Richard F. Walker letters  1877-1881
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Richard F. Walker letters consist of a series of letters written by Walker, Virginia's Superintendant of Public Printing, a member of the Virginia Historical Society, and printer for the Richmond Whig, to Edward Denham in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Walker discussed life and politics in Reconstruction-era Richmond. Walker composed the earliest letters just before leaving his first term as Superintendant of Public Printing, and often referred indirectly to his work. Several letters bear the office's letterhead depicting a woman standing over a slain man, with the motto " Sic Semper Tyrannis ." Much of his friendly correspondence with Denham focused on Walker's work with the Virginia Historical Society, of which Denham became a corresponding member (May 18, 1880), and on acquiring materials for Denham such as the Southern Historical Magazine.

Occasionally, Walker shared his views on contemporary Virginia politics, and opined, "This is not the Old Virginia we used to have! By the management of a Carpet-Bag Governor, our finances have been entirely turned over to 2-3rds of our creditors[,] leaving out in the cold 1-3rd, and no money to pay expenses of running the Government" (March 10, 1878). Walker also remembered the Civil War, and soberly stated, "To-day is the anniversary of the fall of Richmond! It brings up sad memories in my mind" (April 3, 1880). Local politics again became a focus after Walker's re-election to his public post, and he lamented the demise of the local Whig influence. "We are badly beaten," he said, "and I hope never to see another contest made for the Democratic Party. We have failed for 25 years, and it is time to stop batting a stone wall. The Northern Democrats encouraged us to go to war, and deserted us as soon as war was declared" (November 5, 1880).

Though Walker wrote the vast majority of the letters, other correspondents wrote to Denham, including Robert Alonzo Brock, secretary of the Virginia Historical Society, who wrote 3 letters, and Powhatan Bouldin, who sent a personal note on a printed postcard advertising his book Home Reminiscences of John Randolph, of Roanoke.

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