It’s Shoppers Fair Time!

Once again, Richmond museums come together for the 19th annual HOLIDAY SHOPPERS FAIR. This three-day shopping experience features 14 museum gift shops at one location.

Check out a selection of historical/unique/clever/beautiful
products from stores such as:
Agecroft Hall
American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar
museumshopslogoBeth Ahabah Museum & Archives
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
Library of Virginia (that’s us!)
Preservation Virginia
Richmond Railroad Museum
Science Museum of Virginia
State Capitol Shop
The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen
The Poe Museum
Virginia Historical Society
Virginia Holocaust Museum
Virginia War Memorial

Come out and support our city’s museums (and finish some holiday shopping in the process). This year, we will be at the Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen (2880 Mountain Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060).


If you are a member of a Richmond museum, you should definitely swing by for a sneak peak on Thursday, Nov. 7; 5 – 9 p.m.

Not a member? The event is free and open to the public on Friday, November 8, and Saturday, November 9, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Buying unique things. Being prepared for the holidays. Supporting local businesses. Keeping cultural education alive. I mean… is there a down-side?

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Get excited! It’s time for the Literary Festival.

logoThat’s right! The Library of Virginia Foundation is kicking off its fourth year of the Virginia Literary Festival next week, and this year it’s bigger than ever. We have lots of events planned to satisfy your inner bibliophile, including:

  •  A free film screening of To Kill A Mockingbird at the Byrd Theater
  • A CSI workshop for mystery writers
  • An Art and Literature event at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
  • A Create Your Own Book workshop for kids
  • The James River Writers’ annual three-day conference
  • The Teen ’13 Book and Author Celebration
  • LOTS of book launches and author appearancesImage # 002
  • And (of course) the Virginia Literary Awards!

Rock stars of the book world will be pouring in Richmond, so don’t miss out! Check the schedule of events, and plan your week in advance.

If you want to buy the featured books in advance, visit our Virginia Shop site.

Books on Broad: The New Biography of ROSE KENNEDY with Dr. Barbara A. Perry

Barbara PerryDr. Barbara A. Perry will be visiting the Library of Virginia on Wednesday, September 18 to discuss her new book ROSE KENNEDY: The Life and Times of a Political Matriarch. Dr. Perry is a senior fellow at the University of Virginia Miller Center and is an acknowledged expert on the Kennedy administration.

Come by the shop for FREE wine and cheese at 5:30 pm and stay for a book talk and book signing with Dr. Perry. If you don’t have the book, no worries! You can buy a copy online or in the Virginia Shop.  It is a fascinating read, providing previously unexplored insights into the life and personality of a Kennedy matriarch.

Enjoy this great review by Julia M. Klein from the Boston Globe:

‘Hope life is not too difficult with me away,” Rose Kennedy, an inveterate traveler, wrote to her husband, Joseph P. Kennedy, during a 1950s trip to Austria. To this self-confident note, the mother of nine appended a jaunty signature: “Gypsy Rose.”

Rose’s latest biographer, Barbara A. Perry, offers this acute commentary: “Her life was as peripatetic as a gypsy’s, but how ironic that the prim papal countess should facetiously choose the title of American stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, especially in light of her husband’s fondness for showgirls.”

Reading between the lines is a technique to which Perry, a senior fellow in the Presidential Oral History Program at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, resorts with some frequency. One can hardly blame her: Rose Kennedy’s was a life dedicated to emotional concealment.

“She demanded perfection from herself and attempted to perfect everyone and everything around her. What she couldn’t perfect, she ignored or masked,” writes Perry, who also authored a 2004 biography of Jackie Kennedy.

Though marred by occasional verbal infelicities (and the outdated claim that Bobby and Ethel Kennedy’s marriage was “grounded on fidelity”), “Rose Kennedy” is a workmanlike and fair-minded book. Perry employs a newly released trove of diaries and letters to add nuance and detail to an essentially familiar story.

