Archive for March, 2014

Work Summary 3/23-3/28

This week was very productive overall although I still have not collected a recorded interview.  I spoke with Dr. Buck Woodward on Thursday and gained some extremely valuable insight and information from him about the statue of Powhatan in front of the JCC Court House. Since, I have done some research and contacted people in the city planning office who could be potential interviewees. Specifically interesting information that I learned from Dr. Woodward, is the discrepancies in the 1607 map that is situated in front of the Powhatan statue from historical maps of Indian tribes from that period. I hope to look at these sometime next week and may need to travel to Richmond to the Library of Virginia to view these maps.

I am still waiting on a response from the City planning office on where/when I can access the street names and park names in Williamsburg/JCC. Hopefully I will hear from them early next week. I was able to collect information about the educational curriculum used by JCC regarding Native American history, people, and culture. I am waiting to hear back from them with the actual curriculum guidelines and matierial. There may be a possible interviewee in that direction too, I am just still waiting to hear back.

3/28 Work Summary

This week could have been a little more productive with regards to the project. There were several other deadlines looming for job applications and papers for other classes, and I ended up not having enough time to spread around equally. This is going to be another challenge moving into the last parts of the semester; finding a job after graduation is paramount, and every class is starting up its own final project also. Time will crunch, and I just need to dedicate a lot of it to this project. Hopefully, since I got a lot of other work done this week, next week will be more productive.

I did get a start on scheduling interviews, though. Fred Boelt responded again to my email, and I will interview him next Thursday at his home. Kari (and several others) were kind enough to offer to index as well. The students I plan on interviewing all had sort of a “hell week” this week, so I will schedule their interviews this coming weekend and hopefully interview them within the next week as well.

I also got some reading done with regards to the Focus Group of 2008-2009. There are massive amounts of material to read through, so getting through it all will take some time, but I learned a lot about its focus and goals. As somewhat implied by the boundaries of their study, the Focus Group was specifically interested in the relations between the College and the city within the broader issue of off-campus housing. This means I’ll have to rely on secondary research more to talk about the three-person rule and zoning, ordinances, etc. more broadly.

Week of 3/24

This week has been productive (scheduling-wise) for more preliminary interviews with B&B owners. I was able to schedule interviews with Craig Reeves from the Williamsburg Manor B&B (tomorrow at 11am) and Karen Watkins from Colonial Gardens B&B (Monday at 1pm). During my interview with Mr. Reeves tomorrow, I hope to continue gaining more insight on the frustration between local government and come in with more of a focus on how he defines “Southern Hospitality.” I might also consider asking him questions regarding guest experiences both positively and negatively (I noticed on Trip Advisor, the comments were varied from super positive to highly negative from recent years) and how the business has adapted or changed in the last few years in comparison to others in the B&B community. With his and Ms. Watkins’s insight, I hope to also find another more “complacent” B&B to speak with or reach out to.

I think I’ve been so caught up in scheduling and speaking to people that I have yet to delve into my scholarly research (secondary sources) as much as I would have liked. I know my shift is still moving more towards the construction of these spaces of “Southern Hospitality” and how that tourist experience contributes to the overall image of Williamsburg, so I plan to do a little more reading and researching next week. That research includes a more in-depth history of B&B negotiations with the local government and other notable tourism-related issues in the past. I also need to follow up with the Keanes on recording their oral history in the coming weeks and get in contact with Robin Carson from the Kingsmill resort for a preliminary interview. Once these preliminary interviews are done, I hope to take more time to research while conducting formal oral history interviews once I’ve decided on my final “candidates” for the WDP archive.


Journal Entry 2

This week has been amazing because everything seems to be falling into place unlike last week. I felt so behind on research and possible interviews. Monday I was able to complete the protocol for the focus group. I really think that the focus group will be possible and successful in getting a diverse group of the community. Also, I was speaking to Dr. Hurte earlier in the week and he helped me get in touch with a few Kingsmill residents. To my surprise I received an email from one of the residents right away and will be interviewing them Monday, March 31. Although we have prepared for interviews, actually setting up the interview myself was frightening because I had to explain my project and answer questions pertaining to the possible “risks” with it. During Monday’s class, Kate mentioned a group called Kingsmill United, which was created by a number of Kingsmill residents and they have a website. I was able to contact them and received an email from one of its members. He provided me with another persons contact information to interview in regards to the organization but I have not received a response. In addition to contacting that organization, I contacted the zoning office of James City County as well as Hallie Olson of the Kingsmill Community Services Association. Unfortunately, I contacted these people/groups earlier in the week and feel as though I will need to do a follow-up email/call quite soon.

I am still looking at some primary and secondary sources. During class, Rose mentioned looking on facebook at certain groups. I never though about using social media to find possible interviews or other information. When I found the Kingsmill Past and Present group on there I began to look through the people as well as the photos. Kingsmill doesn’t appear to be very diverse from what I could see from the people and photos from there annual celebration of Kingsmill. Moreover, the group had documents from James City County posted on the facebook page pertaining to the possible expansion as well as news articles.

