Posts tagged ‘Jefferson Library’

Happy Belated Independence Day.

Independence Day weekend was pretty awesome. I didn’t attend any fireworks displays or anything (but I did accidently sleep in for the naturalization ceremony at Monticello 😦 ), but I still had a pretty good weekend.

Saturday I finally was able to sleep in little (but also slightly to my dismay since I missed the ceremony) and did some minor grocery shopping for sushi-making supplies. I got A TON of housework done as well – namely laundry and spiffing up my otherwise disgustingly messy room.  I also put my sushi-making skills (and freshly bought supplies!) to good use by making 4 rolls (each yielding about 7-8 pieces, from my estimate) of it and sending most of it off with my housemates to a cookout. It was a very productive day.

Sunday was pretty boring, so I won’t go there.

Today so far has been pretty good. I had accidentally stayed up too late last night, so I slept in a little this morning and came to the Library around noon. I’ve been working mostly on completing the details of my thesis outline and answering a good portion of the questions that I had posed on it with tidbits from Jefferson’s letters and legislative writings. So far so good, as most of these are all in print or PDF format. Sweeet. 🙂

I haven’t really been getting as much research work done as I’d like to lately, but I’m sure that it’s alright just for today. I plan on pulling up my bootstraps and getting a lot done tomorrow, as I’ll be in at the usual time of 9 AM to begin my days studies. Apart from the lag in work output lately, overall I feel as though I’m doing quite well. I’ve gotten a lot done – I’ve taken A TON of notes, read a bajillion books and articles on the subject matter, and have spent a lot of time and effort crafting an outline and bibliography for my final essay. I’m hoping that everything will turn out just fine and that I finish the essay just before the fall semester starts. So we’ll see.

Nothing else too interesting to report, so that’s all for now, more to come later!


July 6, 2009 at 4:27 pm 2 comments

Thar Be Thesis Gold!

Yesterday went pretty well at the library. I didn’t do a whole lot of work (perhaps a case of the Mondays?), but I did strike gold with my thesis, as it was Anna-approved. 🙂

Today has been the day of work, as I’m currently plowing through the indices and volumes of the Thomas Jefferson Papers to get some good quality primary source material for my eventual, massively awesome documented essay. It feels pretty good to get back to the nitty gritty of historical research after my semi-vacation with Scott last week (I did take Thursday off, after all! :P).  So we’ll see how this progresses.

I don’t really have much to report today in terms of tasty tidbits (I really should copyright the phrase). But there has been some nasty grass pollen floating around in the Charlottesville atmosphere lately that has my sinuses all ‘a hurting and my arms (for whatever reason) all ‘a itching. Boo. It’s nothing a little Claritin can’t fix though.

That’s all for now, more to come later!

P.S. – I know that some of my readers come here for the Picture of the Day, and that I have been slacking in that area. I just haven’t had any good photos lately, but I will make up for it soon. There is just only so much of cute Charlie photos that one (even I) can take! 😛


June 30, 2009 at 3:04 pm Leave a comment

Still Buzzing.

As has been the norm for the past week or so, I’ve been very, very busy with my research and working at the bookstore. Things are still going quite well, even in light of some confusion on my part last week. While I was studying the people in TJ’s life during his schooling years, I realized with some fear that I hadn’t even developed a thesis for my essay yet! So I sat down with Anna and discussed where I was heading with the project and what needed to be done. I recieved some very valuable (albeit I’ll admit a little confusing) input from her and an ICJS research fellow, and it helped calm me down a bit.

I also called Scott with my concerns as well, and he informed me that I just needed to sit back, relax, and start cracking open more books. Which is basically what Anna and the research fellow had said, but when I was talking it all over with them my head was spinning in 50 different directions of “oh s***” and I had to struggle to pay attention.

Anyways, what I also had learned from the experience was that one must do A TON of background reading on their subject before they can even think of crafting a thesis on their own. I was embarassed to admit that in trying too hard but also taking the matter too lightly I had just expected that a thesis would just pop up out of nowhere and fast. I realized that if I was going to create a stellar essay on (in my opinion) an understudied facet of Jefferson’s life, that I needed to get my act together and start plowing through the book that Professor Miller had lent me (if you’re reading this, thank you so much – it’s been a massive help! :)) and also through the several books that I had checked out of the library.  So this is most of the reason that I’ve been so busy lately, with the other being that I fell waaay behind in my Kanji studies, so that’s been eating a massive chunk of my free time as well.

As for the weekend, I worked at the bookstore and then picked Scott up at the Richmond airport late Saturday night. He is visiting me (yay! :)) for pretty much the entire week, and thus far it’s been fabulous having him around. He is a large wealth of knowledge and fun, as well as a great source of comfort. I’m hoping to do some minor historial sightseeing while he is around, so hopefully I’ll be able to drag him either up to TJ’s place on the mountaintop for a while or to James Madison’s Montpelier for a poke around to see all the new and exciting renovations that have been put in place since the last time I had been there two years ago. Back then the house was stripped down to its colonial skivvies – nothing but the original brick and old wooden framework on the inside, so it’ll be exciting to see the house finally restored to what it may have been like when Mr. and Mrs. Madison were living there.

