginia History

Mapping Twisters

May 22nd, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

As we send our best thoughts out to the folks in Moore, Oklahoma, we can’t help but think about tornadoes. The most deadly twister in Virginia history was at Rye Cove, in the Appalachian highlands, on May 9, 1929. Twelve students and a teacher were killed when a tornado slammed into Rye Cove School. There […]

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Tags: Technology · Virginia History

Making the Best of the Starving Time

May 13th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

The colonial historian Andrew Schwartz says it’s no big surprise that cannibalism existed at Jamestown. (Note: I think more caution is due here.) And he uses the occasion of a new archaeological find to draw some larger conclusions about the winter of 1609–1610, known as the Starving Time: We must remember that despite the horror we see […]

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Tags: Around the State · Virginia History

A Bess for the 21st Century

May 7th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

How Queen Elizabeth I might look were she alive today. Go here for more historical updates.

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Tags: Virginia History

Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner?

May 7th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

Last week archaeologists at Jamestown and the Smithsonian announced that they have found evidence of cannibalism at Jamestown during the Starving Time. This caused a huge sensation, but Rachel B. Herrmann, a scholar quoted in our entry, calls for caution: In addition, why are there no primary sources that cite the cannibalization of this girl? […]

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Tags: Virginia History

The Dinner of Doom

May 1st, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · 3 Comments

Smithsonian magazine reports that archaeologists at Jamestown have found portions of the remains of a fourteen-year-old English girl believed to have been cannibalized during the winter of 1609–1610, which has come to be known as the Starving Time. It appears that her brain, tongue, cheeks and leg muscles were eaten, with the brain likely eaten […]

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Tags: Virginia History

Still More on Peter Briggs

April 19th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · 1 Comment

A couple of weeks ago now, the photography blog Shorpy published an image of a man identified only as “Buzzard Pete.” With the help of Coy Barefoot, we identified him as Peter Briggs (1828–1912), a former slave who worked as a gardener at the University of Virginia. Some readers reacted positively to these images of […]

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Tags: Virginia History · Visual History

A Short History of Virginia Indians

April 17th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · 1 Comment

This spring, the Virginia Indian Programs at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, in collaboration with Encyclopedia Virginia, launched the Virginia Indian Archive. (Funding was provided by the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation and Dominion.) What follows is a short history of Virginia Indians that draws on many of the archive’s wonderful images and links to […]

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Tags: Virginia History · Visual History

“She’ll be wid ole Missus one o’ dese days”

April 15th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

The other day, while one of our readers was defending the institution of slavery in our comments section, I was performing the final edits on our new entry, The Negro in Virginia. Published in 1940 by the Virginia Writers’ Project, the book draws on the recollections of former slaves for its history of slavery, and this caused […]

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Tags: Virginia History

Who Was Buzzard Pete?

April 5th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · 4 Comments

Yesterday I was pointed to the photograph directly above, which appeared on the photoblog Shorpy, and asked: Who was this guy Buzzard Pete? Well, for starters, here’s what Shorpy tells its readers: Charlottesville, Virginia, circa 1905. “Buzzard Pete.” Evidently a celebrated figure on the University of Virginia campus, fondly recalled decades later in various alumni […]

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Tags: Virginia History · Visual History

The Case Against Lincoln and for John Brown

April 2nd, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · 2 Comments

From an essay (h/t) in Reason magazine: A strong, but highly nuanced and conditional, case can be made that President Abraham Lincoln was wrong to violently prevent secession much as Russia is wrong to do so now against illiberal Chechnya. Historian Jeffrey Rogers Hummel persuasively contends that had Lincoln let South Carolina and its allies leave prior to […]

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Tags: Virginia History

Out of the Shadows

March 8th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

The University of Virginia community traditionally has shied away from its legacy of slavery. Consider that the go-to piece of scholarship on slavery at UVa—one of the few devoted studies that even exists—was written by an undergraduate! Or take that engraving above, made in 1827 and depicting the Rotunda and Lawn. You have to look […]

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Tags: Virginia History

This Day (Is for Presidents Edition)

