W&M Libraries Blog

A handwritten letter, dated November 18, 1840, from Ann Galt in Norfolk, Virginia to her brother William at UVA. She begins her letter by lamenting "the great loss to the college," the murder of Professor Davis.
August 28, 2019

Today's post, written by Tracy Melton '85, member of the William & Mary Libraries Board of Directors, considers the words we use to describe crime and death in archival work. Read on to learn more about a nineteenth-century fatality recounted in the Galt Papers (Mss. 78 G13). 

A summer 2019 search of the Special Collections Research Center’s manuscripts and archives database found zero “homicides” but sixty-seven “murders.”

Why the overwhelming preference for one keyword over the other? There are specific reasons—for example, the use of “murder” in the criminal...

Previous Posts

Oct 2009

  • October 28, 2009
    Hello, world. My name is Kaitlyn Gardy and I am the SCRC’s Apprentice in Computing Humanities for 2009-2010. Although I’ve only worked at the SCRC since the beginning of the fall semester, I have completed two really exciting projects that highlight exhibits and items available in Special Collections. Here’s an update on what I’ve done so far.