New and Updated Finding Aids – Part 2

Photo from the World War II Hawaii photograph album, C0496, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

John Thomson Mason, Jr. letter

Letter from John Thomson Mason, Jr. to an unknown recipient, July 7, 1841. The letter was written during Mason’s tenure as U.S. Representative for the sixth district of Maryland. The letter reads: “House of Representatives, July 7, 1841, Dear Sir, You will do me a favor by giving the information [desired?] in the accompanying letter. If possible let me know where is the regiment or company to which is attached the new [?] under Lee. Respectfully yours, [?] Thomson Mason Return also if you please this letter”… John Thomson Mason, Jr. was an American lawyer and U.S. Representative from Maryland. Mason was the grandson of Thomson Mason, younger brother of George Mason IV. Mason was born in Maryland on May 9, 1815. He attended Princeton College (now University) and practiced as a lawyer in Hagerstown, MD. He was eventually elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and served Maryland’s sixth district from 1841 – 1843. Mason died on March 28, 1873.

Loudoun County Whig Office printed vote tally

Printed document detailing the votes for candidates for an unnamed office, likely the Virginia General Assembly, by the towns Leesburg, Gum Spring, Lovettsville, Waterford, Mt. Gilead, Snickersville, Union, Peacock’s, Water’s, Purcell’s, Hillsboro, and Middleburg of Loudoun County, Virginia. The document reads “Loudoun Whig Office, Leesburg, VA., April 28, 1848.” At the bottom it is handwritten that Robert White, Burr Harrison, and Lewis Beard were elected…The Whig Party was an American political party formed in 1833-1834 as an opposition to then President Andrew Jackson’s expansion of executive power. The Whig Party was a proponent of states’ rights, and eventually the American South’s attempt to continue the enslavement of millions of people. Loudoun County, Virginia was an essentially Whig county, and was originally “officially” in support of the Union pre-Civil War, though the county was divided on the issue. Eventually secessionists swayed the county into supporting the South’s secession, though its official Whig representatives remained pro-Union. The Whig Party dissolved in 1856.

Photo from the World War II Hawaii photograph album, C0496, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Commonwealth of Virginia documents signed by governors appointing justices of the peace and sheriffs for Loudoun County

Five official Commonwealth of Virginia documents signed by four Virginia governors, each appointing justices of the peace or sheriffs for Loudoun County, 1809 – 1849. Each document is partially printed and handwritten, and has a seal. All of them have handwriting on the verso…The first document, dated July 6, 1809, was signed by Lieutenant Governor (or Acting Governor) and eventual Governor George William Smith, appointing Charles Bunnett to the position of Sheriff…The second document, dated October 14, 1811, was signed by Lieutenant Governor and eventual Governor George William Smith, appointing a group of people to the Justices of the Peace…The third document, dated February 26, 1833, was signed by Governor John Floyd, appointing a group of people to the Justices of the Peace…The fourth document, dated December 8, 1844, was signed by Governor James McDowell, appointing Abner Gibson to the position of Sheriff…The fifth document, dated August 9, 1849, was signed by Governor John Buchanan Floyd (son of Governor John Floyd), appointing a group of people to the Justices of the Peace.

World War II Hawaii photograph album

Photograph album made by a U.S. serviceman, most likely in the U.S. Army Air Force, that mostly shows locations in Oahu, Hawaii. The photographs date from 1942-1945, with the majority being taken between 1942 – 1943. The photos depict training at airfields on Oahu, including Wheeler Field and Bellows Field, as well as scenes of civilian life in Honolulu and Hilo, Hawaii, and San Francisco and San Diego, California…Most of the photographs have written commentary from the creator – who is himself depicted in some pictures, as is his wife Kathleen – which is often sexist and offensive in nature. Some of the photographs do not have written commentary. There are a number of photos missing from the album…The Hawaiian Islands were irrevocably and drastically changed by the Second World War and the U.S. Military. After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7 1941, Hawaii – particularly the island of Oahu – became the United States’ bastion of the Pacific War…After Pearl Harbor, martial law was enacted in Hawaii and would remain in place for the rest of the war. The U.S. Army Air Force – the precursor to the United States Air Force – held a large presence on Oahu and had multiple facilities on the island, such as Wheeler Army Airfield and Bellows Field. Servicemen and their families arrived from the mainland and quickly populated Oahu. This domination of military life severely altered the culture and everyday lives of Hawaiians and other island residents for decades to come.


