Women’s Votes Count! An introduction to the League of Women Voters

by Mel Frizzell, Special Collections Assistant

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Bumper Sticker in the Records of the League of Women Voters of Hampton Roads in the ODU Libraries’ Special Collections

Women’s votes count!  That is what the League of Women Voters is all about!  The League of Women Voters was founded in 1920 – the same year that women’s suffrage, the legal right for women to vote, was incorporated into the U.S. Constitution with the passage of the 19th Amendment.

The League of Women Voters was created from the merger of two then existing organizations – the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) and the National Council of Women Voters (NCWV).   NAWSA had long been a champion of Women’s suffrage. The original organization was established in 1890 and was led by Susan B. Anthony until she retired in 1900.   NCWV was envisioned as an organization to follow NAWSA once women had received the right to vote.  At the 1919 National Convention of NAWSA, a motion was made to merge the two organizations into a new organization called “The League of Women Voters.”   The merger officially took place on January 6, 1920.  The League of Women Voters filled the role originally seen for NCWV and in doing so distanced itself from more radical figures within NCWV.  This decision set the tone for the League of Women Voters to become a non-partisan organization embracing women from across the political spectrum.

The League of Women Voters is a non-profit organization.  Its original goal was “to educate women on election processes and lobby for favorable legislation on women’s issues.”   The modern League works “to promote political responsibility through informed and active participation in government” as well as “to protect and expand voting rights and ensure everyone is represented in our democracy.”

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Leaflet from the Records of the League of Women Voters of Hampton Roads – in the ODU Libraries’ Special Collections

While the League of Women Voters is non-partisan, they often do take stands on political issues.   Before taking stands or offering positions on political issues, they first study these issues and develop a consensus of members.  They support many progressive positions.  They support health care reform and believe that “Every U.S. resident should have access to affordable, quality health care, including birth control and the privacy to make reproductive choices.”  They believe that we should protect the environment.   They support counting all citizens in our national Census.  They believe in fair immigration policies that “promote the reunification of immediate families, meet economic, business, and employment needs, and [are} responsive to those facing political persecution or humanitarian crises.”  They are against racial and partisan gerrymandering of voting districts and support a “fair and transparent process that produces the most representative maps.”  They are against big money, special interests, SuperPACS, and dark money in American politics and for greater transparency regarding campaign finances.  They are against voter suppression whether the suppression of women, People of Color, the disabled, or other marginalized groups.  They are for responsible gun control.   The League of Women Voters has also done studies and taken stands on the Equal Rights Amendment, domestic violence, sexual harassment, green space, affordable housing, civil rights restoration, and many other issues.

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Bumper Sticker in the Records of the League of Women Voters of Hampton Roads – in the ODU Libraries’ Special Collections

The League of Women Voter’s helps women take action on many of these issues by creating Action Guides, pamphlets, and by offering tips on lobbying and writing one’s legislators.  At the organization level, national, state, and local Leagues advocate for legislation on these issues and even take up litigation in support or opposition of certain issues and causes.

In addition to their studies and positions, the League of Women Voters actively works to register voters.  They provide voting information to voters; create non-partisan voting guides; survey the opinions and platforms of political candidates; moderate candidate debates; and even monitor elections. 

The League of Women Voters includes the national organization, state-wide boards, and local groups.  Each of these levels has its own newsletters, conventions, meetings, and other events.

There had been a chapter of the League active in Norfolk, Virginia in the 1930s.  That chapter had disbanded at the beginning of World War II.  In 1957, a new League chapter was founded in Norfolk.  In the early 1960s, the League gained additional membership from Virginia Beach when Princess Anne County merged with the city of Virginia Beach.  In 1964, the Norfolk and Virginia Beach membership merged to become the League of Women Voters of Norfolk-Virginia Beach.  In 1994, the local League was renamed League of Women Voters of South Hampton Roads. 

