Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Richmond: Day 1

I arrived here last night and was fortunately picked up at the airport by a friend of my landlady. We took the senic route through the town to sort of get me acclimated to the geography of the city. During our ride I became firmly convinced that it was basically vital to have a car. That conclusion was further confirmed today as I tried to figure out how long it might take to walk to the museums I need to visit. So I caught a ride this morning with a roommate who graciously offered to drop me off at the Virginia Historical Society. For $3 a day, the VHS allows researchers access to their excellent archives. Virginia is one of a handful of states that is obsessed with its history, so the historical society is a great repository of information.

The first half of my day was sort of a waste because I was seduced by historical artifacts. The VHS keeps great collections of manuscripts so you can actually hold in your hands something Jefferson Davis or Robert Lee wrote.

Unfortunately, these aren't that related to my topic. Or rather, the study of monuments is very related to my topic, but there already exists a wealth of secondary literature on the topic. So I decided it didn't make sense to waste my time looking at documents that have already been analyzed.

For the second part of the day I decided to only look at more recent publications like the magazine of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Southern Partisan. Since these are basically monthly publications, this has been quite a task. Then I stood in the rain and waited for the bus home.

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