3/27 Work Journal Summary

This week has been a little bit frustrating. First, I am having a bit of a hard time getting in contact with some people and places. I am fighting an internal battle of feeling like I am being too persistent and then realize that it is apart of the research and assignment. I am going to have to get on a phone and dedicate a little more time this week to really cementing down potential interviews.

I also reached out to the Williamsburg City Planning Office in regards to the moving of the gift shop to its current location. I have been in contact with Carolyn and we were chatting about records on file at the office. The first record was a permit for destruction that was issued in 1964 and the next one was for 1975 for reroofing. Originally when I saw these date, they did not seem to add up with what I had discovered. After further conversation, I realized that Carolyn was providing me with information of the temple’s current location property and not of its original location. Although I was looking for more information regarding the movement of the structure, this information will be helpful in pursuing my project. She told me that she has records for 1 1978 alteration, a 1989 addition, and a 2007 addition. I am planning on visiting the office to take a look and take pictures of these documents. These will prove helpful when I talk to members of the temple, and figuring out what additions were made and why they were.



Week Ending March 28, 2014

As of March 22, I had no solid leads on a subject for the oral history interview.  All efforts to make contact with Mount Gilead Baptist Church have been unsuccessful and this is disappointing.  That said, I recognize why that community may not wish to be interviewed by an outsider, and a Euro American one at that. I do have one shaky lead on a man I was told once lived in Magruder, but I am not confident that will materialize.  As I moved into the week, lack of an interview subject was very distressing.

My meetings with government representatives in York County, James City County and Williamsburg City have been fruitful.  Regretfully, those who might be in  a position to have information about what I will call “relationships” among government and community leaders are (understandably) unable to provide any on-the-record information.  That said, their off-the-record tips were very helpful.  Jack Tuttle’s (Williamsburg City Manager) recollection of a commemoration ceremony held for the Oak Grove School (1911-1940) lead me to a booklet published by the Oak Grove Alumni Association.  This publication includes names of what appear to be every student who attended that school.  Although I cannot tell who on this list is from Magruder, it is a valuable resource that can guide that search because I can compare that list to those families which I know lived in Magruder.   I consider myself to be particularly fortunate to have made the acquaintance of Williamsburg Clerk of Council, Lisa Judkins.  She not only helped me locate information, she has taken an interest in this project and promised to keep an eye out if she were to come across anything helpful.

I have continued to check in with Wilford Kale, who is a font of information and help.  The reference librarians at the Library of Virginia are very friendly and helpful and I’ve enjoyed working there.   Thanks to Dr. Lelievre,  I was able to make contact with Bruce Larson, a Naval archaeologist who consulted with American Studies graduate student, Shannon Mahoney, on her dissertation.  I think that he will be able to provide valuable insight into how the Department of Defense operates with regard to the preservation of historic spaces on DOD installations.

Jay Gaidmore, Swem Special Collections, scanned an aerial map of York County for me this week.  While I was there to retrieve the scanned image, he inquired if I had spoken to Brian Palmer yet.  I replied in the negative and, further,  that I did not know who Mr. Palmer was.  He informed me that Mr. Palmer was also working on a Magruder project and that he was a descendant of a Magruder resident.  Further, that Mr. Palmer might be at Special Collections later that afternoon to conduct research.  After classes, I went back to Special Collections, noticed that Mr. Palmer had signed in…and…well, I just stepped right up and introduced myself.  A great conversation ensued, he introduced me to his wife (who is helping him with his research) and he agreed to be interviewed for the WDP.   Practically at the same time I was meeting Mr. Palmer, I received an email from Dr. Lelievre regarding a presentation at the Rockefeller Library that Mr. Palmer was scheduled to give on Thursday.   Mr. Palmer presented to the Colonial Williamsburg Fellowship Forum on Thursday afternoon, which I attended.  Through conversations with other people present at this event, I learned of a memoir published by a female descendant and, additionally, learned of a former WM student that may have completed a research project on Camp Peary/Magruder.  Because I have searched the WDP archive and found nothing, I think it may have been an independent research project.  I need to ask Dr. Knight about it.  I further learned that there may be two additional oral histories on record from Magruder descendants.

At this point, I know I need to stop seeking sources and begin organizing my paper, but that is hard because I keep discovering so many exciting things.  My plans for the next two weeks are to conduct interviews with Mr. Larson and Mr. Palmer and begin organizing my paper in earnest.  I also have two significant research projects due at the end of the semester, so balancing all of my work is the greatest challenge I face as the end of the semester races near.


3/21 Work Journal Summary

This week, I took the time to reconstruct my Research/Work Journal. I decided to turn it into more of a scrapbook utilizing different items and articles regarding my project as well as personal reflections and tracking my process. My first page of my journal is comprised of Post-It notes that have questions on them. One color Post-It note contains my main research questions, and the other color has questions that I have come up with along the way of reviewing primary and secondary sources. As my journal continues, there are print-outs of articles and maps that I have studied and reflected on with personal notes. After doing more background research, I have realized where I want to take this project, and the questions I will need to ask to get it there.

