Due to building maintenance, Cooper Branch is closed until further notice. Beginning Monday, September 24, Cooper customers can pick up their holds at the Montross Branch

History Blog

Mon, 08/27/2018 - 12:23pm

Follow Marlborough Point Road down to the eastern tip of Stafford County, and you will pass by lots of new housing mushrooming into the forests and fields that were once favored by both the Native Americans and colonial settlers.  This section of the county is home to not just centuries of local history but millennia.

Wed, 09/12/2018 - 4:41pm

This fall, follow your roots to uncover stories from your family history. CRRL is hosting classes for beginning and experienced family researchers at several of its branches:

Preserving Your Memories: Personal Archiving
Fredericksburg Branch, Wednesday, October 3, 6:00-7:30, or Porter Branch, Monday, October 8, 3:00-4:30.

Fri, 08/24/2018 - 3:50pm
Strong Men & Women in Virginia History Exhibit

Central Rappahannock Regional Library will host the traveling exhibit for this year’s Strong Men & Women in Virginia History August 23-September 29, at Fredericksburg Branch. The Library of Virginia, in partnership with Dominion Energy, honors seven distinguished African American leaders annually by recognizing them as Strong Men & Women in Virginia History. According to the Library of Virginia, these individuals, past and present, are chosen based on their “contributions to the state, the nation, or their professions."

Wed, 06/27/2018 - 3:11pm
It's a Great Month for National Parks

It’s time to gather friends and family and head to a national park or national historic site. How does the National Park Service provide fun, memorable, and inspiring experiences? Camping, fishing, hiking, history, grand vistas, and horseback riding - there are so many possibilities in our national parks. Head to a local national park or even plan a longer trip for an end-of-summer big adventure! If you are traveling with children, be sure to check out the Junior Ranger program, available at many parks.

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 12:12pm

January 30, 1649, was chosen to be King Charles’ death day. Among the sober observers were tall, flaxen-haired Gideon Jukes, musketeer and spy for Cromwell’s New Army, and lovely Juliana Lovell, the still loyal though seemingly abandoned wife of a Cavalier officer.

Juliana has crisscrossed wartorn England and now lives in London on the brink of starvation with her two young boys. She has a lady’s manners but has had to develop cunning to survive her years alone while her husband serves in the King’s army. Her path crosses with Gideon’s when they both flee the Tower in the aftermath of the King's execution.
 
Their lives before the war were so very different. Gideon, rebellious son of a wealthy merchant, nonetheless was cheerfully apprenticed to a printer of many things, including seditious literature. When the call came to join Parliament’s cause with the London trained bands, he quickly volunteered, eager to get away from a strange and unpleasant marriage. Without family and in need of a protector, Juliana had wed a trickster, a lesser noble, who fascinated her and kept her true to him despite their years apart.
 
Rebels and Traitors is a massive novel—nearly 750 pages—set in a time most Americans know little about. But they should, and this story is an engrossing way to immerse oneself in a time every bit as exciting and compelling as the American Civil War or the French Revolution. Those who enjoy James Michener’s historical sagas and Bernard Cornwell’s military tales of the British past should find summer solace in this lengthy tale. The pacing fluctuates between battles and sackings of towns--punctuated with periods of domestic normality, friendships, love, and even humor.
Mon, 07/02/2018 - 7:49pm
Teetotalers and Moonshiners Exhibit at Howell

“Now the temp’rance army’s marching,
Wives and sisters in the throng,
Shouting ‘Total Prohibition’
As we bravely march along!” - from the Temperance Army song

Did you know it was never illegal to drink during Prohibition? The 18th Amendment to the Constitution, also known as the Volstead Act, made the production, sale, and transport of intoxicating beverages illegal but said nothing about actually drinking the stuff. It contained some exceptions, too. For example, a doctor could prescribe medicinal whiskey to his patients. The production and distribution of liquor, once handled by legitimate businesses, became the province of criminal gangs. Can you say Al Capone? Respectable folk patronized illegal speakeasies. New York City alone had an estimated 30,000 speakeasies! As organized crime grew, and drinking gained more social acceptance, support for Prohibition waned, and in 1933 the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th.  

Virginia was ahead of its time, banning alcoholic drinks more than three years before national prohibition was enacted in 1920. Learn more about this fascinating period in Virginia’s history, including the long-lasting effects still felt today. With support from the National Alcoholic Beverage Control Association, the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control, and the Virginia Distillers Association, Howell Branch will host the Library of Virginia's exhibit, "Teetotalers & Moonshiners: Prohibition in Virginia, Distilled," June 11 - July 21, during regular library operating hours.

Mon, 04/23/2018 - 11:46am
Cover to The Devil's Company by David Liss

Benjamin Weaver, retired prize fighter and now professional thief-taker, is back in action on the streets of 18th-century London. What seemed a simple job—cheating a card cheat—turns nightmarish when Weaver discovers he’s the one who has been rooked in David Liss' The Devil’s Company. The mysterious and wealthy Mr. Jerome Cobb has a very dangerous plan in which Weaver is an essential player. His physical skills, intelligence, connections, and indeed his very character are necessary to make the plan a success.

No one else will do, and in order to secure his cooperation, Cobb and his cronies have drawn a diabolical net around those Weaver holds dear. The Devil's Company referred to in the title is none other than the terrifically wealthy East India Trading Company. Their near monopoly on imports of tea, fabrics, and other luxury items began more than 100 years before this story opens in 1722, and it is this fortress-like institution that Weaver must infiltrate.

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 12:56pm

Fredericksburg rises from the fall line of the Rappahannock River. Its natural hills are generally considered to be just part of the scenic landscape. Wealthy townspeople, such as the Willis and Marye families, built their mansions on the heights. Before the Civil War, the scenery was pleasant but otherwise unremarkable.

In November and December of 1862, Confederate troops, under the command of General Robert E. Lee, fortified the hills above Fredericksburg. The townspeople were mostly evacuated, which was well as what was to follow certainly resembled a hell on earth.

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 9:02am
“CRRL in the News” for Almost Half a Century

“I predict you will wonder from this day forward how you ever got along without the services we are starting here today.”

—Randolph Church, Virginia State Librarian, speaking at the opening of Central Rappahannock Regional Library (Reported in The Free Lance-Star, July 19, 1969)

From 1969 through 2000, Jean Jett carefully clipped this and other newspaper articles about the regional library where her daughter, Vikki Dembowski, was employed. Those yellowed articles have been copied by library volunteers and compiled in seven big loose-leaf notebooks entitled CRRL in the News. They can be perused in the Virginiana Room, located at Fredericksburg Branch

Mon, 12/18/2017 - 11:53am
2018 Great Lives Lecture Series

The William B. Crawley Great Lives Lecture Series returns to the University of Mary Washington in 2018 with a fabulous lineup. The popular lectures begin at 7:30 p.m. in Dodd Auditorium in George Washington Hall and are free and open to the public. For more information about each lecture and presenter, see the full schedule here.

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