The Resource Virginia War History Commission Records of the Second Virginia Council of Defense

Virginia War History Commission Records of the Second Virginia Council of Defense

Virginia War History Commission Records of the Second Virginia Council of Defense, 1917-1921, 1923-1924
Virginia War History Commission Records of the Second Virginia Council of Defense
Inclusive dates
1917-1921, 1923-1924
  • The Second Virginia Council of Defense series is housed in 39 boxes with oversized material separated and is arranged into four (4) subseries. Subseries have been designated for Source Material, Records, Financial Records and Correspondence of Charles R. Keiley. The series consists primarily of incoming and outgoing correspondence from Executive Secretary Charles R. Keiley and copies of publications, pamphlets and newsletters from the Council of National Defense and from other state councils. It is unknown why some of the records the Virginia Council, especially from other states, were filed with Source Materials (Subseries A) and other similar records with Records (Subseries B). Researchers should check both subseries. This series comprises a large and important section of the Virginia War History Commission records. These records document the activities of the Second Virginia Council of Defense, Council of National Defense and Local Councils in Virginia including such areas as agriculture, food conservation, health (including the influenza epidemic of 1918), labor and propaganda
  • The Source Material subseries is housed in 27 boxes, two oversize folders and is indexed in Virginia War Agencies, Selective Services and Volunteers (Source Volume 4) (Richmond: 1926, pp. 421-453), edited by Arthur Kyle Davis. The records in this subseries are arranged by the number and/or letter assigned to each record listed in the index. Topics include agriculture, building, community sings, conservation, Council of National Defense, education, fire prevention, health, highways, history, home guard, housing, industry, labor, liberty loan and war savings, livestock, local councils, Negro activities, patriotism and propaganda, pool rooms, reconstruction and post war activities, religious forces, soldiers, Speakers Bureau, sugar, swamp lands, transportation, war photographs, war work, woman's committee and wood. When this series was originally processed in 2003, not all of the indexed records were extant. The missing records were located in 2005 and have been added to the collection. This is the largest of the four subseries and documents the work of the Second Virginia Council of Defense
  • This subseries is a great source of information on Agriculture, Livestock and Sugar. Included is information on the Boys' Working Reserve (2), School Garden Army (2) and the purchase and use of Tractors (23). Additional information includes lists of claims for livestock killed by trains (14d-k) by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, New York, Philadelphia and Norfolk Railroad Company, Norfolk and Western Railway Company, Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad, Seaboard Air Line Railway, Southern Railway Company and Virginian Railway Company. Also included are lists of railroad engineers and firemen in Virginia (14b). There is extensive correspondence concerning the allocation of and request for sugar (34)
  • Pamphlets and Publications of the Council of National Defense highlight their activities in Virginia (35, 51-54). The work of the Second Virginia Council of Defense, 1918-1919, is documented in their minutes (Box 253). The membership, activities and reports of Local Councils may be found in (7-11)
  • Records filed under Patriotism and Propaganda describe "Americanization" programs and patriotic activities (37). Other noteworthy documents are correspondence from the United States military listing Virginia soldiers who are AWOL (12d) and correspondence to ministers urging them to preach pro-war sermons (Religious Forces) (4)
  • The Health records contain a wealth of information on child welfare (17-18), nurses, nurse training and physicians (18), the Red Cross (16, 18), venereal disease (17, 46), and vice suppression (17). These records also include information on the 1918 influenza epidemic such as local conditions, need for assistance and attempts to control the epidemic (17, 18 and 19)
  • The contributions of blacks and women to the war effort are filed under Negro Activities (26) and Woman's Committee (39 and 54) including the minutes and personnel of Women's Section
  • Other noteworthy documents in this series include: responses to Charles R. Keiley's request to serve on Woman's Committee (40b), two Isle of Wight County Woman's Committee broadsides (42a), photographs of the Dupont plant in Hopewell and Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company (48), and two broadsides concerning labor and livestock (48b)
  • The Records sub-series is housed in 10 boxes and four oversize folders and is arranged by topic and includes extant records not indexed. The majority of the material includes incoming and outgoing to Charles R. Keiley in his roles as Executive Secretary of the Second Council of Defense and Federal Field Secretary and publications and records of other states Council's of Defense created between 1917 and 1918. Correspondence is arranged chronologically and records of other states are arranged alphabetically by name of state. States that submitted copies of their Council of Defense activities include: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Other topics include fair prices, health and labor and education including questionnaires completed by county branches of the Cooperative Education Association of Virginia describing their war activities. Other records include form letters and miscellaneous material
  • The Financial Records subseries is housed in one box and contains the bills and invoices for the Second Virginia Council of Defense and the Virginia War History Commission for 1918 and 1919. The bills are arranged by the first letter of the surname. The War History Commission was created by Governor Westmoreland Davis in January 1919 but since the General Assembly was not in session, no money was available for its operation. From January 1919 until August 1919, when the General Assembly gave the Commission its' own appropriation, the Second Virginia Council of Defense provided for all office expenses
