A Timeline of the Creation of the Macon & Joan Brock Virginia Health Sciences at Old Dominion University

by Kathleen Smith, Special Collections Metadata Specialist

Big Blue Mascot wearing a lab coat pointing to the new Macon and John Brock Virginia Health Sciences at Old Dominion University EVMS sign

Image Credit: Old Dominion University

While today marks the official founding of the Macon & Joan Brock Virginia Health Sciences at Old Dominion University, it’s development actually started two centuries ago. Here is a timeline of significant public health initiatives in Hampton Roads from 1819-2024:

1819– University of Virginia School of Medicine founded by Thomas Jefferson (third president of the United States) to offer an education in the “elements of medical science…with a history and explanation of all its successive theories from Hippocrates to the present day.”

1824– Six years later Jefferson felt there may be a need for a second medical school in Virginia. Jefferson wrote that Norfolk would be an ideal location for a second medical school which would be a branch of The College of William and Mary. Jefferson felt that Norfolk’s climate, “Pontine” country, and its destination as a port city would be “truly sickly in itself.” However, state leaders did not feel that way and had planned for the school to be based in Richmond.

1838– A second Virginia medical school formed in Richmond as the Medical Department of Hampden-Sydney College, only to become an independent institution known as the Medical College of Virginia in 1854. More than a century later in 1968, the Medical College of Virginia merges with the Richmond Professional Institute to become Virginia Commonwealth University. The college becomes known as the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine.

1856– The Hospital of St. Vincent de Paul is founded in Downtown Norfolk during the yellow fever epidemic. DePaul was Norfolk’s first civilian and public hospital. The hospital is renamed DePaul hospital when a modern facility was built off of Granby Street in 1994. DePaul Hospital permanently closed in 2021.

1888– The “Retreat for the Sick,” a twenty-five-bed facility opens in Downtown Norfolk. Four years later, the facility starts Norfolk’s first nursing school. In 1898, the facility was renamed Norfolk Protestant Hospital and in 1903 it later moved to the Ghent/Atlantic City area of Norfolk (Raleigh Avenue). The hospital became Norfolk General Hospital in 1936. A modern facility is built in 1958. Over the years Norfolk General has expanded to provide extensive medical care, with it’s latest expansion completed in 2018.

1897– Portsmouth General hospital (originally named King’s Daughters Hospital Home for the Sick) is founded. The hospital expands over the years to keep up with medical advances. The hospital permanently closes in 1999.

1903– Sara Leigh Hospital, a twenty-eight-bed facility opens in the Ghent area of Norfolk. In 1936, the hospital is renamed Leigh Memorial Hospital and School of Practical Nursing opens in 1946. The hospital moves to its present-day location off of Kempsville Road in 1977.

1915– The Tidewater Colored Hospital Association is founded to provide medical care to Norfolk’s African-American community. The Tidewater Hospital (later renamed Drake Memorial Hospital) is built on donated land on 42nd Street near the Lamberts Point neighborhood. In 1939, a new upgraded facility was built on Corprew Avenue in the Brambleton Area and was renamed Norfolk Community Hospital. The hospital permanently closed in 1998.

1948– Virginia Beach General Hospital opens at 25th and Arctic Avenues near the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. The hospital moves to its present-day location off of First Colonial Road in 1965. Over the years two more hospitals open in Virginia Beach: Bayside in 1975 and Sentara Princess Anne Health Campus in 2006.

1958– A shortage of medical doctors is unable to meet the needs of a growing population in the Hampton Roads/Tidewater area. Since the end of  the Second World War, the population has steadily grown due people from other regions moving to Hampton Roads, a “baby-boom,” and increase in life expectancy. During this time, the Hampton Roads area has the largest population center east of the Mississippi without a medical school and is struggling to keep up with growing medical advances. City leaders and area physicians feel that a formation of a regional medical school that would bring physicians outside the area as well as produce “homegrown” practitioners, would alleviate the problem. Civic leader Charles L. Kaufman stated that “Norfolk is the logical place. The need exists and the clinical facility will be more than adequate.”