To learn more, contact us about viewing the Records of the League of Women Voters of Hampton Roads

Resources:

Records of the League of Women Voters of Hampton Roads – ODU Libraries Special Collections and University Archives

League of Women Voters Official Website

League of Women Voters on Wikipedia

The Archive of Virginia Composers: A Musical Time Capsule

by Madeline Dietrich, Music Special Collections and Research Specialist

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Founders of the Archive of Virginia Composers Audrey Hays and Fred Strong

ODU Special Collections and University Archives is currently processing a collection of musical compositions from the mid-20th century known as the Archive of Virginia Composers. Back in 1975 a project was undertaken to collect the musical works of Virginia composers into a single repository for the purpose of promoting the work and preserving it. The idea was the brainchild of former ODU music major Fred Strong. He had been recording interviews with local composers to air on the radio and decided to donate these recordings to the Norfolk Public Library, where he met Audrey Hays, head of the Feldman Fine Arts and Audio-Visual Department. Between the two of them the idea of creating an archive of Virginia composers developed, and in 1976 funds were secured and the project proceeded.

According to an official statement, “The Archive of Virginia Composers was begun by a matching grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and Humanities and the Norfolk Public Library System for the purpose of accumulating biographical, historical, and musical information on all serious Virginia composers (living and deceased), so that we may act as a reference source to the public at large. By doing this, we hope to spur an abundance of interest toward their music which could result in more performances, commissions, etc., thereby making their livelihood more rewarding, and their value more substantial.” Strong adds, “The criteria used for selecting composers for inclusion in the archive is basically very simple. He or she must be a noted composer of serious music and must reside within the state.”

Undaunted by the prospect of collecting written and recorded music from every person in Virginia who considered themselves a composer of “serious” music, Strong and Hays began by compiling a list of composers gathered from colleges and universities, church ministries, and word of mouth. They then sent a questionnaire asking for information about where a person studied composition, who they studied with, where their music had been performed, and what their current occupations were. Out of over 100 questionnaires sent out, they received around 50 responses, though not all were accepted. One person wrote in saying, “I have composed a good many songs (words and music) …” to which Strong replied “The archive is open to include composers who write music of a serious caliber (symphonies, opera, concertos, etc.). I sensed from your letter, however, that your music may be in a somewhat different class.”

From those composers who passed muster Strong and Hays requested a list of items including biographical data, a recent photograph, and a list of compositions. They also requested copies of scores (sheet music) and recordings. The idea was to collect two of everything, one copy to secure in the archive and the other to circulate among library patrons wishing to check the materials out.

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Image of a score from the Archive of Virginia Composers Collection

Not every composer was eager to participate. One such individual wrote, “From my vantage point…there is no desire to be ‘encased’ in the Norfolk Library System – if my compositional efforts are worthy, I have little doubt that it will be necessary to expend other energies to make them available to future generations – if they are not worthy, then they should be allowed their natural demise.” Regardless, most composers contacted willingly submitted materials.

Fred Strong’s interest in interviewing composers continued. Between 1976 and 1978 he drove across the state visiting composers and recording one to two hour interviews on cassette tape. Back at the library over 500 scores were collected and processed by Audrey Hays and her staff, along with more than 75 audio recordings. The effort culminated in a grand opening on Saturday, May 13, 1978, at the Kirn Memorial Library and a public concert performance of select compositions was held the next day at Norfolk’s Center Theater. In recognition of the event, Governor John Dalton declared the week of May 8-14 as Virginia Composers’ Week.

Following these events collecting efforts virtually ceased with no new material being added to the archive after 1979, though a backlog of previously collected materials continued to be processed into the early 1980s. Years later the archive was taken out of active circulation and placed in storage, where it remained until ODU SCUA agreed to take it in 2019.

In receiving the Archive of Virginia Composers from the Norfolk Public Library, SCUA inherited a musical time capsule from the 1970s. The archive as received was in unusable condition and needed to be rearranged and processed for use by today’s researchers. The work involves moving each item into a new storage container and recording the details into a database which will serve as the foundation for a searchable finding aid to be made available to users online.

While there is no doubt of the enthusiasm behind the original project and the tremendous amount of work that went into it, the archive ultimately fell short of the stated goal of collecting compositions and materials from “all serious Virginia composers (living and deceased).”  In fact, the archive is limited to just 34 composers, though there is an extensive amount of material included for those represented, including of biographical information, taped interviews, audio recordings on vinyl discs, open reel and cassette tapes, copies of published works, original and photocopies of manuscripts (including sheet music), photographs, programs, newspapers, and magazine articles. Additionally the collection includes extensive correspondence relating to the history and development of the archive.

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Audiovisual materials from the collection

Most of the composers represented were unknown to the average Virginian in the late 1970s and remain so today except perhaps to those engaged in the narrow field of mid-20th century music composition. Nevertheless a few names stand out, including Tom Rice, F. Ludwig Diehn, Walter Ross, and Johan Franco.

