Please join the Friends of the Thomas Balch Library for ACTION ON THE POTOMAC FROM FIRST MANASSAS TO BALL'S BLUFF on Sunday, September 16, 2018 from 4-7 PM at Murray Hill on the Potomac. Our speaker is James A. Morgan, III-- Military Historian and Author of " A Little Short of Boats." Come and enjoy the panoramic vistas, great food, fine wine, and engaging conversation. The price is $95 per person. To request an invitation call 540-579-2825.
Under the direction of Laura E. Christiansen, Curator of Manuscripts and Archives, participants will learn techniques for developing and implementing effective search techniques. While the techniques discussed are applicable in a wide variety of environments, specific attention will be paid to digital resources, including Thomas Balch Library’s new sound and moving image kiosk. Participants will leave the workshop with new skills for smarter, faster, and more wide-reaching searches.
Gabrielle Sanchez, Contract Archivist and former Library Reference Associate at Thomas Balch Library, will introduce participants to the basics of preservation and discuss the best ways to house and protect personal archives. Topics will include proper ways to handle letters, books, photographs, and other media; common conservation needs; threats to paper and electronic media; and the dangers of non-archival storage products.
Thomas Balch Library Advisory Commissioners will present the twenty-fifth annual Loudoun History Awards. This event honors individuals who have made significant contributions to preserving Loudoun’s past through collection of county documents and memorabilia, preservation of historic landmarks, visual arts, writing, and long-time commitment to local history organizations. For a brochure or information on nominating individuals, contact the Library Director at (703) 737-7195.
Tom Scofield, Preservation Planner, Town of Leesburg, has worked over 25 years as a local government planner and historic preservation consultant. Come hear about the latest historical discoveries in Leesburg’s Old and Historic District and learn all about current research projects.
Under the direction of Lori Kimball, learn how to conduct historical or genealogical research using the resources available at Thomas Balch Library. Discussion will also touch on resources available at the Loudoun County Courthouse in Leesburg. Kimball is a member of the Black History Committee of the Friends of the Thomas Balch Library and co-researcher of the Enslaved Community of President James Monroe. Kimball is a recipient of the Thomas Balch Library’s Loudoun History Award.
What new digital tools are available to help access and understand historic documents and data? Library Associate Stephanie Seal and Curator of Manuscripts and Archives Laura E. Christiansen introduce the digital side of historical research, including how to create basic visualizations, use GIS based mapping tools, and the benefits of crowdsourcing. Whether you consider yourself a "digital native" or unsure of technology, this workshop will explore different forms of digitization that are friendly to every level user. Come and learn how to get started with digital history.
Foxtrot in Kandahar: A Memoir of a CIA Officer in Afghanistan at the Inception of America’s Longest War is the true story of Veteran CIA officer Duane Evans’s unexpected journey from the pristine halls of Langley to the badlands of southern Afghanistan. Within hours after he watched the horrors of 9/11 unfold during a chance visit to FBI Headquarters, Evans began a personal quest to become part of the US response against al-Qa’ida. This memoir tracks his efforts to join one of CIA’s elite teams bound for Afghanistan, a journey that eventually took him to the front lines in Pakistan, first as part of the advanced element of CIA’s Echo team supporting Hamid Karzai, and finally as leader of the under-resourced and often overlooked Foxtrot team. Evans’s very personal adventure unfolds within the pages of Foxtrot in Kandahar at the inception of America’s longest war and concludes with an analysis of opportunities lost in the years since his time in Afghanistan.
Duane Evans, a retired operations officer with service in the US Army as a Special Forces and Military Intelligence officer, is an author/novelist and an intelligence and security consultant. He has a BS in political science from New Mexico State University.
Meet in the parking lot of Thomas Balch Library by 6:45PM. Eric S. Larson, Historic Records Manager for Loudoun County, will lead a tour of the Clerk’s Office. He will discuss the extent of Loudoun County’s records holdings, where to look for records of births, deaths, marriages, and deeds, and how to use these records in research. No one is permitted to enter restricted areas of the Clerk’s Office after 7:00PM, so the group will leave the library promptly at 6:45PM.
Known to history as “Dunmore’s War,” the 1774 campaign against a Shawnee-led Indian confederacy in the Ohio Country marked the final time an American colonial militia took to the field in His Majesty’s service and under royal command. Led by John Murray, the fourth Earl of Dunmore and royal governor of Virginia, a force of colonials including George Rogers Clark, Daniel Morgan, Michael Cresap, Adam Stephen, and Andrew Lewis successfully enforced the western border established by treaties in parts of present-day West Virginia and Kentucky. The campaign is often neglected in histories, despite its major influence on the conduct of the Revolutionary War that followed. Supported by extensive primary source research, the author corrects much of the folklore concerning the war and frontier fighting in general, demonstrating that the Americans did not adopt Indian tactics for wilderness fighting as is often supposed, but rather used British methods developed for fighting irregulars in the woods of Europe, while incorporating certain techniques learned from the Indians and experience gained from earlier colonial wars.
