Thursday, March 8, 2007

VHS - New Exhibit - Pocahontas

Pocahontas: Her Life and Legend
February 10, 2007 – June 24, 2007

This exhibition examines the life and legend of one of the most beloved and famous of all Virginians—Pocahontas. Despite the familiarity of the Pocahontas story, many questions remain today about this eye-witness to the convergence of two disparate cultures. It must be remembered that what we know of her has been lifted from the narratives of English males, all of whom brought their particular fantasies and prejudices to bear on their representations of the New World and its people. Pocahontas: Her Life and Legend will evaluate both her life and the jarring interaction between cultures that gave it meaning. Presented during the anniversary year of the founding of Jamestown, the exhibition will feature more than 60 objects, including paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, artifacts, books, manuscripts, broadsides, and sheet music.

Would the Real Pocahontas Please Stand Up?
Matoaka. Rebecka. Pocahontas. She was known by many names in her lifetime. More than 400 years later, she is still an enigma to most—a famous Native Virginian who forged an alliance with the English settlers despite her powerful father's objections. Popular culture has used her image and legacy to market everything from toys to cartoons. It has also left many Americans and Europeans confused as to the real story of Pocahontas.
"For centuries the Pocahontas story has appealed to Americans," says Dr. Robert S. Tilton, co-curator of the exhibition. "She was born into a culture that had some knowledge of Europeans, and after they settled on the outskirts of the territory controlled by her father, she was apparently drawn to the new strangers. A number of the chroniclers of the Jamestown founding mention Pocahontas by name and note her interactions with the English settlers."
A legend would be developed around this Powhatan girl, who perhaps saved John Smith from execution and who would as a young woman be kidnapped as a political pawn, converted to Christianity, married to a settler, and taken to England as an example of the potential of the New World for cultural indoctrination. It was among members of her adopted nation that she took sick and died, at age 22, as she attempted to return to her homeland.
Despite the familiarity of the Pocahontas story, many questions remain today about this eye-witness to the convergence of two disparate cultures. What we know of her has been lifted from the narratives of English males, all of whom brought their particular fantasies and prejudices to bear on their representations of the New World and its people. Pocahontas: Her Life and Legend will evaluate both her life and the jarring interaction between cultures that gave it meaning. The exhibit will attempt to lay to rest such issues as Pocahontas's relationship with John Smith, her effectiveness as a peacemaker (and whether that was her intention), and how she should be remembered.
"The show will also investigate her mythology," adds co-curator Dr. William M. S. Rasmussen. "Over the centuries the Pocahontas narrative has been retold, embellished, and so frequently adapted to contemporary issues that the actual, flesh-and-blood woman has been hidden behind it. The myths tell as much about their creators as about the figure whom they celebrate."
The exhibition will present more than 40 objects, including paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, books, and sheet music. A catalog will accompany the show. The exhibition will be on view at the VHS from February 10 through June 24, 2007. Educational programs include a Gallery Walk conducted by Dr. Rasmussen on Wednesday, February 28, 2007 (noon) and a Banner Lecture Thursday, June 14, 2007 (noon) by Helen Rountree. Visit for more information.
This was the start of Miscegenation (Latin miscere “to mix” + genus “kind”) is the mixing of different ethnicities or races, especially in marriage, cohabitation, or sexual relations in America. Interracial marriage or interracial dating may be more common term in contemporary usage. But the English word useage has a clear history of ethnocentrism.
Frederick Douglass, second wife Helen Pitts, who was white, and whose daughter Eva, were a 19th century American example of miscegenation. Miscegenation was not un-common in early Dinwiddie County, several early examples can be found. A rather in-famous example would be Armistead Burwell fathering 'Lizzy' the daughter of Agnes, his slave, who gave birth to her daughter in Feb 1818. Later Lizzy was known as Elizabeth Hobbs Keckly or whose last name often mis-spelled Keckley, Lizzy spelled it Keckly. Even earlier examples are known.

Major-General Winfield Scott

Winfield Scott was born on the family estate near the Old Dinwiddie Courthouse, Dinwiddie County, Virginia, on 13 June 1786; attended William and Mary College briefly and studied law in the office of David Robinson.

He enlisted in Petersburg’s cavalry troop, 1807, and became a captain in the regular service, May 1808; received a one-year suspension for open criticism of General James Wilkinson, 1810; served in New Orleans on General Wade Hampton’s staff, 1811–1812; was promoted to lieutenant colonel, July 1812, and colonel, March 1813; served on the Niagara front in the War of 1812, was captured and paroled, then participated in the actions at Fort George, where he was wounded, and Uphold’s Creek; was promoted to brigadier general, March 1814; as a brigade commander, was largely instrumental in American successes in the battles of Chippewa and Lundy’s Lane (where he was seriously wounded); for his valor, was brevetted major general, July 1814; supervised the preparation of the Army’s first standard drill regulations and headed a postwar officer retention selection board, 1815; visited Europe to study French military methods, 1815–1816; held regional command in the Division of the North, 1816; married Maria D. Mayo, 1817; was president of the Board of Tactics, 1815, 1821, 1824, and 1826; commanded the Eastern Department, 1825 In 1832 President Andrew Jackson appointed Scott military guardian of federal authority during the nullification controversy in South Carolina. Scott also oversaw the forced removal of the Cherokee from Georgia to the Indian Territory of the West along the "Trail of Tears."