Onward to today, things have been running smoothly as per usual, with the minor side task of trying to wake Scott up, at his request, at 8 AM (no doubt he has fallen back asleep by now, kid’s a heavy sleeper). I myself am currently at the library, digging through the interesting find of a book on Mr. Jefferson written by one David Saville Muzzey. I somehow was fortunate enough some years ago to have obtained a 1911 copy of his infamous textbook American History as a gift from my mom, after my copy of James P. Boyd’s 1888 Political History of the United States was ruined. Muzzey’s book  apparently is well-known in educational circles as “the book” that defined how American history is percieved by the masses in general today. From what I’ve read it had been used as a standard textbook up until the 1940’s. There is a decent blurb here about the book.  Given the apparent patriotic and intellectual idol worship nature of Muzzey’s writing in that volume (and fascinating lack of political correctness, as one passage compares the Native American to “the Mississippi negro” who “loved to bask idly in the sun” [Muzzey, pg. 20, available on Google Books]), I’m not too keen just yet on citing his work on Jefferson. But it seems to be decently written thus far, minus the complete omission of foot- or end-note documentation. Hmm. We’ll see.

Pictures of the Day (As promised, a two-fah):

Ah, the relaxing view from... my parking spot. :)

Ah, the relaxing view from... my parking spot. 🙂

Majestic Charlie.

Glowing Charlie.

June 22, 2009 at 12:12 pm 1 comment

I’ve Been a Busy Lil’ Bee.

Alright, so most of you have by now noticed that I’ve been ‘a slackin in my daily postings. There IS a good reason for this, I assure you. I’ve been having some major problems with misunderstandings and whatnot with the woman who I’ve been subleasing from, but all of that has FINALLY been resolved today. All is now very well in the land of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (and sometimes James  Monroe too!). I’ve also been very, very busy with my daily Japanese lessons as well. They’ve been taking up a considerable chunk of time as well, but not nearly as much as the first thing.

As you can tell by now, this week  was really stressful. It began with frantically trying to solve the leasor/rent problem, then onto solving the problem of my housemate’s puppy having an accident (twice!) on my bed. Thankfully I sleep on an air-mattress and laundry doesn’t cost too much to do. On Thursday this problem was solved by Susan from the Library, who is loaning me a fantastic wooden baby gate to keep the little leaky puppy out of my room. Awesome! 🙂

As for my research (oh yeah, I remember that! :P), in spite of all the shenanigans, it’s been going very well. I’ve been getting a lot of work done researching and taking notes on the people in TJ’s life while he was in Williamsburg and while he was being tutored in his earlier years as well. It’s pretty fun and interesting stuff, but it’s also hard work as well.

This weekend so far has been fantastic. I had two very wonderful and productive days at the bookstore, and I even got to leave 1 1/2 hours early today since I did such an awesome job in restocking shelves. I even got paid for those 1 1/2 hours! What can I say, I love my job. 🙂

On to the juicier bits – the Pictures of the Day that I’ve missed for the past few days.

Comfy Campeachy chairs inside the Jefferson Library.

Comfy Campeachy chairs inside the Jefferson Library. TJ had a few of these made for himself, he liked them so much. He also liked to give them as gifts as well, if my memory serves me right.

The Robert H. and Clarice Smith Reading Room at Jefferson Library, where all the magic happens.

The Robert H. and Clarice Smith Reading Room at Jefferson Library, where all the magic happens.

An Interactive Monument to the First Amendment at the Charlottesville Pedestrian Mall. Unfortunately I had no chalk at the time, so I couldn't write a huge I <3 Scott Wilson or I <3 TJ on it. :'(

An Interactive Monument to the First Amendment at the Charlottesville Pedestrian Mall. Unfortunately I had no chalk at the time, so I couldn't write a huge I ❤ Scott Wilson or I ❤ TJ on it. :'(

The other half of the First Amendment Monument.

The other half of the First Amendment Monument.

The Big Three of Charlottesville: TJ, J-Mads, and President Monroe.

The Big Three of Charlottesville: J-Mads, TJ, and President Monroe. Presidents Monument on the side of City Hall in Downtown Charlottesville.

Lastly, for good measure, a healthy dose of cute in the form of a Charlie nap. :P

Lastly, for good measure, a healthy dose of cute in the form of a Charlie nap. 😛

June 13, 2009 at 9:21 pm 2 comments

Learning About Jefferson’s Musical Passions and a Blurb about Sunday.

Once again, I have most unfortunately fallen behind a day in keeping my daily blog. I’ve been super, super busy lately with many, many things, so I haven’t had much time at night lately to write anything up. But we will get to that later.


Sunday was a pretty good day. Nothing much of note happened, except that my other housemate Jenna had finally settled in to join myself and Megan. She also brought her adorable and sweet puppy Lady, much to Charlie’s chagrin.