Glenn F. Williams, a senior historian at the US Army Center of Military History, Fort McNair, Washington, DC, has served as historian of the National Museum of the US Army Project, the Army Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemoration, and the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program. He is the author of a number of books and articles, including the award-winning Year of the Hangman: George Washington’s Campaign against the Iroquois. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Maryland.
Christy Toms, Library Associate at Thomas Balch Library and Coordinator of Archives and Special Collections at Scarborough Library, Shepherd University, joins Thomas W. Scofield, Preservation Planner, Town of Leesburg, who has worked over 25 years as a local government planner and historic preservation consultant, in presenting an interactive class on historic preservation.
A Village in Time, 1660-1990: Discovering American History in a Small Virginia Quaker Village, grew out of Hughes’ research into the people who built and lived in his own house, built by Quaker Samuel Hough in 1819, and the historic Quaker village, the Waterford National Historic Landmark. As he wrote about these people, the book became much more than the story of a house. It grew into the story of how one ordinary Virginia town came into being and got caught up in the extraordinary events that both divided and defined America from the mid-17th to the late-20th century––300 years of American history.
Neil C. Hughes. the author of China's Economic Challenge: Breaking the Iron Rice Bowl, is retired from the World Bank, where he spent over 20 years helping to develop programs for the poverty-stricken in Latin America, Africa, Nepal, Bangladesh, and China. He is an expert on economic development and a freelance writer, having published in Foreign Affairs and the Asian edition of the Wall Street Journal. Hughes holds an MA in international economics and politics from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, an MA in anthropology from The George Washington University and a BA in history from the College of Wooster in Ohio. In retirement, Hughes has discovered a new passion in historic preservation having served as president of the Waterford Foundation and testified before government officials about land use and conservation.
An essential addition to any wine lover’s library, Virginia Wine: Four Centuries of Change presents a comprehensive and authoritative record of the Virginia wine industry from its earliest Spanish accounts in 1570 through its rebirth in the modern era. A rich and valuable source for students and scholars, the book chronicles the dynamic personalities, diverse places, and engrossing personal and political struggles that have helped establish the Old Dominion as one of the nation's preeminent wine regions. The book, with introductions by former governor Gerald Baliles, winery founder Felicia Warburg Rogan, viticulturist Lucie Morton, author and journalist Hudson Cattell, and winemaker Gabrielle Rausse, emphasizes the unique aspects of the wine industry’s role in Virginia's history and culture—a history that continues to be made in an agricultural and industrial sector that is itself unique among world commerce and society.
Andrew A. Painter, author, is a Virginia native and attorney who specializes in local government law and zoning. Painter has spent much of his time traveling and writing about Virginia’s land development history, and nearly a decade researching the growth of its wine industry. Painter has served as an adjunct professor of political science at both the University of Richmond and the University of Mary Washington. He holds a BA in political science from Mary Washington, a Masters in urban and environmental planning from the University of Virginia, and a JD from the University of Richmond’s T.C. Williams School of Law in Lansing, MI.
James Roberts, a native of Leesburg, former member of Thomas Balch Library Advisory Commission, 2008 recipient of a Loudoun History Award, and recognized in 2011 by Loudoun Laurels, will lead a walking tour of Leesburg. The tour is an insider’s commentary of local people, places, and points of interest both in and around Leesburg. Particular detail is paid to how Leesburg has grown and evolved through the years architecturally, economically, and racially. Factual, historical, and anecdotal information is intertwined and presented in storytelling fashion as only someone who lived through it and thoughtfully observed it, can do. This unique tour will leave from Thomas Balch Library parking lot at 9AM; sturdy walking shoes are recommended.
The possibility of a book about Virginia’s leading civil rights icons intrigued Margaret Edds for many years. It seemed a natural culmination of a thirty-four-year immersion in Virginia politics and government, first as a statehouse reporter and then as an editorial writer for the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot. A focus on racial justice threaded her career, including book-length studies involving the nation’s first popularly elected black governor, the results of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and a criminal justice system that sometimes crucified innocents. It was not until retiring in 2007, and completing a book drawn from letters to and from her mother, that opportunity and interest in Oliver Hill and Spottswood Robinson aligned. By then, both men were deceased, and Edds’ five-year research project depended heavily on archival material; interviews with family, co-workers, and acquaintances, and her own personal glimpses of the men.
Margaret Edds’ journey began with college internships at the Nashville Tennessean in the late 1960s. Born in Harlan County, KY; Edds grew up in a Nashville suburb and earned degrees from Tennessee Wesleyan College and the University of Richmond. Hill and Robinson’s birthplace, Richmond, VA, has been her home for the last thirty-eight years.
