This blog post was written by Bill Keeler, Student Assistant in charge of digitizing the Randolph H. Lytton Historical Virginia collection. Bill has a Bachelor of Arts in History with a focus in American History from George Mason University. He will be continuing his education at Simmons University with the aim of eventually joining the archival field professionally. Thanks for all of your hard work at SCRC, Bill!

Greetings!

After a busy couple of months I am happy to report the bulk of digitization of the Randolph H. Lytton Historical Virginia collection is coming to an end. In this short blog post I will briefly describe the project as well as share a few interesting finds.

The first set of items to be digitized were items relating to the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865). Being able to spend more time with the letters in this part of the collection was nothing short of fascinating. From the way each individual wrote about their experiences, feelings, and general well-being during the conflict, to the way some soldiers did not mention the war at all in their letters home, the collection provides an incredibly well-rounded view of the war. Furthermore, the materials that were used often told just as much as a story as the content of the letters. There is a definitive correlation between tone and rank within both Union and Confederate soldier’s letters. Below are a some of those letters.

With items ranging in date from 1670-2004, the collection provides a wonderful glimpse into different parts of Virginia and Fairfax County’s unique and well-documented history. Some other notable correspondence present are letters sent from Victoria Wailes to her family from overseas, as well as letters belonging to C.R. Wyatt (both Virginia natives). From courting to international experiences, the letters magnify how each individual lived and how they wrote differently to different people. Below are a few images of said correspondence.

With over 350 items in SCRC’s digital repository, the collection has many lovely items, but these posts can only be so long!

Follow Special Collections Research Center on Social Media at our FacebookInstagram, 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 speccoll@gmu.edu 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.

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