Saturday, July 23, 2011

Encyclopedia Articles

The past week at the library has been fairly productive. I've mostly been answering simple reference questions, which has left me with a lot of time to work on encyclopedia articles. My expansion of the Fraternal Organization article (formerly titled Freemasonry) has been published! Click here to read it.

I was also working on a revision of an article about The Forest, which was John Wayles' (Thomas Jefferson's father-in-law) plantation. The revision was spurred by a question from one of our patrons about what happened to the plantation after John Wayles died. I did a little digging and it turned out that it is impossible for me to determine that with the resources I have available. It is fairly certain that the house burned at some point, but my review of newspaper articles of the time did not allude to whether the house burned during the Civil War (which is local legend) or whether it burned at a later date. There is a picture of the alleged house from the 1890s which suggests it burned later. Unfortunately, it is also hard to determine when the land exchanged hands because Charles City County (the location of the plantation) lost many of its records during the Civil War. All that is left is an inventory of John Wayles' property in Thomas Jefferson's handwriting (he was one of the executors). So this subject was pretty much a dead end, but you can read what we do know about the property here.

Of course my major article of the summer, The Barbary Wars, is not yet published, but I am getting ever closer to perfecting it, so stay tuned in!

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