United States of America -- Maryland -- Carroll County -- Westminster
United States of America -- Maryland -- Carroll County -- Marston
United States of America -- Maryland -- Carroll County -- New Windsor
Papers documenting the farming and family life of the Robinson family of Prince George's County and after 1975, Charles County, Maryland. Papers documenting the farming and family of the Via family of Greene County, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Prince George's and Calvert Counties, Maryland, by 1949.
Scope and Contents:
An extensive and comprehensive collection of papers relating to family, farming, and the Southern Maryland tobacco culture, the Robinson and Via Family Papers cover many aspects of family and farm life. The papers are particularly important in regard to the tobacco culture that defined Southern Maryland for generations. The papers concern two distinct family groups, the Robinson and Via families who are connected through the marriage of Franklin A. Robinson and Adina Mae Via. The papers consist of material generated by the Robinson and Via families in their personal and working lives and as farm owners and operators.
The papers are especially strong in 20th century material. They consist of various types of farm records: account books, bills, receipts, tenant farming agreements, ephemera, land rental and purchase agreements, insurance policies, photographs and 8mm and 16mm films of farming practices and procedures, equipment and landscapes, related to the farming of tobacco, small grains, and livestock. The personal records include diaries, letters both personal and business, greeting cards, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, high school yearbooks, baby books, house plans, recipe books, photographs and 8mm films of birthdays, holidays, weddings, baptisms, family occasions, and family travel, oral histories, and funeral ephemera including photographs, and transcription discs. Of particular interest are the "Serenity Farm Tobacco Production Photographs" documenting the crop year 1999-2000 and the films detailing agricultural practices. There is a memorandum book for Black Walnut Thicket, 1885-1901, the Baden farm in Baden, Prince George's County.
This collection includes a comprehensive range of 8mm and 16mm films and photographs documenting farming practices and landscapes as well as family gatherings, birthdays, holidays, and vacations. The researcher is alerted to the fact that in some cases with the memorandum and account books, books printed for a given year were often saved and used for subsequent years, some were dated, some were not.
The collection is divided into seven series arranged by subject and most often chronologically at folder level within each series.
The collection is divided into seven series:
Series 1: Ferndale Farm (Potomac Landing), Prince George's County, Maryland, 1861-1973, undated
Subseries 1.1: Farm papers, bill, and receipts, and publications, 1861-1973, undated
Subseries 1.2: Farm papers, bill, and receipts, 1945-1960, undated
Subseries 1.3: Farm papers, bills, and receipts, 1960-1965, undated
Series 2: Robinson Family, 1845-2017, undated
Subseries 2.1: Family Papers and Publications, 1845-1993, undated
The Robinson family is thought to be of Scottish origin and appear in the records of Prince George's County, Maryland by the early 18th century. The line has been definitively traced to James Robinson (?-1849). James' father was probably Benjamin Robinson (?-1810), of Prince George's County, Maryland. (Will Book TT1, pg. 15, Records of Prince George's County, Maryland, Maryland State Archives (MSA))
James Robinson and Sarah Wynn were issued a marriage license on February 28, 1802 in Prince George's County, Maryland. (Marriage Records of Prince George's County, Maryland) Eleven children lived to maturity (not listed in birth order); Thomas Wells (1803-1869), Ann, Priscilla, James Monroe, Benjamin (1813-1882), John C. (1819-1895), Mary Sophia, Thomas Stanley (1800-1874), Alfred, Sarah Ann, Matilda, and Rebecca Maria.
James worked as a farm manager for Benjamin Oden near Upper Marlborough, Prince George's County. (Oden Papers, Maryland Historical Society) The Robinsons and their children, moved to Wood County, Virginia (now West Virginia) by April 18, 1818 where James acted as Oden's land agent (Deed Book 6, pg. 123, Land Records of Wood County, West Virginia). They brought with them three enslaved described in the above reference as, "Kate a woman 45 years of age very black; Colonel a boy aged 8 years yellow complexion: and George a boy aged six years of a dark brown complexion." They settled on part of what was known as the "Burnt Mill" tract in the general area where the Hughes River meets the Little Kanawha River. (Deed Book 9, pg. 110 and Deed Book 14, pg. 40, Land Records of Wood County)
Thomas Wells Robinson may not have accompanied his family to Virginia as he has a presence in Prince George's County prior to 1822 and was employed as a farm manager for Benjamin Oden at least until 1832. He married Elizabeth J. Richards on December 15, 1829 (Robinson Family Bible). They had nine children; Richard Thomas (1831 1906), Rebecca Maria (1832-1895), Mary Wynn (1834-1916), James George (1835-1883), Virlinda Victoria (1837-1838), Elizabeth Ann (1839-1916), Sarah Ann Sophia (1840-1874), Franklin Alexander (1841-1905) and John Alfred (1843); seven lived to maturity. (Robinson Family Bible) Elizabeth died on August 17, 1843 from complications in childbirth. She was buried in the graveyard of Page's Chapel (later known as St. Thomas Episcopal Church), Croom, Prince George's County.
In 1843, Thomas purchased the plantation of Dr. Benjamin B. Hodges for $10,000 or approximately $15 an acre. Hodges was a brother-in-law of Benjamin Oden. The deed dated September 7, 1843 describes the parcel as containing, "Six hundred and twenty nine acres of land more or less and constitute that plantation or Estate of the said Benjamin Oden heretofore commonly called "Brown's Quarter Place" being the Land tracts and parcels of land sold by the said Benjamin Oden to the said Benjamin B. Hodges and by deed bearing date the tenth day of December eighteen hundred and thirty five and recorded in Liber AB no. 10 folio 162 also one of the land Records of the County aforesaid". (JBB no. 3 pgs. 312 314, Land Records of Prince George's County) The land was level to rolling bordered on the north by a tributary of Piscataway Creek and generally termed "white oak land". Underlying the whole property was a large strata of gravel and sand. The entire parcel went by the name, Potomac Landing.
Thomas supplemented his land holdings with later purchases. With the exception of twenty acres purchased from Sarah Talbert in 1844, (JBB no. 3 pg. 475, Land Records of Prince George's County) and the purchase of lot #3 consisting of 195 acres, part of the estate of John Townshend in 1856, these purchases were not contiguous to Potomac Landing. By the time of his death in 1869 these non-contiguous parcels had been sold. Thomas sold eighty-six acres of Potomac Landing and Jeffries to Edward Eversfield in October of 1843. (JBB no. 3, pg. 198, Land Records of Prince George's County) On January 13, 1846 Thomas married the widow Martha Ann Walls, daughter of George and Martha Naylor Walls. They had two sons; Benjamin Wells (1848-1849) and Robert Henry (1851-1937).
