C-SPAN’s Charlottesville Visit Showcases Library’s Special Collections and Knowledgeable Staff

In March C-SPAN sent a crew to Charlottesville as part of the cable network’s 2017 Local Content Vehicle Tour to cover the history and literary life of American cities. In addition to a video chat with poet Rita Dove, and pieces on Monticello, Ash Lawn Highlands, and UVA’s Miller Center, the network featured the University of Virginia’s world-famous Special Collections Library. The videos originally telecast April 15–16 on C-SPAN2 (Book TV) and C-SPAN3 (American History TV) are now available for viewing on the C-SPAN website.

Special Collections curator Molly Schwartzburg speaks about the Faulkner Collection and how the Library’s current exhibition “Faulkner: Life and Works” examines “the various personae that were constructed either by Faulkner actively, or by the circumstances in which he found himself throughout his life.” Some off-beat items she mentions are Faulkner’s pictorial art, a screenplay fragment from his days writing for Hollywood, and a receipt for a slave that Faulkner’s grandfather sold—a way to dramatically introduce visitors to the legacy of slavery and the issue of race relations that were central to Faulkner’s fiction.

Archivist Edward Gaynor speaks about Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia Papers. From the nearly 4,000,000 items he selects several of Jefferson’s visionary drawings for the University of Virginia, beginning with a rough preliminary sketch from an 1817 letter showing an open-ended rectangle of “pavilions interspersed with dormitory rooms” around an open area of “grass and trees.” He also shows a “daybook” ledger kept by the University’s “proctor” that includes, among the raw materials needed for maintaining the University, the names of enslaved people and the payments to their masters for the work they performed.

Curator David Whitesell gives a tour of the Special Collections Library’s permanent exhibition of copies of the Declaration of Independence and related items donated by Albert Small. Whitesell shows both a copy of the first printing of the declaration owned by George Washington’s personal secretary Tobias Lear, and a facsimile struck in 1823 from the original document and presented to the Marquis de Lafayette when he visited the U.S. Whitesell says it wasn’t until the early 19th century that the declaration began to be viewed with reverence—a development that was not lost on Jefferson who compensated his granddaughter for the loss of her furniture at sea by giving her the portable desk on which he wrote the declaration. A replica of the desk is also on display.

Book conservator Eliza Gilligan talks about the work of the Library’s Conservation Lab and gives some idea of the wide range of skills and research needed to preserve rare books and paper in the Special Collections library. A knowledge of art history, general and organic chemistry is essential in knowing to how to apply wheat paste adhesive when reattaching the crumbling leather spine of a 15th century psalter, or assessing the naturally corrosive properties of ink made from tree galls and iron filings, or using a poultice of fuller’s earth to draw out the residue of tape that had held together a 200 year old letter.

UVA Today Reports on the Official Launch of Clemons’ Solar Array

On April 18th Governor Terry McAuliffe joined University of Virginia’s executive vice president and chief operating officer Mike Hogan in cutting the ceremonial ribbon for Clemons’ rooftop solar array—a project that has turned adversity to advantage by transforming Clemons’ once leaky roof into a means of powering the building.

According to a UVA Today article, “since mid-February, 324 panels, totaling about 7,530 square feet, on the roof of Clemons Library have been producing what will amount to about 199,600 kilowatt hours of electricity per year”—15 percent of the library’s annual usage.

Governor McAuliffe touted the project as part of his state-wide initiative to increase the amount of power produced by the sun in Virginia, and the number of jobs produced by the solar industry. In 2011 the UVA Board of Visitors committed to reducing UVA’s greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent below 2009 levels by 2025.

Read more about the Library’s part in the University’s sustainability plans in the article “UVA’s New Solar Array Makes a Powerful Statement” (UVA Today, 4/19/2017).

New Online Resource POLITICO Pro Gives Access to Sources Behind the News

Want to know about Federal policy, expenditures, taxes? How about politics? You can find the latest news in the Library’s online source POLITICO Pro. Sixteen teams of policy-specific reporters provide the pre-, post- and backstory of every important update affecting your area of interest.

You get morning and afternoon newsletters and real-time alerts, plus monthly CEO Reports and the nightly Pro Report of the day’s most important news. Complex issues in energy, health care, technology, and transportation come to life in Pro’s DataPoint feature that lets you download fully-editable infographics as PDFs, JPGs, or PowerPoint slides for use in your own presentations.