1959/1960– Public Affairs and News Department of WTAR produces a special news report called “Help Wanted” (available in in the WTAR-WTKR Hampton Roads, Virginia Historic News Collection, part of ODU Libraries Digital Collections).  The report focuses on the  growing shortage of doctors and medical staff in the Hampton Roads area, in that the doctor to patient ratio in Virginia was “1000 patients for one doctor” as opposed to the national doctor to patient ratio of “770 patients for one doctor.” To maintain these ratios “3000 more physicians would be need to graduate [medical school] by 1975.”  Various local medical officials and physicians are interviewed stressing the need for a regional medical school in the Hampton Roads area. One of the interviewees is Dr. Mason C. Andrews, a prominent Norfolk obstetrician and gynecologist.

1961– The King’s Daughter’s Children’s Hospital, a pediatric facility founded by the King’s Daughter’s organization opens in Norfolk near the General Hospital.

1961– The Norfolk Medical Tower is opened to the public. While giving a speech commemorating the opening, Lawrence M. Cox, Executive Director of the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority mentions the need for a medical school in Norfolk. This is featured in footage from WTAR-TV.

1962– Due to the very few doctors, nurses, and medical technicians in the local Hampton Roads population. Local doctors start programs (Project MORE) in high schools across Hampton Roads to create interest in the medical profession.

1964– The Virginia General Assembly authorizes the creation of the Norfolk Medical Center Authority, empowering the authority to create a medical school. Dr. Mason Andrews is appointed chairman. The authority was heavily supported by United States Representative (Porter Hardy, Jr.) and Norfolk lawyer, Harry Mansbach (Mansbach later became chairman of the authority in 1970 and served till 1974). During a1971 WTAR-TV interview, Mansbach explains the authority’s role in the formation of Eastern Virginia Medical School.

1967– The Old Dominion College School of Nursing is founded. The school expands it programs over the next five decades. Today it offers programs and degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels.

1968– Norfolk Lawyer and Congressional candidate Frederick T. “Bingo” Stant, Jr. expresses his support for a medical school in Norfolk, as featured in WTAR-TV news footage.

1969– Under the leadership of local businessman and philanthropist Henry Clay Hofheimer II established the Eastern Virginia Medical School Foundation. Eventually, $17 million dollars were raised to establish the school.

1972– Provisional accreditation is given to the medical school.

1973– Inaugrual medical doctor class matriculates at the Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) with twenty-seven students.

1974– To help alleviate a local physician shortage, the school opens a family practice residency training program, which will become the “Family Medicine Residency” program. Today, Ghent Family Medicine located in Hofheimer Hall of the school serves as an outpatient clinic for the program. Norfolk-Chesapeake Mental Health Center opens in proximity to EVMS and Norfolk General Hospital. The facility has seventy-five beds, an alcohol detoxification unit, as well as a child and adolescent outpatient center. The center closed in 1990 and three years later the building becomes Fairfax Hall EVMS  which will house family medical services, outpatient psychiatric care, general internal medicine, and obstetric and gynecological care. The center’s opening was covered by WTAR-TV.

1976– Eastern Virginia Medical School graduates twenty-three physicians in its charter MD class.

1978– Lewis Hall, the school’s first building constructed is dedicated and is named after Richmond philanthropists Sydney and Frances Lewis. Over the years the EVMS campus will grow with Hofheimer Hall (1985), Strelitz Diabetes Center/E.V. Williams Hall (1987), Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine (1992), Fairfax Hall (1993), Edward E. Brickell Medical Sciences Library (2000), Lester Hall (2011), and Waitzer Hall (2020).

1980– The first in-vitro fertilization clinic in the United States is founded at Eastern Virginia Medical School with Doctors Howard and Georgeanna Jones as its directors. In 1981, Elizabeth Carr, the first child conceived through in vitro-fertilization in the United States, is born at Norfolk General Hospital under the supervision of Doctors Howard and Georgeanna Jones with Dr. Mason Andrews performing the delivery.

1986– United States Agency for International Development awards a $28 million grant to CONRAD (Contraception Research and Development) a program of the of the EVMS Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The program’s goal is to provide new methods of HIV prevention and contraception as well as improve maternal and neonatal health for families around the world. In 2008 the program receives a  $100 million grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop contraceptives and products to fight AIDS.

1995– Glennan Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology is established at EVMS.

2005– A $25 million dollar gift to the school awarded by Sentara Healthcare as well as additional annual support from the Virginia legislature.

2006- Dr. Mason C. Andrews passes away at age 87 on October 13th. Three years later, Fairfax Hall is renamed Andrews Hall, in honor of the late doctor, as well as his brother Dr. William C. Andrews.

2008– The School of Health Professions is established at EVMS.

