On View Now: Sacred Spaces: The Home and Poetry of Anne Spencer

Our latest exhibition, Sacred Spaces: The Home and Poetry of Anne Spencer, offers a glimpse into the exquisite world of Civil Rights activist, librarian, gardener, and poet Anne Spencer (1882–1975). Spencer spent over fifty years turning her house and her garden into a more beautiful and gentle world than the one outside her gates.

Inspired by the photographs taken by noted architectural and landscape photographer John Hall, the exhibition explores how each space was sacred in its own unique way. In “Any Wife to Any Husband, A Derived Poem,” Spencer writes, “This small garden is half my world.” With a myriad of flowers, a lily pool, and a cottage study, Anne’s garden was her own private poetic Eden. At the same time, her house, the other half of her world, was a welcome refuge for African Americans who would have been prevented from finding lodging in Lynchburg because of the color of their skin. The Spencers hosted civil rights activists, writers, and other famous African Americans such as Gwendolyn Brooks, George Washington Carver, Countee Cullen, W.E.B. DuBois, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Thurgood Marshall, and even Martin Luther King Jr.

House case

However, for Spencer, poetic creation and political activism were not separated by the boundaries of architecture. Rather, they were wreathed together by Spencer’s own hand in the house and in the garden. She wrote about politics on seed packets and gardening catalogues in her garden cottage, but at the same time, a poem she wrote about her favorite flower, “Lines to a Nasturtium (A Lover Muses)” is, to this day, painted on the kitchen wall.

Shown here is a packet of seeds that Spencer wrote notes on and a copy of Dreer's Garden Book with an unpublished poem

Shown here is a packet of seeds that Spencer used to take notes  and a copy of Dreer’s Garden Book , open to  an unpublished poem

The exhibition is broken down into three parts—house, garden, and garden cottage (known as “Edankraal”)— in order to show how politics and poetry, public and private, the past and the present converge in the sacred spaces Anne Spencer created. To compliment John Hall’s stunning photographs of the house and garden, we have tried to fashion each of Spencer’s sacred spaces through the physical artifacts—manuscripts, books, letters, gardening paraphernalia— she left behind.

“Sacred Spaces” is on view through January 27, 2017 in the first floor gallery of the Harrison Small building. Spencer’s home is open to the public today as the Anne Spencer House and Garden Museum. For more information, see annespencermuseum.com. To learn more about John M. Hall’s photography, please visit www.johnmhallphotographs.com.

…And to all a Good Night! —that means you, John Boy

The holidays are upon us! As we watch the students head home, the weather cool (well…not as much as we might like), and twinkling lights appear all over town, we are adding to the holiday mood with a special post from Reference Coordinator Regina “Ms. Claus” Rush. Enjoy, and be sure to check our website for holiday hours in the next couple of weeks. Thanks for the movie recommendation, Regina!

Inquire of any of my colleagues at Special Collections Library and they will attest that I govern my life by the Golden Rule. No, not that Golden Rule. I follow the Golden Rule according to Ebenezer Scrooge. Allow me to clarify further: not the Bah-Humbug Scrooge, but the kinder-gentler-post-three-ghostly-visitations Scrooge. His Golden Rule reads, “I will honour Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all year!”

Throughout the year, my colleagues can count on me to daily mention a Christmas movie, sing a verse or two from a favorite Christmas carol, or contemplate my plans for the coming year’s Christmas tree themes for my home. These are ways that I keep the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future at bay. So when asked by my colleague Molly Schwartzburg to write a post highlighting an item from our collection pertaining to Christmas, quicker than “Jack Frost can nibble at your nose,” I. WAS. ON. IT!


Regina, at right, with fellow snow fan and Reference Coordinator Anne Causey. They both wish that the claim made on this Reading Room holiday decoration was TRUE!

