Progress Report!

Between having two different blogs for this class, I realized that I haven’t put any progress reports on here…so bear with me, as this post is one enormous progress report!

Week One

I am very excited to be a part of this digital history experiment, and so far it is going very well for my colleagues and I! Julia, Candice, Jack, and I have found some great resources to start looking at.

Jack and I went to UMW’s University Archives on Tuesday to take a look at the collections that the archivist thought would be good places to start. Our University Archives have several items pertaining to WWI, but only a couple of them will be good sources for the homefront experience. One is a student’s scrapbook, and it contains pictures of female students with males dresses in military attire. Another resource that I think will be very helpful in elucidating the homefront experience is the academic catalogs and bulletins of the school (at that time it was called the State Normal School). The first one that we found that made a mention of the war was the October 1917 Bulletin. It is entitled “Patriotism Through Local History Conservation in War Time Reorganization of English School Activities”–we struck gold!

Luckily, many of the school’s academic catalogs and bulletins have been digitized and are available on the Internet Archive, and we can search these digitized sources for key terms like “war” and “crisis,” in order to assist our research. We are going to look through these sources more, as they seem to hold promising information about the homefront experience of the State Normal School during WWI.

We also have a list of other local resources and organizations that we are contacting in order to find more research materials. This upcoming Thursday we are taking a trip to the Central Rappahannock Heritage Center to look at the WWI resources they hold. I can’t wait to see what is in store for us–this is only just the beginning!

Week Two

My colleagues and I at UMW have compiled a (lengthy) list of archival resources that will be valuable for this project.  Jack and I went to UMW’s Special Collections this past week and found some great items!  One is a student scrapbook, which contains pictures that show us what the State Normal School was like during WWI.  In addition, several of these pictures show female students posing with males dressed in uniform.  Our initial thought for this scrapbook is to create a digital image gallery or scrapbook.

Another excellent resource at our Special Collections is the collection of academic catalogs and bulletins.  (As luck would have it, almost all of the catalogs and bulletins from the WWI era have been digitized and are searchable!)  These bulletins are excellent windows into what the State Normal School experienced during WWI.  For example, from these bulletins we know that SNS offered a special class during the war on food conservation, and we also know that two faculty members served in the military during the war.  (I am particularly excited about these bulletins–I think it’s so amazing to be able to see in such detail what the school was doing during WWI and how it adapted to new and different demands!)  We can also look through the President’s Papers of SNS and the school’s yearbooks, both of which should give us a further view of the school’s homefront experience.

The Central Rappahannock Heritage Center is another place that holds promising resources.  Using its online catalog, Candice located oral histories from the WWI era, two diaries that recount the homefront experience in Fredericksburg, and photographs and documents of Fredericksburg’s Washington Guard.  We are heading to CRHC this week to get a personal look at these resources–I’m excited to see what they have for us!

The Central Rappahannock Regional Library contains promising collections of postcards and oral histories.  The Virginiana Room contains special collections, several items of which pertain to the WWI era.  We are hoping to visit the Virginiana Room within the next week or so, in order to get a clearer picture of what resources it has to offer.

Although not necessarily local to Fredericksburg, the Virginia Historical Society is local to my home location and hold the Goolrick Family Papers, spanning from 1896-1927.  The Goolrick family was a very prominent family in Fredericksburg, so this collection may contain some valuable documents relative to our interests. I am hoping to visit the VHS soon to see some sections of the Goolrick Papers.  Other potential resources in Fredericksburg and Virginia exist, and we are in contact with people at these places, but for this post I have just highlighted what seem to be our most promising resources thus far.

Week Three

It has been another exciting week for us at UMW! Our group found more items in the Special Collections here at UMW that will be really valuable for our project.  Jack, Julia, and I went back to Special Collections yesterday and spent 2.5 hours looking through President Russell’s papers.  I was hoping to find speeches given by President Russell that are mentioned in the October 1917 Normal School bulletin, but the papers held by UMW seem to deal more with administrative matters like reports to school boards and hiring teachers.  However, we did find other very valuable resources.  It seems that many teachers and employees who sought reappointment in 1918 asked for salaries, and several of them cited the much higher cost of goods and their inability to afford such on their current salaries.  Presumably, these high prices were a direct effect of the war in Europe, and these requests are great examples of not only how World War I affected the economy in general, but also how it affected daily life for people at the State Normal School in Fredericksburg.  We have all also been extremely eager to find documents that address the effect that the influenza epidemic had upon the school’s population.  Julia found a 1918 list of students who had missed a significant number of days, and many of them were listed as having had an “illness.”  Later I found what at the time appeared to be a gold mine of information on the influenza at the State Normal School…until I realized that it was a report for the State Normal School in Harrisonburg (there were four State Normal Schools at this time: Fredericksburg, Harrisonburg, Farmville, and Radford).  (It was very interesting to see, though, that the SNS in Harrisonburg was so afflicted with influenza that it turned one of its residence halls, Jackson Hall, into a temporary hospital because the infirmary was so overcrowded–it could only fit 12 patients.  The school suspended classes for at least two weeks!)  After some more digging and locating a seemingly lost folder of President Russell’s papers, we finally found the Fredericksburg school’s report that mentioned influenza!  Huzzah!  It seems that, comparatively, the SNS in Fredericksburg was not as severely affected by the epidemic as Harrisonburg was–we only closed for 8 days.  Still, a significant portion of the student body and faculty/staff came down with virus.  Unfortunately, Death came to Fredericksburg: Virginia Goolrick, the Head of the History Department, succumbed to the disease and died within a few days of contracting it.  While I was reading the influenza report, Jack was looking at financial records, and found that he could corroborate the dates of the epidemic, and from a monetary standpoint we could see how heavily the virus affected the school.  During the months of the epidemic (fall 1918), the spending of the infirmary shot through the roof, approaching $500!  We had a very productive day in the Special Collections, and marked down what we wanted to go back and digitize for the project.  At this point, I’m not quite sure how we will incorporate everything into the site, but I think at the very least a timeline would be a good feature for the site.  I would definitely like to work in document images as well.