2021– Disparities over public health care in Hampton Roads between middle and lower-income communities over the years come to light. The disparities include higher numbers of infant mortality, heart disease, and cancers. In order to combat this, a school of public health would be needed to educate medical and social workers in community outreach, understanding, and encouraging healthy behaviors within communities that lack medical facilities. On August 26th, the Presidents of Eastern Virginia Medical School (Alfred Abuhamad), Old Dominion University (Brian O. Hemphill), and Norfolk State University (Javaune Adams-Gaston), sign a “Memorandum of Understanding” to establish the ONE School of Public Health, in order to address health inequities in the Hampton Roads area. Governor Ralph Northam and the General Assembly, as well as Sentara Healthcare supports  funding for the school’s development. The soon to be accredited school, will be housed in the future Old Dominion University Health Sciences Building. Over the years, a partnership between Old Dominion University and Eastern Virginia Medical School would be discussed, but it would not yield any results. Upon the formation of the ONE School of Public Health, a possible integration between the two institutions is explored. Later in 2021, Old Dominion University earns the prestigious “Research 1 Classification” of very high research activity from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. This classification could result in various  research opportunities for both ODU and EVMS.

2023– The Virginia General Assembly allocates funds to support the integration of Old Dominion University and Eastern Virginia Medical School. The planned integration will take place on July 1, 2024.

2024– On June 7th, a community celebration to recognize the integration of EVMS and ODU takes place. State leaders including The Honorable L. Louise Lucas and The Honorable Barry D. Knight attend. While at the celebration a $20 million gift from Dennis and Jan Ellmer to provide scholarships for students pursuing health sciences degrees is announced, as well as the naming of the Ellmer College of Health Sciences and Ellmer College of Nursing to reflect the Ellmer’s generosity. And in recognition of a $20 million gift from Joan Brock, the integrated center will be called the Macon & Joan Brock Virginia Health Sciences at Old Dominion University which will encompass the Ellmer Colleges, EVMS Medical Group, EVMS School of Health Professions, EVMS School of Medicine, and the ONE School of Public Health. Also, at the celebration the logo for the integrated facilities is revealed that combines the ODU crown and the Rod of Asclepius (Ancient Greek symbol of medicine and healing). On July 1st, after meetings between the faculty members of the two schools, as well as meetings with the SACSCOC (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission of Colleges) to ensure the integration of services, Old Dominion University and EVMS successfully integrated on July 1, 2024.


“17th Anniversary of EVMS Birth.” Eastern Virginia Medical School Bulletin. Vol. 4, No. 9. 1975, November.

Budget Amendments-SB800 (Floor Approved). LIS State Budget.

Cabell, Nathaniel. Early History of the University of Virginia. Page 310.

DePaul Hospital

Norfolk Community Hospital

Norfolk General Hospital

Sentara Leigh Hospital

Virginia Beach General Hospital

Portsmouth General Hospital

Eastern Virginia Medical Center Map

“Eastern Virginia Medical School.”  Wikipedia.

“EVMS to name building for Mason Andrews.” EVMS News.

A History of the School of Medicine” Virginia Commonwealth University Webpage.

History Timeline. EVMS Webpage.

Marks, Jason. “ODU Partners with Norfolk State, EVMS for regional school of public health.” 

WAVY-10 News Online. 2021, August 26.

Mason C. Andrews Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, Old Dominion University Libraries.

Norfolk 20th Century.

ODU Earns Prestigious Research 1 Designation from Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

ODU-EVMS Integration: Our Continued Work and The Journey Ahead.

ODU Integration Information.

State Support Enables ODU, EVMS Integration to Move Forward.

ODU School of Nursing

Milestone Moment: ODU and EVMS Announce Historic Naming Gifts at Community Celebration.

Desire, Demons, and Diplomats: Poetry in the Special Collections

By Special Collections and HIST 368 Intern, Daniel Conner

Rare poetry books in ODU Libraries Special Collections

The Story of C.3.3.

Upon beginning my research for National Poetry Month, I stumbled upon a rather interesting author in the Special Collection; someone by the name of C.3.3. I assumed such a tag could be nothing more than a stage name, but after finishing the ballad and conducting some light research, I came across quite the little discovery. C.3.3. was a cell number, and the work that was born from that cell, the Ballad of Reading Gaol (pronounced ‘redding jail’), was explicit, enthralling, and excruciatingly visual. 