Shortly after I began looking into the Small Library’s treasure troves, I was delighted to discover that we hold a small but rich collection of Virginia native Earl Hamner Jr., an Emmy-winning television writer and director during the 1970’s and 80’s. The collection includes a first edition of Hamner’s 1970 novel, The Homecoming: A Novel about Spencer’s Mountain, the final shooting script for the 1971 film The Homecoming: A Christmas Story and television scripts for three mid-1970s episodes of The Waltons.

Earl Hamner, Jr. The Homecoming: A Novel about Spencer's Mountain.

Earl Hamner, Jr. The Homecoming: A Novel about Spencer’s Mountain. (PS3558 .A456 H6 1970). The novel’s epigraph reads, “It is remembered in my family that Christmas Eve of 1933 my father was late arriving home. That, along with the love he and my mother bestowed upon their eight red-headed offspring, is fact. The rest is fiction.”

The novel, drawn from Hamner’s childhood experiences growing up in Schuyler, Virginia during the Great Depression, was the impetus for the film. Originally aired on CBS on December 19, 1971, the movie was so popular that it spun off a series, “The Waltons’, which aired on CBS in September 1972 and became wildly popular, lasting nine seasons.

Final Shooting Script of The Homecoming

Cover of the Final Shooting Script for the Lorimar Productions film “The Homecoming” (MSS 10380,-a,-b)

The Homecoming movie

DVD of the movie The Homecoming: A Christmas Story, by Earl Hamner, Jr.

The final draft of of The Waltons television script

Cover of the television script for an episode of “The Waltons.” This is the revised final draft of episode #188015, “The Fighter” by Andy White (MSS 10380,-a,-b)

Christmas fans like myself know that the film that started the Waltons’ phenomenon is a holiday must-see. Included in the final script of the 1971 film ‘The Homecoming’ is a section entitled “Notes from the Author”:

[The] Christmas Season and Christmas has become a nightmare for most people. The packed stores, the enraged crowds, the stalled traffic and money worries that are common to our audience for the most part produce a national insanity. Yet underneath there is a pathetic wish that they can really experience something, maybe “The Christmas Spirit” something that no other time provides.

This holiday classic is a great start toward achieving that “Something.” So, shut out the madness of the holiday hustle and bustle. Pour yourself a BIG glass of egg-nog, get comfortable in your favorite chair and lose yourself in this wonderful coming-of-age Christmas classic. By the film’s end, I guarantee you will feel all warm and fuzzy inside (though that BIG glass of rum-infused egg nog may be partly responsible!). Wishing my colleagues and all the loyal readers of ‘Notes from Under Grounds’ a very safe and happy Holiday!

“Good Night, Penny”

“Good Night, Edward”

Good Night, David”

“Good Night, Heather and Gayle”

“Good Night George, Petrina, and Molly”

“Good Night E.J., Sharon, Ellen, Barbara, Jane…………”

Good Night, “Notes from Under Grounds” Readers!

Exhibition Prep Special: Searching for Shakespeare in Booksellers’ Records

This week we are pleased to feature the second guest blog post from graduate curatorial assistant Kelly Fleming, who will be sharing selected treats from our upcoming exhibition, “Shakespeare by the Book,” over the coming months. The exhibition opens February 22, 2016.

My first two weeks at Special Collections were spent hoisting hulking ledgers from the stacks and placing them gently onto cradles to investigate whether two early booksellers in Virginia sold Shakespeare. After the first day, I found my legs covered in wisps of binding and my hands stained with “red rot” from the ledgers’ leather bindings. Thank goodness for gloves.

Here's what my gloves looked like after several ledgers. Imagine what my bare hands looked like before I put them on.

Here’s what my gloves looked like after several ledgers. Imagine what my bare hands looked like before I put them on.

I combed through the account books of Bell & Co., a printer in Alexandria, Virginia active in the nineteenth century and the Virginia Gazette, a newspaper and printer active in Williamsburg, Virginia in the eighteenth century. My eyes sought any spelling variation of the name “Shakespeare” amidst endless purchases of envelopes and paper. Despite our modern perception that Shakespeare’s works are “classics” and that he is a father of the English language, his place in the literary canon was yet to be defined in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. As my findings attest, Virginians chose to read a myriad of other things more frequently than Shakespeare.

