Recently, the Library of Virginia received generous gifts of historical Virginia newspapers from the Tennessee State Library and Archives and Christopher Newport University.
The Tennessee State Library and Archives donated to the Virginia Newspaper Project some rare finds never held by the Library of Virginia until now. One of the titles, of special historical import, is called Anti-Liquor. As the name implies, Anti-Liquor was just that: a monthly newspaper committed to the prohibition of alcohol. Established in 1890 by John R. Moffet, Reverend of Memorial Baptist Church in Danville, Virginia, the paper was “issued for the sole purpose of educating the people upon the evils of the drink habit, and especially to turn light upon the question of Legal Prohibition.
According to Lester Cappon’s essential work, Virginia Newspapers 1821-1935, a Lynchburg temperance monthly, the Truth, was absorbed by Anti-Liquor in 1891. Moffet continued editing the paper after the merger until he was assassinated in Danville on November 11, 1892.
The history of the Reverend Moffet’s church explained, “John R. Moffett died a martyr’s death at the hand of an assassin’s bullet for the cause of temperance.” Anti-Liquor ceased publication shortly after his death.
The Tennessee State Library and Archives also gave the Library a May, 15, 1869 issue of The Collegian published by Washington College, what is today Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. Published semi-monthly by literary societies of the college, The Collegian focused on various aspects of academia and student news. The entire front page of this particular issue is taken up by one article titled, “Claims of the German Language” proposing the utility of learning German, as opposed to French. “Thus the study of German is not only interesting in itself and affords vigorous intellectual exercise,” the article concluded, “but is rich in results as displaying the points of contact between it and our own speech and thus strengthening the bonds of brotherhood, increasing our knowledge of our mother tongue, and giving another foothold as we advance in the mysterious but glorious study of Language.”
Another article in this issue, excerpted from the New York Herald , brings up Robert E. Lee’s activities as president of the college, a position he held until his death in 1870. “The action of General Lee. . .in taking up the movement for practical and technical education in this country,” it explained, “is likely to make a great impression upon our old fogy schools and colleges as he did in military tactics upon our old fogy commanders in the palmy days of the rebellion.”
And last, but not least, Christopher Newport Library donated a beautifully bound volume of the Jeffersonian Republican. The paper was given to the Christopher Newport Library by the estate of Dorothy Rouse-Bottom, author, collector of books and early Virginiana and editor of her family’s newspaper, the Daily Press. Rouse-Bottom’s father, Major Raymond B. Bottom was President and Publisher of the Daily Press newspapers from 1931-1953, while her mother, Dorothy E. Bottom held the position of Editor and Vice President of the paper from 1954-1977. Rouse-Bottom was devoted not only to newspaper publishing, but to preserving and promoting the history of Newport News. She served on the boards of the Mariners’ Museum, Christopher Newport University, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Hampton History Museum, the Rouse Bottom Foundation, the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, and the Virginia Opera and the Virginia Symphony.
Thanks to Rouse-Bottom’s dedication to the preservation of Virginia’s history, the Library now has a volume for the years 1877-1879 of the Jeffersonian Republican, a Democratic weekly published out of Charlottesville from 1873-1894.
These historically significant resources are currently available for further examination or study at the Library of Virginia.