C.3.3. a.k.a Oscar Wilde was one of, if not the most well known and respected, Irish writers of the late 19th century. However, he was eventually arrested for homosexual conduct and placed in cell C.3.3. of Reading Gaol. Wilde composed plays, novels, and poems that are still considered to be masterpieces today, such as The Importance of Being Earnest, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Salome. Nevertheless, none of these pieces compare to the dreading reality of Reading Gaol. Within 109 stanzas, Wilde managed to fluidly compact the maddening conditions of a 19th century prison, a description of a murder’s emotions during the act of taking their lover’s life, and the eeriness of near daily capital punishment. Wilde himself experienced the execution of C.T.W., a man who murdered his own wife in a fit of rage before being sentenced to capital punishment. Through the color red, and the feelings of overwhelming love and fear, Wilde managed to portray his understanding of C.T.W. and paint his psyche in a way any reader could comprehend. Furthermore, Wilde wrote on the awful conditions of prison and how any prisoner would certainly become maddened by the end of their sentence if fortunate enough, or perhaps unfortunate enough to live. To list some of the harsh conditions: in the 19th century, anyone from the age of 10 onward could be found in Reading Gaol and the prisoners were forced to wear hoods that covered their eyes when outside of their cells. Meaning, the prisoners were not provided an environment where they could have any true social interaction. The ballad is horrifically real, which is exactly why it’s a terrific read. If you want to read C.3.3.’s short ballad for yourself, ODU’s Perry Library has a later copy on the fourth floor (1971) in addition to the copy in the Special Collections on the third floor (1896). 

“He did not wear his scarlet coat,
     For blood and wine are red,
And blood and wine were on his hands
     When they found him with the dead
The poor dead woman whom he loved,
     And murdered in her bed…

The man had killed the thing he loved,
     And so he had to die….

Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
      By each let this be heard
Some do it with a bitter look,
     Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
     The brave man with a sword!”

  -C.3.3. The Ballad of Reading Gaol

Milton and Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost, John Milton’s iconic poem in 12 books, has sustained its relevance through centuries of controversiality based on a diverse set of historical, political, and religious interpretations. Scholars have analyzed Milton’s intentions and motivations over the past 340 years, but in recent times the appreciation for the religious epic has been in a downward trend. While I could write thousands of words as to why we should value Milton’s work; plenty of volumes of that have already been written and can be found on Perry’s fourth floor. Instead, we can appreciate the beautiful illustrations of SCUA’s 1691 version of Paradise Lost. Two volumes of the epic have been preserved by SCUA, but the 19th century edition, though it features a regal and brightly-colored cover, lacks the imagery of its older counterpart. While not officially credited in this publication, Helen Gardener’s study of the 1688 and 1691 versions of Paradise Lost have attributed the stunning artworks to John Baptist de Medina.The Flemish-Spanish painter’s fluidity, but subtle contrasts between man, demon, and angel perfectly encapsulate the complexity of Milton’s characters. Many readers find themselves sympathizing with Satan and consider him to be the protagonist or hero of the epic. Meanwhile, some may view Satan as pathetic and consider Adam and Eve to be the moral heroes of the story. At the same time, another reader may not consider any of those characters as heroic, and instead rely on the archangel Michael to serve as the loyal, moral being of Paradise Lost. If you’d like to get your hands on Milton’s works and see where you stand within Milton’s battle for heaven, then look no further than the 3rd floor of Perry Library or SCUA’s rare book collection.


Matthew Prior’s Spellbook of Poems

The gleaming golden engravings on the spine of Matthew Prior’s Poems on Several Occasions immediately drew my attention. Upon feeling the rough leather and studying the beautiful, oversized font, I knew this was a rare book I had to research. Prior, a British diplomat to Louis XIV’s court and the plenipotentiary of  Britain’s peace treaty with France during the Spanish War of Succession. Prior had proven proficiencies in foreign language and diplomacy through his experience as a British diplomat to Louis XIV’s court from 1711 until in France. Most notably, he was plenipotentiary of Britain’s peace treaty with France during the Spanish War of Succession, dubbed the Peace of Utrecht. However, what made Prior stand out most from his peers was his special way of composing wit into his writing. Though poetry was more of a hobby than an occupation for Prior, he still excelled as one of the top earning poets of his time. 