February 18th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · 1 Comment

Happy Presidents Day! The holiday—officially called Washington’s Birthday and established by Congress in 1971 as the third Monday in February—is meant to honor United States presidents. Eight of the forty-four, or 18 percent, were born in Virginia: George Washington Thomas Jefferson James Madison James Monroe William Henry Harrison John Tyler Zachary Taylor Woodrow Wilson There […]

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Tags: Around the State · George Washington · This Day · Virginia History

Compromised

February 17th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

Everybody needs a break, and I’ve been taking a much-needed one while we at Encyclopedia Virginia work to meet a grant deadline. But it’s hard to ignore this from the president of Emory University. In his regular president’s letter for the university’s alumni magazine, James Wagner begins with the usual bromides about political polarization and […]

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Tags: Misc. · Virginia History

Monumental

January 17th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

As part of its celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, the University of Virginia will help to sponsor a discussion titled “Charlottesville Civil War Monuments: Do They Hold Significance for Today’s Society?” From the official press release: In Charlottesville, Civil War monuments play a very prominent role in defining the landscape. Often displayed in parks […]

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Tags: Around the State · Holsinger Collection · Virginia History

Dressed for Emancipation

January 2nd, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · 1 Comment

My vacation this year being a holy thing—interrupted only by a whinging puppy and a sleeve-tugging three-year-old and not, as this blog will attest, by the whispers of history—I failed to mark yesterday’s 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. I doubt I’m the only one. Still, the historian Brooks Simpson did the occasion some justice. […]

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Tags: Virginia History

From Point Comfort to Poitier

December 11th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · 2 Comments

In June 1969 Ebony magazine celebrated the 350th anniversary of “The Birth of Black America” by remembering the arrival, in 1619, of the first Africans: In August when the shadows are long on the land and even the air oppresses, the furies of fate hang in the balance in Afro-America. It was in August, the […]

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Tags: Life Magazine · Virginia History

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

Pairing Up

December 6th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

Consecutive pages from the March 18, 1966, issue of Life magazine, featuring Richard and Mildred Loving.

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Tags: Life Magazine · Virginia History

The Second American Civil War

November 28th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

If all fifty states simultaneously seceded and declared war on each other, who would win? That question was recently posed on the crowd-sourcing website Quora, and one particularly long response—submitted by the marine, Iraq War veteran, and Texas native Jon Davis—offers up some good (well, kinda good) news for Virginia. In no-nonsense prose, Davis delivers what he […]

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Tags: Misc. · Virginia History

Harry Byrd’s Legacy

November 15th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

From the November 4, 1966, issue of Life magazine, an editorial on the legacy of United States Senator Harry F. Byrd, who had died the previous month. First, bad Harry Byrd: Harry Byrd never left the Democratic party, but he refused to support its nominees in the last seven presidential elections. His states’ rights fetish […]

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Tags: Life Magazine · Virginia History

Keep Calm and Carry On

November 9th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

From the February 16, 1959, issue of Life magazine, a photo-essay on the reopening of public schools in Virginia to African American students: As Virginia’s “massive resistance” to integration crumbled last week, 21 Negro students walked cautiously into former all-white public schools. They came prepared to face enmity, ridicule or even physical violence. They found […]

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Tags: Life Magazine · Virginia History · Visual History

Map of the Day

November 6th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · 1 Comment

Called the John Smith map of Virginia, this gorgeous engraving was actually completed by William Hole based on information provided by John Smith and then published first in 1612 and then again in Smith’s book The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles (1624). The particular edition shown above was hand-colored in Frankfurt in […]

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Tags: Maps · Virginia History

Superstorms of History

October 30th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

Dr. Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at wunderground.com, puts Sandy into historical perspective: In a stunning spectacle of atmospheric violence, Superstorm Sandy roared ashore in New Jersey last night with sustained winds of 90 mph and a devastating storm surge that crippled coastal New Jersey and New York. Sandy’s record size allowed the historic storm […]

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Tags: Misc. · Virginia History

Bad Thoughts, Good Health, & Good Humor

October 23rd, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

William Byrd II was a planter, an explorer who helped fix the line between Virginia and North Carolina, and a founder—he established Richmond. (He even put an ad in the paper announcing the new town!) He also was a prolific, and secret, diarist. In a coded scribble that he learned from this book, he noted […]

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Tags: Virginia History · Virginia Literature