But it’s the “Tools” menu that makes POLITICO Pro a uniquely valuable resource, providing a comprehensive list of sources for government information. Items in the easy-to-use drop down menu include:

  • Appropriations Watch—the latest information on government funding
  • Campaign Pro Race Dashboard—a rundown of upcoming House, Senate, and gubernatorial races state by state, with information on the candidates and parties, from the primaries through the general election
  • Defense Program Watch—funding of major weapons programs, with reports from the Government Accounting Office and Congressional Research Service, plus news reports on policy debates
  • Energy Regulations Watch—rules that affect government energy and climate policy
  • Pro Tax Watch—information on taxes that affects decisions on fiscal policy at the State and Federal level
  • State Education Watch—the demographics of educational enrollment in each state from grades K through College
  • New Member Profiles—condensed bios on all first-term House and Senate members
  • Document Drawer—gives you the primary sources that POLITICO Pro analysts turn to for covering all aspects of government policy, appropriations, opinion, and debate. It contains the raw stuff of journalism—court records and filings, letters to and from Congress, FOIA requests, data, Congressional testimony, polling info, research papers, bills, and executive orders—that can help anyone check the facts behind the stories and become a more knowledgeable consumer of the news.

For more resources like POLITICO Pro, please check the Library guide for new online resources. It’s updated daily!

Carl Rollyson to Deliver Inaugural William & Rosemary MacIlwaine Lecture at Harrison-Small

On Thursday, April 20, at 4:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the Harrison Institute and Small Special Collections Library, journalism professor Carl Rollyson of New York’s Baruch College will deliver the inaugural William and Rosemary MacIlwaine lecture “William Faulkner’s Virginia Persona.”

Professor Rollyson has authored biographies of Lillian Hellman, Rebecca West, Amy Lowell, and Silvia Plath. His book, Uses of the Past in the Novels of William Faulkner, is still in print and has been cited by eminent Faulkner scholar M. Thomas Inger as among the top one hundred works of Faulkner scholarship. Professor Rollyson’s new book, The Alarming Paradox: the Life of William Faulkner is being published by the University of Virginia Press.

The William and Rosemary MacIlwaine Lecture Series in American Literature was established by Dr. William A. MacIlwaine IV, his wife Linda Wilson MacIlwaine, and their sons Andrew, Wilson, and Peter, to honor Dr. MacIlwaine’s parents, who endorsed the value of a broad liberal arts education. They were ardent supports of the University of Virginia and the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

Please RSVP to Patrick Garcia or call (434) 924-9640 (space is limited).

A reception will follow the lecture, and guests are invited to explore the exhibition “Faulkner: Life and Works” in the main gallery.

Digital Yoknapatawpha Project Panel Discussion in Harrison-Small, April 13

Please join us on Thursday, April 13, at 10:00 a.m. in the Byrd-Morris Room of the Harrison Institute and Small Special Collections Library for a panel discussion, “Digital Yoknapatawpha: Collaboratively Recreating Faulkner’s County.”

Directors of the Digital Yoknapatawpha project—UVA English professor Stephen Railton and Computer Science professor Worthy Martin—will join moderator Alison Booth of the English Department and Scholars’ Lab to discuss the fruitful collaboration of over three dozen literary and tech professionals who came together to digitally map Faulkner’s fictional universe, which he modeled after his home in small-town and rural Mississippi. The map drawings used in the project came from the Faulkner collection of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

Learn more about the project and about the different issues that arise in digital humanities projects.

Refreshments will be provided.

The Library’s New Online Civil War Database Opens Vast Collection of Primary Sources

The new Library online resource Confederate Military Manuscripts and Records of Union Generals and the Union Army offers researchers the most comprehensive documentary picture available of the American Civil War.

Documents include courts-martial case files; papers related to courts of inquiry, and investigations by military commissions; manuscript records of spies, scouts, guides, and detectives; the papers of generals; the diaries and letters of soldiers and citizens; glimpses of the home front in the correspondence of mothers, wives, sisters, daughters; personal  stories of the war from the viewpoint of enlisted men, prisoners of war, medical officers, chaplains, lawyers, judges, diplomats, physicians, merchants, members of the state legislatures, the U.S. Congress, and the Congress of the Confederate States. Also included are the official and personal papers of Robert E. Lee, and documentation of the service of African Americans (enslaved and free) in both the Union and Confederate armies, and of Native Americans in the trans-Mississippi West.

Typing “Indian Territory” in the search box, for instance, yields information about the Civil War in present-day Oklahoma, including correspondence relating to Stand Watie, Cherokee chief and Confederate General, the highest ranking Native American in either army.

