Aug
3
10:00 am10:00

African American Genealogy Research Seminar, Lori Kimball

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. Lori 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.

To register, click here.


Jun
1
10:00 am10:00

Identification and Care of Photographs, Laura E. Christiansen

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.

To register, complete Thomas Balch Library's online form.

May
20
10:00 am10:00

Opening Doors to Leesburg’s History: The Charles A. Johnston Collection Tour, Ben Tayloe

The Charles A. Johnston Collection contains family papers and artifacts of the Johnston family of Leesburg and many of their closest personal and business acquaintances. It is the most diverse collection held by the Library incorporating archives, manuscript materials, rare books, photographs and film.  This collection, full of everyday items and individual stories, offers a view of life in Leesburg and Loudoun County from the late 1700s through the 20th century.

Ben Tayloe, Project Archivist of The Charles A. Johnston Collection and Library Associate at Thomas Balch Library, has historic preservation experience in both the private and public sectors. He will lead this tour focusing on local homes and businesses in historic Leesburg associated with the Johnston family. This unique tour will leave from the Thomas Balch Library parking lot at 10AM; sturdy walking shoes are recommended. 

May
15
7:00 pm19:00

Clerk’s Office Tour, Loudoun County Courthouse Historic Records, Eric S. Larson

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.

May
7
2:00 pm14:00

Dust of Kandahar: A Diplomat Among Warriors in Afghanistan, Jonathan S. Addleton

The Dust of Kandahar provides a personal account of one diplomat’s year of service in America’s longest war. Ambassador Addleton movingly describes the everyday human drama of the American soldiers, local tribal dignitaries, government officials, and religious leaders he interacted and worked with in southern Afghanistan.

Addleton’s writing is at its most vivid in his firsthand account of the April 2013 suicide bombing outside a Zabul school that killed his translator, a fellow Foreign Service officer, and three American soldiers. The memory of this tragedy lingers over Addleton’s journal entries, his prose offering poignant glimpses into the interior life of a US diplomat stationed in harm’s way.

Jonathan S. Addleton was born and raised in Pakistan. A five-time USAID mission director, he has also served as US ambassador to Mongolia; USAID representative to the European Union; and US Senior Civilian Representative (SCR) to southern Afghanistan. Books available for purchase and signing at the lecture.

May
6
9:00 am09:00

Leesburg Tour, James P. Roberts

James Roberts, a native of Leesburg, 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.

Apr
30
2:00 pm14:00

Babe Ruth Deception (A Fraser and Cook Mystery), David O. Stewart

Babe Ruth was indisputably the best left-handed pitcher in the American League. This mystery set in the post-World War One era once again brings together Fraser and Cook investigating the seamier side of baseball in the wake of the 1919 World Series scandal. Gambling, silent film making, boot-legging, tragedy, and bi-racial relationships are featured in this exposé of the dirty underside of baseball. Once again, masterfully blending fact and fiction, David O. Stewart delivers a nail-biting historical mystery that captures an era unlike any America has seen before or since in all its moral complexity and dizzying excitement.

After practicing law for more than 25 years, David O. Stewart turned to writing history (though he still practices law). His first book, The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution was a Washington Post bestseller and won the Washington Writing Award as Best Book of 2007. Two years later, Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy, was a Davis-Kidd Bestseller and was called “by all means the best account of this troubled episode” by Professor David Donald of Harvard. American Emperor, Aaron Burr’s Challenge to Jefferson’s America, released in 2011, won the Society of the Cincinnati's 2013 History Prize. Stewart also writes fiction, most notably the Fraser Cook mystery series. Stewart is president of the Washington Independent Review of Books, an online book review. Books available for purchase and signing at the lecture.

Apr
9
2:00 pm14:00

Jutland: The Unfinished Battle, Nicholas Jellicoe

One hundred years after Jutland, the first and largest engagement of dreadnoughts in the twentieth century, historians are still fighting this controversial and misunderstood battle. What was in fact a strategic victory stands out starkly against the background of bitter public disappointment in the Royal Navy and decades of divisive acrimony and very public infighting between the camps supporting the two most senior commanders, Jellicoe and Beatty.