The music itself consists of chamber works, major works for large ensembles, and sacred works (typically single-movement pieces intended for a church choir). Of these, the majority are representative of conventional styles, with some dating back to the 1930s. Perhaps of more interest to the scholar are the many examples of works featuring exploratory compositional techniques of the 1970s. By preserving this music, at this time, is to take a collection of genuinely obscure music from the mid-20th century and bring it to the attention of current researchers.

But what would it take for this music to be heard again? To perform it live, a person organizing the concert would need to secure performance rights from the publisher (or the entity who holds the rights to a given work). Then they’d need to arrange for a venue and hire the necessary musicians. Only the conductor’s score is available for most of the works in the collection so if individual parts are needed, they would have to be acquired elsewhere. If live performance is not feasible, there are recordings in the collection representing ten to fifteen percent of the works in the archive, but for widespread listening to be possible steps to preserve the audio recordings would need to be taken which involve digitizing the recorded content and making those audio files available online. The decision to take such steps would be based on projected demand for the content, something that ultimately will require demonstrated interest on the part of the public and of researchers. Suffice to say that for this music to be heard again a considerable expenditure of time and funds will be required. For now, our job in SCUA is to store the materials in a safe environment and make their existence known to the public. From there it is up to interested parties to make the music come alive once more.

Celebrating Black Composers in the ODU Music Special Collections: Harvey J. Stokes

by Lara Canner, Allan Blank Curator of Music Special Collections

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To celebrate the accomplishments and contributions made by Black composers to classical music, we are focusing on the artists that fill our collections. Today’s focus is on Dr. Harvey J. Stokes: Composer, musician, professor, and author.

As a composer, Dr. Stokes is classified as neoclassical or polyphony (from Greek, meaning “many sounds”). His compositions are layered, lines of different melodies played concurrently creating a musical storytelling affect. To date, Dr. Stokes has written roughly seventy pieces including symphonies, ensemble works, and piano sonatas. Which have played nationally and internationally, most recently at the Virginia Beach Museum of Contemporary Art performed by Symphonicity Orchestra.

Stokes himself notes that composers need to understand how all the pieces of the orchestra work together and sound individually. He is a talented oboist, having played with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Norfolk Chamber Consort, the Tidewater Winds, and the Symphonicity Orchestra.

Dr. Stokes has been a faculty member at Hampton University since 1990, he is the founder of their Computer Music Laboratory and has received the Edward L. Hamm Sr. Distinguished Teaching Award in 2017. His lessons and musical influence is felt throughout the Hampton Roads music scene.

Building on his teaching calling, Dr. Stokes has written A Selected Annotated Bibliography on Italian Serial Composers and Compositional Language in the Oratorio the Second Act: The Composer as Analyst. He also a member of the Educational Policy Improvement Center for Hampton University’s Music program and is on the National Council of the Society of Composers. Dr. Stokes former appointments as President of the Southeastern Composers League and consulted for the North Carolina Arts Council.

Interested in learning more about Dr. Harvey J. Stokes? Watch this episode (hyperlink: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbIIr5jkhQE) of WHRO’s Curate 757. His work can be purchased through Ars Nova Music Press, Centaur Records, Albany Records, and Harkie Music.

Encapsulating a Moment in Norfolk History

by Steven Bookman, University Archivist

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Florence Crittenton Home’s Time Capsule, Norfolk, Virginia

While filling out a recent research request in the archives, I noticed a box in the stacks that read “ODU Time Capsule.” Being an inquisitive (“nosy”) archivist, I decided to take a look and see what was inside. Up to this point, I hadn’t heard of any active time capsules on campus. The box was a part of a recent transfer from the office of the Vice President for Administration and Finance, which oversees the grounds and landscaping on campus.  In the box were a few early histories of the William & Mary Norfolk Division, the predecessor to Old Dominion University (ODU), and a copper tube with one of the ends open.

