29 collection Results

RG 158: Ruby Lee Minar Family Papers, 1923-1979

Shortly after the end of World War I, Ruby Lee Minar entered the real estate industry. Using a few hundred dollars from Liberty Bonds, she invested in real estate in the Chevy Chase area and in 1919 began acquiring practical experience working for a Washington, D.C. real estate firm as a saleswoman. In 1920, she opened her own real estate business—Ruby Lee Minar, Inc.—in the Evans Building in Washington, D.C.

Soon after, Minar had obtained exclusive rights for the sale property in the Lyon Park neighborhood of Arlington County. By 1922, she employed 20 salesmen and saleswomen, had sold $1,000,000 worth of property in the Lyon Park subdivision, and had opened extension offices in Lyon Park and Cherrydale.

In 1923 she controlled 400 acres of land between the Potomac and the Washington Country Club, which became the site of her next subdivision project—Lee Heights—valued at $3,000,000. Minar had the foresight to recognize that the planned Key and Memorial Bridges and Lee Highway that would connect Washington, D.C., and Arlington were integral to the suburban expansion she envisioned.

Minar also arranged for other residential amenities such as gas mains, a sewage system, and a water reservoir, all of which helped broaden the appeal of living in the Lee Heights neighborhood and contributed to its success.

Record Group 158, measuring .63 linear feet and artifact storage, contains the personal papers of the Ruby Lee Minar family and spans 1923-1979. The bulk of the material pertains to Ruby Lee and Patricia and comes from the period of the early 1920s through the early 1950s. The collection contains handwritten and typed correspondence; 1930s holiday cards; photographs; publicity and business records for Ruby Lee Minar, Inc.; a copy of John’s death certificate; and the paperwork with official seals recording Ruby Lee’s death abroad. There is also a 1930s play bill from a production of “Private Lives” at the Barter Theater in Abingdon in Arlington County. The collection contains material in English, German, French, Danish, and Polish. 


RG 188, Wakefield High School Student Posters, consists of appoximately 90 posters created by students at Wakefield High School in the southern part of Arlington County. These posters, created on school premises, advertise school events, clubs and activities taking place primarily during the 1969-1970 school year. All the posters are silkscreen images on poster or construction paper of various sizes. This set of remarkable posters was donated by David Crist (Wakefield '70).

RG 196: Records of the Syphax Family, 1920-1993

The name Syphax has been present in northern Virginia since the early 1800s. Some historians believe that Maria Carter Syphax might have been the daughter of George Washington Parke Custis, the grandson of Martha Washington and adopted by George Washington. Maria grew up at Arlington House, the slave of Parke Custis, and married Charles Syphax, another slave owned by Parke Custis. After their marriage, they were granted 17 acres of land which was officially deeded to them by an act of Congress in 1866. William Syphax, one of Maria and Charles’ ten children, became the first president of the trustee board of Colored schools in Washington, D.C.  This William Syphax was the great-uncle of William Thomas Syphax.
William Thomas Syphax, who was born in Arlington, Virginia, became one of the leading black business entrepreneurs in the 1970s. His wife, Margarite Reed Syphax, was one of the first black business women to be designated a Certified Property Manager. This prominent couple started a real estate and construction business that was recognized in Black Enterprise’s first list of the 100 Top Black Businesses in 1973. While building his business, William also found the time to get a Masters’ Degree in Engineering Administration from George Washington University, and a PhD in Behavioral Philosophy from Pacific Western University. He had earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the Virginia State College for Negroes in 1942 and became its Rector in 1974. 
William and Margarite met when both were serving the United States during World War II.  William was a Group Electronics Officer in the United States Army Air Corps and Margarite toured as an acrobatic dancer with the USO. When William and Margarite returned to Arlington County after World War II, housing was still heavily segregated. In the early 1950s they started selling real estate and then filled a need by designing and building housing for other black residents who were then living in substandard housing in the area then known as “Johnson Hill” and now called Arlington View; William and Margarite lived at 1327 S Queen St. They also built an apartment complex that had an open rental policy – unlike other apartment buildings at the time that were race restrictive. Photographs of the first houses they built are found in the “The Syphax Story – Getting Started.”