In addition to his sons, Thomas owned enslaved. The number varied from six in 1849 (JBB 6, folio 186, Land Records of Prince Georges' County) to eleven as noted in the census for 1850, and finally six as noted in the census of 1860. The 1867 Maryland Slave Statistics noted that, "at the time of the adoption of the Constitution of Maryland, in the year 1864, . . ." Thomas owned six enslaved, their names and ages being; Isaac Franklin age 31, Alfred West age 19, Susan West age 17, Margaret Franklin age 14, Fannie Franklin age 12, and Peter Franklin age 9. All were noted as being in good physical condition. (Prince Georges' County Slave Statistics 1867 1869, C 1307 1, MdHR:6198, page 185, MSA)
Thomas's financial problems began in the mid-1800s when Deeds of Trust appear in the county records securing outstanding loans. In 1856 and 1857 Thomas joined with others as bondsman for his son, Richard who was serving as "Collector of the State and County Taxes" for the 4th collection district, making he and the other signatories liable for any uncollected taxes. This, coupled with poor investments, led to his almost being "sold out" in 1859-1860 by J.W. & E. Reynolds of Baltimore to pay his debts. He executed three drafts on Penn & Mitchell, also of Baltimore, to pay off J.W. & E. Reynolds. (Equity Case #597, Prince Georges' County) Thomas was in poor health and his son James managed the farm in 1857 and 1858, and again from 1861 to October of 1862 (Equity Case #873, Prince Georges' County)
In October of 1862 Thomas' two sons, James and Franklin, traveled to Richmond to join the Confederate States Army. James enrolled in the 5th Battalion, Local Defense Arsenal and Franklin enrolled in the 5th Virginia Infantry, the Stonewall Brigade. (CSA Military Records, National Archives) James visited home frequently but was captured by the Union Army in St. Mary's County, Maryland on May 15, 1864 and spent the remainder of the war in Point Lookout Prison Camp. He was released on May 14, 1865. Franklin was not able to visit home at all during the war but survived to return home in 1865.
In 1865, Thomas surveyed a parcel of 172 acres for his daughter Rebecca Maria. Rebecca had married her second cousin, William B. Robertson, on November 18, 1855. He made a gift of fifty acres, and Rebecca agreed to purchase the remainder. The Robertsons named this parcel Holly Grove. In Equity Case #849 (1872) filed after Thomas' death, his widow Martha and Samuel H. Berry, as executrix and executor, sought to recover payment for this land. At that time, William B. Robertson described this 172 acres of Potomac Landing: "There was no fences on the line which separated this land from the old gentleman's land, but he was to put a fence on it which he agreed to do before we agreed to come there. The land was thin, unimproved, with gullies and scrubby pine. If witness had been a judge of land he would not have given five dollars for it. All the improvements were one comfortable quarter the other indifferent with a poor oak shingle roof, worn out which made it not tenantable." Further along in his testimony, William gave an account of a conversation, "In a few days my father in law Thos. W. Robinson came to Washington and told me there his children had returned from the South, his two sons, that his debts were small and he was a happy man." Rebecca and William built a house on the property, a side-hall, double parlor plan that most likely her brother James was builder. They also built accompanying farm structures. (Records of Prince George's County, Maryland, Equity Case #849, MSA)
Thomas' son, Franklin, managed the farm after the War. In December 1868 Thomas entered into a sharecropping agreement with Edward Hanson, an African-American. After about a year-long illness, on May 16, 1869, Thomas died, deeply in debt. He was buried beside Elizabeth in the graveyard at St. Thomas' Church. He named as executrix his wife, Martha, and his friend and lawyer, Samuel H. Berry, as executor. His will divided the farm into thirds, one third going to his wife and their son Robert Henry, one third to his son James, and one third to his son Franklin. The land was surveyed according to the will. His personal property was sold but not enough profit was realized to pay off his creditors. The Commissioners of Prince George's County sued the estate on behalf of Thomas' creditors. The outcome was that in 1876 the property was sold at public auction. The Notice of Sale dated September 1, 1876 in the local county newspaper, The Prince Georgian, describes the farm as, "containing 514 2/3 acres More or less. The Improvements consist of a SMALL DWELLING, Three Barns, Stabling, and other necessary outbuildings. It is well wooded and watered, and the soil of fair quality. It has recently been divided into three lots and will be offered in lots, a description of which will be given at the time of sale." The sale was held on September 27, 1876, Lot No. 1 was purchased by Robert for $6.00 an acre, Lot #2 was purchased by Franklin for $5.00 an acre and Lot #3 was purchased by James for $4.00 per acre. Robert and Franklin eventually paid off their mortgage, but James defaulted on his purchase and later moved to St. Mary's County, Maryland. His portion later came to be owned by the Hawkins family, some members who had worked on the Robinson farm. (Equity Case #873, Prince Georges' County, MSA)
Lot #1, purchased by Robert from his fathers' estate, consisted of 177-1/3 acres, including the dwelling and farm buildings. On July 24, 1872, he married Amanda Malvina Baden (1849-1940), daughter of Robert W. G. and Margaret Caroline Early Baden. The Baden and Early families were both prominent south county families. Robert and Amanda had eight children; Caroline Early (1873 1967), Lucy Tennent (1875 1958), Albert Henry (1878 1914), Martha Perry (1880 1961), Robert Gover (1882 1882), Frank Alexander (1883 1970), Margaret Baden (1886 1956) and Grace Malvina (1889 1965).
By 1880 Robert had paid off his debt on the property and was fully engaged in farming. Unlike his father, or perhaps because of his father, Robert did not add to his land holdings, choosing to remain relatively debt free for his lifetime. The only land transactions he participated in were the sales of 79-3/4 acres in 1921 of Amanda's inheritance from her father and her interest in two smaller parcels of her father's land sold in 1894 and 1928 respectively. In 1928 he transferred 3.09 acres to his son Frank.
As late as the Federal census of 1880, Franklin was living with Robert and his household, both men engaged in farming. Sometime after 1880, Franklin took up residence on his part of Potomac Landing. His brother James most likely built the side-hall double parlor house that copied the main house at Potomac Landing. On February 18, 1897, Martha Robinson, died at the age of ninety. She was buried in the graveyyard of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Baden, Prince George's County.
Robert continued cultivation of tobacco and small grains as his father before him. The first reference to the farm being named Ferndale is found in the "Communion Record" of Robert's daughter, Martha Perry "Pattie", dated 1896. (Robinson and Via Family Papers) The exact origin or reason for this new name is lost but perhaps the name Potomac Landing held such bitter memories of debt and hardship that, as a symbolic break with the past, a new name was found. It also may have simply been a way to distinguish this portion of Potomac Landing from the others. The farm continued to be listed on tax bills as Potomac Landing well into the 20th century, but was known to the general public and businesses as the Ferndale Farm. (Robinson and Via Family Papers)
Robert served as deputy inspector at the State Tobacco Warehouse in Baltimore for eight years under W.B. Bowie. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Bank of Brandywine. In July of 1905, Franklin died, a bachelor farmer. He was buried facing south in the graveyard of the Church of the Atonement, Cheltenham, (a chapel in St. Thomas' Episcopal Parish) where he had served as vestryman, treasurer, and cemetery custodian. Franklin died intestate and a lengthy process of dividing his estate began. This resulted in the sale of his part of Potomac Landing (Lot #2) in July 1908 to William E. Boswell. The court declared Robert ineligible for any inheritance due to his being " . . . a brother of the half blood." The Boswell family later sold the property to the Billingsley family of St. Mary's County. (Equity Case 3209, Prince George's County)
In 1910, after living in the farm's original home for approximately sixty seven years, the Robinson family built a new home. It was described in a 1956 insurance policy as, "2 story, frame, metal roof, 16x43, wing 14x28, 9 rooms." (Robinson and Via Family Papers) The house design was a simple Victorian with plastered walls, and lit by carbide gas. Electrical lighting was installed in 1951. The house was built with monies from Robert and Amanda, and their son Frank, who served as builder and contractor.
On Tuesday March 9, 1937, "During a celebration in honor of his wifes birthday anniversary, Mr. Robinson collapsed at the table and died immediately without a word or a sigh." (Robinson and Via Family Papers) Robert was buried beside his mother in the cemetery at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Baden.
At Robert's death, Ferndale Farm was valued at $30.00 an acre, the total acreage, 174 acres, being valued in the whole at $5,220.00. Robert died intestate, again the fate of the land was in question. He left eight heirs, his widow, Amanda, six of his children and his son Albert Henry's only surviving child, R. Henry Robinson. Rather than have the farm sold and his mother's life disrupted, Frank purchased the estate and personal property from the heirs. Before this could take place, a deed had to be granted the heirs for the property since one had never been recorded after the 1876 sale. Equity case 873 was reopened sixty-two years after its supposed resolution. Frank testified, "over a period of about thirty years I would on a number of occasions, talk about the fact that he had purchased and paid for this property and that a deed had never been executed to him and [he] kept saying he was going to have someone straighten this matter out for him." It was discovered that Robert had fully paid for his part of Potomac Landing. On February 14, 1938 the farm was deeded from Amanda along with Robert''s heirs to Frank. (Book 499, page 334, Land Records of Prince George's County) According to the deed and a 1937 fire insurance policy the farm consisted of 177 1/3 acres, "1 two story dwelling, one tenant house, 1 barrack, 1 tobacco barn, 1 corn house & cow stable, 1 Stable, and 1 Granary & Stable." (Robinson and Via Family Papers)
Frank A. Robinson, now the sole owner of Ferndale Farm, was born August 17, 1883. He learned farming and in addition took up the trade of builder and contractor. As a young man, he worked in the general store of his uncle Robert Baden. He was the contractor for the first Bank of Brandywine and many homes in and around the town of Brandywine, including the home of his cousin Robert E. Baden, DDS. He was secretary of the Building Committee for construction of the Chapel of the Incarnation in Brandywine, a mission chapel for St. Thomas' Episcopal Parish. His success in the building trade gave him disposable income that he invested in land. His first purchase was in August, 1915 of a 2-9/100 acre of land in Brandywine that was being sold by the Board of County School Commissioners; the purchase price was $300. In March 1916 he purchased 38.09 acres of his Uncle Franklin's farm. This property adjoined Ferndale Farm.
Over the next fifty-four years of his life, Frank bought and sold many pieces of real estate. Perhaps his most significant purchases were: 18-1/3 acres purchased from The German American Colonization Land Company of Maryland in October 1915 (Book 115, pg. 140, Land Records of Prince George's County); 147.99 acres purchased from August and Wilhelmina Noltensmeir in December 1917 (Book 129, pg. 263, Land Records of Prince George's County) and 320 acres called the Vineyard purchased from William M. Wilson in March 1928. Frank used these three parcels as collateral for other purchases. Never once did he mortgage Ferndale Farm, insuring that no matter what financial stormy seas might blow, his home was secure. Over the course of his life, especially in the case of the Noltensmeir farm, when cash was needed a parcel of land would be surveyed off and sold. He inherited his grandfather Thomas' love of land but had fortunately developed a shrewd business sense to go along with it.
On November 20, 1929, he married Elizabeth Freeland Bourne, daughter of Joseph Blake and Maria Gantt Bourne of Calvert County, Maryland. They had three children: Mary Elizabeth (1930-2009), Franklin Alexander (1932-2023), and Robert Lee (1935-1997). In addition to his construction business he continued farming, raising tobacco, hay, and small grains. He engaged in sharecropping with tenants on his various properties. He was active in community affairs serving on the Board of The Maryland Tobacco Growers Association (MTGA), the Vestry of St. Thomas Parish, and as sheriff of Brandywine. On January 9, 1940 Amanda Baden Robinson died. She was buried next to her husband at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Baden. In February 1958, Frank and Elizabeth conveyed 1.57 acres of Ferndale Farm to son Franklin where he and his fiancée, Adina M. Via, were building their new home prior to their marriage in July of that same year.
The booming economy and suburbanization of the Washington metropolitan area in the early 1960's led to the high quality gravel lying beneath Ferndale into becoming a valuable commodity. In October 1962, Franklin and his parents granted a three-year lease to William C. Nolte for mining sand and gravel on the Ferndale Farm at .174 per yard. (Book 2747, pg. 11, Land Records of Prince George's County) From now until 1975 when the property was sold, gravel would be mined from under the farm by various companies. In November 1962, Elizabeth and Frank transferred to Franklin the 38.09 acres Frank had purchased from Fitzhugh Billingsley in 1916. (Book 2754, pg. 99, Land Records of Prince George's County) That same year they transferred 6.754 acres, part of the Vineyard, to son Robert and his wife Lois, (Book 2765, pg. 201, Land Records of Prince George's County)
On December 28, 1965, Frank and Elizabeth participated in a land exchange/purchase of the farm of Ralph W. and Cordelia H. Brown located along the Patuxent River in Benedict, Charles County, Maryland. Franklin had rented this farm the year before and was impressed enough by its location and arability to work out a purchase. Frank and Elizabeth traded 65.9920 acres that would eventually become Franklin's under Frank's will. On February 21, 1966 they deeded the Charles County farm to Franklin and Adina. Adina named this property Serenity Farm. The property consisted of 480.66 acres. (Liber 179, page 708 etc., Land Records of Charles County)
On February 5, 1970, after a short illness, Frank died at Cafritz Memorial Hospital. He was buried at St. Paul's Episcopal Church near his parents. In his will, probated March 4, 1970 he left thirty acres of the property purchased from the German American Land Company and A. Noltensmeir to Elizabeth. He willed forty acres of the same parcel to daughter Mary Robinson Conner. The remainder of Ferndale Farm was willed to Franklin and the remaining acreage of the Vineyard was left to Robert Lee.
Franklin Alexander Robinson was born August 13, 1932 at the Garfield Hospital in Washington, D.C.. He received his schooling in the public school system of Prince George's County, graduating from Gwynn Park High School in June 1951. He was a charter member of Gwynn Park's chapter of The Future Farmers of America. He was extremely active in FFA, achieving the Degree of Maryland Farmer in 1950 and their highest award, the Degree of American Farmer at their convention in Kansas City, Missouri in October 1953. He obtained his private pilots license in 1954. He entered the United States Army in February 1955 and went through basic training at Camp Gordon, Augusta, Georgia. After basic training he was transferred to Camp Hanford, Washington State. There he worked part time on the farm of Dick and Theresa Laurent during his off duty hours and began a lifelong friendship with them. He returned home to farming on an agricultural discharge in October of 1956. On July 27, 1958 he married his high school sweetheart, Adina Mae Via, daughter of Robert Milton and Virginia Woods Via. They had three children: Franklin Alexander (1959), Robert David (1962), and Adina Theresa (1963).
Franklin continued expanding and improving the farming operation by modern methods and means. At times, he farmed over one thousand acres, both owned and rented. On February 21, 1966, his parents deeded their purchase of the Ralph W. and Cordelia H. Brown farm in Benedict to he and Adina, later known as Serenity Farm Franklin and Adina engaged an architect to draft house plans for an anticipated new residence. A small A frame vacation home was built on the property so the family could spend weekends there.
On December 14, 1966, after a long illness, Adina died from complications associated with Hodgkin's Disease. She was buried in Trinity Memorial Gardens, Waldorf, Charles County. Franklin married Margaret Walker Lennox (nee Tallen, known as Rita) on August 21, 1970 (Marriage Records of Prince George's County, Maryland). This marriage ended in divorce in 1977. There were no children from this marriage.
On July 14, 1975 the Robinson family, Franklin, his second wife, Margaret, her daughter Margaret W. Lennox, Franklin, Jr., R. David, A. Theresa and Elizabeth B. Robinson, moved to Serenity Farm. On July 17, 1975 Franklin and Elizabeth sold the remaining acreage of Ferndale Farm to Brandywine Sand and Gravel, thus ending 131 years of ownership by the Robinson family. Elizabeth Bourne Robinson died on July 15, 1976 and was buried beside her husband at St. Paul's Church, Baden. Franklin married Hiltrud (Ceddie) Harris (nee Sedlacek) on July 15, 1978. (Robinson Family Bible) This marriage ended in divorce in 1986. There were no children from this marriage. Franklin married Diedre Gale Merhiage on April 19, 1989; this marriage ended in divorce in 1997. There were no children from this marriage. He married Remelda Henega Buenavista on January 13, 2007.
The Robinson family continue day-to-day operations of Serenity Farm. The land is well suited to the growing of tobacco and small grains, which crops, (with the exception of tobacco) along with a flock of sheep, are cultivated there to the present time. After the crop year 2001 the Robinson family took the tobacco buyout program offered by the state of Maryland and ceased growing tobacco. Franklin is active in farming and community affairs having served on the vestry of St. Thomas Episcopal Parish, the Board of Directors of the Maryland Tobacco Growers Association (MTGA), the Board of the Production Credit Association, the Boards of three schools, Holy Trinity Day School, Queen Anne School, and Calverton School, and numerous other organizations. Currently the farm consists of approximately 275 acres. In 1981 a state agricultural land preservation district of 222.755 acres was created. This was the first such district in Charles County and one of the first in the state of Maryland.
The Via family traces its origins to the colony of Virginia, where the probable progenitor of the line, Amer Via, a French Huguenot, settled in Manakin Town, Albemarle County between 1670-1700. It is impossible to trace the Via line definitively due to the loss of Virginia county records during the Civil War.
The Via family line covered in this collection can be definitively traced to William Via of Fredericksville Parish, Louisa (later Albemarle) County, Virginia. The William Via family lived west of the present day town of Whitehall at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, an area commonly known as Sugar Hollow. William Via III served in the Virginia Line during the Revolutionary War. He married Mary Craig, daughter of Thomas Craig and Jane Jameson, on March 17, 1784. William died on June 27, 1836, in Albemarle County (Rev. War Pension Appl. 6363, National Archives). His son Thomas married Sally, widow Griffin, on January 1, 1811 (Albemarle County Marriage Records). Their son, Hiram Karl Via (1812-1893), married Harriet Ardenia Naylor by license dated March 7, 1836 (Albemarle County Marriage Records).
Hiram and Harriet's son, Robert St. Clair Via (1844-1925), served as a private in Company I, 7th Virginia Infantry of the Confederate States Army (CSA Military Service Records, National Archives). After the war he married his first cousin, Mary Frances Naylor, daughter of Samuel Chapman Naylor and Eliza Jane Gardner, on April 3, 1866 in Rockingham County (Rockingham County, Virginia, Marriage Records). Sometime between 1870 and 1872, they moved to Linn County, Missouri, and settled about seven miles from the town of Bucklin. Their son, Hiram Chapman Via (1872-1933), was born there. In 1893, the family returned to Virginia, and settled on a farm in Greene County near the town of Stanardsville.
Hiram Chapman Via operated a mill as well as a farm. On March 15, 1899, he married Adina Eleanor Eusebia Runkle, daughter of Milton D. L. Runkle and Roberta A. Beadles (Greene County, Virginia, Marriage Records). They had three children: Bernice Olive (1902-1999), Robert Milton (1906-1983), and Deward Daniel (1909-1977).
Robert moved to Washington, D.C.. In December 1927 he began employment with the Capitol Traction Company as a streetcar conductor (Robinson and Via Family Papers). During the early 1930s, Robert rented a townhouse at 715 A St., SE, where he lived with his sister Bernice V. McMullan and her son, William C. McMullan; his brother and sister in law, and his parents. Next door, at 717, lived the Moses Albright family, including Moses's stepdaughter Ida Virginia Woods (1914-2010), daughter of Jesse Lee Woods (1894-1918) and Donna Mae Barker (1896-1928) of Frederick County, Maryland. Robert and Virginia began a courtship and on September 3, 1932 were married in Frederick, Frederick County, Maryland (Frederick County, Maryland, Marriage Records).
After their marriage, Robert and Virginia lived in various locations in the Washington metropolitan area. Their first child, Robert Delano, was born on March 24, 1933, and their second child, Adina Mae, was born on April 12, 1937. Virginia was employed outside the home while her children were in school. Her first job before her marriage had been with Woolworth's in Martinsburg, WV working the candy counter and then before the birth of her son at The Hecht Company on F St. in Washington, D.C.. After her marriage she worked briefly for the United States Postal Service in Capitol Heights, Maryland. Beginning in the 1950s, she worked first at the Hecht Company department store on 7th Street in the District and later for Charles of the Ritz as a receptionist in their beauty salon located in Woodward & Lothrop's F Street store in Washington, D.C.. She also worked as salon manager at the Charles of the Ritz salons in the Woodward & Lothrop stores in Seven Corners, Virginia, and Chevy Chase, Maryland. She retired due to health reasons in 1973.
On September 10, 1941, Robert and Virginia purchased Lot #43 in Woodlane subdivision in Prince George's County. (Book 619, pg. 12, Land Records of Prince George's County) A house was designed for them for this lot by Clyde E. Phillips. They did not construct a home on this property due to the outbreak of World War II. Robert, due to his employment in public transportation, did not serve with the Armed Services in World War II. On October 18, 1946, they purchased approximately thirty acres bordering on Burch's Creek near the towns of Clinton, also know as Surrattsville, and T.B. in Prince George's County from Joseph H. and M. Pauline Blandford. (Book 873, pg. 483, Land Records of Prince George's County) Over the next three years, hiring private contractors, doing work themselves, and with the help of Robert's brother Deward, they built the two story house designed by Phillips in 1941. They moved to the farm from Capitol Heights in 1949. Robert raised hogs, small grains and a crop of tobacco yearly on this farm and also maintained his job with Capitol Transit (formerly Capitol Traction).
In 1954, Robert and Virginia purchased a farm of approximately 150 acres in Island Creek, Calvert County, Maryland. The intention was for Robert and his son to enter into a full time farming operation on expanded acreage. Robert D. Via, known as Delano, graduated from Gwynn Park High School in June 1951. Delano was a part-time farmer and pursued a career as a country and western singer with Bashful Bob and the Rhythm Rangers, he being Bashful Bob. He was employed in various jobs, and began a tour in the Army in 1953. By the time the Via family moved to Calvert County in 1956, he decided to pursue careers other than farming. He eventually traveled and worked in various parts of the United States. He married first Delores Cooper, second Gloria J. Irick, and finally Candice Marinelli in December 1974, they had two children, Robert Marin (1975) and Kirstin Marin (1976).
On June 1, 1956 Robert resigned from his position at Capitol Transit due to health reasons. He and his family moved to the farm in Island Creek, Calvert County where he began full time farming. He and Virginia sold the thirty-acre farm in Prince George's County on June 21, 1956 to Melvin C. and Geraldine H. Rardia. (Book 2003, pg. 564, Land Records of Prince George's County) Virginia continued her employment with Charles of the Ritz. Adina, now a graduate of Gwynn Park High School, was employed by the USAF at Andrews Air Force Base in Camp Springs, Maryland. They both commuted daily from Calvert County to their places of employment.
Robert farmed in Calvert County, raising hogs, cattle, small grains and tobacco. Over the course of the next twenty-seven years, Robert and Virginia sold smaller parcels off the farm. In 1974, Robert and Virginia built a small retirement home designed for them by Calvert Masonry Contractors. Robert died on December 22, 1983. He was buried beside his daughter Adina in Trinity Memorial Gardens. At the time of Robert's death, the farm consisted of 28.694 acres. In 1998, Virginia deeded the remainder of the farm, then less than six acres, to her grandson, Franklin A. Robinson, Jr. who sold all but a one-acre lot in April 1999.
Virginia continued to live on the farm in Calvert County, maintaining a small herd of cattle. In the fall of 1989 Franklin, Jr. went to live with her. In 1993, the onset of Alzheimer's Disease required her to move to Serenity Farm and take up residence with her granddaughter A. Theresa. Virginia participated in various studies on Alzheimer's Disease conducted by the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland beginning in 1992. She was profiled in the September 1997 issue of Washingtonian Magazine. In October of 1998 she moved to All American Senior Care in Brandywine, Maryland and in 1999 she moved to Morningside, an elderly care facility in Waldorf, Maryland. In 2002, she moved to St. Mary's Nursing Center in Leonardtown, Maryland. The remainder of the farm was sold in 1999 and 2002. She died January 14, 2010 and was buried at Trinity Memorial Gardens in Waldorf.
Adina Mae Via was born April 12, 1937 at the Homeopathic Hospital in Washington, D.C.. Adina grew up in Washington, D.C. attending public schools. She moved with her family to the Burch's Creek farm, Prince George's County, in 1949. She enrolled in the Prince George's County school system, and graduated from Gwynn Park High School in June of 1955. After graduation, she was employed by the USAF at Andrews Air Force Base in Camp Springs.
In July of 1956, she moved with her family to the Via farm in Island Creek, Calvert County. On July 27, 1958 she married Franklin A. Robinson at the Chapel of the Incarnation. They had three children: Franklin Alexander (1959), Robert David (1962) and Adina Theresa (1963). In the fall of 1958, she and Franklin took up residence in the home they had built on Ferndale Farm. She resigned from her position with the USAF in 1959.
On December 14, 1966, at Providence Hospital in Washington, DC, Adina died from complications due to Hodgkin's Disease. She had been battling this disease for many years prior to her death. She was buried in Trinity Memorial Gardens, Charles County.
Materials at Other Organizations
The Maryland Historical Society holds items (costume, farming related implements) related to the Robinson and Via families.
Materials at the National Museum of American History
The Division of Work and Industry (Agriculture Collection) holds agricultural implements and artifacts associated with both the Robinson farms and the Via farm; the Division of Home and Community Life holds clothing, textiles (crib quilt), jewelry, cosmetics and Adina M. Robinson's sewing box and dress patterns; (Costume and Textiles Collection). See accession numbers: 1989.0688, 1990.0394, 1991.0010; 1991.0722, 1992.0184, 1992.0283, 1992.0321, 1992.0474, 1992.3106, 1994.0064, 1994.0304, 1997.0327, 1998.0038, 1998.0129, 2001.0196, 2002.0087, 2003.0015, 2005.0009.
Division of Armed Forces History (now Division of Olitical and Military History, National Numismatics Collection) holds the Robert M. Via Trolley Token Collection.
The collection was donated to the National Museum of American History, Archives Center, by Franklin A. Robinson, Jr., in November 1993.
Collection is open for research but negatives and audiovisuial materials are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Some papers of living persons are restricted. Access to restricted portions may be arranged by request to the donor. Gloves required for unprotected photographs. Viewing film portions of the collection and listening to LP recording requires special appointment. Contact the Archives Center for information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-633-3270.
The Archives Center does not own exclusive rights to these materials. Copyright for all materials is retained by the donor, Franklin A. Robinson, Jr.; permission for commercial use and/or publication may be requested from the donor through the Archives Center. Military Records for Franklin A. Robinson (b. 1932) and correspondence from Richard I. Damalouji (1961-2014) are restricted; written permission is needed to research these files. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Primarily published sheet music, plus some related ephemera. Originally included 781 boxes of American sheet music and assorted clippings, articles, photographs, etc.; also 93 boxes of 33-1/3 RPM phonograph records, 30 boxes of 45 RPM records, and 20 boxes of 78 RPM records
Scope and Contents:
Sam DeVincent organized his collection topically and the present organization is built upon his basic system. In the course of processing this huge collection organized into hundreds of topics, a set of more encompassing topical headings have been developed. For example, the series designation "transportation" gathers together DeVincent's topical headings of "automobiles," "railroads," "bicycles," etc. Each of these larger, conceptual, headings is considered a series and is given a series number. Transportation is series number 1. Each series will be described separately and a composite index will lead researchers into the appropriate series. Terminology is consistent with Library of Congress Subject Headings whenever possible.
Within each series, the topical headings used by DeVincent, or a heading of similar level and type, receive sub-series numbers. For example, "railroads" is part of series 1, transportation, and is given the sub-series number 7. Therefore, "railroads" is designated as 1.7.
All of the sheet music has been placed in folders (from 1 to 45 items per folder) and given a letter of the alphabet. Within each folder, the music is arranged alphabetically by song title. A researcher searching the index for the song Wabash Cannonball (note that very few song titles are indexed) would be directed to "1.7 V." The researcher would then turn to the railroad section of the container list (1.7) and look for folder V and read the folder description.
Most of the sheet music is either a solo piano or a piano/vocal arrangement. There are very few orchestral or band parts and very little music for instruments other than piano. When the word "instrumental" is used in folder descriptions and titles, the music referred to has no lyrics and is for solo piano. Music for other instruments or ensemble parts will be mentioned explicitly in the folder description and usually indexed. Also, duplicates have not been kept in the file unless the sheet is particularly old or fragile (in which case one duplicate was kept if available). Sheets with slightly different covers, different ink colors, or variations in advertising matter are not considered duplicates.
In addition to the sheet music, the collection includes ephemera files corresponding to each series. These files contain items such as lists of sheet music, DeVincent's correspondence with other collectors, wire service printouts received at the radio station where he worked, his notes to be used for cross-indexing ("see also" references), and miscellaneous items relating to the topic. Some materials kept by DeVincent have not been incorporated into the ephemera files, for example most of the popular magazines, Fort Wayne Indiana newspaper clippings about non-musical topics, and some advertising matter.
The ephemera files are numbered with the same series and sub-series numbers as the sheet music. For example bicycles are 1.3 in both the music and ephemera files. A description of the ephemera file follows the sheet music container list. It is followed by an index to the entire series. Many topical headings not directly concerned with the topic of the series are indexed (for example "Women, images of" is an important topic in the bicycle sub-series). The author of each series description made the decisions about topics for indexing.
Series 1: Transportation:
Dates -- circa 1800-1980
Contents -- Series 1: Transportation contains circa 3,900 pieces of sheet music documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards transportation technology in the United States.1.1: Aeronautics1.2: Automobiles1.3: Bicycles1.4: Boats and Boating1.5: Horse-Drawn Vehicles1.6: Motorcycles1.7: Railroads1.8: Urban Transportation1.9 Ephemera
Series 2: Armed Forces:
Dates -- circa 1810-1980
Contents -- Series 2: Armed Forces contains circa 3,400 pieces of sheet music and song folios documenting the military history of the United States; there are only a handful of foreign imprints. 2.1: Pre-Civil War2.2: Civil War2.3: Pre-World War I2.4: World War I2.5: World War II2.6: Post -World War2.7: Naval History2.8: Marine CorpsEphemera
Series 3: African-American Music:
Dates -- circa 1828-1980
Contents -- Series 3: African-American Music contains circa 7,800 pieces of sheet music and folios dating from the 1820s to the 1980s; most of the material dates from after 1890. 3.1: Minstrel Shows and Blackface Entertainers3.2: Uncle Tom's Cabin3.3: African-American Folk-songs and Spirituals3.4: Songs about African-American/Vocal Ragtime3.5: Instrumental and Ragtime Music3.6: Ragtime Composers and Publishers3.7: Blues and Jazz Music3.8: Composers and PerformersEphemera
Series 4: Songwriters:
Dates -- 1817-1982
Contents -- Series 4: Songwriters: The song sheets associated with each songwriter in this series are generally arranged in the following order: General Songs; Ethnic Songs; Armed Conflict Songs or other Topical Headings; Ragtime; Instrumental; Musical Theater Production Songs; Motion Picture Production Songs; Specialized Song Sheets/Editions; Professional/Artist Copy Song Sheets; and Folios/Volumes. List: 4.1 - 4.217Ephemera
Series 5: Politics and Political Movements:
Dates -- circa 1817-1982
Contents -- Series 5: Politics and Political Movements contains circa 1,565 pieces of sheet music and song folios documenting the political history of the United States. 5.1: Patriotic Music5.2: Politicians and Political Figures5.3: Politics and Political Parties5.4: Ku Klux Klan5.5: Prohibition and Temperance5.6: Trade Union5.7: Women's RightsEphemera
Series 6: Moving Pictures and Movie Stars:
Dates -- 1911-1986
Contents -- Series 6: Moving Pictures and Movie Stars: 6.1 Academy Award Songs6.2 Child Stars6.3 Dance Folios6.4 Disney Productions and Other Cartoon Movies6.5 Female Stars6.6 Male Stars6.7 Movie Music6.8 Silent Films6.9 Songs About the MoviesEphemera
Series 7: Sports:
Dates -- 1834-1983
Contents -- Series 7: Sports contains 1,254 pieces of sheet music and song folios. Most of the sheet music is either piano or piano/ vocal arrangements. 7.1: Baseball, 1860-19767.2: Boxing, 1893-19827.3: Fishing, 1847-19627.4: Football, 1894-1978; undated7.5: Gambling and Games of Chance, 1891-19807.6: Golf, 1893-19537.7: Horse Racing, 1899-19687.8: Hunting, 1834-19517.9: Ice Skating, 1861 -1978; undated7.10: Olympics, 1932-19837.11: Ping Pong, 1901-19027.12: Roller Skating, 1871-1980; undated7.13: Skiing, 1908-19717.14: Sleighs and Sledding, 1846- 1967; undated7.15: Sports, Miscellaneous, 1866-19777.16: Tennis, 1893-1914, 1951Ephemera
Series 8: Geography:
Dates -- 1794-1987
Contents -- Series 8: Geography is divided into three sections: the United States, Foreign Countries, and Natural Features. The more than 13,000 sheets date from 1830-1987 and include undated sheets that are probably earlier. The series comprises 33 cu. ft. 8.1-8.49: United States, 1830-1987 (States)8.50-8.51: United States, 1830-1987 (U. S. Regions)8.53-8.89: Foreign Countries, 1794-1982 (Afghanistan - Italy)8.90-8.126: Foreign Countries, 1794-1982 (Japan - Vietnam) & (Foreign Regions)8.127-8.128: Natural Features, 1834-1980Ephemera
Series 9: Domestic and Community Life:
Dates -- 1827-1986; undated
Contents -- Series 9: Domestic and Community Life documents family, love, marriage, home, and social organizations. It does not include Health or Business items, which are included in separate series. Certain issues, such as women's rights, are in Series 2: Politics and Political Movements. 9.1: Adult Family Members, 1836-1985; undated9.2: Children, 1855-1971; undated9.3: Dolls, Stories, Toys, 1860-1984; undated9.4: Songs About and Images of Men and Women, 1828-1972; undated9.5: Home, Neighborhood, and Immigrants/Refugees, 1830-1980; undated9.6: Love, 1827-1982; undated9.7: Marriage, 1829-1976; undated9.8: Friendship and Social Organizations, 1838-1982; undated9.9: Age, Death, and Dying, 1834-1951; undated9.10: Domestic Art and Clothing, 1843-1978; undated9.11:Albums, Lockets, and Memories, 1857-1952; undatedEphemera
Series 10: Sacred Music and Religious Themes:
Dates -- 1822-1986, undated
Contents -- Series 10: Sacred Music and Religious Themes contains approximately 4,000 pieces of sheet music, much of which is traditional Christian music, but also documents popular attitudes towards religion in the United States. Note that the Christmas and Easter subseries include their secular aspects. 10.1, Adam, Eve, and Eden, 1882-197110.2, Angels, 1849-1961, undated10.3, Bells and Chimes, 1848-1956, undated10.4, Biblical Characters and Stories, 1876-1986, undated10.5, Cathedral, Chapel, Church, 1866-1966, undated10.6, Choir, 1880-193710.7, Christmas, 1828-1984, undated10.8, Devil and Satan, 1865-1979, undated10.9, Easter, 1872-1975, undated10.10, Evolution, 1925-196310.11, Heaven, 1866-1975, undated10.12, Inspirational Singers, 1868-197710.13, Madonna, The Virgin Mary, 1855-1953, undated10.14, Miracles, 1929-195910.15, Mormons, 1895-1933, undated10.16, Paradise, 1900-1925, undated10.17, Pilgrim, 1868-1938, undated10.18, Psalms, 1884-1980, undated10.19, Quakers, 1899-1940, undated10.20, Rosary, 1897-195310.21, General Sacred Songs, 1822-1982, undatedEphemera, 1899-1986
Series 11: Entertainment:
Dates -- 1841-1984, undated
Contents -- Series 11: Entertainment contains more than 12,500 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards entertainers and entertainment in the United States. Note that movies and some musical entertainment are also covered in Series 6, Moving Pictures and Movie Stars, and in Series 16, Country, Western, and Folk Music. Blind musicians and performers are in Series 17. 11.1: Early Troupes & Bandmasters, 1841-1944, undated11.2: Dance Bands and Orchestras, 1905-1964, undated11.3: Novelty Bands, 1901-195211.4: Male Singers (Individual), 1846-198111.5: Female Singers (Individual), 1845-197111.6: Duos and Groups (Male and Mixed), 1903-198111.7: Female Duos and Groups, 1896-196611.8: Child Entertainers, 1852-1927, undated11.9: Impersonators, 1904-198211.10: Actors and Comedians, 1853-198211.11: Theater, 1873-1973, undated11.12: Juke Box, Nickelodeon, 1923-198111.13: Phonograph, Records, Tapes, 1878-197111.14: Radio, Transistor, Wireless, 1898-198411.15: Television, 1931-198711.16: Circus, Fair, Zoo
Series 12: Plants and Animals:
Dates -- 1831-1984, undated
Contents -- Series 12: Plants and Animals contains approximately 4,000 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards plants and animals in the United States. 12.1, Trees, 1833-1969, undated12.2, Plants and Flowers, 1840-1979, undated12.3, Animals, 1831-1984, undated12.4, Fish, Mermaids, and Aquatic Species, 1832-1978, undated12.5, Birds, 1834-1976, undated12.6, Insects and Spiders, 1853-1968, undated
Series 13: Agriculture, Business, and Law:
Dates -- 1827-1985, undated
Contents -- Series 13, Agriculture, Business, and Law contains approximately 3,300 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards business, commerce, farming and food, finances, labor, law, and social order in the United States. The series comprises nine cubic feet, plus two boxes of ephemera. 13.1, Business and Jobs, 1927-1982, undated13.2, Farming, Food, and Tobacco, 1836-1986, undated13.3, Finances and Valuables, 1841-1982, undated13.4, Law and Social Order, 1858-1972, undated13.5, Public Services and Utilities, 1836-1984, undatedEphemera, 1901-1987, undated
Series 14: Calendar, Time, and Weather:
Dates -- 1811-1980, undated
Contents -- Series 14, Calendar, Time, and Weather contains approximately 1,800 pieces of sheet music, documenting attitudes toward and consequences of natural events. The four seasons comprise the larger part. 14.1, Years, 1880-1945, undated14.2, Seasons, 1850-1978, undated14.3, Months, 1855-1978, undated14.4, Days of the Week, 1853-196514.5, Clocks and Time, 1844-1967, undated14.6, Weather, 1911-1980, undatedEphemera, 1952-1982, undated
Series 15: Holidays and Celebrations:
Dates -- 1847-1982, undated
Contents -- Series 15, Holidays and Celebrations contains approximately 500 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards holidays, celebrations, and travel in the United States. Note that Christmas items are in Series 10, Sacred Music and Religious Themes, subseries 7. 15.1, Holiday, Travel, Vacation, 1866-198215.2, Carnival, 1847-1937, undated15.3, Mardi Gras, 1892-1958, undated15.4, Masquerade, 1900-1973, undated.15.5, Halloween, 1853-1962, undated.15.6, Thanksgiving, 1853-1974, undated.15.7, New Year, 1852-1970, undated15.8, Park, 1869-1969, undated15.9, Picnic, 1854-1964, undated15.10, Rolling Chairs, 1905-1923, undatedEphemera
Series 16: Country, Western, and Folk Music:
Dates -- 1839-1986, undated
Contents -- Series 16: Country, Western, and Folk Music, contains approximately 11,500 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards country, western, and folk music in the United States. The dates always refer to copyright of the music and not to the subject on the cover, songwriter's life, or other events. There are 78 boxes of sheet music and 16 boxes of ephemera. 16.1, Individual Male Entertainers, 1911-1983, undated16.2, Individual Female Entertainers, 1902-1986, undated16.3, Duos and Groups, 1910-1981, undated16.4, The West, 1939-198416.5, Barn Dance, Fiddle Tunes, and "Turkey in the Straw," 1878-197516.6, Blues, Feuding, Hillbilly, Honky Tonk, and Yodeling, 1885-1975, undated16.7, Miscellaneous Songs, 1913-198316.8, Folios, 1914-1969Ephemera --subseries 1-7 and subseries 9-10
Series 17: The Human Condition--Physical, Mental, Behavioral:
Dates -- 1833-1987
Contents -- Series 17, The Human Condition--Physical, Mental, Behavioral contains approximately 1,000 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards the human condition in the United States. 17.1, Physical Health, 1833-1982, undated17.2, Happiness, 1845-1978, undated17.3, Crazy, Foolish, 1904-1973, undated17.4, Rubes, 1888-1938Ephemera
Series 18: Dance:
Dates -- 1812-1978, undated
Contents -- Series 18, Dance contains approximately 3,330 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards dance in the United States. 18.1, General Songs about Dance, 1882-1967, undated18.2, Ballroom Dancers and Dance Institute, 1840-1951, undated18.3, Charleston, 1923-196418.4, Fox Trot, 1913-193218.5, Galop, 1842-1924, undated18.6, Gavotte, 1874-1978, undated18.7, Jigs and Reels, 1891-1951, undated18.8, Lancers, 1857-1903, undated18.9, Maxixe, 1913-1914, undated18.10, Mazurka, 1854-1940, undated18.11, Minuet, 1875-1968, undated18.12, One Step, 1910-192118.13, Polka, 1845-1975, undated18.14, Quadrilles, 1831-1883, undated18.15, Redowa, 1853-1908, undated18.16, Schottische, 1850-1944, undated18.17, Skirt Dance, 1891-1893, undated18.18, Square Dance, 1926-196418.19, Tango, 1909-195218.20, Three Step, 1903-191318.21, Two Step, 1894-192518.22, Varsova, 1851-1917, undated18.23, Waltz, 1812-1968, undated18.24, Folios, 1888-1953, undatedEphemera
Series 19: Art and Literature:
Dates -- 1830-1977, undated
Contents -- Series 19, Art and Literature contains approximately 860 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting popular attitudes towards art and literature in the United States. 19.1, Art and Artists, 1839-1977, undated19.2, Cover Artists and Early Lithograph Covers, 1830-1931, undated19.3, Photography, 1848-196619.4, Carving and Whittling, 1906-194719.5, Books, Diary, and Stories, 1849-198319.6, Poets and Poetry, 1836-1969, undated Ephemera Index
Series 20: Newspapers:
Dates -- 1844-1968, undated
Contents -- Series 20, Newspapers, 1844-1968, contains materials documenting the business of and popular attitudes towards newspapers in the United States. 20.1, Songs about Advertising, the News and the Press20.2, Songs published by Newspapers or about serialized stories20.3, Songs about Newsboys and Newsgirls20.4, Cartoons, Cartoonists, and Comics20.5, Newspaper and Magazine SupplementsEphemera
Series 21: Musical Instruments:
Dates -- 1824-1981 and undated
Contents -- Series 21, Musical Instruments, 1824-1981, undated, contains approximately 4,900 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards the playing of music in the United States. Numerous teaching manuals are included.21.1, Accordion, 1902-1964, undated21.2, Banjo, 1853-1975, undated21.3, Cello, 1891-1935, undated21.4, Clarinet, 1905-1958, undated21.5, Concertina, 1905-1941, undated21.6, Cornet, 1848-1924, undated21.7, Double Bass, 1939-195521.8, Drums, 1867-1971, undated21.9, Fiddle, 1893-1981, undated21.10, Flute, 1847-1936, undated21.11, Guitar, 1824-1977, undated21.12, Harmonica, 1904-1974, undated21.13, Harp, 1866-1976, undated21.14, Hurdy Gurdy, 1899-196921.15, Mandolin, 1843-1954, undated21.16, Music Boxes, 1848-1979, undated21.17, Organ, 1856-1973, undated21.18, Saxophone, 1907-195321.19, Tambourine, 1854-196021.20, Trombone, 1906-195721.21, Trumpet, 1904-1945, undated21.22, Ukulele, 1915-1964, undated21.23, Violin, 1843-1957, undated21.24, Zither, 1970-1951, undated21.25, Various Instruments, 1835-1968, undatedEphemera
Series 22: American Indian:
Contents -- Series 22: American Indian
Dates -- 1899-1975
Series 23: Universe:
Contents -- Series 23: Universe
Dates -- 1842-1970
Series 24: Education:
Contents -- Series 24: Education
Dates -- 1834-1964
Series 25: Vocal:
Contents -- Series 25: Vocal
Series 26: General Sheet Music:
Contents -- Series 26: General Sheet Music
Series 27: Gypsies:
Contents -- Series 27: Gypsies
Series 28: Opera:
Contents -- Series 28: Opera
Series 29: Piano:
Contents -- Series 29: Piano
Series 30: Marches and Quicksteps:
Contents -- Series 30: Marches and Quicksteps
Series 31: Dialects:
Contents -- Series 31: Dialects
Series 32: Christopher Columbus:
Contents -- Series 32: Christopher Columbus
Series 33: Reveries:
Contents -- Series 33: Reveries
Series 34: Indiana Publishers:
Contents -- Series 34: Indiana Publishers
Series 35: Sam DeVincent Personal Papers:
Contents -- Series 35: Sam DeVincent Personal Papers
Series 36: Folios and Songbooks:
Contents -- Series 36: Folios and Songbooks
Series 37: Other Materials:
Contents -- Series 37: Other Materials
Dates -- 1853-1976
Additional Topical Series:
An updated list of DeVincent topical series is available via the Smithsonian finding aid portal.
The collection is arranged into topical series.
Sam DeVincent was born January 8, 1918 and lived in Fort Wayne, Indiana for most of his life. DeVincent collected sheet music and related materials during most of his lifetime. His interest included both the music and the cover art. Because he had little money to support his collecting, DeVincent gathered most of his material through careful searches and travel.
DeVincent and his wife used much of the music he collected in their musical group "Nancy Lee and the Hilltoppers." The group performed regularly on radio station WOWO in Fort Wayne, Indiana, from 1945 to 1955. After 1955 (and the emergence of rock and roll), "Nancy Lee and the Hilltoppers" played only once a week on the radio station. At this time, Mr. DeVincent worked as an all-night disc jockey at WOWO. In 1960 he became music director and music librarian at the station. His position as music librarian helped him to add to his collection, especially the phonograph recordings (many promotional copies are included).
DeVincent retired from WOWO in 1983. He and his wife continued to perform publicly including a weekly radio show on WOWO. The National Museum of American History acquired the DeVincent collection in the spring of 1988. Sam DeVincent passed away November 29, 1997.
Materials in Other Organizations:
Sam DeVincent Collection of American Sheet Music, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
The Sam DeVincent Collection of American Sheet Music contains approximately 24,000 pieces of sheet music, songbooks, and folios. DeVincent arranged his collection into categories based on either personal names of musicians or performers or on subjects he defined that were as diverse as the American Red Cross and Halloween. The Lilly Library has maintained this arrangement.
All the sheet music in the DeVincent collection is listed in the IN Harmony: Sheet Music from Indiana: Lilly Library web site. Digitized images are available for some items.
Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History:
Donald J. Stubblebine Collection of Musical Theater and Motion Picture Sheet Music and Reference Material, 1843-2010 (AC1211)
This collection was purchased by the Smithsonian Institution in 1988 from Sam and Nancy Lee DeVincent.
Collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
An application and recommendation for William Bowker as a "suitable person to keep an inn". Signed by 13 men.
Donated by Earl E. Moore to the National Museum of History and Technology (now the National Museum of American History) in the 1960s.
Collection open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Domestic Life Search this
3.5 Cubic feet (9 boxes, 1 oversize folder)
Alexandria (Va.) -- 18th century
Virginia -- 18th century
An extensive range of papers relating to the Ramsay family of Alexandria, Virginia.
Scope and Contents:
Original and photocopied correspondence, financial papers, newspaper clippings, legal documents, insurance policies, account book, genealogical notes, wills, lottery tickets, and currency, documenting the activities of the Ramsay family of Alexandria, Virginia and related families.
The collection is arranged topically.
Biographical / Historical:
William Ramsay (1716-1785), a Scottish Presbyterian minister, played a major role in the establishment of Alexandria, Virginia and later served as its mayor. His son, Dennis, also served as mayor and as a colonel in the Continental Army. Other descendants remained active in local affairs.
Collection donated by Heirs of William and Dennis Ramsay,1962, April 30.
Collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.