Photo from the World War II Hawaii photograph album, C0496, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

“To the Voters of the Congressional District in the State of Virginia” pamphlet by Representative John Taliaferro

Printed pamphlet titled “To the Voters of the Congressional District, In the State of Virginia. Composed of the Counties of Westmoreland, Richmond, Northumberland, Lancaster, King George, Stafford, and Prince William” written by Virginia Representative John Taliaferro, January 15, 1841. The pamphlet is eight pages long, and is uncut in quarto format. Written in the first person, Taliaferro describes the circumstances of being nominated again for representative, his political views, social views, and voting record. Taliaferro mentions many American politicians of the age, such as Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren (then president), as well as the Federalist and Whig political parties. There is some handwriting in the margins which reads “Barton + Farrow’s papers” on the first page and “important” on the last page…John Taliaferro was an American politician and lawyer. Born in 1768 near Fredericksburg, Virginia, Taliaferro served in the U.S. House of Representatives four times from between 1801 – 1843. He also served as librarian at the United States Treasury. Taliaferro died in 1852.

Orders and oaths for Union and Confederate deserters

Four printed documents, three Union and one Confederate, regarding policies and procedures for deserters from each side of the Civil War, all printed in 1864. The Confederate document by S. Cooper, the Adjutant and Inspector General, outlines policy toward non-U.S. born Union deserters (General Order no.65). Two documents from the Office of the Provost Martial Headquarters Department of Virginia and North Carolina are the oath to be sworn by Confederate deserters who surrender to the Union and the certification of that oath, specifically in Virginia. Both are unfilled and unsigned. The fourth document from the Headquarters of the Armies of the United States and Assistant Adjutant General T.S. Bowers, outlines requirements of Confederate deserters who wish to surrender to the United States…The Civil War saw soldiers deserting on both sides for a variety of reasons, some in political protest, some in desperation or a need to return to their families. In Virginia specifically, “[Confederates] fled military service at a rate of between 10 and 15 percent, more or less comparable to the desertion rate among Union troops, which stood between 9 and 12 percent.” (Sheehan-Dean). North Carolina also saw one of the highest rates of desertion during the war (Franch).

Letter from Richard Bland Lee regarding Alexandria, Virginia merchants and the National Bank

A letter from Richard Bland Lee to an unknown recipient regarding Alexandria, Virginia merchants and the National Bank. The letter reads: “Philadelphia, Jan 17, 1792, Sir, I take the liberty of troubling you once more with a memorial from the Merchants of Alexandria on the subject of establishing a Branch of the National Bank at that place. – You will, I make no doubt, take [?] measures to have it decided on; and with all due [?] and to the considerations which induced a second application – I am with great personal respect your most ob’t Sevt Richard Bland Lee[.]” The letter was written during Lee’s first term as U.S. Representative for Prince William County, Virginia…Richard Bland Lee was an American politician, jurist, member of the Lee family, and enslaver. Born in 1761 in Prince William County, Virginia, Lee was well-educated and attended the College of William and Mary. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1784-1788, and later as U.S. Representative for three different terms, which lasted from 1789-1975. Lee was Northern Virginia’s first representative to Congress. Lee inherited the land that would become Sully Plantation (now Sully Historic Site) from his father Henry Lee II along with his younger brother Theodorick Lee…At Sully Plantation the brothers used enslaved labor to further their agricultural efforts. From the Sully Historic Site website: “Richard’s 1787 inheritance from his father included land, livestock and the ownership of 29 enslaved people. Among them were Sam, the blacksmith; John, a manservant; Prue, the mother of several children; Thornton, a male cook; and Caine and Eave, who had lived and worked at Sully since 1746. These men and women, along with four tenants, provided the essential labor and artisan skills upon which the family depended. Their activities encompassed every aspect of operating the farm.” Lee was the Uncle of General Robert E. Lee, who led the Confederacy’s effort to perpetuate the institution of slavery during the Civil War.

Photo from the World War II Hawaii photograph album, C0496, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

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