Rose Kennedy bookCompared with her colorful husband (indelibly portrayed in David Nasaw’s 2012 biography, “The Patriarch”) and her ambitious, wildly charismatic sons (among them, two US senators and a president), Rose remains a challenging, chilly, and mostly uncongenial biographical subject.

Rich on some levels, her life was bounded by the gender constraints of the first half of the 20th century, which dictated that motherhood would be her primary focus. “Rose’s gender clearly fettered her education,” Perry writes, confining her to “stultifying convents and Catholic finishing schools.” Rose’s acquiescence in gender norms was reinforced by her adherence to a conservative Catholic faith, which eliminated divorce, abortion, and artificial birth control as options.

Perry speculates that Rose’s well-documented travels and long separations from her husband, woven into the fabric of their marriage, may have begun as an attempt to curtail her pregnancies during her final fertile years. But Perry notes that Rose also craved solitude, quiet, relief from overwhelming maternal responsibilities, and the adventure of travel for its own sake.

In many respects, Rose was born and raised to be the wife of a US ambassador and the mother of a president. Perry stresses just how effective and polished a campaign speaker she became, not just on behalf of her sons but eventually, in honor of her daughter Rosemary, for the cause of the intellectually disabled.

The daughter of John F. Fitzgerald, the Boston mayor known as Honey Fitz, she was schooled in politics and comfortable with its demands from an early age. While her mother stayed home, she acted as her father’s companion and hostess. In a rare act of schoolgirl defiance, Rose ignored her father’s wishes in pursuing a romance with Joe Kennedy, the son of one of Honey Fitz’s political rivals.

Despite Joe’s later string of affairs — his most famous paramours were the actress Gloria Swanson and the writer, congresswoman, and ambassador Clare Boothe Luce — the correspondence between husband and wife attests to an enduring sort of love.

But Perry also finds evidence of Rose’s underlying unhappiness. She describes her as having “body image issues” and anorexia, a byproduct of her perfectionism and need for control. And she details her reliance on a host of medications, including sedatives, to combat insomnia and perhaps deaden emotional pain.

Even in her personal journals, Rose was hardly one to spill secrets. She showed instead a “preoccupation with . . . trivia,” Perry writes. Her hobbies included collecting the autographs of celebrities and buying Parisian fashions, a predilection that earned her the designation of “best-dressed woman in public life” in the 1930s.

As Perry notes, Rose never wrote or talked frankly about either her husband’s chronic philandering or her daughter Rosemary’s disastrous lobotomy — two of the many tragedies she endured. Most prominent among those, of course, were the deaths of four of her grown children, two (Joseph P. Jr. and Kathleen) by plane crash and two by assassination.

Rose’s image, almost two decades after her own death in 1995 at the improbable age of 104, remains inexorably tied to the apparent stoicism with which she handled so much adversity. Perry quotes the columnist Jim Bishop on Rose’s demeanor after Bobby’s 1968 assassination: “She sheds no tears; her head remains up, like a small bird weathering a big storm. It is possible . . . that she is a living saint.”

But as is her laudable tendency, Perry complicates the picture, citing a Look magazine account that described how Rose’s eyes “filled with tears” at the mention of Bobby during an interview after his death. Sometimes the rigidly controlled exterior cracked, revealing the heartbreak underneath.

BOOK TALK: Brown’s Battlefield by Jill Titus

Jill Titus, Ph.D

The Library of Virginia will host a Book Talk on February 15, 2012 featuring Dr. Jill Titus’s Brown’s Battlefield, the story of the seismic changes brought by Brown v. the Board of Education andVirginia’s move to resist desegregation. In her book Titus illustrates the ways that ordinary people, black and white, battled, and continue to battle, over the role of public education in theUnited States.

If you’d like a taste of Titus’ writing, we discovered two short articles by her and have included the links below. She reflects upon life amid the turbulence of the Civil Rights movement and integration in the early 1960s.

The Cost of Resistance
Back-to-School Reflections

Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Time: Noon–1:00 PM
Place: Library of Virginia
800 East Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia
Jill Titus will speak, and a book signing follows the talk. Limited free parking is available under the Library with access on both 8th and 9th Streets.