Before his success abroad, he had 3 volumes of poetry published, two of which were essentially the same. Funnily enough, Prior’s second publication was a pirated version of Poems on Several Occasions. When Prior became aware of the pirated materials though, he expressed his annoyance with the inaccuracies of the volumes, as other authors’ works mistakenly made it into the published volume as well. To adjust the volumes to a standard Prior could appreciate, he re-released his own volume of Poems on Several Occasions two years later in 1709

After Prior returned from his diplomatic endeavors, he was sentenced to a year in prison based on conspiracies concerning his political party, the Tory party. Due to his imprisonment, his political renown and funds had essentially gone to the wayside. Thus, his friends, including the famous poet Alexander Pope, compiled volumes of Prior’s writings to sell to his fan-base on a consistent basis. The subscribers of his works would be credited at the end of  each subscription volume as a show of thanks, similarly to how modern content creators list out their subscribers in the credits of a content piece. Due to Prior’s arrest, his political career was over. Regardless, the ex-diplomat managed to continue to express his views through rhetoric. Thanks to his prowess in sarcasm and massive following, Prior was able to become the first poet to achieve mainstream success through a subscription based publication. If you’re interested in Prior, multiple volumes of his poems are available both on the 4th floor of the Perry Library and in SCUA on the Third Floor.


Tracing History: Using Innovative Research Methods and Chemical Testing to Track the Origins of Colonial Pottery

by Special Collections and HIST 368 Intern Amber Kates

Amber Kates being interviewed in the ODU Chemistry Lab where the testing occurred

My favorite thing about working in archives is getting lost in the stories. The shelves are a treasure trove filled with others’ memories. Sifting through the pages reawakens moments long since passed. Some interconnect to form entire lives. Others are just snapshots of a single moment, bringing with them an air of mystery. They whisper out questions, begging you to discover their long hidden secrets. But these allurements do not belong solely to the two dimensional world. Artifacts contain their own stories; you just have to know how to read them.

In 2022, the ODU Special Collections was gifted a few pieces of pottery. They were just a small fraction of the 20,000 pieces found during the expansion of I64, headed by the Virginia Department of Transportation. After they were pieced back together by the team at William and Mary, they were placed in the possession of the Coastal Virginia Church – the owners of the property where the pieces were found. The Coastal Virginia Church graciously gave the pieces to the Special Collections. As the intern for the Fall 2022 semester, I was given the opportunity to research a large jug and tankard.

Not much was known about the pottery when it arrived at our Special Collections. They were accompanied by a report prepared by the William and Mary Center for Archaeological Research. Based on this report, it appeared that these pieces were created around the 1730s by the William Rogers Pottery in Yorktown, VA. If everyone was correct, that meant the pieces were almost 300 years old, and a truly extraordinary find!

ODU Professor Rick Nickel explains the firing process that resulted in jug’s decorative surface to his Introduction to Ceramics Class.

Assuming that the experts were correct, I dove headfirst into my investigation. When looking at the pieces, they appeared to be common stoneware, consistent of the colonial period. The missing pieces in both the tankard and jug made their fragility obvious. Cracks slither across the jug, indicating places of reconstruction; both handles had been destroyed. The potter utilized a two-tone glaze technique on each piece. Artfully detailed ridges denote the deft hand of the maker. As I studied the jug, my eye was drawn to these drips of green glaze. Not only does the color not match any glaze used on either piece, but the finish is distinct. In contrast to the more matte, gritty-looking finishes, the green glaze is glossy and smooth. These markings are obviously unintentional.

After my initial observations, I began my research. I gathered as many sources as possible on William Rogers and colonial pottery. I read through the report that was sent with the pieces, but it was just a snippet of information. According to the report, the area in which the excavation was conducted was within the site of the old Newtown Colony. Like many colonies in the area, Newtown was an English settlement, and acted as a port for trade. However, by the early nineteenth century, the residents of the area moved on. They discarded whatever wares they couldn’t carry into a giant pit – a pit that wouldn’t be discovered for hundreds of years.

NPS Photo of the Poor Potter Site

After immigrating from England, William Rogers was a resident of Yorktown colony until the mid-eighteenth century. Often referred to as the “poor potter”, Rogers was anything but. A natural businessman, Rogers had made quite the name for himself with several different ventures. Before building the factory, he was a brewer and merchant. The success from his various enterprises made him a prominent figure in the community, and a wealthy man.

