In the Margaret Mercer Room
In the Lower Level Meeting Room
At the beginning of World War II, Professor Lauren Post of San Diego State College asked his students entering military service to write to him. Thousands of letters arrived from places like Pearl Harbor, North Africa, and Normandy, beginning with the saluta- tion, “Dear Doc,” and describing vivid accounts of training, combat, and camaraderie. Pilots wrote about seeing planes shot down. Men in POW camps sent word about the location of other prisoners and Post passed information on to frantic families. These intimate, first-person accounts capture honest, in-the-moment reactions to war that resound with heartache and gratitude. Each month, Post excerpted the letters and mailed the Aztec News Letter around the world. Fraternities, typing classes, and families donated time and money for printing and postage. When the latest issue arrived, servicemen and women read it cover-to-cover, and then passed it to another Aztec in service. He sent pilots Aztec stickers to put on their planes. Soldiers sent him Nazi flags and sand from Iwo Jima. He tallied up the medals they earned and took time to call their mothers. He could not rest until he knew that every student who had been taken prisoner was released. For years afterward, men and women dropped by his small campus office to thank him for helping them make it through the war. This is the story of the devotion of a remarkable college professor who held his students, their campus, and an entire community together during World War II.
Lisa K. Shapiro began teaching in 2003, and her community college classrooms have always been filled with veterans. As a creative writing instructor, she encouraged the soldiers, sailors, and Marines who were transitioning back to student life to put their stories on paper. Shapiro is an Associate Professor of Business at San Diego Mesa College and holds degrees in Management and Literature and has taught composition and creative writing in San Diego. In addition to No Forgotten Fronts, Shapiro has written
an adventure book for children entitled The Tiger and the Wind, co-authored a contemporary thriller with Deborah K. Reed, The Chamber and the Cross, and was recently keynote speaker at the SDSU War Memorial Wreath Laying Ceremony.
In the Margaret Mercer Room
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.
In the Margaret Mercer Room
A Field Trip for
The Black History Committee (BHC), Friends of the Thomas Balch Library to George Washington’s Mount Vernon
SAVE the DATE!
Saturday, September 14, 2019 10AM-5PM
Join BHC member, Steve Hammond, for a day at Mount Vernon. Once a vibrant plantation in the 18th century of George Washington’s family and their enslaved people, the Mount Vernon estate is now one of the nation’s most visited historic sites. We’ll arrive by 10AM and depart about 5PM. Save the Date, September 14, 2019!
Highlights of the day-long event include:
● Tour the mansion.
● A visit with Caroline Branham, mother of 8 children and George & Martha Washington’s house servant.
● Curated tour of the exhibition 'Lives Bound Together' which looks at the enslaved community at Mount Vernon. You may even see our trip guide in a video there.
● Walk to the Slave Memorial.
● There may be a couple of other activities as well.
Transportation between Leesburg and Mount Vernon will be via carpool or motor coach.
Tentative costs: Seniors over 62 - $17 & adults - $18…. +motor coach costs - To Be Determined
Lunch can be purchased at the food court pavilion. Our personally guided museum tour should end about closing time. Registration will begin in mid-July. BHC will be notified via email.
In the Lower Level Meeting Room
In the Margaret Mercer Room
2019 Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society(AAHGS) Annual Conference.
This year's conference will be held at the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Hyattsville, Maryland.
Registration for this year's conference opened on March 1, 2019.
AAHGS is dedicated to the study and research of African American history and genealogy. AAHGS promotes the documentation of African Americans in American history.
You could participate in this year's conference by doing one or more of the following:
Register for the conference
Become a vendor
Submit a paper to be selected for conference presentation
Place an Ad
Become a sponsor
For more conference details use your favorite web browser and navigate to www.aahgs.org.
In the Margaret Mercer Room
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.
Fee: Pre-registration $20 members of Friends of the Thomas Balch Library; $25 non-members; $35 at door; Lunch on your own
Seating is limited; pre-registration and pre-payment will guarantee a place.Handouts for all presentations will be available.
The seminar will consist of four sessions:
• Contrasting German Migrations: 18th Century vs. 19th Century Waves: 1700s Pennsylvania Germans were a different from the Germans who immigrated in the 1800s. This presentation shows the differences in geography, economic class, religion, and aspirations of – as well as sources about – the two great waves of German immigration.
• Zigzagging Through German Church Records will explain the methodology of using baptismal, confirmation, marriage and burial records from German church registers most effectively. By utilizing different bits of information found in each, researchers can zigzag their way to adding centuries to a pedigree.
• German for Genealogists a skills course going over the basic vocabulary and formats to enable the participants to read tombstones, church records and simple documents of German-speaking people.
• What’s a Palatine Anyway? So many immigrants hailed from the Palatinate area of southwest Germany in the 1700s that Palatine became a nickname for all Germans coming to America. Learn about the origin of this name, the history of the area, its people and records as well as why it was an emigrant hotbed for three centuries.
James M. Beidler, author of The Family Tree German Genealogy Book also writes for several genealogical publications. He wrote the chapter on genealogy for Pennsylvania: A History of the Commonwealth, published jointly by Penn State Press and Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. He is an instructor for online Family Tree University. As a lecturer, he was a part of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council’s acclaimed Commonwealth Speakers program from 2002 to 2009, and has been a presenter at numerous conferences. He has been a member and officer of numerous genealogical and historical societies. Beidler was born in Reading, PA, and raised in nearby Berks County, where he currently resides. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Hofstra University in Long Island, NY, with a BA in Political Science.
