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Entries Tagged as '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

Dressed for Auction

October 22nd, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

As you might imagine, I read a lot of history, and one of the best books I’ve read in the last year is Slaves Waiting for Sale: Abolitionist Art and the American Slave Trade by Maurie D. McInnis. Happily, the Library of Virginia also loves the book, presenting McInnis with its 2012 Literary Award for […]

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Tags: Virginia History · Visual History

Rains on Me

October 21st, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

Speaking of Gabriel’s Conspiracy … in their August 1972 issue, the editors of Ebony magazine paid tribute to “The Black Male.” Alas, Gabriel, who plotted a slave uprising in Henrico County in 1800, did not make the list of “Ten Greats of Black History,” although Nat Turner, whose plot was not thwarted by a driving […]

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Tags: Life Magazine · Virginia History

Ye Olde Powhatan Oak

October 18th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

Our friends at the Library of Virginia call our attention to this day in 1937, when New Deal–era government workers wrote a report on the Old Powhatan Oak as part of something called the Historical Inventory Project. The project focused on listing buildings built before 1860 but workers “also wrote reports on cemeteries, antiques, historical events, […]

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Tags: Virginia History

Memento Ignis

October 14th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

Ruins of Rotunda, painting of the University of Virginia Rotunda ruins after fire, on a Rotunda roof tile, by Minnie Jones, ca. 1895–1896 (University of Virginia Special Collections); after the jump, a photograph of the ruins. PREVIOUSLY: A Beautiful Day for a Fire

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Tags: Virginia Arts · Virginia History · Visual History

Gigi’s Gabriel

October 11th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

If you’re in Charlottesville tonight, join me for an event at WriterHouse: “Portal to the Past: Archival Sources and the Writing Process with Gigi Amateau”: In the process of writing her middle grade novel Come August, Come Freedom, author Gigi Amateau spent time researching primary documents in several archives. A document, a journal or a blacksmith account […]

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Tags: Around the State · Virginia History · Virginia Literature

The Devil Went Down to Monticello

October 10th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

  The above video—produced by the web textbook company Soomo Publishing—features a weirdly homoerotic take on George III and a kind of Charlie Daniels Band–meets–Green Day take on Thomas Jefferson. It’s not at all clear who is trying to apologize to whom or why it’s too late, but Ben Franklin plays a mean lead guitar, […]

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Tags: Textbooks · Thomas Jefferson · Virginia History

Mister Carter, Deo Vindice

October 9th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · 1 Comment

I was taken with the above photo of an otherwise unidentified S. T. Carter—something about those eyes. It’s like they’re still seeing the war. Click on the photograph and you can see that he’s wearing a number of ribbons and medals. Although I couldn’t find examples of the Robert E. Lee pin and the badge […]

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Tags: Holsinger Collection · Virginia History

Sally Hemings, Again

October 5th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · 3 Comments

We’re at work on our entry about Sally Hemings [see update below], and I’m pretty sure that no piece of writing in the encyclopedia has ever been so fussed over as this one. Although we received a wonderful entry from our contributor, it went through a rigorous editing process and now we’ve sent it to […]

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Tags: Inside the Encyclopedia · Virginia History

General Grant Looked at It

October 4th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

The above map, published in July 1863 and certainly one of the first to show West Virginia as a separate state, is beautiful all by itself, but Harvard Law School Library ups the cool factor even more. It has a fragment of a copy that once belonged to Oliver Wendell Holmes, who owned the map […]

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Tags: Maps · Virginia History

The Blue & The Gray

October 1st, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

From the January 20, 1961, issue of Life magazine, a feature designed to kick off the centennial commemoration of the American Civil War. More images after the jump.