Carrie Johnson (1941-2018), originally from Milwaukee, moved to Arlington in 1979 as a speechwriter for Katherine Graham, owner of the Washington Post. She soon became involved with the Arlington County Democratic Committee, keeping track of actual and potential voters and eventually earning the nickname "The List Lady." However, Johnson is even more well-known for her long tenure on the county's Planning Commission, which was from 1986 to 2005. Known for her ability to get opposing factions to relax, talk, and compromise, and for her concern for all of Arlington's residents, upon her retirement she was called "The Michael Jordan of Planning." After leaving the Planning Commission, Johnson was still active in local planning discussions through volunteering for working groups on specific issues and making appearances at County Board meetings.

The Carrie Johnson Papers document Johnson's work on the Planning Commission and date from 1958 to 2005, with the bulk of the materials dating 1986-2004. The collection measures approximately 2.5 linear feet and contains reports, architectural renderings and specs, meeting notes, memos, and correspondence. Many documents have Johnson's notes on the margins.

This collection has significant materials on Arna Valley, Pentagon Row, and development plans along the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor, including Virginia Square, Clarendon, and Courthouse neighborhoods.

This collection is currently being processed and will be available to researchers soon.

RG 322, the Arlington Woman's Club Papers, contains materials from the Arlington Women's Club, 1934-1970.

Women’s clubs have long been a crucial component in the establishment of a societal framework from which women could organize and advocate their concerns for the betterment of all.
One of the most venerable women’s club in Arlington County is the Woman’s Club of Arlington. Formed in late 1931, the club was originally based in the Columbia Pike area. They pioneered trash collection in Arlington by purchasing trash cans which they chained to posts throughout the neighborhood, leading the County to begin regular collections shortly afterward.  Other contributions and activities include planting of trees, studies on crime control, sponsorship of the County Red Cross during World War II, the Teen Town Club for children of military families, scholarship funding for Wakefield High School students (which continues to this day), and receptions for newly naturalized citizens, among many other significant acts. 

This collection contains scrapbooks documenting the Arlington Woman's Club from 1934 to 1970. These scrapbooks contain photographs, newspaper articles, correspondence, programs and other publicity materials, and administrative records.

This collection is currently being processed and a finding aid will be available soon.

RG 332: Overlee Preschool Records

On August 7, 1945, a group of Arlington parents met to organize their own cooperative preschool. World War II brought an influx of permanent residents to the county: the population doubled between 1940 and 1944. An unprecedented demand for day care and early childhood education centers emerged since the county public school system did not offer preschool or kindergarten. Mrs. Hazel Mahler decided to organize a new cooperative preschool when she discovered the nearby Rock Spring Cooperative was full, the waitlist long, and local private schools remained too expensive. She organized a meeting with local, interested parents at her home to discuss how they could provide reasonably-priced education for their young children. The parents decided to form their own cooperative preschool, named Overlee Preschool in honor of the nearby neighborhood, Overlee Knolls. As a cooperative preschool, parents made all the decisions regarding school policy, tuition, and classroom activities. Parents paid tuition, hired professional teachers, managed finances, served on the board of directors, acted as teaching assistants, and maintained the school facilities.
The founding parents secured three rooms for their preschool in the Resurrection Lutheran Church on Washington Boulevard and North Powhatan Street in Arlington. The school opened on October 8, 1945 and offered a morning session for nursery and kindergarten age children. In 1947, Overlee offered a separate kindergarten class for the first time, as well as a nursery class for children aged three and four. Overlee discontinued kindergarten classes in 1960 when Arlington County Public Schools began to offer kindergarten. Instead, Overlee offered a separate class for 3-year-olds (called the Bluebirds) and 4-year-olds (called the Redbirds). In 1980, Overlee introduced an additional class for 2-year-olds (called the Yellowbirds). Overlee classes emphasized social and emotional development over other specific skills (like reading or math) through play, activities involving art, music, and nature, and field trips.  
Overlee has occupied several different locations in Arlington since opening, all in local churches, though it has been nonsectarian throughout its existence. 
  1. Resurrection Lutheran Church, 6201 N Washington Blvd (1945-1947)
  2. Trinity Presbyterian Church, 5533 N 16th Street (April 1947-September 12, 1955)
  3. Christ Methodist Church, 5700 Lee Highway (September 13, 1955-1965)
  4. St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, 2425 N Glebe Rd (1965-1989)
  5. Church of the Covenant, 2666 N Military Road (1989-present)