Only one copy of Shakespeare was sold by the Virginia Gazette in the years 1750–1752 and 1764–1766. Even though David Garrick was busily working to increase the popularity of Shakespeare in London at this time, the colonies seem to have been a step behind. Since Williamsburg was home to the Virginia legislature and the College of William & Mary, it is not surprising that the books sold by the Virginia Gazette were largely educational: Latin grammar textbooks, dictionaries, and religious texts like the Book of Common Prayer. Despite the fact that Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language (a book the Virginia Gazette also sold) marks Shakespeare’s works as the first usage of many English words, students were not studying Shakespeare. The education system in the eighteenth century trained students (that is to say, young men) in what they considered the “classics”: philosophical and literary texts from ancient Greece and Rome. When students did read literary texts in English, it seems that they read English epics, which use classical elements to describe contemporary England. The epic works of Milton, Dryden, and Pope, for example, appear numerous times in the accounts of the Virginia Gazette. In addition to English epics, we find our copy of Shakespeare alongside another genre excluded from the education system: the novel. In the ledger in our exhibition, we find popular English novels such as Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa and Tobias Smollett’s Roderick Random.

Page of Virginia Gazette Day Book showing the purchase of Theobald's edition of Shakespeare (MSS 467)

Page of Virginia Gazette Day Book showing a purchase of Theobald’s edition of Shakespeare (MSS 467)

Joseph Hutchings purchased 8 volumes of of Shakespeare "for [his] self" (MSS 467).

The Virginia Gazette records show Joseph Hutchings purchasing 8 volumes of Shakespeare “for [him] self” (MSS 467).

Alongside Shakespeare in the Virginia Gazette Daybook, I found a recorded purchase of two of Samuel Richardson's novels, "Clarissa: Or, the History of a Young Lady" (1747-8) and "The History of Sir Charles Grandison" (1753).

Alongside Shakespeare in the Virginia Gazette records are two of Samuel Richardson’s novels, “Clarissa: Or, the History of a Young Lady” (1747-8) and “The History of Sir Charles Grandison” (1753). (MSS 467)


Alongside Shakespeare in the Virginia Gazette records are many educational texts such as Lilly's Latin Grammar. (MSS 467)

Alongside Shakespeare in the Virginia Gazette records are many educational texts such as Lilly’s Latin Grammar. (MSS 467)

Thanks largely to new performances of Shakespeare plays, Garrick’s Shakespeare Jubilee, and new editions of Shakespeare works in the eighteenth century, Shakespeare’s words come alive by the nineteenth century. The accounts of Bell & Co. reflect this increasing popularity. I found seven copies of Shakespeare sold at Bell & Co. over the course of the nineteenth century (1809–1899). The specific ledger we are using in the exhibition shows Shakespeare alongside Susanna Rowson’s novel Charlotte Temple, Wordsworth, Cooper’s Virgil, and the Bible.

Bell & Co. sold Shakespeare for "6.50" (MSS 2989).

Bell & Co. sold Shakespeare for “6.50.” Different types of currency were in use in the colonies at this time. Without further research, all we can tell from this record is that it is expensive and suggests that the reader bought a multi-volume set (MSS 2989).

On the same page, Bell & Co. recorded the purchase of Susanna Rowson's novel "Charlotte Temple" and two grammar books.

On the same page as Shakespeare, Bell & Co. recorded the purchase of Susanna Rowson’s novel “Charlotte Temple” and two grammar books. (MSS 2989)

Finally, in the twentieth century, Shakespeare begins to be studied and to be studied as a father of the English language. Today, Shakespeare is probably the most often memorized, most often recited English author in schools. I still can recite the famous speech of Titania’s from A Midsummer’s Night Dream that I memorized in the tenth grade and that begins “Set your heart at rest.” But as the exhibition at the Special Collections Library will show us in February, our hearts do anything but rest when we hear the heartbeat of Shakespeare’s iambs, even four hundred years after his death.


