Social Explorer: A New Mapping Database for Social, Demographic, Economic, Environmental, and Health Data

Logo for Social Explorer

Social Explorer is an exciting new database that allows easy creation of maps and tables using a variety of data sources. Social Explorer includes social, demographic, economic, environmental, and health data covering a wide range of time periods, which vary by data source. The data comes from both public groups, such as government agencies and international organizations, and from private organizations, and is updated regularly as new information is released. Much of the data is for the United States, but there is also international data from the European Union, the World Bank, and others. Unlike most of the statistical and data sources to which we have access, this database’s strength is its mapping function, which allows you to easily create a visualization of the data rather than just viewing the data in tables, although it does that as well.

image of map depicting public pre-school enrollment in Virginia

Maps can be created at larger geographic points such as nations and states, or at small points such as census tracts and zip codes, with several selections in between. You can create multiple maps for side-by side comparison; for example, to illustrate changes over time for a single variable or compare a difference in geographic locations.

By setting up an account and logging in, you can save maps, develop presentations, create reports from the data, and customize the displays.

You can customize the maps in many ways, including changing the colors to preset selections or selecting your own custom colors, turning various display options on and off, displaying a map using satellite imagery, annotating the maps with your own labels, and even uploading your own data to create or alter maps.

The “Tell a Story” option allows you to put together a series of map or data slides and export the content to PowerPoint for easy use in presentations or on posters.

This database currently has a limit of 3 simultaneous Randolph-Macon users, so if you can’t get in to use it, try it again later!

From Special Collections and Archives: College Catalogs

page image of 1839 R-MC Catalog indicating the Course of Study for the Preparatory Department and the Freshman Class
1839 R-MC Catalog indicating the Course of Study for the Preparatory Department and the Freshman Class

Since its earliest days in Boydton, the College has published a catalog outlining the course of study, listing the faculty, and including a wide range of information that has changed over the years.  The oldest original in the College Archives is from October 1839, although we have a photocopy of the 1836 catalog held at an archive elsewhere. The catalogs provide us an excellent overview of the changes in the curriculum over time, as well as a glimpse into student life.

The 1839 catalog is only 14 pages, compared to contemporary R-MC catalogs of over 200 pages. Included is a full list of the College’s trustees, faculty, alumni, and enrolled students. The student listing even indicates the dormitory room in which they lived! There is also a listing of the students in the College’s Preparatory Department, the course of study for the Preparatory Department and for each term of college level study, information on the school calendar, expenses, and other general information, such as a statement on the final page that the “College discipline is mild and parental, but it will not tolerate indolence or vice” and that “no idle, disorderly, or immoral student can be permitted to remain….”

The catalog page displayed above shows the rigor of the curriculum and the emphasis on a classical education. Freshman read Virgil, Cicero, and Livy, and studied mathematics and geography. The right hand column indicates the author or editor of the text used, so in addition to knowing the content of the course, we know the textbooks students used and we even have several student textbooks from this era in our collection!  Upperclassmen studied subjects including   astronomy, chemistry, calculus, logic, political economy, mineralogy, and more classical studies.

In addition to the President, Landon C. Garland who taught Pure and Mixed Mathematics, there were seven other faculty members, although the position of Professor of Moral and Mental Philosophy, which translates today into Religious Studies, was vacant. There were professors for Ancient Languages, English Literature, and Experimental Sciences as well as “tutors” in Mathematics and languages. The tutors were instructors rather than the modern definition of tutors. The final faculty member was the principal of the preparatory school.

Tuition was $35 for the entire year, and board was set at $8 per month. Other student expenses included firewood, lights, bedding and laundry, and a category labeled “incidental expenses” at $15 which included textbooks and purchasing furniture for their dorm rooms, as the College did not provide furniture. The catalog also cautions parents against providing too much pocket money, deeming it potentially hurtful!

Learn more about the history of Randolph-Macon College.

