- Dictionary of Virginia Biography ed. by Sara B. Bearss et al. (review)
- Ohio Valley History
- The Filson Historical Society and Cincinnati Museum Center
- Volume 3, Number 1, Spring 2003
- pp. 45-46
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Reviews Sara B. Bearss, John T. Kneebone, J. Jefferson Looney, Brent Tarter, and Sandra Gioia Treadway,eds. Dictionag of Virginia Biograpby, vol. 2. Richmond : Library of Virginia, 2001. 591 pp. ISBN: 0884901890 (cloth), $ 49.95. The second volume ofthis biographical project will certainly be welcomed by historians, genealogists ,and others with a serious interest in Virginia history. Published three years after the first volume,it meets the same high standard established by its predecessor and will leave its users hoping that future volumes arrive at a more rapid pace. Containing 452 entries written by 247 contributors , Volume Two clearly reflects the editorial determination that the DVB will be comprehensive in its coverage of those Virginians who,regardless of race,gender,or occupation, made a significant impact upon the state, region, or nation. Beginning with Anna Bennett Bland, an interesting and significant seventeenthcentury woman involved in the legal battle which resulted in the Virginia General Assembly losing its status as the final court of appeals in the colony,to James Cannon,a Methodist leader important in the battle for temperance and in other religious and political issues at the begin1 »ling of the twentieth century,Volume Two of the DVB includes Virginjans from politics,religion,science ,the arts,education,sports and entertainment, and virtually any other field in which an individual can influence the society in which he or she lives. To merit inclusion the individual must have lived a significant portion of his or her life in Virginia," which is defined to include both Kentucky and West Virginia prior to the creation of those states. Any abbreviated list of individuals included will probably describe the interests or idiosyncrasies of the reviewer as much as it reflects the coniprehensive nature of the volume. Such names as Daniel Boone, Harry E Byrd and his many important ancestors ,the numerous Burwells and Cabells of note, and Norborne Berkeley, Baron de Botetourt, will already be at least generally familiar to 110St Students of Virginia history even without consulting the DVB. These historical figures certainly warrant and receive substantial treatment. But one cannot appreciate the richness of the DVB, as well as its usefulness,merely be looking for the entries devoted to such wellknown figures. Only by examining, for example,the entries for Robert J. Boland,who was born a slave in 1850 but later became a prominent physician and leader in the African American community, and James Albert Bonsack whose invention of the " cigaretterolling " machine made the modern tobacco industry possible,and the numerous women " civic leaders" such as Mary Alexander Whitworth Calcott,who worked for racial harmony and education for all, do we fully understand the DVB' s value as a tool for use by serious students of Virginia history. A classified index of biographies is available online at the Library of Virginia website, permitting users to sort biographical entries in a number of useful ways,such as by chronology,by race,and by genden A project of this magnitude depends heavily upon the dedication and competence of the editor and assistant editors as well as the resources and determination of the organization responsible for producing and publishing it. Clearly the DVB is in good hands, as one cannot help being impressed with the second volume's overall quality and of the many entries written by the assistant editors. Adequate funding and good fortune permitting, the SPRING 2003 45 REVIEWS Library of Virginia will continue to sponsor publication of this invaluable historical and genealogical aid and researchers will hope it can do so in the future at an accelerated pace. Raymond C. Bailey Northern Virginia Community College Robert E.May. Manifest Destiny' s Underworld :Filibustering in Antebellum America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002. 426 pp. ISBN: 0807827037 ( cloth), $ 45.00. ost Americans, perhaps from such sources as Mr.Smith Goes to Washington,thinkof a " filibuster as a parliamentary tactic to impede the legislative process. The term, however,had a different meaning when it first appeared in vocabulary of Americans in the decades before the Civil Wan During that period, explains historian Robert E. May in this book, " the word generally referred to American adventurers who raised or participated in private...