Patron’s Choice: A Slave Negotiates her own Sale, 1852

This week we are pleased to feature a guest post from Harrison Fellow Lauren LaFauci.

Dr. LaFauci spent several weeks in Special Collections this spring as an Elwood Fellow at the Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture. She was researching for her current book project, entitled Peculiar Natures: Slavery, Environment, and Nationalism in the Southern States, 1789-1865. She teaches at the University of Tulsa.

A tireless researcher who dug deep into our collections, LaFauci generously shared her most interesting finds with the Reading Room staff. She agreed to write for Notes from Under Grounds about one item in particular: a letter from a slave-owner describing how he came to sell his his slave Fanny. As LaFauci points out, we can only get so far in recovering the circumstances of this sale since this letter is our only source.


Writing from Halifax Court House, Virginia to his brother Alex in Williamsburg on October 4, 1852, Ben Garrett closed his letter with the following important news:

You must tell Ma : that I have sold Fanny to Mr Poindexter who Keeps a Hotel in the village – opposite to Easley’s store – I did not intend or wish to sell her, but she behaved so badly I was compelled to do so – I sold her for the sum of $850.00 payable on the 1st day of May next –

Such a note—while always jarring to 21st-century readers, even to those of us reading about and studying slavery—communicates nothing unusual to its recipient. Citing what he perceived as Fanny’s bad behavior, Ben told Alex that he “was compelled to [sell her],” which was a common punishment. However, the rest of the letter communicates something highly unusual, at least for those stories preserved in the archive:

She told me, she had rather be sold than to go back to Williamsburg You know I disposed of my home & lot at the Co: House & determined to remove to my plantation sometime in November next. She was opposed to living in the Country – not wishing to leave the Village I told her to go to the plantation, whereupon she ran off from me & was gone a week. – When she came home, she said, she wanted to be sold & that “arrangements” were made the night before she returned home for her to get off to a free State or out of the State, but that she preferred being sold in the Village – I have had a deal of trouble with her – more than all the rest together for it was almost impossible to control her. She exhibited no signs of penitence & asked me to sell her. Poindexter offered me a large price & I determined to let her go – I understand that he & his wife are pleased with her & if she will behave herself, they will treat her well – Of course I will account for her value – but I will add, she is one of the most difficult negroes to control I ever saw –

Say to Ma : I am sorry I had to sell her, but that she asked & was anxious to be sold – I think she was Kept by some white persons about the Village, which was the cause of her conduct. I saw her to-day & she seemed to be satisfied with her new home from her appearance —  I know that she was treated well at our house & there was no excuse for her behaviour & then to have the impudence to run away from me & stay out a week. If it was not that she was aunt Lucy’s child (who has been so faithful) I should have no pity for her – [. . .]

The opening page of the letter. (MSS 9974-a: Papers of the Garrett Family. Photograph by Molly Schwartzburg)

The opening page of the letter. (MSS 9974-a: Papers of the Garrett Family. Photograph by Molly Schwartzburg)

This story presents a number of thorny questions. If we take Ben’s communication of the events at face value—a large “if,” and more on that below—then Fanny took distinct and savvy actions to achieve her desired outcome. First, she resisted Ben’s orders to “go to the plantation” in the country by running away for one week; at that time, she may have been making the “arrangements” Ben alludes to. Such truancy would have signaled to Ben that she was willing to take drastic actions in order to get her way, while simultaneously giving her time and space to effect her own escape or sale. Second, she appears to have negotiated this sale; Ben notes that Fanny “asked & was anxious to be sold” and that she “was opposed to living in the Country” and would “rather be sold than to go back to Williamsburg.”