From Special Collections and Archives: Fire Insurance Surveys

Three important items that give a snapshot of the physical layout of the College during the Depression are the 1932, 1938, and 1941 fire insurance surveys. As many local historians know, fire and property insurance records often provide details and information about communities and structures that are not easily located in other resources, and this is true of the R-MC insurance documents.

1938 Insurance Values for Several R-MC Buildings.
1938 Insurance Values for Several R-MC Buildings.

In addition to the value of each structure, the descriptions and details on the buildings include information that varies with each structure: the type of construction and materials used; the function of the building and in some cases, changes since the last insurance assessment; building layout and room use; the physical condition of the building; the building’s location; and who occupied the structure.

While the 1932 insurance inventory is brief and primarily lists buildings, values, and points out safety problems that should be resolved (don’t store cleaning supplies under wooden staircases!), the 1938 and 1941 inventories include much more information as well as photographs, which in some cases are the only visual representations we have of some structures such as storage buildings, garages, and yes, the corn crib, stables, and chicken houses!

Stable and Corn Crib on R-MC Campus, 1938
Stable and Corn Crib on R-MC Campus, 1938

The 1938 inventory indicates that the building designated as Cottage #7 “…was formerly a dormitory and lunch room but is now not used except one room on first floor which is occupied by one of the students who sells ice cream to other students on the campus.”   Also, one of the garages since the 1932 inventory “…has been enlarged to accommodate a school bus….”  The Gymnasium Building (Crenshaw) was used “solely as a Gymnasium, except for occasional school dances.”  Washington-Franklin Hall, now home to the History Department, was the Administrative Building. The Washington Room and the Franklin Room on the first floor were used by the College’s two literary societies while the second floor housed all of the administrative offices, the college book store, and the Y.M.C.A. rooms. The Y.M.C.A., the Young Men’s Christian Association, was one of the largest student organizations.

Washington Franklin Hall, 1938
Washington Franklin Hall, 1938

One of the fun things to notice in the insurance photos is the cars parked right by the buildings. During that time period, students and faculty just drove up to the buildings and parked,  whether there were drives and parking areas or not. There were so few cars on campus that parking was very convenient!

These inventories provide a great overview of the campus and add to our understanding of how it has evolved over time.

Sabin Americana, 1500-1926

Sabin Americana, 1500-1926 is a full text primary source archive covering the Americas from the colonial era through the early twentieth century includes over 13 million pages from more than 65,000 works published over a period of 4 centuries. Sources include pamphlets, books, magazines and newspapers, sermons, political tracts, speeches, broadsides, legislation, maps, literary works and more. Materials can be used to explore politics, culture, religious beliefs, events, social attitudes, and other aspects of life in the Americas.

Cover of "The History of Virginia in Four Parts" by a Native and Inhabitant of the Place, second edition published in 1722
Cover of “The History of Virginia in Four Parts” by a Native and Inhabitant of the Place, second edition published in 1722

Some sample topics that can be researched include the history of European settlement in the Americas; government policy towards Native Americans; the changes in women’s social status and rights over time; changing perspectives on immigration and different groups of immigrants; colonization and slavery; and virtually any other topic. The database is particularly strong in its interdisciplinary coverage and all documents are full text searchable. Items have been digitized from the collections of several libraries and archives in addition to private collections, giving users access to an extraordinary amount of research in one place.

Learn more about this database and others at https://library.rmc.edu.


The Indigenous Peoples: North America Database

Screenshot of main screen for Indigenous Peoples of North America database

The Indigenous Peoples: North America database is a primary source archive of documents, manuscripts, photographs, films, and books and journals on the native peoples of the United States and Canada. Included are travel narratives, treaties, business records, biographical and autobiographical works, and much more. Materials in the database have been reproduced from the originals held at our National Archives, several university and college libraries, archives for organizations and associations, and from private collections. Users can search for items, browse by type of material, or skim through distinct collections.