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Discovering what is inside the copper box

Inside the tube were old publications, news clippings, artifacts, and other material related to the Florence Crittenton Home for Unwed Mothers, which operated in Norfolk from the 1890s to the 1970s. The home was last located in the Larchmont area of Norfolk overlooking the Lafayette River. The home’s mission was to aid unmarried women during their pregnancies. One might ask “How did a time capsule with material from the Florence Crittenton Home come to ODU?” It may be a surprise to some people, but ODU and the Florence Crittenton Home have had a relationship going back 45 years. In 1977, the house and the records of the Florence Crittenton Home were given to ODU, with the records being house in Special Collections and University Archives. From the 1970s to the early 2000s, the Florence Crittenton Home was the location for ODU’s Center for Coastal Oceanography (CCPO) before the facility was torn down to make room for new housing. One would suspect that the time capsule was found during the demolition of the building and given to the Vice President for Administration and Finance office.

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Inventory of the time capsule

As to the time capsule itself, it appears to have been placed during the cornerstone laying ceremony on October 15, 1949. Included in the time capsule are a copy of the cornerstone laying program and the charter of Florence Crittenton Home; clippings from local newspapers about the groundbreaking ceremony and the new facility; manuals from the local Masonic Lodge; a brief history of the home; a travel edition of the New Testament Psalms and Proverbs; samples of dirt from the area; and two coins, one a quarter from 1948, and the other is a half dollar commemorating the 250th anniversary of Norfolk from 1936. Since the time capsule is important to the history of the Florence Crittenton Home, it will fit better to be a part of the home’s records.

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Corner-Stone Laying Program
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Dirt from the site of the Norfolk Florence Crittenton Home was included in the box
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A small copy of the New Testament was included in the box

So, if you are interested in finding out more information about the Florence Crittenton Home, the physical records are in Special Collections and University Archives. The guide to the collection can be found at https://archivesguides.lib.odu.edu/repositories/5/resources/40. Photographs of the home while it was a part of the CCPO can be found in the ODU Libraries Digital Collections at https://dc.lib.odu.edu/digital/collection/oduphotos/search/searchterm/Crittenton%20Hall/field/buildi/mode/exact/conn/and. A short video clip on the home’s mission can be found in the WTAR-WTKR Hampton Roads, Va., Historic News Film Collection at https://dc.lib.odu.edu/digital/collection/wtar/id/1862/rec/1.

Harrowing Halloween Headlines

by Mel Frizzell, Special Collections Assistant

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Perusing through October and November issues of the Mace and Crown, I found the usual stories about Halloween parties and dances, reviews of horror movies released around Halloween, articles highlighting the “in” Halloween costumes for the year, promotions for the Rocky Horror Picture Show, an occasional article on the supernatural, and a few articles about the annual ODU pumpkin drop. Among those were a trio of truly suspenseful Halloween headlines about harrowing happenings at ODU.

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On Halloween day in 1994, an ODU student tackled “an alleged larcenist” outside the ODU Library. Apparently, Norfolk police were attempting to apprehend the larcenist outside of the Mills Godwin Building when the suspect fled. An ODU student named Snapper Arnquist, who was sitting in front of the library when things went down, saw the suspect running. Arnquist quickly threw down his bookbag, dived over a small outdoor wall, and wrestled the suspect to the ground. The police were then able to arrest the suspect.

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In 1995, three ODU fraternities where caught – apparently “orange-handed” – “committing a pumpkin heist.” Members of Delta Sigma Phi, Lambda Chi Alpha, and Pi Kappa Alpha were caught stealing pumpkins and Halloween decorations from the Larchmont neighborhood adjoining campus. As punishment, the guilty members had to do 230 hours of community service, pay for the stolen items, apologize to the children in the neighborhood, and most punishing of all — throw them a party.

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The last story is less of a crime and more about crushed dreams. The October 29, 2003, article titled “’Great Pumpkin’ goes bye-bye” relates the story of two ODU students with hopes of adventures on a 26-foot sailboat called “The Great Pumpkin.” The students, Matt Cornelison and Robert Munson, acquired the 40-year-old boat for free through a newspaper ad. They had the boat transported from the previous owner’s back yard to a boat storage facility where they could fix it up. A few weeks later, they discovered a small crack in the hull. As time went on, the crack got larger and larger until they could see into the cabin from outside the boat. Unable to afford to fix boat, Cornelison did what he “had to do.” He had the boat demolished with a bulldozer “until there was nothing left of it.” Such is the tragic demise of “The Great Pumpkin” and the sailing dreams of two ODU students.

Poems From the Holocaust Revisited: Performance and Panel October 20 7:00pm

by Lara Canner, Allan Blank Curator of Music Special Collections

Composer Allan Blank wrote the moving work entitled “Poems From the Holocaust” based upon children’s poetry found at the concentration camp of Terezin after itshttps://flic.kr/p/2mAdcdz liberation in 1945. The composition for mezzo-soprano, double bass, and piano features five pieces that were written to evoke an emotional response from the audience.

