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.

From Special Collections and Archives: The Evolution of the Library

As we prepare for a future expansion and renovation of the McGraw-Page Library, it’s fun to look back on how the College’s library has evolved, all of which is well-documented in the College Archives.

Although the College had a library housed in the Main Building in Boydton, library use for students was heavily restricted. The Board of Trustees set the rule as “the Library shall be opened at such times as the Faculty may appoint, and shall be kept open for one hour.” Since the College made library use difficult, the student members of the two literary societies, the Washington Society and the Franklin Society,  purchased and maintained extensive book collections for their members. Some of the oldest books in our collection still have bookplates from the societies. Upon the move to Ashland in 1868, the literary society libraries served as the primary libraries until 1886, when these books were formally given to the College for its library. Originally, this library was opened only one day a week from 11 A.M. until 6:30 P.M. By 1908, the Randolph-Macon College View Book indicates that the library was open daily for student use.

image of college lbrary in Wshington-Franklin Hall from 1908 View Book
Scene from College Library in Washington-Franklin Hall, 1908 View Book.

It wasn’t until 1923 when the first Walter Hines Page Library, now Peele Hall, opened for use that students had access to a proper library with study areas and full services overseen by a professional librarian. This library also served the Ashland community.

image of first Walter Hines Page Library, now Peele Hall
First Walter Hines Page Library, now Peele Hall

In 1961, the second Walter Hines Page Library was built, and with a 1984 addition that doubled its size,  a complete interior renovation, and a name change to McGraw-Page Library, this is the building we have today. On December 12, 1961, faculty and students formed a human chain and moved the entire library across Henry Street to the new building in one day, finishing before 6:00 p.m.

image of students moving books 1961
Students moving books, 1961
iamge of faculty moving books 1961
Faculty moving books, 1961

We have come a long way from the one hour rule in Boydton to the present, when we have hundreds of thousands of books, journals, and other databases available anytime, anywhere, as well as a 24/7 study area!

Lots of eBooks!

We have far more ebooks than printed books in the McGraw-Page Library, and these books are available 24/7 anytime, anywhere!   Some may be accessed in MaconCat, while others are accessed in our Discovery search or from several different databases. There are books in every subject area, and all are restricted for use by current Randolph-Macon College faculty, staff, and students only.

The largest of these is the EBSCO eBook Collection, which includes over 180,000 academic titles from a variety of publishers covering all subject areas. These books allow multiple users to read them simultaneously and may be browsed and read online or may be checked out and downloaded for off-line reading.

The Wiley eBook Collection includes over 20,000 titles from the publisher Wiley, best known for its excellent coverage in the sciences although all subject areas are well represented.

The Springer Behavioral Sciences and Psychology eBooks consists of hundreds of ebooks published by Springer from 2013 to present in psychology and the behavioral sciences and PsycBOOKS includes hundreds of ebooks in psychology and related fields published by the American Psychological Association and affiliated publishers.

ACLS Humanities E-Book Collection includes over 5,000 books in the humanities from several publishers. ATLA Historical Monographs Collection has over 30,000 works in religion and related fields dating from the 13th century to 1923. ARTFL is a collection of digitized French language and literature resources.

In addition to these larger collections, we have hundreds of reference books (Chicago Manual of Style Online, Credo Reference, Oxford Reference Online), and large numbers of  ebooks are also available in various other library databases!