Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Reviewing "The Way of Improvement Leads Home"

Patron's Perspective

Last summer, Maria Fisher came to hear former David Library fellow John Fea talk about his book, The Way of Improvement Leads Home: Philip Fithian Vickers and the Rural Enlightenment in Early America. Maria just finished reading the book and wanted to share her perspective with others.

Patrick Spero

Last summer there was a lecture at the David Library featuring John Fea and his book, "The Way of Improvement Leads Home." It was not as well attended as some of the other lectures maybe because it was held in July. I just wanted to recommend this book for those who may have missed out. It's about Philip Vickers Fithian's life and rural enlightenment in Early America. One gets the sense of how radical and important the changes were in that period of history through the life and mind of an ordinary man. In addition, it's a beautiful story. It comes at a perfect time as many Americans seem to be losing touch with what makes us uniquely American.

Maria Fisher

Have something you want to share, such as a question, research find, or a personal story about the Library? Email Will Tatum at tatum@dlar.org

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Discovering Elizabeth Poole

Patron's Perspective

Discovering Elizabeth Poole at the David Library

One of our patrons, Kimberly Hess, sent me the fascinating story of Elizabeth Poole, which she unearthed doing research at the David Library. The Pension Records she used hold countless stories of long forgotten patriots - and in this case, the story of one remarkable woman.

--Patrick Spero 

I was fortunate to make a discovery at the David Library about 24 years ago when I began doing genealogical research. With the help of a librarian, I located the widow's pension application for my fifth great-grandmother, Elizabeth Stillwagon, which she made when she was 84 years old. This document suddenly brought to life Elizabeth and her husband, Peter, in ways that other documents could not. Because of the events in their lives during and after the Revolution, Elizabeth did not have documents to prove her marriage and did not know anyone alive who could prove her husband's service during the war. To apply for a pension, she told her story in great detail under oath.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Interns Notebook - Bob Fisher

The David Library hosted a number of great interns this summer. Below, Robert Fisher, a history major at Rider University, writes about a number of documents the David Library had in our vault that were not accessible to researchers. Bob helped catalog them. Due to his efforts, researchers can now look at these rare documents, and, as you'll notice in Bob's entry, there is a wealth of information in them.

Patrick Spero

Interns Notebook - Bob Fisher - August 22, 2009

Recently, staff members of the DLAR discovered a folder in the library vault containing drawings from 19th century newspapers such as Harper's Weekly and Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. The drawings remain in excellent condition and show everything from the Battle of Bunker Hill to the Surrender of Cornwallis. They are great sources for conducting memory studies and they provide an inside look at how the Revolutionary War era was viewed and in some instances utilized as propaganda by 19th century Americans.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Welcome to the David Library's new blog, which we will keep updated weekly with items of interest. We also welcome all of our patrons, history enthusiasts, and researchers to submit content for the blog. We're accepting personal stories of using the Library and research results. If you have a research question, we also invite you to post it here so that other researchers might be able to help you find your answer.

Please submit all questions and content to Will Tatum, the David Library's historian, at tatum@dlar.org.