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Tags: Life Magazine · Virginia History · Virginiana

A Topsy-Turvy Jeff Davis

September 27th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

The blog Yesterday’s Papers, published by the Canadian cartoonist and illustrator John Adcock, is a minor miracle. And while I could bore you with praise, I will instead shamelessly steal the guts of a recent post by E. M. Sanchez-Saavedra—one that I hope will brilliantly underscore the ways in which the Internet can be exactly like your old […]

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Tags: Virginia History · Visual History

God’s Judgment (Cont’d)

September 27th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · 1 Comment

Last month on these pages we mentioned Nat Turner, a slave preacher and self-styled prophet who, in 1831, led Virginia’s only “successful” slave revolt. By successful we mean merely that unlike every other slave revolt before or since, Nat Turner’s actually went beyond the planning stages. In fact, in just twelve hours he and his […]

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Tags: Virginia History

Dr. Augusta

September 24th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

From the National Library of Medicine: Alexander T. Augusta was freeborn in Norfolk, Virginia in 1825. He sought a medical education in Canada after being denied admittance to medical school in the United States because of his color. Augusta became the first African American commissioned medical officer in the United States Army when he was appointed […]

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Tags: Virginia History

What’s Wrong with a Tree?

September 21st, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · 4 Comments

According to this article, empty chairs, apparently representing President Barack Obama, recently have been hung in effigy in Virginia and Texas. The chairs, on display at two Centreville, Va., and Austin, Texas, homes, are a reference to Clint Eastwood’s chair speech, and conjure memories of mob lynchings once common in the South. Technically, it’s a free country, […]

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Tags: Around the State · Virginia History

An Historical Singularity

September 19th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

We just received in the office The Founders and Finance: How Hamilton, Gallatin, and Other Immigrants Forged a New Economy by the Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Thomas K. McCraw. (Thank you, Harvard!) As I began to read the introduction, however, something stopped me short. Referencing the terrible postwar debt of the 1780s, McCraw writes: There seemed to […]

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Tags: Virginia History

The Known and Unknown

September 17th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

Having already mentioned that today is the sesquicentennial of the titanic Battle of Antietam, here is another photograph. Alexander Gardner took it on September 19, 1862, two days after the battle and the day that Robert E. Lee retreated back south into Virginia. He provided this caption: A Contrast: Federal buried, Confederate unburied, where they […]

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Tags: Virginia History · Visual History

Sunrise at Bloody Lane

September 16th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

Sunrise at Bloody Lane, Antietam National Battlefield (Greater Washington National Parks). For more on the Maryland Campaign and the Battle of Antietam, which occurred 150 years ago tomorrow, see our entry here.

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Tags: Virginia History

File Under: Thomas Jefferson, Hero

September 12th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

Today the online journal Slate has published an article that easily fits under the all-too-familiar rubric of “Thomas Jefferson, Hero.” Titled “Thomas Jefferson Debunked One of History’s Most Offensive Scientific Theories,” it explains that even as Mr. Jefferson had “more pressing matters to attend to”—”oh yes, there was the matter of writing the Declaration of Independence”—he […]

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Tags: Thomas Jefferson · Virginia History

The Color Bearer

August 31st, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

“The color bearer would not give up the standard until he was knocked down,” drawing from the diary of Alfred Bellard, 1860s (Alec Thomas Archives) More on Bellard, who later published his diary as Gone for a Soldier: The Civil War Memoirs of Private Alfred Bellard: English born and a resident of New Jersey at war’s […]

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Tags: Virginia History · Visual History

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

Libby, We’ll Meet in Paris Chicago

August 23rd, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · 3 Comments

From the Library of Congress comes the above lithograph of Libby Prison in Richmond as it appeared on August 23, 1863. It’s hard to find too much information about this image, but here is some background that sounds reasonable enough, although I can’t vouch for it: The Image is copyright 1882 by J. L. Barlow whose […]

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Tags: Virginia History · Visual History

En Fuego

August 23rd, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On August 23, 1862, Harper’s Weekly published the above engraving of Union troops burning the Virginia home of Edmund Ruffin under the guns of the naval ship USS Mahaska. A reporter described the scene: A landing was effected by the two regiments at six o’clock [on July 31], and in short time after dense clouds of […]

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Tags: Virginia History · Visual History

Hard Times in Old Virginny

August 21st, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

As we noted earlier, today is the anniversary of Nat Turner’s rebellion. Whether this uprising of slaves, which took place over two days in 1831, was “successful” and whether I fairly quoted Thomas Jefferson is an issue raised in the comments. Our reader appears uncomfortable with the notion that Turner, and his acts, have become […]

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Tags: Virginia Arts · Virginia History · Virginia Literature