Whaddaya mean there are no records?!

I had only barely started and my research had already come to a screeching halt.

“Almost all of the records for the city of Richmond for the 1840s were burned during the Civil War,” said the researcher at the Library of Virginia.

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Silk stockings are the smoking gun (Navarrese Private Libraries – Part 2)

In the first post about what I’m using my Student Research Grant for, I tried to give an overview of what I’m using it for and a little taste of my research. In this post, I’d like to take you through the most thrilling example of what has come up in my research.

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Navarrese Private Libraries – Part 1

For my Student Research Grant, I was able to fund the digitization of some 16th and 17th court documents from the Archivo Diocesano de Pamplona (ADP) in Pamplona, Spain. These are for the honors thesis that I am currently writing about private libraries in the 16th and 17th centuries. Within these court documents, scribes and notaries painstakingly (or carelessly) noted down the household goods, papers, and books of individuals. I am interested in the books of 35 individuals whose personal libraries were inventoried so that the parties fighting over the goods could be sure of what the deceased owned. These documents offer some of the best insight into how people interacted with books in the 16th and 17th centuries.

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Abstract–African American Credit Use in the Early Republic

My name is Amanda Gibson, and I am a PhD candidate in the history department.

Credit was and is central to the growth of capitalism. My dissertation will uncover the credit market experiences of those most vulnerable to the externalities associated with a slavery-based capitalist economy. It will describe enslaved and free African Americans’ use of credit from the American Revolution to the Civil War.

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Orpheus Island in closing

Well, Dr. Allen and I leave Orpheus Island in two days. This trip has been extremely fast!


We finally figured out how to culture the crown-of-thorns larvae. It turns out our larvae were dying from copper toxicity. The freshwater here runs through copper pipes, so when we wash our glassware in the freshwater and place larvae in it, they die.

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One week in the land down under

Dr. Allen and I have been in Australia for a week now, and it has been a whirlwind!


We left Williamsburg on Sunday December 3rd at 7AM and reached Orpheus Island where we’re conducting our research Tuesday December 5th at 7PM ET. (Or something like that; it’s tough to keep track of time here given this place is 15 hours ahead of Virginia.)

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An investigation of alternative phosphorylation sites in arsR in Helicobacter pylori(part2)

Since the start of this semester, I’ve performed qRT-PCR for several times. qRT-PCR with taqman probes enables us to know the relative concentrations of mRNAs from the cells cultured under acidic (in my case pH5) and neutral(pH7) conditions. This technique requires a lot of patience and great attention to details. Although at the beginning, the error bars for the result bar chart were very big, indicating potential technical problems, I’m getting better results overtime. Practice makes perfect!

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An investigation of alternative phosphorylation sites in arsR in Helicobacter pylori(part1)

Over last summer, I conducted a series of experiments to test out my hypothesis: 47th and 59th positions are alternative phosphorylation sites for arsR in H.pylori with the presence of glutamic acid at 52nd position.

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Research Update

I returned from my research trip to London earlier this summer and found a lot of really interesting things! I visited the National Archives in London where there were a wide variety of documents and reports that outlined the student movements that were rising up in both East and West Pakistan. They detailed various aspects of the movements and even the British governments contribution and involvement with them, which was largely educational and set up through the dispersion of aid to help improve infrastructure and curriculum.

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Frustrations of the Archive & the Joy of Material Culture

I visited several archival collections in England, including the British Library and the National Archives. I was looking for records that placed Virginia colonists in England during specific years and references to certain people and portraits. Unfortunately, after hours of looking at papers, official records, personal account books, and wills, I found almost nothing that would be useful in my dissertation. This was not a big surprise. Colonial Virginia records and references to Virginians have been collected, transcribed, referenced, and published for many years so I already had some idea of what to expect from the archives. Further, there are relatively few references to specific portraits and many artists’ names from the eighteenth century go unrecorded. Even in probate records – inventories of property taken after a person’s death – and wills, portraits often go unmentioned. Tracking the whereabouts of colonists in England is also difficult unless they were sent abroad on official business and appear in government papers.

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