Meet in the parking lot of Thomas Balch Library by 1:45PM.Eric S. Larson, Historic Records Manager for the Clerk of the Circuit Court, will lead a tour of the Clerk’s Office and the Historic Court building. You will need to pass through security so the group will leave the library promptly at 1:45PM.
From the Revolution to the 1940 Census: Weather and Family History (with a nod to natural disasters) Constance Potter
Sometimes it can be difficult to understand why a family moved. Could the weather or a natural disaster have played a part? In this lecture you may get clues from hurricanes, floods, and volcanoes. Constance Potter, a reference archivist at the National Archives prior to her retire- ment in 2014, has lectured on a number of topics including the federal census, World War I, Laura Ingalls Wilder, women in the American Revolution, and weather and family history.
In the Margaret Mercer Room
Beyond the Beach examines the Allied air war against France in 1944. During this period, Supreme Allied
Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower took control of all American, British, and Canadian air units and employed them for tactical and operational purposes over France. Using bombers as his long-range artillery, he directed destruction of bridges, rail centers, ports, military installations, and even French towns with the intent of preventing German reinforcements from interfering with Operation Neptune, the Allied landings on the Normandy beaches. This air offensive resulted in the death of over 60,000 French civilians and an immense amount of damage to towns, churches, buildings, and works of art. This intense bombing operation, conducted against a friendly occupied state, resulted in a swath of physical and human destruction across northwest France that is rarely discussed as part of the D-Day landings. The book explores the short and long-term effects of these operations and argues that this ignored narrative should be part of any history of the D-Day landings.
Stephen A. Bourque is Professor Emeritus of military history at the School of Advanced Military Studies, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He left the US Army in 1992 after twenty years enlisted and com- missioned service and obtained his PhD at Georgia State University. Bourque has taught history at several colleges and universities. His publications include Jayhawk! The VII Corps in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, The Road to Safwan, and Soldiers’ Lives: The Post-Cold War Era. His most recent book Beyond the Beach, the Allied War Against France will be published in France in 2019. Currently, he
is writing a biography of Richard G. McKee, concentrating on his role as VII Corps Chief of Staff and Commander of the 8th Infantry Regiment in Europe during World War II.
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. Note: This tour requires good walking shoes.
Learning War examines the US Navy’s doctrinal development from 1898–1945 and explains why the Navy in that era was successful as an organization at fostering innovation. A revolutionary study of one of history’s greatest success stories, this book draws profoundly important conclusions that give new insight into how the Navy succeeded in becoming the best naval force in the world but also into how modern organizations can exploit today’s rapid technological and social changes in pursuit of success. Trent Hone argues that the Navy created a sophisticated learning system in the early years of the twentieth century that
led to repeated innovations in the development of surface warfare tactics and doctrine. Conditions that allowed these innovations to emerge are analyzed through consideration of the Navy as a com- plex adaptive system. Learning War is the first major work to apply this complex learning approach to military history, which permits a richer understanding of mechanisms that enable human organiza- tions to evolve, innovate, and learn, and offers new insights into the history of the United States Navy.
Trent Hone is an authority on the US Navy of the early twen- tieth century and a leader in the application of complexity science to organizational design. He studied religion and archaeology at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. He works as a consultant helping a variety of organizations improve their processes and tech- niques. Hone writes and speaks about tactical doctrine, organiza- tional learning, and complexity.
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.
In The Margaret Mercer Room
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.
Progressives in Navy Blue: Maritime Strategy, American Empire, and the Transformation of U. S. Naval Identity, 1873 – 1898, Scott Mobley
This study examines how intellectual and institutional developments transformed the US Navy from 1873 to 1898. This period was a dynamic quarter-century in which Americans witnessed their Navy evolve. Cultures of progress – clusters of ideas, beliefs, values, and practices pertaining to modern warfare, technology, and progressive ideology – guided the Navy’s transformation. They viewed science, technology, and expertise as the best means to effect change in a world contorted by modernizing and globalizing trends. Within the Navy’s progressive movement, two new cultures, Strategy and Mechanism, influenced the course of this transformation. Although they shared progressive pedigrees, each culture embodied a distinctive vision for the Navy’s future.
Scott Mobley earned a PhD in History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A former surface warfare officer, Mobley graduated from the US Naval Academy and the Naval Postgraduate School.
With its key geographic location just two miles from the Potomac Frontier that divided 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, the courthouse lawn, “the best street in town,” Harrison Hall where General Lee stayed, and the Episcopal cemetery.
Richard Treat Gillespie, former Executive Director 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.
The artist will describe her response to the ongoing refugee crisis through her art. She will cover the creation of the series “Reaching Toward a Hope and a Future” which includes images from the lives of refugees as they journey toward a better life. This series has travelled to ten libraries across Virginia during the past two years. The artist will also share information from her trip to Europe during the summer of 2018 to visit refugees and refugee agencies.
Constance de Bordnave grew up next door to Thomas Balch Library and many of her happiest childhood memories took place here. She has been a painter since childhood, inheriting her artistic abilities from her father Winslow Williams and her grandmother Pauline Winslow. Constance graduated from Sweet Briar College with a major in Art History. For twenty years she was a
jewelry designer and silversmith. For the past ten years she has been painting portraits and figurative art. Her work reflects the worth and dignity of her subjects: in the case of this series, the families, children, and nations affected by the refugee crisis.
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.
In the Margaret Mercer Room
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.
The 24’th Friends Annual Meeting will be held on Sunday, January 13 in the downstairs meeting room of the Thomas Balch Library from 2-4 PM. In case of inclement weather, the make-up date will be Sunday, January 27. The program will be “Oral History Series: Interview with Jim Lucier.” This meeting also will include the election of the 2019 Directors of the Friends of the Thomas Balch Library Board.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.