Tag Archives: Virginia

Civil War sketches of Herbert E. Valentine

Herbert Eugene Valentine (1841-1917) was a private in Company F of the 23rd Massachusetts Volunteers, who served in the United States Army between 1861 and 1864 in eastern Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

The SHC’s Herbert E. Valentine Papers contains a diary, pencil and watercolor sketches, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and maps, all contained in two manuscript volumes of Herbert E. Valentine. These volumes contain 184 sketches picturing towns, buildings, ships, bridges, fortifications, and everyday life at military bases. Valentine made birds eye view sketches of the towns in which he was stationed, as well as sketches of their principal buildings such as hospitals, churches, warehouses, and private residences that served as military command headquarters and as officers’ quarters. Locations with numerous sketches include Beaufort, Morehead City, and New Bern, N.C., and Hilton Head and Saint Helena Island, S.C. Seven color maps pertain to the operations of the 23rd Massachusetts Regiment in eastern North Carolina and Virginia.

We thought we’d share a few selections of these great Civil War sketches:

"Allison: Steamer" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397

"Steamer Allison, October 13, 1862" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397

"Broken Bridge: Over Broad Creek" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397

"Broken Bridge: Over Broad Creek" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397

"Convoy S. S." - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397

"Convoy S. S." - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397

"Chapel, Fort Monroe, Va., 1863" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397

"Chapel, Fort Monroe, Va., 1863" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397

"Pillow Fight" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397

"Pillow Fight" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397

Video of “Hearthside Cooking,” a lecture by Nancy Carter Crump

Today we share with you video of a lecture, “Hearthside Cooking,” given by Nancy Carter Crump on March 24, 2009 at Wilson Library, as part of the Southern Historical Collection Book Series. For those who were not able to attend the presentation, we hope this gives you an opportunity to enjoy the talk.  For those of you who did hear Ms. Crump speak, we hope you’ll enjoy it all over again.

[Note:  Due to YouTube's file size limitations, the lecture is divided into six parts.  The video embedded here is included as a "playlist."  You can toggle through the six parts individually, or simply hit play and let the six parts run through as a whole.]

Hearthside Cooking

[Over the next few weeks, the Southern Historical Collection will be sponsoring a series of booktalks (formally titled, "The Southern Historical Collection Book Series").  The book series will feature authors of recently-published books that are based on research done in the Wilson Special Collections Library.  Topics of the presentations include: hearthside cooking, hillbilly music, and proslavery Christianity.  For more information about these three events, please see our news release on the main library website.]

As a teaser for the first booktalk, a presentation by Nancy Carter Crump, author of Hearthside Cooking: Early American Southern Cuisine Updated for Today’s Hearth and Cookstove (UNC Press, 2nd edition, 2008), we would like to share a wonderful foodways-related item from the holdings of the Southern Historical Collection.  The image shown at right is a page from an early-19th-century volume called “Recipes in the Culinary Art, Together with Hints on Housewifery &c.,” compiled by Launcelot Minor Blackford in 1852.

Launcelot Minor Blackford (1837-1914) of Virginia was a school teacher who served as a lieutenant in the C.S.A. 24th Virginia Infantry Regiment during the Civil War.  In 1870 he became the principal of Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va.  Blackford was fifteen years old when he wrote this volume, which contains cooking and household recipes along with poems and advice.  His advice on how “To make good Children” is as follows: “Whip them once every day; and give them plenty to eat.  (One who has seen, and knows).”

This recipe book is a part of the Blackford Family Papers (SHC collection #1912).

I’m Southern and I’m talking about food, which means I am obligated to mention my grandmother!  Several years ago, before she passed away, my grandmother wrote down and compiled a notebook of her best recipes.  She called the collection, “Vera’s Vexing Victuals.”  One year for Christmas, each of her grandchildren received a copy of this notebook.  I still cherish my copy.  Who knows? It might even end up in an archive someday.

All this leads me to this simple question: if you could preserve one family recipe for eternity, what would it be?  Without question, I would preserve my grandmother’s recipe for chocolate silk pie.

1000 Words Isn’t Enough

Unidentified children, circa 1880-1900

Unidentified man holding accordion, circa 1880-1900.

Unidentified man holding accordion, circa 1880-1900.

Today we would like to share two photographs with you. These images come from a photograph album of tintypes out of a collection called the Lester-Gray Collection of Documents Relating to Joseph Glover Baldwin, 1838-1949.

This collection, including the photo album of tintypes, was received by the SHC in 1954. Very little is known about the album’s origins. Actually, not much is known about the album’s connection with the greater Lester-Gray collection. The album holds 17 tintypes and one carte-de-visite picturing African Americans — women, men, and children — well-dressed and formally posed. The album arrived with this curious label: “Negroes, born and Bred on Gen. Lee’s Land, 1862.”

Over the years, many people have inquired about the accuracy of this description and date on the album. More importantly people have often asked us about the identity of the individuals portrayed in these photographs. Could these individuals really have lived at Arlington House (the historic home of the Lee and Custis families of Virginia, and home to the Robert E. Lee Memorial)?

In fact, it was one of our researchers who helped us more accurately date these photographs. Several years ago a researcher, who is a maker of historically accurate dolls, agreed to give us her expert opinion of the dress and hairstyles. Her assessment dated the majority of these images to the time period between 1880 and 1900. Following additional research and consideration, our staff then updated our description to include the following statement: “Despite the label on the album, most of the images appear to date from 1880-1900, and there is no direct evidence of connection with Robert E. Lee.”

We have long believed that someone else out there might have additional knowledge that could help to identify some or all of these individuals. Or, perhaps, with some work between the archives at the Arlington House and these materials here in the SHC, more could be unearthed.

Any ideas?