This post was written by Emily Rusch, student Research Assistant.
The Virginia Historical Documents collection includes letters, postcards, and court documents relating to Virginia from early 16th century until the early 20th century. This collection was put together using many small donations to the Special Collections Research Center. Pictured is a letter from George Washington to a military officer in Monmouth, written in June of 1780.
Having proven himself during the French and Indian war, George Washington was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army in 1775. Washington’s leadership helped unite the various state militias and secure a victory at Yorktown in 1781, which led to the United States becoming an independent nation. George Washington’s letter to the military officer includes instructions on how to get sensitive information from Monmouth to himself.
Aside from letters to other people, this collection also contains personal notes written to oneself. Pictured below is Calvin Jewett’s new year’s resolutions, written on December 29th, 1841.
Though this collection contains mainly letters, there are a couple of really interesting postcards. The first postcard shows Jamestown, Virginia, and was sent to a Miss Sue in September of 1907.
On May 13, 1607, 104 Englishmen arrived at what we now call Jamestown. Jamestown was the site of the first permanent English settlement in North America. The first building in Jamestown was a single fort. It was built to protect the settlers from being attacked by the Native Americans, whose hunting grounds were being used by the English. The postcard shows that, 300 years later, Jamestown was a bustling city.
The second postcard has the famous Pocahontas and Captain John Smith, who is said to have been one of the 104 Englishmen who came to Jamestown.
Follow Special Collections Research Center on Social Media at our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. To search the collections held at Special Collections Research Center, go to our website and browse the finding aids by subject or title. You may also e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703-993-2220 if you would like to schedule an appointment, request materials, or if you have questions. Appointments are not necessary to request and view collections.