For those familiar with the infamous Trail of Tears, when the Cherokee were forced from several southeastern states to the territory that is present-day Oklahoma, the archive includes a collection “Correspondence of the Eastern Division Pertaining to Cherokee Removal, April-December 1838,” that illuminates federal government policy and actions.

Another collection, “FBI File on Osage Indian Murders,” includes many of the documents used by author David Grann when researching his acclaimed book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, a finalist in non-fiction for the 2017 National Book Award and available for check-out in the popular reading section of the Library.

The archives for the Association on American Indian Affairs, an important advocacy group for Native American rights during the 20th century  are contained in the “The Association on American Indian Archives: Publications, Programs, and Legal and Organizational Files, 1851-1983” collection.

Explore this and other databases through the McGraw-Page Library at https://library.rmc.edu!

Need Company Information? Use Mergent Online

Mergent Online logo image
Mergent Online logo

If you are researching a company for a class project or as a potential employer when job hunting, the source to use is Mergent Online.  This database contains information about companies, industries and products, and includes current information on over 14,000 public companies in the U.S. and over 27,000 non-U.S. companies as well as having a module focused on private companies that includes listings of over 34 million companies.

For the public companies, Mergent Online includes company highlights, stock and shareholder information, annual reports, equity price reports, earnings estimates, insider and institutional holdings, executive biographies and equity research reports and much more. In addition to exploring basic information about companies, researchers can link companies with their brands, suppliers, competitors and examine financial performance measures across product and industry sectors. There are numerous investment reports, and users can create customized reports and analyses of multiple companies or across industries.

The private company data is less extensive, but can be particularly useful in determining what types of companies are located in certain regions and includes addresses, executives, sales information, and a brief description of its operations and activities. This can be a great tool for targeting potential future employers!

From Special Collections and Archives: The Herald-Progress Collection

image of hanover herlad masthead, 1898
Hanover Herald masthead, 1898

2018 marks the 150th anniversary of Randolph-Macon College’s presence in Ashland, a happy occasion. On a sad note, 2018 also marks the end of the publication of the local newspaper, the Herald-Progress, which documented important community and college news. Throughout its history, R-MC students and alumni have edited or worked on the newspaper and this archive continues that close link between Town and Gown. Throughout its history, the paper has covered R-MC events, activities, and people, and is a valuable source for researchers on the College’s role in the community.

In the spring of 2008, the McGraw-Page Library acquired the historic photograph collection of the Herald-Progress, a newspaper that had been locally owned and published until 2004, when the paper was purchased by an out-of-state publishing conglomerate. The newspaper’s local offices were moved to smaller quarters, and with space pressures in the office, the historic photograph collection was in danger of being thrown away. The newspaper’s editor provided an estimate of about 10,000 items, a number that would prove later to be underestimated by over 30,000. After the collection had been processed, the final tally was over 40,000 items including 23,000 photographs, 2000 negatives, and 8000 pieces of text, as well as other materials.  

Although the majority of the collection is photographs and negatives, there are also copies of the Herald-Progress and other newspapers, periodicals and magazines, several unpublished manuscripts by local historians, maps, blueprints, cartoons, letters, political campaign artifacts, and one glass plate negative, nicknamed “Miss Klunk” based on the noise made when she dropped out of an envelope during processing. The earliest identified date for an item is 1810, and the latest photographic prints date to 1999.

Materials in the Herald-Progress Collection can be viewed by making an appointment with library staff. Learn more about our Special Collections and Archives on the new library website.

HeinOnline Government, Politics, and Law

New this year is HeinOnline Government, Politics, and Law, a database containing over 100 million pages of fully searchable content from more than 156,000 titles and 310,000 volumes. Covering both contemporary and historic information with full text and original page images, this is our new go-to database for legal and government information, replacing much of the legal content formerly found in LexisNexis Academic to which we no longer subscribe. Included are a law journal database of over 3000 full text publications, all volumes of the Congressional Record, complete coverage of federal laws and legislation, all United States Treaties, constitutions for every country in the world, classic books from the 18th & 19th centuries, and more! Full text of state and federal case law powered by Fastcase is included.