These lines from the third page of the letter reveal the extent of Fanny's influence upon her owner. (Photo by Molly Schwartzburg)

These lines from the third page of the letter reveal the extent of Fanny’s influence upon her owner. (Photo by Molly Schwartzburg)

If we assume Ben’s version of events, Fanny told him that she preferred to be sold “in the Village” rather than relocating to his rural plantation. Such a preference raises an intriguing parallel to the narrative of Harriet Jacobs, who similarly desired to stay within the town of Edenton, North Carolina, where she gained some protection from the advances of her lecherous owner, James Norcom: “It was lucky for me that I did not live on a distant plantation,” she wrote, “but in a town not so large that the inhabitants were ignorant of each other’s affairs. Bad as are the laws and customs in a slaveholding community, [Norcom], as a professional man, deemed it prudent to keep up some outward show of decency” (47).**  In another parallel with Jacobs, Fanny appears to have been on intimate terms with “some white persons about the Village”: readers of Jacobs will recall that she forms a relationship with Samuel Tredwell Sawyer, having two children with him, in order to protect herself from the sexual advances of Norcom. Both Fanny and Jacobs seem to engage in alternative relationships to gain increased power within a system designed to deny them such agency.

A page from Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, demonstrating compelling parallels with Fanny's much more heavily mediated story. (PS 1293 .I54 1861. Photo by Molly Schwartzburg)

A page from Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, demonstrating compelling parallels with Fanny’s much more heavily mediated story. (PS 1293 .I54 1861. Photo by Molly Schwartzburg)

And now to that big “if” – to what extent can we take Ben’s account of this story as “the truth”? If Fanny was indeed seeking shelter from sexual advances, can we trust that she really “asked & was anxious to be sold”? Or was Ben trying to cover for himself, to provide a reason for the sale of an enslaved woman who was clearly important to the family?

These questions, among many others, make up the central problem for historians of slavery: most of the stories about enslaved people in the archive are mediated through the voices of the people who legally owned them. We attempt to ascertain the “true” course of events, but we must frequently do so through the words of those with the power to construct such stories however they wish, and for audiences with motivations similar to their own. In a time when enslaved people were prohibited by law from learning to read and write, any evidence of literacy would have been hidden from those with the power to preserve such words, leaving us with mere traces and glimpses. We work through several layers of meaning, only to emerge with more questions than we had at the start. How do you interpret Fanny’s story?

Author’s note: I have reproduced the spelling, formatting, and punctuation as they appear in the original letter. Any errors in the transcription are my own.

This Just In: Rolling in the Stacks with the Charlottesville Derby Dames

This week, we feature a guest post from Charlottesville Derby Dame Grëtel vön Metäl, also known as Gretchen Gueguen.

When we here at the Small Library think about new materials we would like to add to our collections we take many factors into consideration: the research quality of the content, connections to the University’s curriculum or history, or alignment with our core collecting areas. Given the breadth of subject, time period, and format of our collections we often come across materials that will complement or counterpoint something we already own, even though at first glance it might not seem to fit with everything else.

Such is the story of how we made our newest acquisition, the Charlottesville Derby Dames Records. The Dames are a non-profit women’s sport club here in Charlottesville founded in 2007. My day-job at the library is Digital Archivist, but on the flat-track I am known as “Grëtel vön Metäl.” When I mentioned one day that I was going to be skating with the Dames in an upcoming match (called a “bout” in derby parlance), our current Head of Technical Services, Edward Gaynor, immediately suggested that a collection of Dames materials would make an excellent complement to our collections of the papers of various local and regional “ladies’ clubs” such as The Garden Club or the Ladies’ Sewing Society. When researchers come to the Reading Room to look at these collections they are usually studying the ways in which women construct their identities in public: how do they present themselves? what kinds of activities do they become involved in? what can these things tell us about women’s roles?

A screenshot of the Dames’ website, ca. 2012 (MSS MSS 15490).  Compare with the Team’s current page: http://www.charlottesvillederbydames.com.

A screenshot of the Dames’ website, ca. 2012 (MSS 15490). Compare with the Team’s current page: http://www.charlottesvillederbydames.com.