RG 333: The Ellen Bozman Papers

Ellen M. Bozman, a community activist and politician for Arlington County, guided Arlington as it transitioned from a suburban to urban community during the latter half of the 20th century. Though perhaps most well-known as the longest serving Arlington County Board member (1974-1997), Bozman’s civic influence extended beyond her tenure as a board member through participation in various community organizations and governmental bodies.
Bozman’s work prior to the County Board is associated with human relations and planning. As part of the League of Women Voters, Bozman conducted educational programs to assist with integration of the public school system in Arlington in the 1950s. Later, as a member of the Community Relations Committee in the 1960s, which researched and reported on acts of discrimination to the Arlington County Board, she investigated County hiring practices of African-Americans and pushed for the adaption of non-discriminatory policies. As part of the County’s Planning Commission from 1971-1973, Bozman focused on ways to revitalize Clarendon, Arlington’s major commercial center at the time, which was soon to be disrupted by the coming Metrorail. 
Bozman ran for the County Board in 1973 as an Independent candidate, though she was backed by the local Democratic party. She ran on a platform that promoted controlled growth, especially around new Metro corridors, opposition to the route I-66 in favor of other mass-transit options, maintaining neighborhoods and increasing park and recreational space, and providing new services to retired and elderly residents. She captured more than 50% of the vote in a 3-way race, becoming the first woman elected to the County Board since 1958.

Bozman won all her subsequent elections, running as an Independent candidate in every race except for her last election in 1993, during which she ran as a Democrat. She served as chairman of the County Board in 1976, 1983, 1984, 1989, 1992, and 1997.

In 2017, the Arlington County Board voted unanimously to rename the County Office Building at 2100 Clarendon Boulevard at Courthouse Plaza after Bozman, to honor her 24 years of service as a County Board member.

Cornelia Bruere Rose Jr. graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1928 with a degree in economics and politics and a minor in history. She then worked as an economist in New York City until her marriage in 1934 to Laszlo Ecker-Racz, also an economist, after which they moved to the Washington area where she first worked for the federal government. However, she maintained her maiden name all her life, as she put it, “to preserve her identity.”

As assistant to the Arlington County Manager from 1958 to 1965, she wrote the manager’s Annual Report, edited the departmental reports and prepared the Handbook on County Government Organization. In the studies that she wrote and edited she said that she tried to cover “not just the current factors, but the background and development of the subject as well.” She also recalled not being able to find answers to historical questions that she was asked and soon discovered that no comprehensive history of Arlington, its issues and development, had been written. As a result, over the years she collected a wide variety of material on Arlington that would undoubtedly have disappeared if she had not had the foresight to preserve them, and published both The Boundaries of Arlington and The Indians of Arlington.

At the request of the Arlington Bicentennial Commission Rose compiled her extensive research into the book Arlington: A County in Virginia (1976), the most comprehensive history of the county that has been written.

RG 354, C.B. Rose Papers, is approximately 11.7 linear feet and contains many early documents including ephemera, correspondence, memos, maps, and reports, many of which were created by various departments of Arlington County government. It also includes copies of older material on Arlington dating from the 19th century that reside in other institutions.

This collection is currently in process and a finding aid will be available soon.

The story of the SUN GAZETTE is really the story of two newspapers and how they eventually came together:
The SUN:   The newspaper now known as the Sun Gazette began publishing as the Sun on Dec. 12, 1935.  The paper was printed weekly until 1951 when it was sold and merged with the Arlington Daily, a 6-days a week paper that had been published since the early 1940s.  The daily paper became known as the Northern Virginia Sun, and its focus expanded throughout the growing western suburbs. The paper was sold again in 1957 and once more in 1963.  During the 1960s and 1970s the Sun combined in-depth local coverage with wire-service reports or national and international news as well.  From 1963 until 1988 the Northern Virginia Sun had the same owner, but in 1988, for economic reasons it was again sold.
The GAZETTE:  The Gazette was founded in 1979 in Great Falls and expanded over the next few years to include coverage of nearby Virginia jurisdictions.  By 1989, as competition increased, the Gazette was sold to the same company that had purchased the Northern Virginia Sun.
The two papers continued to be published as separate entities with several different ownership groups from outside the local area, but eventually the papers would merge and take the name Sun Gazette, referencing both the original Sun and the later Gazette.  Despite further changes in ownership the name has remained the same.
In keeping with the digital age, the Sun Gazette is now also available online.  For online access to more recent issues of the Gazette please visit: www.insidenova.com
Digitization of the Sun Gazette microfilm was made possible by a generous donation from the Friends of the Library.

Additional issues are being added weekly to this collection.
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