So, why the nickname “poor potter?” Well, it stems from the lieutenant governor of the time, William Gooch. In a 1732 letter to the Board of Trade in London, Gooch mentioned Rogers’ pottery endeavor and stated that it was “of so little consequence.”  Then, in 1739 he wrote “The Poor Potter’s operation is unworthy of your Lordship’s notice…” In reality, pottery from Rogers’ factory was transported up and down the east coast and to the West Indies. Gooch’s motivation for the way he handled the situation remains a mystery. After all, what Rogers was doing was illegal. At the time, English law made it clear that goods were to be manufactured in England and then transported to the colonies. Many have stated that Gooch must have been “on the take”.  While there was probably some monetary incentive, I believe that the situation was far more complicated. Gooch’s position as lieutenant governor was a balancing act between keeping both Virginia and England happy. He was in charge overseeing the colony and its people while being a soldier for the English Crown. The success of Virginia was good for everyone involved, and Rogers’ pottery was a component of this success. Gooch also knew that he couldn’t turn a blind eye to it. Eventually the truth would be discovered, and there would be consequences.

During this portion of my research, I came across a book that proved to be surprisingly helpful. In, Yorktown, Virginia: A Brief History, author Wilford Kale has an entire chapter on William Rogers and the unearthing of his factory. Included in this chapter was the story of the initial discovery around 1970. According to Kale, the story goes that W.A. Childrey, a Yorktown resident, was sweeping the dirt floor of his garage when he noticed shiny green spots. Curious, Childrey dug a little further and revealed bricks covered in a green glaze. He contacted the College of William and Mary, and the real hunt began (Kale, pp. 30).

Inside an 18th Century Pottery Workshop.

My “spidey senses” were tingling. Was this, a brief mention of green glaze, my first clue? Steve Bookman, Head Archivist at the Special Collections, was kind enough to reach out to William and Mary for a copy of the original excavation report. This report described the kiln as being “coated by a thick (1-2 inches) accumulation of a lustrous light to dark green smooth and glass-like glaze” (Barka, 1973, pp. 14). I was like Nancy Drew gathering little fragments of information to solve a mystery.

I knew I needed to go on a field trip and see the site for myself. I reached out to the National Park Service and explained about the pottery and research. I was put into contact with Dr. Dwayne Scheid, Cultural Resources Program Manager and Archaeologist for the National Park Service. He was kind enough to invite me out to the site to discuss this project. I was excited, but nervous. Before I arrived, I emailed pictures of the pottery. Once there, he agreed that they looked like pieces of pottery found during the excavation of the property. However, the only way to really confirm was to get the pieces tested. Dwayne also pointed me to Lindsay Bloch’s work with testing historical ceramics.

I toured the space, which really is the size of someone’s garage. Looking down into the large kiln, it is easy to see the green glaze that was described by Barka. Just as I had hoped, visually it was a match to the drops on the large jug. Dwayne reiterated the need for testing. He explained that the best and easiest thing to do was to first get the pieces tested with an XRF machine. As an undergraduate intern who was clearly in over her head, I just nodded. There was no way that I was going to explain to this very knowledgeable man that I had not even the slightest clue what I was doing, though I’m pretty sure he caught on. I left feeling a little deflated. Was this the end of the road for my project? Nevertheless, I still had a few avenues of investigation to pursue.

Inside the Poor Pottery Kiln. Photo by Amber Kates, 2022

Overwhelmed but undeterred, once again, I began my research. Assuming the budget for student-led testing was practically nonexistent, I wanted to find out if the William and Mary’s Center for Archaeological Research had conducted testing during the preservation process. When the pottery was donated to the Special Collections, it was accompanied by a report prepared by William and Mary for VDOT. Reading the report, a second time, I realized that pages were missing. However, several names were listed, including Deborah Davenport. The report stated that she was in charge of “laboratory processing and artifact analysis.” I figured it would be best to go straight to the source and reached out to her with my questions. She informed me that due to their own budgetary constraints they had not performed any testing of the pieces but confirmed their belief that they were created by the William Rogers pottery in Yorktown. She was also kind enough to send me the full report – all 608 pages!

Realizing we were on our own in reference to the chemical analysis, I did a little digging to the basics of XRF testing. This was unknown territory. The Special Collections is not used to diving into the archaeological side of historical preservation. I was able to find a few different institutions who had the ability to help us out but wasn’t sure how many would be willing to assist us pro bono. I once again feared a dead end. On a whim, I contacted the department chair of the ODU Chemistry Department, Dr. Craig Bayse. I explained the situation and asked if we had the testing capabilities. To my surprise, not only did he have access to the equipment, but he was willing to conduct the tests himself.

