All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘Dissertation’

Reading the Cemetery

[a side trip on the way to the dissertation]

Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia epitomizes the cemetery as narrative.

An outgrowth of the garden cemetery movement of the mid-nineteenth century, its shaded pathways overlooking the tumult of the James River wind among ancient trees and over slopes of well-tended lawns and flowering bushes. They frame gravesites of familiar people, a cross-section of national and local politicians and poets, founding fathers, businessmen and soldiers–Presidents James Monroe and John Tyler, Jefferson Davis, J.E.B. Stuart, Fitzhugh Lee, John Randolph, Edgar Allen Poe and generations of entrepreneurs and early industrialists who built Richmond’s cultural and economic base–the Valentines, Haxalls, Myers, Harvies, Mayos, Triggs, Branches, Glasgows, and Bruces.

And the graves of Confederate soldiers, officers and enlisted, fill hillsides.

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Hacking the dissertation, future tense

A few weeks ago, I officially advanced to candidacy in American history at George Mason University, and I took my first trip as an ABD to the Library of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia, for research in the business records of Tredegar Iron Works.

Over one hundred years of ledgers, accounts, patents, letters, advertisements—the paper evidence of corporate structure and process—are housed in 1,345 boxes, 490 volumes, seven oversize boxes (containing 93 oversize folders and 1,000 drawings), six oversize map case drawers, and one rolled tube.

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