CLICK HERE to get directions to this event.

A BOOK TALK for all you Jane Austen junkies out there: Second Impressions

Second Impressions, by Ava Farmer

If Jane Austen had lived longer than her all-too-brief one-and-fourty years, this might have been the sequel to Pride and Prejudice.  Written in the idiom of Austen’s time, Second Impressions is a story of the Darcy family, their friends, and relations.  It has been ten years’ time since that happiest of days when Mrs. Bennet got rid of her two most deserving daughters.  What does Elizabeth do all day at Pemberly? Has Lady Catherine been allowed to visit? Have Mr. and Mrs. Wickham become, as Jane Bennet predicted, steady and rational? What about England’s most eligible daughter, Georgiana Darcy? Even Anne de Bourgh has a life after P&P.

With the Great French War over and peace come, at least, what doesEnglandlook like in the late Regency? Is there a place for Austen’s heroes and heroines in anEnglandgreatly changed by industrializations, a new elite of fortunes made in trade, and reformist politics? It may be safely conjectured that Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are settled and happy, as are Jane and her Bingley, Austen left the protagonists finished and complete (or are they?), but there are other characters, other lives, and other loves to explore.

Ava Farmer is a fictious nom de plume of a real person who wishes to remain fictionalized.  The founder of a large technology company and a small grunge cosmetics company, Ava now spends her time contemplating cow and the scourge which is industrialized, chemical agriculture.  She is also the author of a now-obsolete dictionary of terms related to digital music, and the translator/editor of an old book on carriage driving.  None of the above qualifies her to write this novel, but she hopes you will buy it anyway.  All profits from Second Impressions go to The Chawton House Library, a non-profit resource for the study of English women’s writing to support students and research of women writers, pre-1830, writing in English, world-wide.

…and you have the chance to meet the author AND purchase the book! Make it a book club outing.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Time: 5:30 PM–7:30 PM
Place: The Library of Virginia
800 East Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia

Light refreshments (wine and cheese) will be served (5:30–6:15 PM), followed by an author talk (6:15–7:15 PM), and book signing (7:15–7:30 PM).

CLICK HERE to get directions to this event.

EVENT: To Collect, Protect, and Serve Book Release

When: Thursday, March 17, 2011 from 4:00 PM to 7:30 PM

Where: The Virginia Shop at the Library of Virginia

Please join us to mark the release of To Collect, Protect, and Serve: Behind the Scenes at the Library of Virginia on Thursday, March 17, 2011. Author Tameka Hobbs will be on hand to sign copies of her book from 4:00 PM to 7:30 PM.

In To Collect, Protect, and Serve, Archie the Archivist, Libby the Librarian, and Connie the Conservator guide young readers through a visit to the Library of Virginia. The book allows children to explore some of the Library’s most important holdings – an early copy of the Declaration of Independence, the Statute for Religious Freedom, and documents connected to famous Virginians like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, and Edgar Allan Poe. They will learn how archivists, librarians, and conservators battle against the threats to historical documents like the Archival Enemies – Mildred Mold, Bartholomew B. Bug, and Liquid Lenny – to keep Virginia’s history safe for the future.

The first 50 elementary teachers will receive a FREE copy of the book; the Shop will also be offering a special discount to educators throughout the evening.

Hope to see you there!

EVENT: 2011 African American Trailblazers Program & Reception

When: Thursday, February 24, 2011 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Where: Library of Virginia, Lecture Hall & Lobby

Free event but reservations are required as seating is limited! Call 804-692-3900 by February 18th to RSVP. Eight honorees from the past and present – including Henrietta Lacks and civil rights activist John A. Stokes – who have had a significant impact on the history of Virginia will be honored at this celebration. The program begins promptly at 6:00 PM with a reception to follow. 

Sponsored by Capital One. The media sponsor of the 2011 African American Trailblazers in Virginia History is the Richmond Times-Dispatch.