This evening (Thursday, January 29) we continued our archival work, this time venturing to the Masonic Lodge in Historic Downtown Fredericksburg.  We were very excited to visit the Lodge because the Freemasons have a rich and complex history, and we hoped that they would have some good materials for us to look at.  The Masons were delighted that we sought them out for help and are eager to help us with our research–they want a copy of the site/research once everything is completed!  The historian at the Lodge is fairly new (he took on the position in December), and the archivist was not at the Lodge to assist us.  However, as we talked with the historian and the Grand Master, we got some great preliminary information about the Freemasons and their involvement in society, prominent Masons of Fredericksburg at the time.  The Grand Master graciously gave us a copy of their history, written by a Brother, which has a page discussing the Masons’ activities during WWI.  They didn’t have many archival resources for us to look at tonight, but it was more of a preliminary meeting, so that we could meet with them and explain our project in-depth, to give them a better idea of what kind of resources we are searching for.  The Lodge is in the midst of cataloging and digitizing its archives, which will be beneficial to our project.  Once the secretary and archivist are apprised of our project, I am sure they will have some interesting resources for us to look at, like photographs and meeting minutes.  I’m very excited to see what they can find for us!

And a Great Leap for Mykind

rights to:

Some days my digital education is more akin to a blind turtle meandering though peanut butter. However, today not a day of slow and nervous trudgery. Today was a day of learning for me and my beloved clunky old Mac! Since I am taking a Digital History Class, I thought it best to finally update my software. So, I downloaded the newish Maverick System from Apple. It took quite a while, but in the end, I think it was worth it. It upgraded all of my applications and things are running quite quickly. I also downloaded Google Chrome (I was using Safari *gasp). I even cleaned my screen and all the grime underneath my case. All in all, I am quite pleased with myself.

I also created a feedly. And I think it worked. I think I’m following everyone. I was sure I was going to detest it. It was just going to be another one of those things I will have to check out of the thousand accounts I already have. Since I don’t follow too many blogs to begin with, I doubted it’s worth for me personally.  However, now that I have it. I don’t hate it as much as I thought I was going to. We will see how it goes.

The next thing on my docket is a timeline and map. And maybe a PB&J.





Eastburn Diaries: Life in Fredericksburg, Va 1916-1917 Timeline

This timeline consist of the Eastburn family diaries. The diaries include global and local events. Eventually I would like to make a timeline from all the diaries, which include 1914 to 1917. I really like this timeline template. It’s very useful because its simplicity and it is easy to embed into a webpage or post. I think we will be able to use this template or some other timeline plug-in for the project. We have already kicked around a few ideas. We already have planned to make a massive timeline for the whole project, but we can use this timeline template for smaller periods of time or specific areas.

Eastburn Diaries: Life in Fredericksburg, Va 1916-1917 Timeline

This timeline consist of the Eastburn family diaries. The diaries include global and local events. Eventually I would like to make a timeline from all the diaries, which include 1914 to 1917. I really like this timeline template. It’s very useful because its simplicity and it is easy to embed into a webpage or post. I think we will be able to use this template or some other timeline plug-in for the project. We have already kicked around a few ideas. We already have planned to make a massive timeline for the whole project, but we can use this timeline template for smaller periods of time or specific areas.

Group Project Reflections and my Google map

it oocurs to me that I have not reflected openly on my group in some time.  All apologies for my delay in posting them as follows. I am quite glad that we have all sudden chosen a decade (1960). Thus we can now begin the task of figuring out whats the next move on the chess board. I propose we each take a different slice of the same pie. so in other words I might cover bands and musical groups. Alex may cover young Republicans.  Laura may cover home economics, and so forth. This way we each take a section of larger cultural and student life aspects that the scrap books will provide. This is just an idea that I have been dwelling on. This way we could cover a large share of the books, and we could organize them all under the banner of UMW 1960′s scrapbooks. Again this is just something to think about as we begin to plan our method of attack.

Google map- I can say the biggest learning curve for me was the formula. I think once you know what goes where you can more easily figure out what the larger scheme is i started by adding some places that I have heard about, but have as yet not have the fortune of going to. Most were academic or cultural centers that i feel I would love to go. I also listed some historic cemeteries that I feel would be of interest should I ever leave the U.S. I found the most challenging aspect of this assignment to be the tedious data collecting for every place mark entry. This takes a remarkable amount of time, and using it on a smaller scale would make sense for use in most projects. Over all its fairly straight forward to navigate, allow though I must admit I was experimenting with this technology more so than mastering it.

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I have no idea what I’m doing: timeline version

Credit to:

Credit to:

That picture accurately describes what I felt like for the past two days. My first trouble with this assignment came when my internet shut down for absolutely no reason. Once that was fixed I was sure that I would be on my way to a successful post. This soon turned out to be fallacy. I tried to publish my timeline but it only turned out as code and for the life of me I could not figure out what I was doing wrong. I stalked all the blogs of my classmates to try and figure out what I was doing wrong and Connor was kind enough to try and help me. I emailed Ryan and texted a computer literate friend of mine for help. Eventually, I figured out that the entire time, my spreadsheet was not public. I was elated that I figured it out, but also slightly embarrassed that I did not check that in the first place. Oh well, live and learn I guess? Next, I shall blunder my way through the map assignment which, according to my classmates, is the hardest part.