During World War II, the Third Reich turned the Terezin fortress located in the modern Czech Republic, into a concentration camp for Jewish writers, artists, and scholars. More comparable to a prison than an extermination camp, such as the Auschwitz concentration camp, the Nazis falsely presented the camp to the rest of the world as a “spa town” when pressed for details by the Red Cross. The reality was that Terezin acted as a collection point for transferring people to ghettos or death camps. Art classes were forbidden, but artist and educator Friedl Dicker-Brandeis brought the children together in secret, where they could create, learn, express their emotions, and hopefully regain a bit of their lost childhood. After the war, many of the writings, artwork and poems were collected by Hana Volavková, who was an art historian and Holocaust survivor.

Allan Blank included the first lines of one of the poems in his composition At Terezin, which reads: “When a new child comes everything seems strange to him. What on this ground I have to lie? Eat black potatoes? No! Not I! I’ve got to stay?” The last lines of At Terezin read: “Here in Terezin, life is hell. And when I’ll go home again I can’t yet tell.” Sadly it is possible that the young writer of this poem most likely never made it back home, of the 15,000 children imprisoned at Terezin, only 150 survived.

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Poem from the book I Never Saw Another Butterfly: Children’s Drawings and Poems from the Terezin Concentration Camp, 1942-1944 by Hana Volavková From ODU Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives Rare Book Collection

On October 20th at 7pm Old Dominion Libraries will host a performance of Allan Blank’s work “Poems From the Holocaust” followed by a panel discussion. The event support’s ODU’s Fall 2021 Themester’s Art and Social Justice theme by prompting listeners to never forget the tragedy of the Holocaust’s youngest victims through music. 

The performance and panel discussion will be available to watch live via Zoom. Registration is open now: https://oduonline.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_R9fiZvIUTJC3-LAF1VTXrQ

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The Queen who became a Munster: Patricia Pierce Jensen in the WTAR-WTKR News Film Archive

By Kathleen Smith, Metadata Specialist

From summer 2017 to December 2019, I worked on the digitized news reel collection from local television station WTAR (now WTKR). During this time, I viewed and edited footage, as well as entering metadata to describe these digitized news reels and clips dating from the 1940s-1980s. A good portion of these digitized reels had no audio to accompany them. In order to create a more detailed narrative for these silent stories, I had to find the “who, what, and where” regarding them. In order to do this, I entered or “Googled” street names, names of places, and even names of people if featured. I even looked in the city directories located in the third-floor stacks, to find information. In some cases, I came up empty handed. In others, I found a trove of information, some it very interesting and fascinating. I have one example of a silent digitized clip in which I did some sleuthing and entered, or should I say “Googled” a name found on a residential mailbox and was very surprised to find who this person was.

Mrs. Pierce A. Jensen, Jr., WTAR-WTKR Hampton Roads Virginia Historic News Film Collection, Old Dominion University Library: https://dc.lib.odu.edu/digital/collection/wtar/id/697/

Here is the back story-somewhere in 2018, I first viewed a brief 45 second clip that was filmed in December of 1960, in which I saw a group of men paying a visit to a suburban ranch house where the family of P. A. Jensen, Jr. resided (the family’s name is on a mailbox). Opening the door, is presumably Mrs. P. A. Jensen, Jr., who is all smiles. The visitors come with a holiday present for Mrs. Jensen, she even poses for a picture with the visitors whose identities are unknown. I needed a better description than “footage of Mrs. P. A. Jensen, Jr. receiving a holiday gift from unidentified visitors,” so I decided to do some sleuthing. At first, I went out in the third-floor stacks area to look at the Hampton Roads city directories, to find out the full name of P. A. Jensen, Jr. and possibly his wife, as well as where he lived. From looking at the 1959 and 1960 Norfolk city directories, I found the full name for P. A. Jensen, Jr., which was Pierce A. Jensen, Jr., who lived in the Princess Anne County area, now Virginia Beach, Virginia. Next, I returned to my workstation and typed in (Googled) “Mrs. Pierce A. Jensen, Jr.” and I was very surprised to find the results-very surprised. It turns out that Mrs. Pierce A. Jensen, Jr. was Patricia Priest Jensen, who is a very famous and well-known person. She was the daughter of Ivy Baker Priest who was Treasurer of the United States from 1953-1961. Patricia was the first International Azalea Festival Queen (crowned in 1954), but she was better known for her role as Marilyn Munster on the cult comedy television show “The Munsters.”