Jeanette Irby, Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge and former Leesburg Town Attorney will discuss how to use court records and other resources for data that are frequently overlooked in genealogical and historical research. Irby will demonstrate how to mine court records for clues that can be used to collect information for genealogical research. Examples of these records include real estate records, chancery suits, estates, and indexes. Jeanette Irby has researched land records dating from the 1700s and participated in genealogical seminars sponsored by the Warrenton Court House Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution of which she is past Regent. Irby currently serves as secretary of District VI of the Virginia DAR Chapters. She holds a BS from Central Michigan University and a JD from Thomas Cooley Law School.
Fee: $15 for members of Friends of Thomas Balch Library; $20 non-members; $30 at the door. Lunch is not provided.
*Seating is limited: Pre-registration and pre-payment will guarantee your place!
Due to predicted inclement weather, the March 21 seminar Genetic Genealogy: Understanding DNA Results, has been postponed. Speaker Shannon Combs-Bennett, has graciously agreed to reschedule the program for Wednesday, May 23 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
If you have already registered and paid for the program we hope that you will be able to join us on the snow date. Registration for the program is open and seats are available - please spread the word if you know anyone interested in attending.
Harriet Lane Original First Lady of Washington is a well-researched historical fiction accounting of the life of a very interesting but virtually unknown historical figure. Orphaned at age eleven Lane became a ward of her mother's brother, politician James Buchanan. Buchanan sent her to the finest of schools and groomed her to be a highly educated and outspoken young lady. Lane was always the best academic student at those schools while at the same time seemed to be always in trouble. One of her teachers called her "a domestic outlaw." She always did everything she attempted well, including being really good at being mischievous. When he was elected 15th President of the US, Buchanan, who was unmarried and in his fifties, took his twenty-seven year old niece, Harriet, to serve with him. The press in Washington City called her the "first lady of the land," a title none of her predecessors in the President's Mansion had ever been called. Today we use the term to describe every lady who has served alongside the President of the United States.
Bob O'Connor, a native of Dicon, IL, is retired and a full time author who lives in Charles Town, WV. He has published thirteen books primarily on the American Civil War and been named finalist four times in national book awards competition. O'Connor annually presents nearly 100 programs per year across an area of about twenty states. He hosts the popular national podcast "The Chronicles of the American Civil War," heard weekly on Itunes, Tunein, Google Play, and Stitcher. O'Connor is also known nationally for his historical impersonations of Abraham Lincoln's bodyguard, Ward Hill Lamon.
Join Loudoun County resident, Steve Hammond, for a presentation titled The Syphaxes: Researching an African-American Family History to learn the answer to this question and more.
With its key geographic location just two miles from the Potomac Frontier dividing the Confederate and United States, Leesburg was bound to see a good deal of the Civil War. A Walking Tour of Civil War Leesburg with Rich Gillespie will examine the surviving Civil War townscape and watch the War develop and engulf the county seat of Loudoun. In a circuit of the historic district, the emphasis will be on what the 1,500 residents of the town would have seen at various places and what they would have experienced during 1861-65. The two-hour chronological tour will provide ample spots to sit for the weary and will paint some vibrant historic portraits to keep people enthralled. Included in the tour will be three skirmish sites, outside stops at two churches soldiers knew well, the courthouse lawn, “the best street in town,” Harrison Hall where General Lee stayed, and the Episcopal cemetery.
Richard Treat Gillespie former Director of Education for Northern Virginia’s Mosby Heritage Area is a founding member of Loudoun’s Civil War Sesquicentennial Steering Committee. Before joining the Mosby Heritage Area Association in 2004, he taught US History and Economics for 30 years at Loudoun Valley High School in Purcellville, VA. A graduate of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, he is a strong believer in melding the classroom, the community, and historic sites through heritage education. This tour will leave from Thomas Balch Library parking lot at 10AM. Note: This tour requires good walking shoes.
In A Tale of Two Navies, Wells presents a history and analysis of the unique and enduring relationship between the US Navy and the Royal Navy. Having served in both forces, Wells is ideally positioned to examine the intertwined histories, strategies, operations, technology, and intelligence activities of the two services. In particular, he highlights the special intelligence relationship between the US Navy and the Royal Navy and provides insight into the workings of US and UK intelligence. In this loosely chronological survey, Wells examines seminal events central to the naval history of both the US and the UK, including the response of each navy to the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War, the discovery of the Walker spy ring, the Falklands campaign of 1982, and the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. This penetrating look at the “special relationship” is necessary reading for anyone interested in the history or future of military cooperation between the United States and the United Kingdom.
Anthony R. Wells is currently a visiting senior research fellow at the Center for Intelligence and Cyber Security, King’s College, London. He is the only living person to have worked for British intelligence and served in the Royal Navy as a British citizen and also to have worked for US intelligence and the US Navy as a citizen of the United States.