Based on the latest research, The Unfinished Battle retells the story of the battle from both a British and German perspective, clarifying the context of Germany’s inevitable naval clash. It also traces the dispute known as the “Jutland Controversy” that ensued until Admiral Jellicoe’s death in 1935.

Author Nick Jellicoe is uniquely placed to tell the story of Jutland. His naval connections are strong: his father, the second Earl Jellicoe, served as First Lord of the Admiralty while his grandfather, Sir John Jellicoe commanded the Grand Fleet for the first two years of the war from 1914 to 1916. Sir John was famously described by Churchill as being “the only man who could have lost the war in an afternoon.” Nick Jellicoe has lived his whole life under the shadow of Jutland. The enduring controversy surrounding his grandfather’s actions on that day inspired him to undertake a major investigation of the battle and an analysis of the arguments that followed. This book is the result. Books available for purchase and signing at the lecture.

Apr
6
10:00 am10:00

Researching Court Records, Jeanette Irby

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 Regent. She holds a BS from Central Michigan University and a JD from Thomas Cooley Law School.

To register, click here.

Apr
2
2:00 pm14:00

Ballad of the Green Beret: The Life and Times of Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler from the Vietnam War and Pop Stardom to Murder and an Unsolved, Violent Death, Marc Leepson

Ballad of the Green Beret is about the rough-and-tumble life of Special Forces vet and Sixties pop star Barry Sadler. The top Billboard Hot 100 single of 1966 wasn’t The Rolling Stones' “Paint It Black” or the Beatles' “Yellow Submarine”--it was “The Ballad of the Green Berets,” a hyper-patriotic tribute to the men of the Special Forces by Vietnam veteran, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler. But Sadler’s clean-cut, all-American image hid a darker side, a Hunter Thompson-esque life of booze, girls, and guns. Unable to score another hit song, he wrote a string of popular pulp fiction paperbacks that made “Rambo look like a stroll through Disneyland.” He killed a lover’s ex-boyfriend in Tennessee. Settling in Central America, Sadler ran guns, allegedly trained guerrillas, provided medical care to residents, and caroused at his villa. In 1988 he was shot in the head in Guatemala and died a year later. This life-and-times biography of an American pop culture phenomenon recounts the sensational details of Sadler’s life vividly but soberly, setting his meteoric rise and tragic fall against the big picture of American society and culture during and after the Vietnam War.

Marc Leepson, journalist, historian, and author of eight books, most recently What So Proudly We Hailed, the first biography of the author of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in more than 75 years, has taught US history at Lord Fairfax Community College in Warrenton, Virginia. He holds a BA and an MA in History from George Washington University. A former staff writer for Congressional Quarterly in Washington, DC, his work has appeared in many magazines and newspapers, including Civil War Times, America's Civil War, Vietnam, Smithsonian, The Washington Post, New York Times, New York Times Book Review, Wall Street Journal, Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribune, and USA Today, among others. He also was a long-time contributor to the Encyclopedia Americana Yearbook and writes for the Encyclopedia Americana. Books will be available for purchase and signing at the lecture.

Mar
25
12:00 pm12:00

A Walking Tour of Civil War Leesburg, Richard Treat Gillespie

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 is Executive Director for Northern Virginia’s Mosby Heritage Area and 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.

Mar
22
9:00 am09:00

Seminar: Genetic Genealogy: Understanding DNA Results

Do you have DNA results and wonder what to do with them – or perhaps wonder whether it is worth the expense to take the DNA tests and if so which one? This seminar in four parts will provide a general introduction to DNA Genealogy and include sections on understanding mtDNA; Y-DNA and Autosomal DNA results. Whether you are a novice or experienced, this is an opportunity to enhance your understanding of DNA genealogy and new developments in the field. There will be two breaks (morning and afternoon) and a lunch break of 1-1/2 hours on-your own in historic Leesburg.