The sport of roller derby began in the late 1800s as endurance skating races. They were a popular activity for both sexes until entrepreneurs Leo Seltzer and Damon Runyon formed professional leagues featuring women in the 1930s and added elements of competition and physical contact. The sport was immensely popular, a staple of television, until the 70s. While the fights were often staged, the women skaters were skilled athletes.

Roller derby in the fifties was pretty rough and tumble, but with no protective gear (image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs division: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cph.3c13476/)

Roller derby in the fifties was pretty rough and tumble, but skaters wore no protective gear (image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs division: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cph.3c13476/)

Roller derby began its resurgence in the early 2000s in Austin, Texas. Doing away with the traditional banked track and playing on a flat oval made it easier to find a place to skate – anywhere you can find a big flat space, you can play roller derby (although a few leagues still use a banked track). The game quickly spread across the country and even across the globe. By 2013 over 1,200 leagues had formed on every continent but Antarctica, and men’s, junior’s, and co-ed leagues are growing in numbers as well.

Derby has a growing fan-base, and an even more passionate following among those who play it. Women’s roller derby is especially known for the colorful personas adopted by players, symbolized by their adopted “Derby Names.” The sport itself requires a high degree of athleticism combining strength, endurance, skill, and strategy, but on the flat track skaters can be as menacing (Soulfearic Acid), tough (Punky Bruiser), flirty (Sexy Sladie), or playful (Snot Rocket Science) as they want to be.


Today the Dames play with helmets, knee and elbow pads and wrist guards. This photo is from a bout in 2012 at Charlottesville’s Main Street Arena against the Charm City Rollergirls of Baltimore, Maryland (MSS 15490. photo by Dan Purdy).

The newly acquired Derby Dames collection here at UVa is unusual in more than just its subject. It was also a chance for us to acquire a modern collection composed almost entirely of electronic materials. As the Dames have only just recently formed, all of our operational documents, promotional material, and ephemera are created as electronic documents and most are never printed. While the library has collected about 30 posters, handbills, programs, and other ephemera, we’ve also collected more than 12,000 electronic documents including bylaws and policies, meeting minutes, graphics, photos, video, and websites.

I worked with the Dames to download a copy of all of the team’s working files from a shared Google Documents folder. These files were immediately copied for safe keeping and stored on an external hard drive. Next, I used specialized software to create listings of all of the files present and some technical details of each. A key piece of information is what’s called a “checksum” – a kind of digital fingerprint in the form of a numerical code created by running an algorithm on the contents of a file. That file and only that particular file will create that particular checksum. This allows me to verify that files haven’t been corrupted or tampered with over time.

After organizing and removing duplicates from the collection, I uploaded the new collection to networked library storage and created a finding aid. Future work will include creating a searchable, online archive of the documents (access will be available on Grounds in the Reading Room initially) and working with the Library IT department to ensure the long-term preservation of the content within the Library and University’s larger IT infrastructure. This work will not only ensure the future access to the Derby Dames collection, but will pave the way for more electronic collections to come.

Observations on the Seventeen-Year Cicada: A Citizen Scientist Reports from 1824

For the last two weeks, I have been, well, geeking out as cicadas have begun appearing in my heavily wooded neighborhood in Charlottesville. I’ve seen two waves of the little beasties emerge from beneath the shrubs outside my cottage, and each time, have immediately documented my sightings online. Social-networking and online-news sources this spring alerted me to two websites that are calling on “Citizen Scientists” to document the emergence, one hosted by Radio Lab and the other by National Geographic.

One of the first cicadas to emerge in my neighborhood in Charlottesville, May 15, 2013.

One of the first cicadas to emerge in my neighborhood in Charlottesville, May 15, 2013. It rests on the branch of an Abelia shrub, under which may be seen numerous circular holes from which this and other cicadas emerged. (Photo by Molly Schwartzburg)

Why the big deal? Brood II cicadas (Magicicada septendecim) spend seventeen years living underground before emerging to sing loudly, lay eggs, and then die within about a month. Because of this unusually lengthy life cycle, Brood II cicadas are relatively mysterious to scientists, and a lot of basic questions about their activities remain unanswered. So scientists have been taking advantage of crowdsourcing opportunities to gather information; emergences are spotty (some people will see no cicadas in their yards) and range across hundreds of miles. Projects like the ones I’m participating in will perhaps provide enough data to keep the lab rats busy for, oh, maybe another seventeen years.