Conservator Rachel-Ray Cleveland’s presentation will feature a step-wise overview of the conservation treatment process carried out on the print, The Last Meeting, a 19th century print owned by the Library and conserved recently at Cleveland Conservation of Art on Paper, Inc. The print, now fully conserved, is archivally reframed and on display in the library. The talk will also include an overview of various types of damage (chemical and physical) that can be incurred by all paper-based items - such as documents, fine art on paper, and three dimensional paper objects. In addition, a number of other conservation treatments will be presented and discussed to include “before” and “after images” that show visual improvement when chemical and physical stabilization is achieved. Cleveland is owner and principal conservator at Cleveland Conservation of Art on Paper, Inc. located near Laurel, MD. She holds three degrees including a MA in Art Conservation from the State University of New York at Buffalo, a Graduate Certificate in Collection Management from the Chicago Art Institute, and a BFA in intaglio printmaking from the University of Iowa. She is a member of the American Institute of Conservation, International Institute for Conservation, Institute of Paper Conservation, and Washington Conservation Guild. Over the years she has conducted work for the Smithsonian, the White House, and the Library of Congress.
Conservator Rachel-Ray Cleveland’s presentation will feature a step-wise overview of the conservation treatment process carried out on the print, The Last Meeting, a 19th century print owned by the Library and conserved recently at Cleveland Conservation of Art on Paper, Inc. The print, now fully conserved, is archivally reframed and on display in the library. The talk will also include an overview of various types of damage (chemical and physical) that can be incurred by all paper-based items - such as documents, fine art on paper and three dimensional paper objects. In addition, a number of other conservation treatments will be presented and discussed to include “before” and “after images” that show visual improvement when chemical and physical stabilization is achieved. Cleveland is owner and principal conservator at Cleveland Conservation of Art on Paper, Inc. located near Laurel, MD. She holds three degrees including a MA in Art Conservation from the State University of New York at Buffalo, a Graduate Certificate in Collection Management from the Chicago Art Institute, and a BFA in intaglio printmaking from the University of Iowa. She is a member of the American Institute of Conservation, International Institute for Conservation, Institute of Paper Conservation, and Washington Conservation Guild. Over the years she has conducted work for the Smithsonian, the White House, and the Library of Congress.
In this presentation, Hall will explore lynchings that occurred in Virginia, especially the last one, a 1932 incident that happened in Fauquier County. Virginia had the fewest lynchings of the 12 Southern states, yet lynch mobs in the Old Dominion were still responsible for the deaths of 87 people from 1880 to 1930. One of the most puzzling incidents was the Fauquier case, when Shedrick Thompson, a fugitive accused of assault and rape, was captured and hanged by his neighbors on Rattlesnake Mountain. The official verdict was that Thompson committed suicide, but in his book, The Last Lynching in Northern Virginia: Seeking Truth at Rattlesnake Mountain, Hall builds the case for murder while exposing a complex and disturbing chapter in Virginia history.
Jim Hall was born in Washington, DC, and grew up in Falls Church, VA. He received a bachelor's degree from Virginia Tech, and a master's degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. He became interested in the 1932 hanging death of Shedrick Thompson while working on his master’s thesis, which focused on lynchings that occurred in Virginia and how the state’s newspapers covered those deaths. Now retired, his thirty-six-year newspaper career included serving as reporter and editor, first at the Caroline Progress, a weekly in Bowling Green, VA, and then at the Free Lance-Star, a daily in Fredericksburg, VA. The Last Lynching in Northern Virginia is his first book.
To learn more about African Americans in times of war and African American Genealogy, join us for a tour of Thomas Balch Library, lunch, and dynamic discussions on African American history. Speakers include Kevin Grigsby who will speak on the role of African Americans in wartime. Lunch will be followed by a roundtable discussion on how to conduct genealogy research with Donna Bohanon, Alicia Cohen, Gertrude Evans, and Larry Roeder.
Winter Talks at Oatlands
The Original Black Elite:
Daniel Murray and the Story of a Forgotten Era
A book talk and signing by Elizabeth Dowling Taylor
Laura E. Christiansen, Curator of Manuscripts and Archives will guide participants through a practical approach to the identification and preservation of photographs from the daguerreotype to the inkjet print. The workshop will include an overview of the history and technology of photographic materials, identification and dating techniques, and best practices to care for and preserve your photograph collections.
Friends of the Thomas Balch Library will hold its 23rd Annual meeting and Election of Directors on Sunday, 21 January 2018, at Thomas Balch Library from 2-4PM. The snow date will be Sunday, 28 January, 2018. This year's main program will be "Oral History Series: Interview with Bill Harrison,” Loudoun County Extension Agent and founders of Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum.