Archive for February, 2014

Native American Community Research Proposal

Williamsburg: A Space for Native American Community

The focus of The Williamsburg Documentary Project this semester is the use and reuse of place and space in and around Williamsburg. I hope to conduct a research project on the experience of the Williamsburg Native American community with insight and commentary through a spatial, locational, and geographic lens.

First, I want to know what different tribes or native nations, if any, are represented in Williamsburg. If there are members of these communities, I hope to look at if a community among the Native Americans exists despite varying tribes or nations. How does this community function as a whole and how members of different tribes interact with one another?  If a community among Williamsburg Native Americans does not exist I hope to explore reasons why. I also hope to explore how the Native American community functions within the larger Williamsburg area spatially, socially, and economically: both as individuals and as a group.

The following are some of the questions I hope to ask in my pursuit of primary information to serve as the most substantial component of my project. What type of spaces do Williamsburg Native Americans occupy? For example: residential, commercial, educational, or government space where members of the Native American community frequent, work, live, or own space. How do public and private spaces represent and/or characterize the Williamsburg Native American community and how do these spaces serve non-Native American members of the community? What characterizes the relationship between Williamsburg Native Americans and the City of Williamsburg? What characterizes the relationship between the spaces listed above and networks of people outside the Native American community?

After extensive research, there seems to be little to no work on the Native American community in Williamsburg since a report published in 1951 by in the Archeological Society of Virginia Quarterly Bulletin. Although this article is very dated, I hope to pull ideas and perspectives on Native Americans in the Williamsburg area from the 1950s and possibly compare and analyze them in next to the accounts I hope to collect from members of the community today. This will be a brief but very interesting element of my final paper.

The greater field of study on Native Americans living off the reservation is highly concentrated in medical and psychological journals that are primarily concerned with drug use, alcohol abuse and addiction, and effects or limitations to assimilation off the reservation. Much of this information includes the impact of racial stigmas, battles with addiction, and struggles with a “dual-identity,” one that confronts the everyday challenges to living as a Native American outside the reservation. I hope to compare these findings with those I uncover in the Williamsburg Native American community. Are these stigmas, challenges, and battles represented as present struggles or concerns for Williamsburg Native Americans? Why or Why not?

Another essential component of Native American identity and culture is the choice every Native American has to accept or deny his or her tribal or national identity as a native person. There are certain benefits and drawbacks of accepting tribal identity as well as denying it. I will discuss what guidelines each tribe I encounter and where federal government regulations stand on this issue to illuminate the ease or difficulty with which an individual can claim the benefits of their Native American identity. There are many instances of dissonance among siblings and families for a variety of reasons regarding taking on native identity thus if opportunity or time permits, exploring the reasons and experiences of accepting or denying American Indian heritage would be enlightening. Because of the Pamunkey reservation close-by, the Williamsburg area may indeed house a community of people choosing to distance themselves from tribal identity.

The primary source of information for my research will come from interviews with members of the Williamsburg community who either identify as Native American or who closely associate with members of the Williamsburg Native American community. These interviews will be conducted with myself and the interviewer assisted by a peer who will index the progression of the interview. I cannot limit my preferences for potential interviewees to a certain gender or age group because the most recent census report shows that the Native American community stands at around 1.2% of the Williamsburg population. I would like to speak with more than one person who is of age to speak knowledgeably with me about their observations and experiences among the community.

At anytime during the process of the project I guarantee every individual I ask to participate the ability to rescind his or her statements and interviews. If individuals wish to remain anonymous, pseudonyms will be noted and used in place of real names in every aspect of the published report. This will be confirmed in both verbal and written agreements before the interview. I also hope to present a copy of my report, electronic or manuscript, to each person who assisted with research, who gave oral interviews, and who aided me with valuable information or essential resources. Although I am collecting this information and writing a report on my findings, there is much more than just the work of one person that goes into a research project.

One of the greatest challenges I will encounter resides in collecting oral histories from Native American people in Williamsburg. I need to find people who are willing to speak with me and share their stories, opinions, and experiences. As I mentioned above, I am uncertain I will be able to identify and thus explore a Native American community in Williamsburg due to the small proportion of the population that they hold. Research provides little information and few contacts. I hope these few contacts will be fruitful resources to get in touch with people who could help me get into contact with individuals willing to share with a William and Mary undergraduate student.

Samuel R. Cook discusses in his article, Anthropological Advocacy in Historical Perspective: The Case of Anthropologists and Virginia Indians, the history of anthropological advocacy for Virginia Indian groups throughout the state and explains causes and effects of this political and social advocacy. I examine this paper to connect the greater effects of my own research in ethnography to the political and social benefits anthropological advocacy can bring to minority or ethnic group within a dominant white agenda. The American Indian Initiative within the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has sought to incorporate a Native American presence in the living museum located in Colonial Williamsburg since 2004. I am more concerned with the presence of Native Americans in Williamsburg today rather than reenactments of Virginia Indians of the past. Although the living museum provides ample benefit to understanding the past, I wish to uncover the present. I believe that the condition of marginalized peoples from the past in the present is a ____ way to analyze and therefore comprehend the insistent presence of racial inequality within society today. By uncovering the conditions of the present in light of history, we are able to better understand how racial systems develop and persist. If we can understand this, these systems will be easier to prevent and dissolve in the future. Does identifying as a Native American change what it means to be from Williamsburg? Does living in Williamsburg change what it means to be a Native American?

I hope to present my final report along with all primary sources I collected including the audio recordings of interviews to William and Mary with a deed of gift.


Allen. Williamsburg Documentary Project, “Native American Representations at Colonial Williamsburg.” Accessed February 27, 2014.

Blume, G. W. J. “Present-day Indians of Tidewater, Virginia.” Quarterly Bulletin, Archeological Society Of Virginia 6, no. 2 (1951): 1-11. Anthropology Plus, EBSCOhost (accessed February 27, 2014).

Cook, Samuel R. “Anthropological advocacy in historical perspective: The case of anthropologists and Virginia Indians.” Human organization 62, no. 2 (2003): 193-201.

Garrett, Michael Tlanusta, and Eugene F. Pichette. “Red as an apple: Native American acculturation and counseling with or without reservation.” Journal of Counseling & Development 78, no. 1 (2000): 3-13.

Nagel, Joane. “American Indian ethnic renewal: Politics and the resurgence of identity.” American Sociological Review (1995): 947-965.

Phinney, Jean S. “When we talk about American ethnic groups, what do we mean?.” American Psychologist 51, no. 9 (1996): 918.

Thornton, Russell. “Tribal membership requirements and the demography of ‘old’and ‘new’Native Americans.” Population Research and Policy Review 16, no. 1-2 (1997): 33-42.

Waugaman, Sandra F., and Danielle Moretti-Langholtz. We’re still here: contemporary Virginia Indians tell their stories. Palari Pub, 2000.


Proposal on Three-Person Rule Project

For my final project, I intend to investigate the role and function of the three-person rule, a zoning rule restricting housing to no more than three unrelated people, in Williamsburg. This ordinance has repeatedly caused controversy in the community, particularly in regard to the centrally-located College of William & Mary and its students who live off-campus. No other work has been completed for the Williamsburg Documentary Project concerning this subject as far as I can find; however, as such ordinances are common nationally, prior studies concerning the topic should be available as well.

In raising the topic, I aim to answer several research questions, some of which apply broadly to zoning’s relation to the community while others apply more specifically to Williamsburg and the various players in the enforcement of the rule. Larger questions include: what is the final goal of the three-person rule? What kind of communities does it want to create? What perceived needs does the three-person rule respond to? Answering these questions could rely on other scholarship surrounding city planning, but those resources have yet to be found. Beyond these more broad-based questions, more specific queries related to the enforcement of the rule and the main players within that enforcement are also necessary. While the situation often is pitched as a conflict between tenants and the city, landlords prove critical in their choices surrounding the enforcement or non-enforcement of the rule. What is their role? How do they negotiate the rule, both in their relations to the city and to their tenants? Alternately, from the governmental perspective, how does the city enforce the rule, particularly when tenants are living in the space? If the rule is violated, who is punished? Are there any exceptions to the rule and how does a landlord receive an exception?

To answer these questions and any more that my research may precipitate, I plan to gather information from a variety of sources. The actual city ordinances for the three-person rule, as well as additional surrounding ordinances and rules indicating the kinds of communities Williamsburg wants to create, will provide the foundation for the project. News coverage of the rule’s surrounding controversies as well as materials from William & Mary’s Residence Life office about off-campus housing could also prove useful.

I will gather the majority of my information, however, from oral interviews with people serving in the three main roles with regard to the rule: city officials, tenants, and landlords. Rod Rhodes in the City Planning Office, who deals primarily with the three-person rule, should prove to be a helpful resource. Students, male and female aged between 18-22, living off-campus in situations that either adhere to or violate the ordinance will also be interviewed. Ideally, unrelated non-students living together in Williamsburg will also be available to broaden the project’s reach to the wider Williamsburg community rather than restricting it to a contest between William & Mary students and the city. Most critical, however, will be the participation of landlords to better determine their role in enforcing or not enforcing the ordinance.

Securing the participation of landlords and tenants in violation of the rule could prove problematic, in either gaining their approval to be interviewed or with possible repercussions after their participation has been completed. As such, measures will be taken to protect their identities. Pseudonyms and general descriptions of their living quarters and/or properties, as opposed to specific descriptions that could belie their true identity, will be used. If the subject chooses to remain totally anonymous, that decision will be honored as well. Further protection strategies, if necessary, will be determined at a future date in concert with Professor Lelievre and other standard identity protection procedures.

Methodology could prove to be another challenge. My coming from a student perspective could bias my research; as such, a grounded theory approach will be used instead of the traditional scientific method in order to avoid potential confirmation bias toward findings favourable to students and other tenants. The grounded theory approach attempts to remove myself from that mindset and obtain relevant findings without coloring them with prior assumptions.

When finally completed, my study will prove relevant not only to Williamsburg, but to other similar contexts as well. Many jurisdictions have this kind of rule limiting the number of unrelated tenants. While Williamsburg, like any other town, has a specific context, the overarching findings could apply to other locations in describing matters of city ordinance enforcement and landlord relations there. Once finished, I will share the results of my project with interviewees if they request it during our meeting, and will inform them of the project’s final location in Special Collections at Swem Library.

Chiglinsky, Katherine.

2012  What’s the Future of the Three-Person Rule? The Flat Hat, February 6: News.

The Flat Hat (Williamsburg, VA)

2009  3-Person Rule to Stay in City’s Proposal. The Flat Hat, October 16: Uncategorized.

The Flat Hat (Williamsburg, VA)

2009  4-Person Rule in B-3 District. The Flat Hat, November 20: Uncategorized. 11/20/72211/.

The Flat Hat (Williamsburg, VA)

2009  Commission Decides Against 4-Person Proposal. The Flat Hat, September 25, Uncategorized:

The Flat Hat (Williamsburg, VA)

2008  Staff Editorial: Outrageous Rental Plan. The Flat Hat, January 22: Editorial: staff-editorial-outrageous-rental-plan/.

The Flat Hat Editorial Board

2012  A Balanced Solution: The Future of the Three-Person Rule. The Flat Hat, November 12: Editorial.

The Flat Hat Editorial Board

2013  Cooperation Is Key: City Council’s 2013 Comprehensive Plan Will Benefit Both The College And The City. The Flat Hat, January 21: Opinions. williamsburg-city-council-comprehensive-plan-housing/.

The Flat Hat Editorial Board

2013  End Antiquated Rule. The Flat Hat, April 21: Editorial. williamsburg-city-council-three-person-rule/.

The Flat Hat Staff

2007  Staff Editorial: Housing Hypocrisy in the City of Williamsburg. The Flat Hat, February 20: Editorial.

Kennedy, Amber Lester.

2013  Citizens Turn Out to Push Approval of City Comp Plan. WY Daily, January 11.

Needham, James.

2013  Proposed City Law Lets B&B Owners Hire Live-In Managers. WY Daily, November 21.

WY Daily Staff.

Planning Comm. Doesn’t Like 4-Person Rule. WY Daily, September 23.

Magruder Project Research Proposal

Williamsburg Documentary Project 2014

Research Proposal

            The attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 was a pivotal moment in United States history.  Prior to this attack, the United States watched from a distance while European nations battled each other in bloody conflict.  After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the nation catapulted into action and fully engaged in World War II.  By the fall of 1942, the United States military was scrambling to develop sufficient troops and infrastructure to support the advancing military campaign.  It was in this atmosphere that the Department of the Navy determined to expand training facilities for its construction battalion (colloquially known as the “Seabees”).  Ultimately, the Navy targeted a rural area located on the banks of the York River in Virginia for their new Seabees facility, which was conveniently positioned near the existing naval base in Norfolk.  Although this area was rural, it was nonetheless populated by hundreds of American citizens.  Any effort by the Navy to take this land would mean displacing those citizens, which the Navy proceeded to do in late summer/early fall 1942.  The unincorporated town of Magruder lay directly in the midst of the targeted area.  As result of the Navy’s efforts to establish the military installation that came to be known as Camp Peary, residents of Magruder were forced from their properties and the entire town was, essentially, erased.

The theme for the 2014 iteration of the Williamsburg Documentary Project is “Spaces: Lost, Found and Remembered”.  In keeping with that theme, I propose to research Magruder’s transformation from a vibrant community to a distant memory and gain understanding of where the displaced citizens of Magruder are today.  Through this research I hope to reengage a conversation about Magruder and encourage the present day community to consider how the displacement of these citizens impacted Williamsburg in 1942 and how that displacement continues to impact the community in 2014.  The primary question that will guide my research is “How can the decisions, actions and events surrounding the displacement of Magruder citizens help contemporary observers gain a more broad understanding of present day community relations in the greater Williamsburg area?”  Questions that will support this primary directive will include the following:

–          When and how was Magruder formed?  What evidence is there that Magruder was a town?  Who were the citizens of Magruder?   What was Magruder’s demography?  Where did citizens of Magruder live, work, play, worship, and go to school?  How many citizens were affected when the decision was made to include Magruder into the Camp Peary land taking?  Where did displaced citizens go after their eviction?  How difficult was it to find a new place to go?  How did those citizens integrate into their new communities?  Were those citizens able to maintain any connection to Magruder?  If so, how?  What does Magruder look like today, as it has been encompassed by Camp Peary?

–          What is Camp Peary?  Why was it developed?  Who were the key players in the decision to select the York County territory as the new base’s location?  What was the demography of the boards and committees that drove this decision?  What were the driving factors that influenced that decision?  How were those key players affected by the decisions they made?  How were the citizens of Magruder notified of their evictions? Why was that method chosen? What was the generally prevailing sentiment among the Magruder and broader Williamsburg communities upon learning of the land taking?  If there was pushback, who were the drivers of that effort?  What was their motivation?  How were displaced citizens remunerated for their losses?  Who determined the amount/method of remuneration?  What method was used to determine the amount of remuneration?  Beyond remuneration, were any other actions undertaken to mitigate the challenges evictees faced?  Why or why not?

–          What is the demography of the greater Williamsburg area today?  How has the greater Williamsburg area expanded and developed in the years since Magruder was closed down?  Are there any distinctive patterns discernible through analysis of that development over time?  How do present day Williamsburgians live, work, play, worship and educate their children?

I will attempt to answer these questions through the close analysis of primary and secondary resources, oral history and statistical data.  I will use those resources to make connections and propose hypotheses for the purpose of engaging a broader conversation about displacing citizens through authoritarian means.

Although there was a lot of press surrounding the Navy’s taking of the land in York County at the time, preliminary research efforts indicate that little attention has been paid to this event in subsequent decades and what attention has been given occurred on an ancillary basis. I will attempt to develop a more thorough and nuanced record of the town of Magruder and, particularly, those who called Magruder home.  I will utilize archived collections of personal papers, periodicals, and government records to support my research goals.   I will also utilize secondary sources such as scholarly journal articles, dissertations and books to supplement primary resources.  Research materials will be obtained through local and state public libraries, through the Swem Library resources at the College of William and Mary, and through federal, state, and local government records.    I anticipate that the greatest challenge I will have is gaining access of any sort to Camp Peary; however I also anticipate that present day satellite imaging technologies will allow me to get some sense of that space today.   Beyond challenges of access to Camp Peary, I may encounter difficulty in finding surviving interview subjects.  In the event that I am ultimately unable to locate even one witness, I will nonetheless be able to use primary resources (collections of personal papers along with period newspaper clippings and government records) to formulate a well evidenced argument about Magruder and its citizens in the wake of the 1942 evictions.

I intend to identify and interview citizens who either lived through the eviction or are descendants of citizens who did, as well as military or local government personnel who were involved in executing the eviction order.  Because this event occurred more than seventy years ago, it is possible that finding primary witnesses to this event will be challenging.  Interview subjects are likely to range in age from 65 and up; I have no indication at this point whether subjects will be male or female. I hope to get perspectives from both men and women.  In the event I am able to find witnesses, I recognize that it may be difficult for those individuals to discuss the matter.  Evicted citizens may continue to harbor sensitivity to the event that is too difficult to bear, making them unwilling to discuss it.  Those who were involved in the decision to evict those citizens and/or those who executed the order may be unwilling to discuss it for similar reasons; or, they may be unable to discuss the matter due to restricted authorization.   The actions necessary to mitigate a subject’s unease will be driven by the extent of the subject’s actual need.  However, such efforts may include providing the subject with the necessary assurances about the project, my research goals, anonymity if requested; and creating a safe, comfortable, nurturing interview environment.  Once a subject has agreed to be interviewed, I will have a personal conversation with the subject about informed consent.  Further, I will provide the interviewee with a written summary of my research goals in order to insure both that the subject is fully aware of the project’s scope and has an opportunity to consider any potential ramifications.  All of this will be done in advance of their interview.  All subjects will be provided with a final copy of my research project in advance of my submitting it for evaluation.  Finally, all subjects will be advised that they may withdraw their authorization at any time throughout the process, up to such time as the paper is submitted for the Williamsburg Documentary Project archive.


March 3 – March 7, 2014                    Conduct research expeditions to Library of Virginia in Richmond and York County Public Library.  Contact Mt. Gilead Baptist Church and arrange a meeting to discuss this project.  Finalize selection of primary and secondary resources necessary to complete the histories of Magruder, Camp Peary and the land taking.   Identify at least four potential oral history interview subjects and initiate contact.  Prepare informed consent letter.

March 10 – March 14, 2014                Continue to analyze and synthesize primary and secondary sources. Organize outline for the paper.

March 17 – March 21, 2014                Conduct Oral History Interviews and prepare necessary Deeds of Gift.  Continue to analyze and synthesize primary and secondary resources.

March 24 – March 28, 2014                Conduct final Oral History Interviews and prepare necessary Deeds of Gift.  Continue to analyze and synthesize primary and secondary resources.

March 31 – April 4, 2014                    Transcribe and index interviews.  Submit copies of transcripts to all interview subjects for review.  Make corrections as needed.  Continue to analyze primary and secondary resources.  Begin drafting paper.

April 7 – April 11, 2014                      Identify, analyze and synthesize resources for present day Williamsburg demographic data, including commercial, ethnological and socio-economic information as it relates to neighborhood boundaries. Continue drafting paper.

April 14 – April 18, 2014                    Compile all exhibits and finalize a clean draft of the paper. Submit copies to all interview subjects for final consideration.  Submit to MAL or KHP for preliminary review/comments/criticisms by April 17, 2014.

April 21 – April 23, 2014                    Make final revisions and corrections.  Finalize paper and all exhibits.

April 24, 2014                                     Submit Oral History materials by 5:00 p.m. (transcripts, indexes, head notes).

April 28, 2014                                     Present oral presentation of research project.

April 29, 2014                                     Submit final project by 12:00 noon to MAL.


Ann T. Chapman Papers
1884-1954 Swem Library Special Collections Research Center.  College of William and Mary, Williamsburg.

Archibald F. Ward, Jr. Papers
1939-2007 Swem Library Special Collections Research Center.  College of William and Mary. Williamsburg.

Belvin, Ed
2002 Williamsburg Facts and Fiction 1900-1950.  Swem Library Special Collections Research Center.  College of William and Mary. Williamsburg.

Bitting, Samuel Tilden
1915 Rural Land Ownership Among the Negroes of Virginia with Special Reference to Albemarle County. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Publications.

Burnham, Philip
2008 The Disappearing Black Community of Williamsburg. The Richmond Voice, March 5.

Carlton Casey Papers
1894-1999 Swem Library Special Collections Research Center.  College of William and Mary, Williamsburg.

Ebert, Bruce C.
1986 Lost Town: 44 Years After Being Displaced, Some Still Bitter Over Camp Peary.  Times Herald, April 7.

Fisher, Terri L., and Kirsten Sparenborg
2011 Lost Communities of Virginia.  Earlysville, VA: Albemarle Books.

Foster, Andrea Kim
1993 “They’re Turning the Town all Upside Down”: The Community Identity of Williamsburg, Virginia, Before and After the Reconstruction. Ph.D. dissertation, Columbian Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The George Washington University.

Julia Oxrieder Papers
1877-1998 Swem Library Special Collections Research Center.  College of William and Mary, Williamsburg.

Magruder School Parent Teacher Association Scrapbook
1949-1960 Swem Library Special Collections Research Center.  College of William and Mary, Williamsburg.

McCartney, Martha W.,
1997 James City County : Keystone of the Commonwealth. Virginia Beach: The Donning Company.

McDonald, Bradley M., Kenneth E. Stuck, and Kathleen Joan Bragdon
1992 “Cast Down Your Bucket Where You are” : An Ethnohistorical Study of the African-American Community on the Lands of the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, 1865-1918. Williamsburg: William and Mary Center for Archeological Research.  Swem Library Special Collections, Williamsburg.

Porter, Carl
1942 December 10, 1942 Letter to the Citizens of the Magruder Area from Carl W. Porter, Commander of the Public Works Department, Naval Operating Base about Building a Camp for the Seabees and Citizens Needing to Vacate their Homes.  Swem Library Special Collections Research Center.  College of William and Mary, Williamsburg.

Virginia Department of Welfare and Institutions
1942 War Came to Magruder. Virginia Public Welfare Journal, vol. 20, no. 8-9

The B&Bs of Williamsburg: Project Proposal

My general research topic thus far focuses on the impact of the Bed & Breakfasts and how these businesses continue to shape and affect other the Williamsburg community as a whole. In my current observations and research, I have noticed that the owners of B&Bs seem to support each other in a close community of their own and have a wide network of interaction with other communities throughout Williamsburg (residential neighborhoods, local government, etc.) The hospitality industry, especially pertinent to the business of B&Bs, also presents great opportunities for me to see how this specific group of businesses continues to contribute to an overall “image” of Williamsburg for tourists and other temporary visitors to this “space.” I am interested to research the extent of the B&B community’s impact on shaping conceptions of space and place in the city and how these “contributions” have impacted non-locals/tourist conceptions of Williamsburg.

With my research, I would like to focus on the industry of hospitality and B&Bs through the lens of sociology and culture, rather than conducting my work solely from a business standpoint. My main research question continues to revolve around how the presence of B&Bs reinforces the larger cultural heritage of Williamsburg and influence tourist perspectives of this space/place. Historically, B&Bs have maintained a strong presence in Williamsburg and continue working with local authorities to address regulation issues that occur because of space-related conflicts. From this, I’d like to examine the spatial relationships that major players currently work to maintain or establish, specifically in regards to the B&B owners, the residential community in their surrounding areas, and the City Planning Commission.

My data sources will be heavily reliant on legal records from the City Planning Commission and their working processes with B&Bs. Regulations have been revised, written, overturned as a means to work flexibly with these businesses and the Planning Office keeps extensive historical records on these changes that should be valuable in providing context for my research. The oral histories I’d like to collect would involve a number of local B&B owners and Planning Commission officials who work directly with these businesses. If possible, it might also be valuable for me to gather oral histories of previous guests or friends of owners, in order to observe the extent of B&Bs influencing the space and overall presence of Williamsburg. I have also consulted secondary sources such as anthropological journals on tourism and hospitality, but I anticipate having to collect more specific secondary sources that focus on Bed & Breakfasts, in general. Zoning maps and other primary source documents such as postcards, brochures and other B&B related literature would also be helpful in providing context for my research.

The subjects I anticipate interviewing are relatively older in age, ranging from 40 yrs – 60 yrs old. Owners and officials are both male and female and I would most likely be interviewing 3-4 B&B owners, 1-2 local officials, and if possible, at least 1-2 tourist/visitors. I would obtain informed consent through the established protocol of deed of gift and noting any and all restrictions they might place on the distribution of my research. From a commercial standpoint, my research may pose a reputation risk to some of these businesses, if they are concerned with the way their business is “portrayed” or presented in my report. I would try and navigate this risk by keeping a strong focus on the specifics of my research question(s), so that the individual’s relationship to Williamsburg via their B&B remains the focus, not necessarily the business’s “reputation.” If confidentiality is an issue, I am open to negotiating whatever terms interviewees may have for certain client names/identities, as long as the vital information necessary to understanding my research is not sacrificed. Because the results of my research will be made public following its completion, I also intend to share my report with any and all interested subjects via email or hard copy.

Some of the challenges I anticipate are mostly concerned with obtaining oral histories from past or current visitors at B&Bs. Privacy, distance, and time constraints are main factors in why this could be potentially problematic, but if B&B owners are relatively close with repeat/regular visitors to their business or keep in touch with past clients, it may be easier to at least speak with these individuals via phone. Owners may also keep this information confidential, in which case it may be impossible to contact any clients without the proper channels of communication or consent from the B&B businesses.

I think my research study is applicable to understanding cultural conceptions of Williamsburg from the lens of a specific industry that has first hand experience with individuals who visit these businesses in order to experience this place of Williamsburg, VA: tourists. Williamsburg appears to be highly “branded” because of the many cultural tourism opportunities available in the area, and it would be valuable to see how the industry of Bed and Breakfasts works to shape or add to this “brand.” It would also be interesting to see how commercial and residential landscapes work in tandem with each other to define the space of Williamsburg, as we currently understand it.


Work Cited

Boelt Family Papers, 1948-1975. N.d. MS. College of William & Mary, Williamsburg.

Casey, Carlton. Carlton Casey Papers, 1894-1999.N.d. MS. College of William & Mary, Williamsburg.

“Colonial Williamsburg VA Lodging at The Cedars: A Romantic Williamsburg Bed and Breakfast.” Colonial Williamsburg VA Lodging at The Cedars: A Romantic Williamsburg Bed and Breakfast. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Feb. 2014.

“City of Williamsburg: Planning.” City of Williamsburg. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. <>.

Evans Tourist Home Guest Book (Williamsburg, Va.), 1949-1955. N.d. MS. College of

Ierley, Merritt. Surveys and Responses Sent to Curators of Historic Houses in Conjunction with Merritt Ierley’s Book The Comforts of Home: The American House and the Evolution of Modern Convenience. N.d. MS. College of William & Mary, Williamsburg.

Kale, Wilford. “BED AND BREAKFAST CURB HELD UP AGAIN.” Richmond Times-Dispatch 9 Jun. 1989, One Star, Area/State: B-4. NewsBank. Web. 7 Feb. 2014.

Kaufman, Tammie J. Bed and Breakfasts in Virginia: Identification and Success Factors [abstract]. Blacksburg, Va.: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1994.

United States Bed & Breakfast Inns Industry Report. Woolwich: Barnes Reports.

YUN, DONGKOO , SEAN HENNESSEY, ROBERTA MACDONALD, and MELISSA MACEACHERN. “A Study of Cultural Tourism.” The Case of Visitors to Prince Edward Island. The Tourism Research Centre and School of Business Administration , n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2014. <>.


Williamsburg, Virginia is an indescribable place because it has evolved into a town that encompasses tourists, residents, and college students. These different groups of people create a climate where the young and old must come together to live in peace. Williamsburg has gone through many changes over the years and the most recent was the Restoration after 1927. During the restoration, there were historic landmarks that were restored and historic land that was acquired. One of historic piece of land that was acquired was the Kingsmill Plantation. This land was developed into a resort, golf course, and a private residential community. The specific piece of the Kingsmill land that is of most interest today is Kingsmill on the James. Through interviews and research this project will illustrate how the gated community affects the greater community of Williamsburg.

Research Questions:

1. Why was this gated community created?

2. Who resides in Kingsmill on the James?

3. What is its allure?

4. Is the perception about life in gated communities accurate based on the residents?

5. How does Kingsmill affect the greater community of Williamsburg? Do the residents have more clout than the other residents of Williamsburg?

In order to answer these questions, I will obtain current research pertaining to gated communities and why they are created. Once acquiring that research, I will pursue information in regards to the amount of authority Kingsmill has on Williamsburg based on its presence in the newspaper and other publication. Although there are interviews obtained by other Williamsburg Documentary students, I will interview residents of Kingsmill on the James as well as the employees to understand why they chose Kingsmill.  In addition to interviewing current residents, I will interview residents outside of Kingsmill to understand how the greater community perceives it. Through obtaining the different perspectives it will create a realistic picture.

I will use qualitative methodologies through collected interviews. The interviews that will be conducted will focus on the homeowners of Kingsmill and there will be two potential subjects. Prior to interviewing the subject I will inform them of the informed consent and what this project entails. Since there are possible risks with interviewing Kingsmill employees I may not interview any or will omit their identity. After compiling research, I will share the results through mail in order for them to see that there story is of importance. Each interview will have a list of questions that I will present to them. Some of the questions will include: Why did you move to Kingsmill? How long have you reside here? What makes Kingsmill different to the rest of the communities in Williamsburg? On the other hand, the employees will be asked questions regarding their experience with Kingsmill residents.

While conducting the research, there are numerous challenges that I anticipate with obtaining access onto Kingsmill. Since it is a gated community, people are not able to wonder onto the property and speak casually with its residents. I will be forced to figure out how to contact the staff of Kingsmill and gain access.

This study will help understand what is the purpose of gated communities in the “safe” town of Williamsburg. Also, do the people in these gated communities have the power to promote more change in comparison to the other Williamsburg community?




The general topic of my paper is space for Judaism in the City of Williamsburg. There are three main parts of my research. The first portion, and the bulk of my research, will be covering the way in which the Beth El Temple of Williamsburg utilizes its physical space to accommodate a wide variety of denominations within Judaism. The temple is a relatively small location, and is meant to serve the Jewish population of not only Williamsburg, but of the Peninsula. Secondly, I will examine how the temple functions and creates a space for itself within the Williamsburg community. Williamsburg is a predominantly Christian area, as is greater Virginia. I am interested in how it interacts and survives amongst the predominantly Christian presence that exist in Williamsburg. Lastly, I want to examine how the temple interacts with the College population and how that potentially plays a part in the temple’s construction of space. There was a previous Williamsburg Documentary Project that focused on the Jewish experience in the Williamsburg area. The researcher conducted interviews with various members of the temple’s congregation and asked them about what living in Williamsburg as a Jew was like. There were few interviews in which the interviewee spoke about their Jewish experience in Williamsburg in comparison to previous places in which they have lived. This study was somewhat generic and broad. These interviews will be helpful to refer to when trying to understand the dynamic between Judaism and the predominantly Christian Williamsburg community.

From my research, I hope to further add information to the archives regarding Judaism in Williamsburg through the lens and concept of space. I would like to focus in on the physical space in which Beth El Temple exists and how that is influential of the Jewish practices worshipped there.

The research questions that I want to answer are:

  1. How did the physical building transform from a candy store to a place of worship?
  2. How does the temple spatially accommodate the various Jewish denominations?
  3. How do these denominations utilize the space differently?
  4. How much of the surrounding area’s Jewish population does the temple accommodate?
  5. How does the temple (spatially and non-spatially) exist within the predominantly Christian community?
  6. How does the Temple create its own space within the predominantly Christian surroundings?
  7. How does the College affect the function of the temple?

Sources of data that I will use/collect in order to answer my research questions will come from a variety of resources. Initially, I will utilize books and academic journals to get a sense of the Jewish community in Williamsburg and the surrounding peninsula. Once I have established a foundation of knowledge to work off of, a bulk of my data would be from the oral histories of leaders and congregation members of the Beth El Temple. These oral histories would provide insight into how people who use the space frequently function within it and understand how it accommodates the vast variety of Judaism sects. I will utilize information provided by members of the City of Williamsburg Planning Office regarding the physical movement of the candy store from Colonial Williamsburg to its current location on Jamestown Road. I plan on using newspapers from Williamsburg and surrounding cities for accounts of the movement of the candy store and for other stories involving the temple. Newsletters and calendars from the temple would aid in finding out how the space is used on a regular basis.

I will utilize both qualitative and quantitative methodologies to collect and analyze the data that I collect. Qualitatively, I will conduct semi-informal interviews with a variety of people from within the Temple’s congregation and outside in the general Williamsburg community. Within the temple, I hope to have an opportunity to interview with the current Rabbi and older members who have been attending services for a long period of time. The hope with interviewing older members would be to potentially gain insight in how the use of space within the temple has changed over a long period of time, and how it has evolved due to the changing Jewish population. Those with whom I wish to interview in the general Williamsburg community are those who may have any information or connection to the moving of the candy store to Jamestown Road, or who have a general understanding of the religious spaces within Williamsburg and how they function generally within the area. I would also be interested in having an opportunity to observe how the space is used first hand by visiting the temple and spending time there. This will give me a chance to conceive the space for myself, and be able reference it throughout the conducting of interviews and research. Quantitatively, I will use census information to get a general idea of the Jewish population in the Williamsburg and surrounding areas. This will allow me to get a sense of the population that the temple is trying to accommodate, especially since it is the only Jewish temple in the Peninsula area. I would also be interested to find some type of statistic that demonstrated the make up of the Jewish denominations practiced at the temple, and how often they were practiced.

Religion is a difficult topic to conduct research on, due to its extremely personal nature. I can potentially see difficulty in finding members of the congregation, especially older members, who would be open to interview with me and speak about their Jewish and temple experiences. I would mitigate this type of challenge by explaining the purpose of the information, but would ultimately respect the wishes of the individual and continue looking for someone who would be open to participating in an interview. I hope to work with between 2 and 6 potential subjects. I am predicting that the age range will be 30+, since I hope to speak with the Rabbi and older members of the temple. I do, however, how to work with a mixture of genders during my research to get a broader insight. I will be obtaining informed consent in the form of an Informed Consent Form that is to be delivered to and signed by the subjects prior to conducting interview. I do not see any potential risks that my study would pose to my research subjects. All of the interviews would be conducted with participants who were willing to share their life history and insight. I will inform my subject that the purpose of this study is to add to an archive of this history of Williamsburg, and that by participating, they would be referenced by their name. If there is sensitive material or someone wishes to remain anonymous, I would honor his or her request, or potentially find a new subject who would be willing to be identified. I will share my results of my research with a follow up e-mail or meeting with my subjects. I will also make them aware that the results could be found in the Swem Special Collections Williamsburg Documentary archive.

I also foresee a potential problem in obtaining information about the physical moving of the candy store to its current location as the temple. Since this happened in the 1950’s, it was possibly a time where Judaism was not necessarily fully accepted in a predominantly Christian area. Coverage of this phenomenon may be hard to come by, and take time to uncover. As of now, I have not come across hard evidence and literature on the matter.

I believe this study and my potential findings would benefit the Williamsburg community as a whole. The Beth El Temple has an interesting history, and plays a large role in the religious realm by accommodating so many members and varieties of Judaism. More so, the idea alone that a candy store could be transformed into a place of worship provides for an interesting conception of space and function.







1. Elliot Wolin

2008 Interview by Alpert Solomon. Williamsburg Documentary Project Digital Archive. April 8.


2. Ethel Sternberg

2008 Interview by Rachel Sapin. Williamsburg Documentary Project Digital Archive, April 9.


3. Scott Gary Brown

2007 Interview by Alice Curtin. Williamsburg Documentary Project Digital Archive, May 2.


4. Scott Gary Brown

2007 Interview by Rachel Sapin. Williamsburg Documentary Project Digital Archive, April 17.


5. Sylvia Scholnick

2008 Interview by Rachel Sapin. Williamsburg Documentary Project Digital Archive, May 8.


6. The Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life. “Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities: Williamsburg, Virginia.” Web. <>.


7. Sacred rituals, sacred spaces.

2007 Films Media Group & Polis Center. 17 min. Films Media Group.


8. Rowe, Linda H. Brief Information About Jews in Early America and Williamsburg.

9. Student Organizations Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library, College of William and Mary. Box 18: Religious Organizations: Inter-Y.

10. Smith, M.

2008 Religion, culture, and sacred space. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.


11. Chidester, D. and Linenthal, E. T.

1995 American sacred space. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.


12. Nelson, L. P.

2006 American sanctuary: Understanding sacred spaces. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.







Relatively Accurate Needs to be Accurate

The most difficult part of this assignment was understanding the interviewee. Because of his thick accent and imperfect enunciation, it was very difficult for my unfamiliar ear to make out all his words and syllables at first. As I listened to the clip more often, I became familiar with certain variations his accent put on certain English words. I also noticed that it was much easier for me to fill in the blanks for certain words and phrases once I had listened and recorded in detail, the interview. Clues and hints in the conversation made these things clearer. The interviewee also had a habit of trailing off and not finishing sentences which made it difficult for me to understand where one thought ended and another began.

Indexing this was not as difficult as I expected it to be. I quickly developed a system of listening to about 7-10 second clips, writing down what I could remember, and then replaying it to verify what I had recorded was what I heard on the sound bite. Although this took a while, about two hours total, it enabled me to record a relatively accurate translation.

While recording the clip, I used commas where both participants paused and hesitated while speaking. The interviewer was very easy to understand and record because her portion of speaking came mainly in the form of questions. With the interviewee, he spoke in fragmented and run on sentences. So, the grammar I used to record him is less than correct, but depicts the rhythm of his speech well. I was concerned about not using good grammar when I began transcribing, but I became more comfortable with it as the process progressed. I used the words gonna, ‘em for them, and incorrect syntax to emphasize the interviewees accent. When I encountered words and phrases that I could not decipher, I used the words that sounded closest to what I heard followed by a question mark in parenthesis. In other cases where I could make no sense of what was said, I used three underscores followed by a question mark in parentheses. I think the root of my inability to understand certain words was the interviewee’s accent.

I think the interviewer did a good job of speaking clearly and asking pointed questions during the interview. The only thing I found a bit offsetting, especially for the interviewee, was the lack of emotion or engagement I heard from her on the sound bite. Although she may have been very physically engaged in the conversation, it did not appear to be that way on the clip. Overall I think she was very composed and prepared for the interview but I would personally approach the situation with a bit more vocal engagement. I think it is important for the interviewee to know that you are physically and mentally focused only on them and what they have to share.

My overall reaction to this assignment is that it is important to fully engage with the interviewee, remain composed and come prepared, and finally to ensure the clarify words and phrases during the interview if you do not understand because listening to the clip will make it all the harder. Clarifying words and phrases, especially if someone has a thick accent, is important so that future researchers can access the material and understand it with ease.

From Word to Text: Challenges in Transcription/Indexing

Our task for Assignment #4 was valuable but challenging in ways I did not initially expect. As a journalist, I came into the transcription process somewhat familiar and was quickly reminded of how time consuming the work can be! The technical aspects of the recording make it difficult to hear words or exact pronunciations, especially when background noise interferes with the recording device during an interview. As the indexer and transcriber, it was difficult because you had to record what you see as significant in the interview, sometimes based off of what you can actually comprehend through the recording. For example, when words became muffled or the subject’s pronunciation was hard to understand, I had to determine how I was going to transcribe his words. Without having any prior knowledge, documents, general context of the recording subject, it was hard to spell names and places without recording them phonetically, which isn’t always the best or most accurate way of documentation.

Personally, I tried my best to record as much of the dialogue as possible, therefore eliminating filler words (um, uh, etc.) and only noting pauses if it helps aid in understanding the overall interview. If you are somewhat familiar with the topic of conversation (in my case, Greek food), it was easier to figure out how to spell a word (Spanakopita), but I can imagine if a different indexer/recorder wasn’t as familiar, the lack of context around the interview would present a major challenge during documentation. I tried to indicate extended pauses or interruptions with ellipses and recorded the dialogue similar to how one might write a play manuscript (ex. “You gotta,” or “You know,”). The punctuation I used also attempted to mimic natural speech flow, in an effort to present the interview as authentically as possible while being easy to understand by readers.

Reflection on Transcription

I am a firm believer in learning from experience, rather than explicit instruction. Indexing and transcribing are perfect examples of how beneficial the actual experience is. Initially, I was hesitant. I felt as though I did not fully understand how to complete the assignment, and feared completing it completely wrong. With the instructions being so open-ended, it took the pressure off and allowed me to fully engage in what I thought the process entailed. I found the indexing portion to be a bit difficult, mainly due to the fact that it was just a segment was from the larger interview that had been going on for some time. The first minute or so, I could not fully gauge what the interviewee was talking about, so having some background in terms of what this interview was for would have been helpful. This clip, in particular, was hard to index in the sense that the interviewee would go back and forth between topics consistently. After doing the readings, I felt like the interviewer could have done a better job in keeping the interviewee on track, or being a little more vocal/involved in what they were talking about. I just felt like it lacked some direction. Though difficult, it proved to be extremely helpful when it came to transcribing the interview. It was nice to have an outline of what was going on with the timing to refer back to when needed, which was pretty often for me. The transcription took me between 3 and 4 hours. I was surprised when I saw how much of a time commitment the process would be. I feel like this was mainly due to the difficulty I had in decrypting what the interviewee was saying. His heavy accent proved to be extremely difficult to comprehend. There are many instances where I just could not make out what he was saying, either because it was said under his breath or mumbled through. I felt as though the interviewer probably could not understand him in these instances either, in which case she should have asked him to repeat himself or speak a little bit louder. I was also curious as to whether or not the equipment was being properly used. It sounded muffled for a majority of it, just adding to the difficulty to decipher what he was saying. When it came to writing it down, I had to make a quick decision in how I was going to interpret what he was saying. I chose to not include things like “um” or sighs, since they happened quite frequently though out. I also chose to keep his dialect true to who he was. I did not change tenses where I could have, since I felt as though that was an important aspect of the interview. I did, however, find myself inserting some words in brackets where I felt it needed, especially when it helped to clear up what the topic of conversation was. At the end of the transcription, I had some blank areas where I found it next to impossible to decipher what was being said. Overall, I found this assignment to be beneficial in the sense that it gave me the opportunity to learn from my own mistakes throughout the exercise, and as time went on, I found it to get easier.

Excuse me, did I hear you correctly?

Transcribing has been one of the most difficult tasks thus far because I wanted to be sure to capture the interviewee’s thoughts all the while trying to ignore the background. During the process, I found myself constantly rewinding and stopping trying to hear every word. Then I eventually realized there is no possible way for me to capture every word because of the heavy accent of the interviewee. The choices of punctuation proved to be another challenge sense the man had numerous pauses that prevented me in determining where one thought began and when another ended. The pauses as well as the places I could not understand him, I decided to just place uncertain in parentheses. Although much of my focus was on the interviewee, I realized I did not here the interviewer ask many questions and I was uncertain what the point of the conversation. The interviewee seemed to go on tangents and had little direction from the interviewer. I am interested in seeing what is the proper way to interview and transcribe.

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The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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