Shannon Combs-Bennett, owner of T2 Family History, writes and lectures on a variety of topics from genetics to methodology. Based in Northern Virginia, Shannon is a frequent contributor to Family Tree Magazine; Creative Director for The In-Depth Genealogist Website Magazine, and Education Chair for NextGen Genealogy Network. In December of 2016 she completed her Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies (PLCGS) and Certificate in American Records from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies (NIGS). Combs-Bennett is the author of A Genealogist’s Guide to the Washington DC Area. She holds a BS in Biology and has a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University. Currently she is studying for her MSc in Genealogical, Paleographic, and Heraldic studies from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.

Fee: $10 members of Friends of Thomas Balch Library; $15 non-members; $25 at door; lunch is not included. Seating is limited. 

Click here to download the registration form.

 

Opening Doors to Leesburg's History: Introducing the Johnston Collection, Ben Tayloe
Mar
19
2:00 pm14:00

Opening Doors to Leesburg's History: Introducing the Johnston Collection, Ben Tayloe

The Charles A. Johnston Collection contains the family papers and artifacts of the Johnston family of Leesburg and many of their closest personal and business acquaintances. The most diverse and extensive collection held by the library, the collection incorporates archives, manuscript materials, rare books, photographs and film.  This intensely personal collection, full of everyday items and individual stories, offers a view of life in Leesburg and Loudoun County from the late 1700s through the 20th century. 

Ben Tayloe, Project Archivist of The Charles A. Johnston Collection will introduce the public to the collection during the event.

To register, complete our online form.

Mar
12
2:00 pm14:00

Through the Valley: My Captivity in Vietnam, William Reeder, Jr.

Through the Valley is the captivating memoir of the last US Army prisoner captured during the Vietnam War. A narrative of courage, hope, and survival, Through the Valley is more than just a war story. It portrays the thrill and horror of combat, the fear and anxiety of captivity, and the stories of friendships forged and friends lost. During William Reeder’s first tour he had flown secret missions deep into enemy territory in Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam. In 1971 Reeder was a senior captain on his second tour in Vietnam. Less than a year later, while providing support to forces at the besieged base of Ben Het, Reeder’s chopper went down. Though Reeder survived the crash, he was captured after evading the enemy for three days. He was held for weeks in jungle cages before enduring a grueling forced march on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which cost the lives of seven of his group of twenty-six POWs. Imprisoned in the notorious prisons of Hanoi, Reeder’s tenacity in the face of unimaginable hardship is not only a captivating story, but serves as an inspiration to all. He shares the torment and pain of his ordeal, but does so in the light of the hope that he never lost. This memoir reinforces the themes of courage and sacrifice, undying faith, strength of family, loyalty among comrades, and love of country.

William Reeder Jr. is a retired Army colonel and highly decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam War. He received the Silver Star for gallantry, two Distinguished Flying Crosses for heroism, an Air Medal for valor, and three Purple Hearts for wounds received during the events related in this story. Since military retirement, he has continued to be involved in leadership training and education for the US Army and NATO Special Operations Forces. In 2014, he was inducted into the US Army Aviation Hall of Fame. William Reeder lives in Seabeck, Washington. Books available for purchase and signing at the lecture.

Mar
5
2:00 pm14:00

Remembering John Hanson, with Peter H. Michael

Remembering John Hanson illuminates a Revolutionary War figure and Founding Father who served as first president of the original United States government chartered under the Articles of Confederation. The biography is the first in over seventy years and illustrates why some Americans selected Hanson as their choice to be the nation's first president. Remembering John Hanson brings to light the story of the destruction of Hanson's tomb in the 1980s and the author's rediscovery of its site while working on the book. Well-researched and revelatory, the book also addresses current efforts to rekindle the nation's memory of Hanson and to dispel odd Internet myths that have arisen about him in recent years. The book has received two national book awards in biography: the 2013 eLit Silver Prize in Biography and the 2013 USA Book Awards Finalist Prize in Biography.