In 1841 Scott was appointed general-in-chief of the U.S. Army, and in 1847, after the beginning of the Mexican War, he was appointed commander of the U.S. forces in Mexico. He led his troops in a series of victories, at Veracruz, Cerro Gordo, and Chapultepec. On September 14, 1847, he occupied the national palace in Mexico City. Scott returned to the United States in 1848, and in 1852 Congress raised his rank to lieutenant general, the first since George Washington. At the start of the American Civil War (1861-1865), Scott was still general-in-chief of the U.S. Army. Scott conceived a long-range strategy to achieve Northern victory. Except for underestimating, by about half, the length of time and number of men it would take to succeed, Scott had sketched the broad strategy the North would use to defeat the South. When Scott retired in November 1861, George B. McClellan took over as general-in-chief. Winfield Scott is appropriately buried at West Point, and the museum there has many wonderful items that were his.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Dinwiddie County's Battle Flag

From the Progress Index of 04/26/2003, by Cliff Davis, Staff Writer

History reflected in restored Civil War flag

DINWIDDIE - Pamplin Historical Park told a love story yesterday from long ago: Of Dinwiddie women, not allowed to fight for their Southern homeland, who sought a way to show their patriotic passion.Of Dinwiddie men, who did fight - under a bright blue banner that those women had sewn for them. And of their admirers and descendants, nearly two centuries later, rescuing that flag, restoring its beauty and unveiling it at the Civil War pride and joy of Dinwiddie County, Pamplin Historical Park.
Step back in time:
In July 1861, volunteers with the Dinwiddie Cavalry became Company K, 3rd Virginia Cavalry Regiment, of the Confederate States of America. They were sent to protect the Tidewater Peninsula from the Union forces and they took their banner with them. It bore the state seal of Virginia on the back and on the front, the inscription, "Presented by the Ladies of Dinwiddie County to the Dinwiddie Cavalry." But a year later, in retreat after a skirmish with Union forces near Williamsburg, their precious flag somehow was lost.For nearly 80 years after that, it was kept by the family of the late Col. David Campbell, of the 5th Pennsylvania Cavalry. The Campbells finally sent it back to Dinwiddie in 1941.
From then until 1998, the flag was displayed at the Dinwiddie Clerk's Office, then the Historic Fork Inn in Sutherland. Along the way, light, air and humidity drained away its color and damaged the fragile silk fibers. It was on a slow course to oblivion.
Until now.
About 30 people watched quietly on Saturday as John Chappell, president of the Dinwiddie County Historical Society; and Bobby Bowman, chairman of the Dinwiddie County Board of Supervisors, lifted a cover cloth from that flag, now protected behind glass after a painstaking conservation effort. "We're celebrating a wonderful partnership that has combined to preserve a valuable part of Dinwiddie history. Tens of thousands of visitors will be able to see (this flag) every year," said A. Wilson Greene, executive director of Pamplin Historical Park. Maryland-based Textile Preservation Associates, Inc. put their nationally-renowned expert, Fonda Thomsen, to work on the flag. Over a three-month period, she brought back its vivid blue hue and strengthened its silk threads, Greene said. No public money was spent on Thomsen's work, Bowen said. Fund-raising credit belongs to the Dinwiddie County Historical Society, and to Pamplin Park, which paid half the $8,400 cost, Chappell said. "It's amazing that the flag was in any condition to even be able to be restored, after more than 140 years," Chappell said. But now it's safe and it's home, in Dinwiddie County, where more Civil War history took place than anywhere else in the nation, according to Greene. The flag will be on exhibit at Pamplin for a while, then possibly be displayed at the old Dinwiddie Courthouse, Chappell said. The ladies of long ago would surely approve. "It's a treasure that the people of Dinwiddie can be proud of," said Betty Bowen, a charter member of the Dinwiddie County Historical Society.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Dr. Robert Walker's Clinical Cases 1785-1787

DR. ROBERT WALKER'S CLINICAL CASES, 1785-1787, 1 vol., [138] pp. MS 31.24.

Notes taken by Dr. Robert Walker (d. ca. 1820), of 'Kingston,' Dinwiddie County, Va., while a medical student at the University of Edinburgh. These notes pertain to clinical observation of female patients, their diseases, and the treatments used at the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, where Walker studied under Dr. James Gregory and Dr. James Hume.

The volume includes its own rough index. Microfilm copy (M-1553) available at William & Mary

Please post any additional information on Dr.Robert Walker below....