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Patricia Priest as the Azalea Queen of 1954, Norfolk, VA

In 1955, Patricia Priest married Naval officer Mr. Pierce A. Jensen, Jr. and resided in the Bayside area of Princess Anne County, until 1962 when her husband was transferred to California. It was there that she gave acting a try, using the name of Pat Priest. After several small roles on television and a few commercials, she got the part of Marilyn Munster, the teenage niece in a family of monsters. She was the second actress to play Marilyn, replacing Beverly Owen, and starred on the series from 1964-1966. After the “The Munsters,” Priest continued to appear on television and film into the late 1960s and 1970s, including “Easy Come, Easy Go” with Elvis Presley, but she retired from acting in the 1980s and currently resides in Idaho.

Sources:

Mrs. Pierce A. Jensen, Jr., WTAR-WTKR Hampton Roads Virginia Historic News Film Collection, Old Dominion University Library: https://dc.lib.odu.edu/digital/collection/wtar/id/697/

Lisanti, Tom “Pat Priest.” Drive-in Dream Girls: A Galaxy of B-Movie Starlets of the Sixties. https://www.google.com/books/edition/Drive_in_Dream_Girls/j8bUpOl2TgYC?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=Pat+priest&pg=PA303&printsec=frontcover (viewed 9/11/2020)

“The Munsters” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Munsters (viewed 9/11/2020)

“Pat Priest.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_Priest_(actress) (viewed 9/11/2020)

“Pat Priest-Biography” https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0696330/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm (viewed 9/14/2020)

Cougars, Capris, Fiats, oh my! Automotive History in the George Conoly Phillips Papers

By Mel Frizzell, Special Collections Assistant

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One of the most memorable collections I’ve worked on since I’ve worked in ODU Special Collections has to be the George Conoly Phillips Papers.  It was one of my early collections and may have even been the very first archival collection I ever organized. 

Conoly Phillips was extremely active in politics, religion, and civic organizations in Norfolk, the Tidewater region, and Virginia, but in my opinion, those aren’t the most interesting parts of his collection.   To me the most interesting parts of his collection relate to Conoly Phillips’ car dealership. 

In 1956, Conoly and his brother Tench opened the Phillips Brothers Automoville used car dealership in Norfolk.  The following year they entered into an agreement with Ford Motor Company to sell imported Ford vehicles.  By 1960, the brothers had also acquired a franchise with Rambler and formed “Phillips Brothers Rambler.”  After much business success, Tench negotiated with the Oldsmobile Division of General Motors to open an Oldsmobile franchise in Norfolk.  The franchise was awarded under the condition that Tench divest of his interests in Phillips Brothers Rambler, and his separate Oldsmobile franchise was begun in early 1965.   For his part, Conoly moved on from the Rambler business and became an authorized dealer for Ford Lincoln’s and Mercury’s in 1967.  The dealership initially held the name “Tench Brother’s Lincoln-Mercury.”   By the 1970s, the business became known as “Conoly Phillips Lincoln-Mercury.”  Conoly retired from the daily management of the business in 1999.  At that time, his company merged with Freedom Automotive, and Conoly Phillips remained a partner in the company.

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The materials in Conoly Phillips papers relating to the car dealership include contracts, financial statements, correspondence, board minutes, policy and procedure manuals, and a host of other business materials.  They also contain advertising and marketing materials, artifacts, and scrapbooks from the dealership.

Among the marketing and advertising materials are newspaper advertisements; yellow pages ads; press releases; and scripts for radio and television commercials.  Phillips also took part in promotional events such as the 1972 Mid-Atlantic Auto Show at the Norfolk Scope.  The collection contains information on several models of cars including the Rambler, Capri, Cougar, Fiat, Daimler, Lincoln, and Mercury. There’s even a children’s coloring book with pictures of 1969 Ford car models to color in.

Artifacts include Phillips Brothers emblems and stickers, some promotional pens for the business, an auto show emblem, aerial photos of the Lincoln-Mercury dealership, a license plate, and a set of Phillips-Lincoln Mercury keys. 