I wondered how earlier Virginians experienced cicada emergences, and was thrilled to discover that Special Collections holds a remarkable 200-year-old personal account of a fellow magicicada enthusiast, who wrote his own history of “locusts,” as they were commonly termed in that period. “J. S.” (who felt uncomfortable giving his/her full name to “such a rough draft”) tracked what are now known as Brood II and Brood X, which also emerges every 17 years, and will emerge next in 2021. J. S. explains how careful observation led him to determine that the cicadas feed off the roots of trees while underground (correct!). He also describes with great detail the workings of the female’s “perforator” (now called the “ovipositor”), the mechanism with which she lays her eggs.

J. S.’s  4-page long description of emergences in 1766, 1783, 1800, and 1809 is reproduced here in full, each page first in transcription (with paragraph breaks added and some spelling and punctuation modified for ease of reading), followed by an image of the page. Enjoy!

A short history of the locusts of North America

Several years past some conversation took place between an intimate acquaintance and my self, respecting the locusts. For his information I will throw my Ideas on paper. In the spring of 1766 they made their appearance in Frederick County Virginia and in 1783 the appeared again. Previous to their coming up at this time, I observed the Hoggs were very busy rooting under the Apple trees in the orchard. In a few days the locusts were seen in abundance crawling from the avenues of their subterenious dwellings. A short time after they appeared they were observed to be busily employed in geting released from a covering they had no use for in their present abode. As they appeared to come onely a small distance from the apple trees or the trees of the forrest, I was at a loss for a reason why it was so, and was induced to think that when the eggs they deposited in the small branches of of the trees, were hatched, that the young ones droped down and made their way into the earth, that they remained there a certain number of years. I had heared of several spaces of time mentioned, but there appeared no standard to calculation as to the length of time they remained in the earth, or the depth they decended. All appeared uncertain.

So it passed on untill they came in 1800. The first discovery I then made of their coming was the earth rooted up by the hoggs as heretofore. At this time finding it to be 17 years since their last appearance, it claimed my further attention, and I undertook a more minute investigation of the case. I had an orchard near the house where the trees were planted too close together and some of them had been cut down two or three years before. In conversation with a friend of mine on the subject of the locusts, which appeared in great abundance, we walked into the orchard, and made a prety full examination of their coming out of the earth, and discovered that there was no holes in the ground near the stumps of the trees that had been removed some years previous to that time. This led me to investigate the case further in respect to the means of sustenance & I was now led to believe that they drew their support from the live roots of the trees So I left it until they came the next time.
I was now living In the State of Ohio in the year 1809. In the spring of this year I

First page of A Short History of the Locusts of North America (MSS 9727). (Digitized by Molly Schwartzburg)

First page of A Short History of the Locusts of North America (MSS 9727). (Digitized by Molly Schwartzburg)

I was fencing a garden. I observed in diging the post holes at one corner of the garden, we found many locusts near the Surface, but in the other part we did not discover any. Here the former observation took place. There was the green roots of a shade tree that we had removed, and the locusts were not found further than the roots had spread. This was several years before the time that I expected they would again shew themselves, according to my former calculations, yet I judged we should have another locust year before the time in course. I now made enquiry of some of the former setler that had lived near me, when the locusts had made their appearance last, but none of them appared clear as to the time. And recuring back to the time that I discovered that they did not come up round the dead appletree Stumps, it struck me that it was similar to our not finding any locusts in the holes we dug for the post holes of our garden fence.