  • The Correspondence of Charles R. Keiley subseries is house in one box and contains the personal correspondence of Charles R. Keiley, Executive Secretary of the Second Virginia Council of Defense. Arranged by date (1918-1919 and 1923-1924) and then alphabetically by correspondent or subject, the correspondence primarily contain letters of introduction written by Keiley. Other topics include financial matters, the lease of an apartment in Richmond (R.T. Corbell, 15 May, 22 July and 26 July 1918) and school placement for Keiley's daughter, Marie (Jennie Ellett, 10 September 1918). The Correspondence from 1923 and 1924 detail the work of Keiley's business, C.R. Keiley, Expert Legislative Reporting
Agency history record describes the history and functions of the Virginia War History Commission. (Search Virginia War History Commission as author).
Member of
  • Accessioned
  • Described
  • Revised
Biographical or historical data
  • The Council of National Defense was created by an act of Congress on 29 August 1916 to coordinate all national resources pertaining to the efficient mobilization and maintenance of the United States armed forces. After the United States declared war on Germany in April 1917, the federal government requested that each state create a State Council of Defense to carry out the duties of the National Council. To comply with this request, Virginia Governor Henry Carter Stuart created an unwieldy organization which included the Agricultural Council of Safety (18 April 1917), Industrial Council of Safety (25 April 1917), and the Virginia Council of Defense (26 April 1917). The duties of each council overlapped but each retained its own identity. The Virginia Council of Defense was essentially an advisory body which coordinated the work of all councils. Governor Westmoreland Davis corrected this situation when he abolished all three councils in February 1918 and organized all defense activities under the Second Virginia Council of Defense.
  • The purpose of the Second Virginia Council of Defense remained the same: "to co-ordinate and to unify the work of all government departments and civic, relief and philanthropic organizations to the end of an efficient and successful execution of war demands in the State of Virginia." The Second Council created local councils to carry out policy. The Council was involved in a variety of economic and national defense activities including: highways and transportation, housing, industries, food conservation, agriculture, livestock, labor, health, National Council of Defense, and publicity campaigns. Unlike the first council, the Second Virginia Council of Defense had statutory backing, its' members consisted primarily of state government officials who were already engaged in carrying out war-time activities, and it hired a full-time Executive Secretary to execute Council policy. A complete history of the Second Virginia Council of Defense can be found in Virginia War Agencies, Selective Services and Volunteers (Source Volume 4) (Richmond: 1926, pp. 35-176), edited by Arthur Kyle Davis.
  • Members of the Second Virginia Council of Defense included: Jo Lane Stern, Adjutant General of Virginia and Chairman; Lewis H. Machen, Director of Legislative Reference Bureau and temporary Executive Secretary; Charles Russell Keiley, permanent Executive Secretary; Rosewell Page, Second Auditor of Virginia; Dr. Ennion G. Williams, State Health Commissioner; George P. Coleman, State Highway Commissioner; Harris Hart, Superintendent of Public Instruction; Dr. H.R. McIlwaine, State Librarian; Joseph Bottom, Commissioner of Insurance; Jesse M. Jones, Virginia Polytechnic Institute; Ella M. Agnew, Home Demonstration Agent; George W. Koiner, Commissioner of Agriculture and Immigration; Christopher B. Garnett, Chairman of State Corporation Commission; Dr. J.T. Mastin, State Board of Charities and Corrections; Charles G. Kizer, Commisioner of Labor Statistics; C.H. Morrisette, Director of Legislative Reference Bureau; J.R. Saunders, Virginia Attorney General; A.B. Thornhill, Acting Dairy and Food Commissioner; Colonel F.N. Billisoly, Commissioner of Fisheries; J.G. Ferneyhough, State Veterinarian; J.T. Brown, Chairman of Livestock Sanitary Board; John Hirschberg, Commissioner of Labor Statistics; Thomas H. Nottingham, State Shellfish Commissioner; R.C. Jones, State Forester; S.L. Lupton, State Corporation Commission; and C. Lee Moore, Auditor of Public Accounts. On 5 November 1918, Charles R. Keiley was chosen as the Federal Field Secretary of the Council of National Defense to coordinate its activities with those of the Second Virginia Council of Defense.
  • After the armistice ended the war on 11 November 1918, the Second Virginia Council of Defense gradually ended their work. The Council met for the last time on 8 August 1919. Charles R. Keiley, Executive Secretary, continued in his position until July 1920 gathering historical records of Virginia during the war and assisting the Virginia War History Commission.
Cataloging source
Citation source
  • Davis, Arthur Kyle, ed. VIRGINIA WAR AGENCIES, SELECTIVE SERVICE, AND VOLUNTEERS. Richmond: War History Commission, 1926 (pp. 421-453)
Virginia War History Commission Records of the Second Virginia Council of Defense
  • Part of Recod Group 66 (Virginia War History Commission)
  • Series XIV. Second Virginia Council of Defense, 1917-1921, 1923-1924
  • The Library of Virginia
Cumulative index finding aids
  • Inventory
  • Inventory
Governing access note
There are no access restrictions
Immediate source of acquisition
War History Commission
Organization method
Organized into the following series: A. Source Material. B. Records. C. Financial Records. D. Charles R. Keiley personal correspondence.
Terms governing use
There are no use restrictions.
Type of unit
cu. ft. (39 boxes)



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Library Locations

    • Library of VirginiaBorrow it
      800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, US
      37.5415632 -77.4360805
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