Everything started fantastic as usual, I started my morning routine and made it to the Library (which now I have a habit of calling it “work” even though it’s a super fun internship) on time. I continued my studies of Jefferson’s life at William and Mary by taking more notes from the first volume of the Marie Kimball set. I would also like to note that  Anna was dead on in stating on the Library’s blog that “Kimball’s research [was] assiduously documented”, as I’ve been very busy lately in hunting down the sources of the letters and other works that the author has cited. Not that I’m complaining, I’ve come to find that “chasing information”, or as Anna put it – “gathering pearls”, is definitely my cup of tea. I love it. 🙂

In my note-taking time, I also learned a little bit about Jefferson and his passion for music. Apparently he loved the popular European works and was very disappointed in the colonies’ lackthereof, as he states to a French friend in a letter dated June 8th, 1778:

If there is a gratification which I envy any people in this world, it is your country and its music. This is a favorite passion of my soul, and fortune has cast my lot in a country where it is in a state of deplorable barbarism” (letter cited in Kimball, pg 54. Also cited in the first Randall volume, pg 132).

This is very interesting to keep in mind while reading through Kimball’s well-documented portrait of Jefferson’s musical interests. I had some idea beforehand that Jefferson had played the violin at some point, but I had no idea that he had owned quite a large chunk of music over the course of his life, some even copies in his own handwriting. It is also sad to note, however, that when one of his great-granddaughters had possession of these handwritten copies, a servant boy had tossed a good portion of them into a hearthfire instead of the old newspapers that he was given for that purpose (Kimball, pg 59). This is just one of the many infuriating injustices done to TJ’s papers, but thats another blog entry.

I don’t have a Picture of the Day for today or yesterday, so that means that tomorrow must be an unprecedented Three-fer!

June 8, 2009 at 10:37 pm 1 comment

Some Interesting Finds, Sprinkled with a Few Thunderstorms.

Today pretty much started out as usual, as I headed over to the library and immediately dug into my tasty research. I had FINALLY finished reading and taking notes on the chapters that I had selected from the Dumas Malone book, which is awesome. What did I learn from Dumas Malone, you ask? Well first of all, I learned that my partner in crime Scott “Feets” Wilson is a lot more like TJ than I would like to admit (or actually, maybe I would…). Secondly, I learned a great deal more about TJ’s younger years when he was floating from Shadwell to Williamsburg every now and then learning law (and a little bit about the classics as well) under the respectable George Wythe. I also didn’t know that from time to time that he had played violin for, and I think sometimes with, Governor Fauquier.

As far as tasty tidbits go,  I particularly liked this quote from Euripides that Jefferson had included in his literary notebook after he was basically snubbed by his love interest, Miss Rebecca Burwell:

“Nothing is better than  a reliable friend, not riches, not absolute sovereignty. Nay more, the crowd is not to be reckoned with, in exchange for a noble friend” (found on page 85 of the first volume of the Dumas Malone series, if you’re interested).

Very touching, I’d say. Malone continued to note that Jefferson made an effort to say very little, if anything at all about “individual women” after that, but continued to reminisce fondly of dear friends of his. However, on a side note, if I were TJ after being snubbed by the girl of my dreams, I’d be quoting something by Aeschylus in my literary notebook. But thats just me. 😛

As the afternoon rolled in, I then dove into the first volume of the highly recommended Marie Kimball set. I didn’t have much time left at the library at that point, so I only had managed to write maybe a page  of notes before I skidaddled out of there for the day.

One final note: It storms A LOT in Charlottesville during the summer, apparently.

Picture of the Day (a two-fer, as promised! :)):

The Elegant Front Entranceway of the Jefferson Library.

The Elegant Front Entrance of the Jefferson Library/Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies.

Hehe Charlie Peekin.

Hehe Charlie Peekin.

June 3, 2009 at 6:44 pm 4 comments

More Fanciful and Fun Research; Plus, a Job Interview!

Today has been, for the most part, business as usual. I arrived at the library this morning on time, and everything had been going fairly smoothly. I’ve finally finished skimming the early life portions of Henry S. Randall’s The Life of Thomas Jefferson, and I’ve moved on to the more well-known work of Mr. Dumas Malone called Jefferson the Virginian. Malone’s book is the first of a multi-volume series which many of the library staff deemed a highly recommended read. I plan to finish skimming and taking notes on the early life portions of this work by the end of the day today, so then I can get a move on with the first volumes of the Marie Kimball and Paul Leicester Ford sets. Aww Yeah! 🙂

I also ended up leaving the library about 30 min early so that I could go in to the bookstore on the downtown pedestrian mall for an interview. As I was driving to get there,  I ended up daydreaming at a traffic light and made a turn that launched me into a giant circle, which cost me an extra 5 minutes but it was alright. I made it to the bookstore just in the nick of time, and the owner had me sit down for a nice five-minute chat.

He asked me a few questions, gave me the lowdown on the store and what hours I’d be working, etc. etc., and then he handed me the usual hiring paperwork and like magic I was done! Done and basically hired! 🙂

Unfortunately, I do not have a Picture of the Day for today. However, don’t get TOO upset because that does mean that tomorrow’s post will definitely be a two-fer! 🙂

June 2, 2009 at 1:35 pm 5 comments

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