This spring the locust came in great abundance. A further examination took place. I took a walk in order to satisfy my curiosity, and after advancing some distance and passing several stumps of trees that had been cut not more than two or three years, and could not find one hole where the locusts had come up, and proceeding on a little further, I discovered one hole, and then another, and casting my eye a little further on, I observed several holes the locusts had made nearly in a straight line. In order to gratify my curiosity a little more, I got a spade and dug till I found the root of an elm tree that was now exactly under the row of holes, the locusts had made, and searching further about the roots of the elm, I discovered there was small open spaces round the roots, where I thought it was at least probable, the locusts had lain and sucked the sap out of the roots. Here they could not have decended more than four or five feet , as the leavel of the creek was not more than that distance.

The knowledge I thought I had gained of their history led me to pry minutely into the manner of their increas. I found that they hatched in a short time after the eggs were deposited in the small branches of the trees, and that they were

Page two.

Page two.

to be found in little clusters on the small lims. In a short time they shed a little coat or shell something similar to that they shed soon after they came out of their [subterenious caverns?.] They shed several of these coverings when they are small of a colour between white and brown. To take hold of them is difficult. They will slip off more like what is calld a flee than any other insect that I know of. They continue on the tender branches of the tree, untill they are something more than half an inch long, and have the resemblance of the locust.

The perforator (as I do not know any name more proper to call it) appears to be perfectly formed at this time for driling the holes in the small branches of the trees where She deposits their eggs. This instrument is about half an inch long and about the thickness of a smallish needle. It is hollow and a seam along the lower part, a little resembling a steel pen, the outer end is shaped a little like the bowl of a spoon with the concave side down, the curved part is brought to a sharp point and both edges are set with sharp teeth so fine that the naked eye can hardly discern them, but when magnifyed appear something like [sickle?] teeth. The motion made with this almost curious instrument in driling the holes is nearly a semicircle and with the little teeth cuting both ways they soon make the hole as deep as the want it.

The egg now appears opening and swelling the tube untill it gets in the concave part, then the egg is deposited and another hole is commenced. So they go on untill they have a douzen or more of eggs in regular order. One end of the first one is [elevated?] about forty degrees, and the next egg is laid part on the first so that they lay in a regular streight line. So beautifully are they aranged that the nicest [illegible?] cant exceed it, and the perforator cant be exceeded by human art. The locust when prepared to decend into the earth as above described, is near three fourths of an inch long, is covered along its back from the hindermost part of the wings to the front of the head, with a hard horny substance perhaps as hard as a cows horn,

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and on the foremost part it appears to be formed for diging or penetrating into the earth, (all the work of the great architect) . I think it is likely they ware this armour untill they are nearly ready to leave their house of clay, and about to ascend into the pure and sublime regions of the air. Here their existence is not long in duration. Soon after they arise they shed a coat or covering. It appears to burst on the back and they crawl out, and soon begin their ravages on the tender branches of the fruit and other trees, by piercing them with their small bits and sucking the sap, which appears to be their onely sustenance. I have seen them when about to leave the branch where they have been feeding on, the flow of sap hath been so strong that after the locust leaves the place where he has been feeding the tender juice will run and stand on the branch quite transparent.

There is one more remark that I want to make respecting the locusts. I have found the young locusts more numerous on the branches of the locust trees than any other tree. Whether the locusts took their name from this tree, or the tree from the locusts, I must leave.

It is left now to inform that what is wrote is the result of my own observation which begun with the year 1766—1783—1800—1817 were locust years in Frederick and Loudon, Counties, in Virginia. I once related this circumstance to a friend of mine in whom I could place the greatest confidence and he then informed me, that in the year 1749 his Father removed with his famely from Pensylvania to Loudon County Virginia, and it was a locust year. In the year 1817 the locusts onely reached to the crossings in the Aleghany mountain and in 1809 when we had them in Jefferson Ohio they did not reach Pittsburgh until several years after that time, so it is I believe they have 17 years as a stated period of appearance. What changes may take place hereafter we do not know. I onely state what has been the result of my my enquiry

Thy friend
J. S

My name in full is too much to put to such a rough draft as this 3rd mo 16th 1824

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