This week, I did extensive background research and have really dug into the Jewish history of Williamsburg, which has led me to a few historical Jewish figures that made their way through Williamsburg at some point during their lives.

I also took this time this week to revamp my research schedule with specifics, which has proven to be helpful.

While compiling the Master Name List, I decided to put short summary of who or what the listing is. I believe this will be helpful to not only me, but my peers helping me along during the process.


3/16-3/21 Journal Summary

To prepare for the Master Name List due on Monday, I’ve been spending most of this week acquiring potential contacts for interviews, both informational and oral history.  The compilation of these contacts took place over several days, working a little bit on it each day. Prof. Lelievre forwarded me Fred Boelt’s contact info, which should be pretty useful. With that and the cooperation of the girls living in Fred’s childhood home now, I think 331 Richmond Road could be made into a kind of case study both about the three-person rule and the changing face of Williamsburg over time. I’ve also made contact with/received the contact information for a wide array of students. Most are people I have known previously. Some live off-campus now, both adhering to and violating the rule. Some plan to move off-campus and violate the rule next year. I also got my friend who serves on the Student Assembly to give me the names of people in that organization who deal with the City on town-gown relations and the three-person rule specifically. Some serve on the City Council and the Planning Commission, which could be an interesting intersection of interests.

I also met with Kate on Monday to discuss the final goal of my project. She was helpful in suggesting some different directions I could go with the paper and also advising me on how to complete a project of this magnitude properly.

This weekend, I will complete the Master Name List and do some more secondary research about zoning laws, ordinances, and restrictions.

Work Journal Summary of Week 3.16 through 3.21

Sunday, March 16th: Today I worked primarily with the secondary resources I have collected so far and took notes on just two documents that were quite long and took me just under two hours to finish. I am trying to understand these readings to prepare for my interviews and so that I can have summarized information when I go to write my final paper. I feel that taking notes on each article to highlight their importance will streamline the writing process. Today I also corresponded with Professor Lelievre about an email I hoped to Chief Brown regarding a possible interview.

Monday, March 17th: Today spending time in Special Collections at Swem proved very fruitful for me. I was able to look over documents used by a previous student who had researched Native American representations in Colonial Williamsburg. I took pictures and wrote a few notes about sources, people, and places she used in her project. I also corresponded with Chief Brown.

Tuesday, March 18th: Today I heard back from Inge Flester, the Administrative Specialist to the Training and Historical Research Department and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library in Colonial Williamsburg. She was extremely helpful and put me in contact with Bob Woodward who has managed the American Indian Initiative since 2008. I corresponded with her about speaking to Mr. Woodward and visiting the Rockefeller Library. I looked into some sites around Williamsburg I had learned about through the project I looked over in Swem.

Wednesday, March 19th: Today was my birthday so I took the day off from research and work in general to celebrate making it to 21.

Thursday, March 20th: Today I drafted an email to send to Mr. Woodward and collected two more articles from an online news source about the American Indian Initiative. I am still searching for information in the local news about a store that featured Native American crafts, goods, and art located near Williamsburg Pottery off Richmond Road.

Week of 3/17-3/21

Monday 3/17: Informal preliminary interview with Debbie and John Keane at the Williamsburg White House. Received further leads on active B&B community members from Williamsburg Manor (Craig & Laura Reeves) and Colonial Gardens (Karen Watkins) as potential interview subjects. The tone was warm, welcoming and friendly during the interview and the atmosphere of the B&B was cozy and eccentric, featuring lots of political themed memorabilia and décor. Questions left from the interview revolve around Williamsburg’s “brand,” other “complacent” members of B&B owner community, and the B&B community’s relationship with local government (Planning Commission).

Wednesday 3/19: Informal interview with Billy & Sharon Scruggs at the Fife & Drum Inn. They provided a great amount of insight on Williamsburg “branding” from a local perspective, which presents a new angle for my research to potentially follow: defining “Southern Hospitality” in Williamsburg. Our discussion revolved around the evolution of Williamsburg’s “brand,” the B&B community and their relationship with local government, and the current state of Williamsburg’s brand today. The Scruggs also provided additional contacts from the Chamber Alliance (Bobby Singley, Karen Rierdon) and Kingsmill Resort (Robin Carson) as potential subjects of interest for my research.

I also met with Kate to discuss my latest interviews and how the subject of “Southern Hospitality” may be beneficial for me to analyze further. The local perspective versus the “transplant” perspective as it pertains to Williamsburg’s “brand” seems to be a really interesting subject to look into, especially considering the history of B&B owners originally from out-of-state. Next steps include preliminary “insight” on B&Bs of interest via Trip Advisor, initiating contact with Colonial Gardens and The Williamsburg Manor B&B owners and Robin Carson from Kingsmill Resort for preliminary interviews, and lastly, finding a “complacent” B&B of interest for potential interviews.

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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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