This is where we are now. The chemical analysis is the final missing piece to confirm if all our work is correct. The wonderful Dr. Bayse conducted XRF testing on both pieces of stoneware. When the results are analyzed, we will be able to determine if the pieces are, in fact, part of the William Rogers collection. I am so lucky to have had the honor to work on this project. It has been an amazing example of different departments and institutions coming together to uncover the truth. Everyone served as an important piece of the puzzle. A special thank you to everyone in the Special Collections. You were all so supportive of me and provided a great learning experience. Jessica Ritchie in particular has been so amazing. She trusted me enough to allow me to run wherever the research led. This has been a truly remarkable hands-on experience.

Director’s Update: After graduating from ODU, Amber has continued to collaborate with the Poor Potter Site and ODU Libraries on a project to trace the pottery back to the site. Amber’s research and ODU’s pioneering chemical analysis methodology could help other repositories and museums officially trace their pieces back to the Poor Potter Site.

Barbie Goes to the 2000 Democratic National Convention

by Special Collections Metadata Specialist Kathleen Smith

Convention 2000 Barbie donated by Margo Horner

The annual summer blockbuster movie season is here. A lot of interesting movies are coming out for summer 2023. The movies include the final installment of the Indiana Jones movie series (Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny), a Pixar animated movie featuring the elements of nature (Elemental), a biopic about a famous physicist (Oppenheimer), and a movie based on a well-known fashion doll (Barbie). The latter is a fantasy movie featuring actor Margot Robbie in the title role alongside Ryan Gosling who stars as Barbie’s boyfriend, Ken.

Besides having her own movie, Barbie is a well-known worldwide pop-culture icon, a stylish doll who can be anything and anyone that a young child can imagine. I had many Barbie dolls and accessories as a child myself. Amongst the many Barbies I had was, Malibu Barbie in her aqua bikini swimsuit, Western Barbie in a silver and white cowgirl bodysuit, and Kissing Barbie-a doll that actually “kissed” and came with her own special lipstick.

Here’s a brief history of Barbie, she was created in 1959 as an alternative to the traditional baby dolls and paper dolls. Barbie’s creator, toy company executive Ruth Handler, saw her daughter Barbara playing with paper dolls. Barbara often assigned the dolls with adult roles. Handler saw this and realized a grown-up doll would have potential in the toy doll market and with some inspiration from a German “adults-only” toy doll named Bild Lili, the Barbie doll was born. For over sixty-years, Barbies have come in a variety of identities and career roles (from Ballerina to Superstar to Astronaut to Doctor, etc.), as well as representing diverse backgrounds and cultures. Also there have been special edition Barbies as famous women in history, art, science, and athletics, as well as representing special occasions and events.

Back of the Convention 2000 Barbie Box

While processing the newly acquiesced Margo Horner political memorabilia collection, I have come across very unique and interesting items such as campaign buttons featuring Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog, nail files with candidates’ names on them, a liquor decanter made to look like the Democratic donkey, Hillary Clinton and Ruth Bader Ginsburg action figures, as well as boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese honoring the 1996 Democratic National Convention. I have also come across a Barbie doll-yes you read right-a Barbie doll. The Barbie that I found was a “Convention 2000 Barbie” that commemorated the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. This Barbie is dressed in a sharp, professional red dress and wearing a lanyard pass that reads “2000 National Convention- ‘B’ [B as in Barbie]-Delegate.” On the back of box which is blue, there is information about this special Barbie, which was presented to delegates who attended the convention from August 14-17, 2000 (the same Barbie was also presented to delegates in a red box at the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). Margo Horner was a delegate at this convention, representing Arlington, Virginia. Horner has attended numerous Democratic National Conventions as a delegate, including New York City, 1980; Chicago, 1996; Denver, 2008; and 2012 Charlotte.


Barbie (2023 film)

Barbie Wikipedia Entry

Ruth Handler (creator of Barbie)

Bild Lili (Barbie’s prototype)

2000 National Convention Barbie (Republican National Convention)

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

by Mel Frizzell, Special Collections Assistant

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.”

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.

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


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

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.

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.

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


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

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.

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.

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.

Corner-Stone Laying Program
Dirt from the site of the Norfolk Florence Crittenton Home was included in the box
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


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.


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.


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.


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.