The 4th United States “Colored Infantry”

Opening the database takes you first to the ProQuest History Vault. A box is checked next to “Confederate Military Manuscripts and Records of Union Generals,” meaning that all search queries will take you to material in that database. If you’d rather browse the holdings, click “Browse” on the navigation bar, scroll to the “Confederate Military Manuscripts and Records of Union Generals,” and, instead of clicking “Search,” click the link. The contents of the database drop down, grouped according to the archives from which the material was drawn, with summaries of what they contain. Click the link to an archive, then click “View all documents” to get a list of high-quality PDF scans waiting to be explored.

“Confederate Military Manuscripts and Records of Union Generals” is a treasure-trove for historians, student researchers, family history researchers, and anyone interested in the Civil War. The vast collection of primary resources assembled in one place from many collections—several published here for the first time—and covering many perspectives, gives the most complete picture yet of the conflict that continues to stir strong emotions a century and a half ater Appomattox.

Please remember to continue checking the Library’s guide to new online resources. It’s updated daily!

Center for the Study of Data and Knowledge Holds Conference—DH + DS: The Machine as Horizon of Interpretation

Matthew Jockers

On Friday, April 7, at 9:00 a.m. in Nau Hall, Room 101, UVA’s Center for the Study of Data and Knowledge (CSDK) kicks off its conference, “DH + DS: The Machine as Horizon of Interpretation.”

The keynote speaker will be Matt Jockers—Associate Dean for Research & Partnerships and Susan J. Rosowski Associate Professor of English at the University of Nebraska, Director of the Nebraska Literary Lab, and former Director of the Stanford Literary Lab. His subject, “Novel Analytics from James Joyce to the Bestseller Code,” will describe how he went from being a close reader of language in Joyce’s Ulysses to mining thousands of novels in search of the linguistic patterns most typical to books that best sell.

In the book The Bestseller Code: Anatomy of the Blockbuster Novel, Jockers and his research partner, Jodie Archer, took the advice of Google researchers, to “make use of the best ally we have: the unreasonable effectiveness of data.” Instead of seeking a formula or telling authors how to write a successful novel, Jockers and Archer went to the books, thousands of them, and leveraged computation to ask a simple question: “what are these texts made of?” The bold claim of their research is that novels that hit the New York Times bestseller list are not random lottery winners but books that share an uncanny number of textual features. Our belief,” they write, “while it may be irritating and old-fashioned, is still that if you want to be a bestselling writer then first you have to learn and really appreciate fiction with as many tools as you can.”

Following the address, Matt Jockers will join Don Brown (Director, Data Science Institute); Alison Booth (Director, Scholars’ Lab), Abby Flower (Systems and Information Engineering), and Bill Pearson (Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics) in a panel discussion.

This event is free and open to the public.


Morning Session (Nau Hall, room 101)

  • 9:00 a.m. Welcoming Remarks
  • 9:10 a.m. Keynote Address
  • 10:30 a.m. Coffee Break
  • 10:50 a.m. Panel Discussion
  • 12:00 p.m. Break for Lunch

Afternoon Session (Alderman Library, room 317)

  • 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. Open Discussion with UVA President’s Fellows and others
  • 3:30 p.m. Concluding Remarks

The Library Celebrates the Career of Senator John Warner & Donation of His Papers in Harrison-Small, April 6

On Thursday, April 6 at 4:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the Harrison Institute and Small Special Collections Library, former Senator John W. Warner joins Director of the Center for Politics, and University Professor, Larry Sabato, in a conversation about the Senator’s distinguished career in public service. The event marks the opening of the Warner Papers in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

The Warner family has generously donated the Senator’s public papers and other important items to the University of Virginia Library, providing a view into his remarkable 30-year tenure in the Senate—a fascinating period of post-World War II U.S. history. Senator Warner’s papers are a significant addition to the Library’s collections, and are now available to students, faculty, historians, researchers, and scholars from around the world.

John William Warner volunteered for active military duty at age 17 as an enlisted sailor in the final years of World War II; several years later he enlisted in the U.S. Marines and served as a First Lieutenant in Korea from 1950 to 1952.

He graduated from UVA Law School in 1953 and clerked for Judge E. Barrett Prettyman, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. From 1955 to 1960, he was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for D.C. He joined Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells) as an associate in 1961, became a partner in 1964, departed in 1968 for a long, distinguished career in public service, and rejoined in 2009.

In 1969 he was nominated by President Richard Nixon, and confirmed by the Senate, as Under Secretary, and later as Secretary, of the U.S. Navy, serving from 1969 to 1974, during a period when America was faced with the Vietnam War in the Pacific and the Cold War with the Soviet Union in Europe. From 1974 to 1976 he had the honor of serving as Director of the American Revolution Bicentennial administration.

Please join with the Library in honoring one of Virginia’s preeminent statesmen. A selection of his papers will be on display at the celebration.

There will be a reception at 6:00 p.m in Pavilion IV.