Peter H. Michael, a descendant of John Hanson, is cofounder and president of the John Hanson Memorial Association, Inc., a national body commemorating President Hanson's life, presidency, and nation-saving accomplishments. The Association sponsors the John Hanson National Memorial and the Jane Hanson National Memorial, both in Frederick, Maryland. He serves as publisher of Underground Railroad Free Press, and as president of Michael Strategic Analysis, a strategic planning, market research, and litigation support firm. Michael has also served with the United Nations and the Population Council in Asia. Other recent books include An American Family of the Underground Railroad; Guide to Freedom: Rediscovering the Underground Railroad; and Palace of Yawns, a 365-day Southeast Asia journal at the end of the Viet Nam War. He was educated at the University of Maryland, Berkeley, and Princeton. Michael and his wife, a painter and civic leader, are the seventh Michael generation at Cooling Springs Farm, founded in 1768, an Underground Railroad historic site near Adamstown, Maryland. Books available for purchase and signing at the lecture.

Mar
2
10:00 am10:00

Information Seeking Strategies in the Digital Age, Laura E. Christiansen

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. 

To register, complete Thomas Balch Library's online form.

Feb
26
2:00 pm14:00

Back There Then, A Historical and Genealogical Memoir, Linda Crichlow White

Linda published Back There Then, A Historical and Genealogical Memoir in 2014 after discovering a manuscript her Mother had written about their family and realizing it was too important to stay in an attic or basement. Since then, Linda and her Mother have spoken to groups about the importance of everyone - the ordinary and the not-so-ordinary- documenting their family or individual history.

Linda Crichlow White, MS, MLS, and native Washingtonian, taught home economics in DC Public Schools before becoming a School Library Media Specialist in the Montgomery County Maryland Public Schools.  She has served as the Washington Representative for the educational and cultural exchange program, Operation Crossroads Africa, and spoken to many groups about the importance of sharing family stories. She is active in the DC Library Association, the James Dent Walker Chapter (DC) of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Association, and other community groups, and has been working since 2006 on preserving her family history.  She serves on the board of the Children’s Africana Book Awards and is considered an expert in children’s multicultural literature. Books available for purchase and signing at the lecture.

Feb
2
10:00 am10:00

Researching African American Genealogy, Cara Griggs

Cara Griggs will discuss methods and resources for African American genealogy prior to the end of the Civil War. Attendees will learn about ways of determining whether an individual was enslaved or free and what types of records will be useful for further research. The lecture will focus on the Library of Virginia's collections including cohabitation registers, free Negro registers and lists, wills, deeds, and tax records as well as selected federal records that can be accessed through its databases. 

Griggs has been a reference archivist at the Library of Virginia since 2006. She earned a BA in history from Westhampton College of the University of Richmond, an MA in social sciences from the University of Chicago, and an MSLIS with an archival studies concentration from Drexel University. She is a member of the Academy of Certified Archivists.

To register, complete Thomas Balch Library's online form.

Dec
6
7:00 pm19:00

Historic Preservation, Thomas W. Scofield

Thomas W. 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.  

To register, complete Thomas Balch Library's online form.

Dec
4
2:00 pm14:00

Lion in the Bay: The British Invasion of the Chesapeake, 1813-14, Chipp Reid, editor

The story of Fort McHenry’s defense during the War of 1812 is well known, but Lion in the Bay by Stanley L. Quick with Chipp Reid takes an intimate and thorough look at the events preceding the battle that inspired our national anthem. Despite a massive bombardment at Fort McHenry, Baltimore’s defenses held, forcing the British to abandon their campaign to close the Chesapeake. Lion in the Bay retells this story of American resilience and triumph in the wake of catastrophe with amazing detail and great skill.

The late Stanley Quick, who died in 2008, served on active duty in the US Navy from 1944–47 before working for many years as a naval architect and civilian engineer. He received his PhD from Brooklyn Polytechnic in 1963 and began a long career with Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Chipp Reid is an award-winning reporter and editor, a licensed ship captain, historian, and Cold War veteran. He has covered wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as baseball, international soccer, and international piracy. His book Intrepid Sailors: The Legacy of Preble's Boys and the Tripoli Campaign was named a “Notable Naval Book of 2012” by Proceedings magazine. Books will be available for purchase.

To register, complete Thomas Balch Library's online form.