The entire database can be searched or you may browse by subject areas or choose among several smaller databases including:

Brennan Center for Justice Publications from NYU School of Law
Criminal Justice in America: U.S. Attorney General Opinions, Reports, and Publications
Gun Regulation and Legislation in America
Federal Register/Code of Federal Regulations
Foreign Relations of the United States
History of International Law
Law Journal Library
Legal Classics
John F. Kennedy Assassination Collection
Pentagon Papers
Religion and the Law
U.S. Attorney General Opinions, Reports, and Publications
U.S. Code
U.S. Congressional Documents
U.S. Federal Legislative
U.S. Presidential Library
U.S. Statutes at Large
U.S. Supreme Court Library
Women and the Law
World Constitutions Illustrated
Treaties and Agreements

Users can create MyHein accounts to customize their experience. When logged in, you can bookmark articles, create notes, save search queries,  set up alerts to be informed of newly published materials, and more.

If you have any questions about HeinOnline, please contact your subject librarian

From Special Collections and Archives: 1859 Graduation Program

Among the memorabilia in the College Archives are numerous graduation programs, films, speeches and other items showcasing this very special day of celebration.

One of the most interesting of these is a graduation program belonging to Leroy Summerfield Edwards, Class of 1859. Graduation at that time was a multi-day event, and each student was required to make a lengthy speech; Leroy’s speech, Literary Dietetics, is also available in the College Archives. The jubilation of their college graduation ceremony and the hopeful futures the students in the Class of 1859 expected during those June days of 1859 would later be squelched by the Civil War. Leroy annotated his program indicating the tragic wartime fates of several of his classmates. Of the 19 graduates listed, 4 are labeled “killed” and 2 labeled “dead” and “died.” Those listed as killed died from battle wounds, while the two listed as dead and died were Leroy’s closest friends, who died a year apart of disease. An additional graduate has “lost right arm at Strasburg” next to his name. Leroy himself would be wounded, recover and go back to the war, be captured and spend nearly a year in two prison camps, including the famous Elmira, NY camp know as “Helmira.” He was paroled and returned to Virginia in time to flee Richmond with the Confederate army and surrender at Appomattox Courthouse.

The survivors of the Class of 1859 would become educators, ministers, lawyers, judges, legislators, and even college presidents, including Dr. William G. Starr, the 9th president of R-MC (1899-1902).

1859 graduation program page 1

1859 graduation prgram page 2

1859 graduation program page 3

 

 

 

British Literary Manuscripts Online

British Literary Manuscripts Online logo If you want to explore the most important British literary works written between 1100 and 1900,  British Literary Manuscripts Online is the database to use. This digitized collection of manuscripts by British authors contains poems, plays, novels, diaries, journals, correspondence, and other papers from major library collections, covering the Medieval period through the Victorian era. Thousands of writers from Thomas A’Becket to Richard Zouche are represented by the hundreds of thousands of page images. The original manuscripts are held in collections at major libraries, research universities, and museums around the world including the British Library, the National Library of Scotland, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Huntington Library, Princeton University, and others.

In addition to its great value for literary scholars, since this primary source collection includes more than just the actual literary works themselves it is invaluable to researchers exploring the historical, cultural, social, and religious context of the eras in which these materials were written.

Shown below, a heavily edited  excerpt from an 1845 manuscript of Charles Dicken’s The Chimes, In Four Quarters from the collection of the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum shows the evolution of this work in Dicken’s own hand with large areas crossed out and altered.

brief excerpt from manuscript of work by Charles Dickens

The database is divided into two parts which can be searched separately or together: Medieval & Renaissance covering 1100-1660, and the 1660-1900 collection.