Scrapbooks feature newspaper clippings about the dealership, advertisements, an overview of the business for the 1964 Rambler Retailer of the Year contest, and a plan for a Women’s Automotive Resource Center. 

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Conoly Phillips graduated Maury High School in Norfolk with honors in 1949 and received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Georgia in 1953.  He also served for two years as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.  Later, Phillips earned his MBA from Old Dominion University in 1976.  Conoly married Charlotte Baird Ferebee and the two had three children together.

Conoly was involved in a number of civic and community organizations for business, personal, religious, and philanthropic reasons.  These included the Better Business Bureau, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, the Norfolk Symphony, the Norfolk Rotary Club, the United Community Fund, the Union Mission, the United Drug Abuse Council, and many others. 

Phillips was a religious person belonging to First Presbyterian Churches in Norfolk.  Phillips served on the Norfolk City Council from 1976 to 1980 and was reelected to the Norfolk City Council in 1986.  In 1978, he ran unsuccessfully for a U.S. Senate seat. 

George Conoly Phillips passed away, April 22, 2020, at the age of 88.

Collection Guide for the George Conoly Phillips Papers: https://archivesguides.lib.odu.edu/repositories/5/resources/307.

Photo Captions:

  • Phillips Brothers Automoville, 1st Military Highway location at corner of Johnston Road, 1961 (MG 15, Box 33, Folder 8)
  • 1971 Billboard.  “A very simple business” was the dealership’s advertising slogan in the early 1970s. (MG 15, Box 1, Folder 4)
  • Phillip Bros Cougar Girl Coloring Book from the early 1970s. (MG 15, Box 1, Folder 1)

True Crime in the Music Archive

By Lara Canner, Curator of Music Special Collections

As Taylor Swift once sang “I think he did it but I just can’t prove it…”, true crime and music go hand in hand. There are hundreds of ballads based off horrific crimes: Nirvana’s “Polly”, the Smiths “Suffer Little Children” and Sarah McLachlan’s “Possession”, to name a few. Music invites passion, heartbreak, darkness, and yearning. It is no wonder that musicians have found a font of inspiration from terrible crimes and their instigators. Yet, not only has music immortalized tales of the horrific, but musicians are also the victims of true crime stories and the initiators.

True crime storytelling is having a cultural moment, but where do you think the researchers for the multitude of podcasts, books, and documentaries have gotten their information? Enter archives: the keepers of knowledge. Special Collections and archives are responsible for preserving and making accessible historic record, ranging from newspapers, court documents, organizational records, oral histories, and even films from television stations. Without an archive there would not be documentation for amateur investigators to pour over, map and theorize. There are so many in fact that archivists from the University of North Texas created an entire series called “True Crime in the Archives.”

If you are searching for your music true crime fix (featuring archives!), here is a list of podcasts, books, and documentaries to checkout.

Podcasts:

  1. Songs in the Key of Death – https://nevermind.fm/shows/death//
  2. Disgraceland – https://www.disgracelandpod.com/

Books:

  1. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning by Jonathan Mahler
  2. BMF: The Rise and Fall of Big Meech and the Black Mafia Family by Mara Shalhoup
  3. Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground by Michael Moynihan and Didrik Søderlind
  4. Hit Men: Power Brokers and Fast Money Inside the Music Business by Fredric Dannen
  5. Notorious C.O.P.: The Inside Story of the Tupac, Biggie, and Jam Master Jay Investigations from NYPD’s First ‘Hip-Hop Cop’ by Derrick Parker and Matt Diehl
  6. CrimeSong: True Crime Stories From Southern Murder Ballads by Richard H. Underwood
  7. Unprepared To Die: America’s Greatest Murder Ballads And The True Crime Stories That Inspired Them by Paul Slade
  8. Party Monster: A Fabulous But True Tale of Murder in Clubland by James St. James
  9. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry
  10. The Axeman of New Orleans: The True Story by Miriam C. Davis

Documentaries:

  1. The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears on Hulu
  2. FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened on Netflix
  3. I Called Him Morgan on Netflix
  4. Surviving R. Kelly on Netflix
  5. ReMastered: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke on Netflix

Music can inspire intense feelings causing us to cry, sigh, and dance for joy. Intense feelings can inspire music creating songs of sadness, love, and hope.  Archives that specialize in music are filled with songs of terrible heartache and stories yet unsung. Even Old Dominion University Special Collections holds secrets too if you are willing to look.