By Katie Hall
Hi everyone! Greetings again from the Lee Family Digital Archive. Things have been rather busy here at Stratford and the LFDA.
Last Friday was the start of the 2018 Stratford Hall Summer Teacher Institute, which I attended along with my fellow interns. What I took away from the institute were the names of several important African American figures I hadn’t known previously, including the Baptist preacher Gowan Pamphlet and Mary Smith Peake.
Back at my transcribing post, I have been occupied with letters from the Virginia Historical Society (now officially the Virginia Museum of History & Culture). I hit a couple of snares with photocopied letters that were accidentally mismatched in the scanning process, but generally it’s been smooth sailing. Lately, much of the correspondence I have been going through is post-war—nothing out of the ordinary so far, although I did transcribe a letter from Alabama native Julia Strudwick Tutwiler to Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee.
Miss Tutwiler was a rather extraordinary woman of her time. Not only did she receive an education, she went on to educate—and establish formal education institutions for—women in the 19th century. She also advocated for reforms in prison conditions in the state of Alabama and in 1931, her poem “Alabama” was adopted as the official state song. Not a bad set of accomplishments for a woman who didn’t have the right to vote!
There still seems to be an unending pile of letters to pour through, although by now I’ve transcribed about 115 letters over the course of my internship (the final count still pending), and as much as I don’t want to say it, I’m wrapping up my final week. I thoroughly have enjoyed both my time here at Stratford Hall and working as the LFDA intern; I have found the task endlessly fascinating and am honored to have contributed what I could to the legacy of the Lee family.
Signing off with my final weekend report: I took to being outdoors once again.
Following a whim (and an apparently precognitive dream), I went to the beach one more time on Sunday. I’m very glad I did because I found a mammal tooth the Stratford paleo crew wants to evaluate along with other significant finds from that day! If the tooth is found to be a valuable specimen, it could become part of the permanent collection at Stratford Hall–How cool is that?