LeRoy Wiley Gresham was born in 1847 to an affluent slaveholding family in Macon, Georgia. As a young child he suffered a horrific leg injury that left him an invalid. Educated, inquisitive, perceptive, and exceptionally witty, the 12- year-old began keeping a diary in 1860 just as secession and Civil War began tearing the country and his world apart. He wrote daily for five years, putting pen to paper with a vim and tongue-in-cheek vigor that continues to impress more than 150 years later. His practical, philosophical, and occasionally Twain-like observations, cover politics, the secession movement, the destructive Civil War, family pets, a wide variety of hobbies. His writing sheds light on life for a member of a socially prominent and wealthy family in Macon, an important manufacturing center for the Confederacy. Gresham’s own slow and painful death mirrored that of the demise of the Confederacy. Edited and annotated by Janet Croon, The War Outside My Windowcaptures the spirit and the character of a young privileged, white teenager who witnessed the dissolution of slavery in America and the end of the reign of white slaveholders.
Janet E. Croon recently retired from teaching advanced high school history in Fairfax County, Virginia. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, Modern European History, and Russian Language and Area Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master’s Degree in International Studies from the University of Dayton. She taught International Baccalaureate History for nearly two decades and developed a deep interest in the Civil War by living in northern Virginia. This is her first book.
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.
Wynne Saffer, author of Loudoun County, Virginia 1860 Land Tax Map, will use a case study to demonstrate how to establish chain of title using deed indexes and other types of land ownership changes such as wills, marriages, old advertisements, and chancery cases.
The Virginia wine country mysteries are set about fifty miles from Washington, D.C. in the heart of affluent horse and hunt country—a region of rolling hills, winding country lanes lined by Civil War-era stone walls, and pretty villages that can legitimately claim George Washington slept there. But among the peace and tranquility, vineyard owner Lucie Montgomery uncovers long-buried secrets that lead to murder—often family and life-long friends are suspects.. Over the years, the books have been nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award and the Library of Virginia People’s Choice Award. The Riesling Retribution won the 2009 Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best US Wine Literature Book.
Ellen Crosby is the author of the Virginia wine country mysteries, featuring vineyard owner Lucie Montgomery; Multiple Exposure and Ghost Image, featuring international photojournalist Sophie Medina; and the stand-alone mystery Moscow Nights. Previously she worked as a freelance reporter for The Washington Post, Moscow correspondent for ABC News Radio, and as an economist at the US Senate. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and serves on the advisory committee of the Virginia Book Festival.
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 materi als, identification and dating techniques, and best practices to care for and preserve your photograph collections.
Life-long Loudoun resident Wynne Saffer will discuss the his tory of land grants of the Northern Neck Proprietary and how to locate them using resources available at Thomas Balch Library. Saffer has completed numerous local research projects, mapped the county by land ownership in 1860, and written several books about Loudoun's history, including Loudoun Votes 1867- 1966, A Civil War Legacy and Mount Zion Cemetery, Aldie, Virginia. Saffer is a recipient of the Thomas Balch Library's Loudoun History Award.
OSS Operation Black Mail: One Woman’s Covert War Against the Imperial Japanese Army is the story of a remarkable woman who fought World War II on the front lines of psychological warfare. Elizabeth “Betty” P. McIntosh (1915- 2015) spent eighteen months serving in the Office of Strategic Services in what has been called the “forgotten theater,” China-Burma-India. There she met and worked with characters as varied as Julia Child and Ho Chi Minh. Her craft was black propaganda, and her mission was to demoralize the enemy through prevarication and deceit, and ultimately, convince him to surrender. Betty and her crew ingeniously obtained and altered personal correspondence between Japanese soldiers and their families on the home islands of Japan. By the time Betty flew the Hump from Calcutta to China, she was acting head of the Morale Operations branch for the entire theater, overseeing the production of thousands of pamphlets and radio scripts, the generation of fiendishly clever rumors, and the printing of a variety of faked Japanese, Burmese, and Chinese newspapers. Her strategy involved targeting not merely the Japanese soldier but the man within: the son, the husband, the father. She knew her work could ultimately save lives, but she never lost sight of the fact that her propaganda was a weapon and her intended target was the enemy. This is not a typical war story in that he only beaches stormed are the minds of an invisible enemy. For Betty and her friends, time on the “front lines” of psychological warfare in China-Burma-India rushed by in a cascade of creativity and innovation, played out on a stage where a colonial world was ending and chaos awaited.
Ann Todd, who completed her research into Betty's service as part of her dissertation project while earning a PhD in History at the University of Texas at Austin, has been a contributing author and consultant for the National Geographic Society, given presentations in national parks about OSS operations, and worked as a historian for the National Museum of the Marine Corps. She served in the US Coast Guard, and now lives in Dripping Springs, Texas.
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 semi nars 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 in Lansing, MI.
Thursday, 6 June 2019, 10AM
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 are a "digital native" or technology-wary, this workshop will explore different digital humanities methodologies that are accessible and friendly to all users. Come and learn how to get started with digital history.
Under the direction of Lori Kimball, learn how to conduct historical or genealogical research using the resources available at Thomas Balch Library and the Loudoun County Courthouse. 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 also a recipient of the Thomas Balch Library's Loudoun History Award.
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.
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.
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. Roberts highlights the ways in which Leesburg has undergone changes in its architecture, economics, and race relations. 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.
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.
Margin of Victory’s riveting stories of triumph and defeat are presented against the backdrop of national policies, culture and history. Each chapter is a reminder that to be successful military action must always be congruent with national culture, geography and scientific-industrial capacity; that strategy and geopolitics inevitably trump ideology. Building effective military power takes time, resources and imagination. Unity of command, unity of effort and the integration of capabilities across service lines only happen when they are ruthlessly imposed from the top down. These are some of the enduring lessons in the five warfighting dramas that unfold in vivid detail on the tactical, operational and strategic levels of war. Margin of Victoryconcludes with a discussion of future battle and how the United States can leverage the twentieth century’s lessons to secure its margin of victory in the twenty first century. The final chapter argues that America’s future victories depend on a major reset of US national military strategy and an overhaul of US military command structures and force design.
Douglas Macgregor is a decorated combat veteran, author of five books, and the executive VP of Burke-Macgregor Group LLC, a defense and foreign policy consulting firm in Reston, VA. He was commissioned in the Regular Army after one year at VMI and four years at West Point and retired with the rank of Colonel. He holds an MA in Comparative Politics and a PhD in International Relations from the University of Virginia. Macgregor is widely known for both his leadership in the Battle of 73 Easting, the US Army’s largest tank battle since World War II, and for his ground breaking books on military transformation. His fourth book, Warrior’s Rage: The Great Tank Battle of 73 Easting, describes the 1991 action for which he was awarded a Bronze Star with “V” device for valor.
Call 703-737-7195 for information about the event at the Thomas Balch Library on Sunday, 23 September 2018 at 2PM.
The event will also be presented the day before at the Oatlands Carriage House. For information about the event on Saturday, 22 September 2018 at 1PM, call 703-777-3174.
Polly E. Bugros McLean
Lucile Berkeley Buchanan Jones, born to freed people formerly enslaved at Oatlands and Evergreen plantations, became the first African American woman to graduate from the University of Colorado when she received her bachelor’s degree in 1918. Remembering Luciledepicts the rise of the African American middle class through the historical journey of Lucile and her family from slavery in northern Virginia to life in the American West. The story of the Jones family is used as a lens into the experience of middle-class Blacks in the early twentieth centuryRemembering Lucileemploys a unique blend of Black feminist historiography and larger discussions of race, gender, class, religion, politics, and education to illuminate major events in African American history and culture. The work also traces the history of the University of Colorado and the ways in which university administration and faculty treated Black students and alumni. This biography paints a vivid picture of a Black woman who lived through an extraordinary time in American history and rectifies her omission from the institutional history and memory of the University of Colorado. The book fills an important gap in the literature of the history of Blacks in the Rocky Mountain region and will be of significance to anyone interested in American history.
The two talks will focus on different aspects of Professor McLean’s research. The presentation at Oatlands will concentrate on the Buchanan family’s association with Oatlands while the presentation at Thomas Balch Library will focus on the larger picture of the rise of an African American middle class through the Lucille Buchanan’s life. Books will be available for purchase at both sites.
Polly E. Bugros McLean, an associate professor of Media Studies and affiliated faculty in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, received a Master’s from Columbia University and a PhD from the University of Texas, Austin. Her pedagogical and research interests include Intersectionality; cultural and critical theory; issues of racialized representations; African American women’s history, and globalization as it pertains to Southern Africa. She has been a visiting professor at the University of Zambia, Howard University, as well as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Namibia. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the 2007 Robert L. Stearns Award, the 2009 Edward R. Murrow Award for teaching excellence, and the 2014 Best Should Teach Gold Award.
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 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.