Friday, March 9, 2018

What is "The Daybook" and Where Did its Name Come From?

By Joseph Miechle
Hampton Roads Naval Museum Educator

The oldest and newest issues of the Hampton Roads Naval Museum publication The Daybook, the former being a rare copy in the museum's archive and the latter (Volume 20, Issue 4) having been shipped to its subscribers this week, are seen here side-by-side. 
Did you know that the Hampton Roads Naval Museum has its own print publication? The Daybook has been a regular quarterly of the museum since its inaugural issue was released in November 1994. Our first issue was a simple seven page affair; it provided some information about our newly-acquired collection of CSS Florida artifacts, an upcoming calendar of events, and some various news snippets for our active volunteer corps. The name has been borrowed from a mid-19th century Norfolk daily paper also called The Day Book.

 Front page of The Day Book. The paper was generally a single broadsheet page with printing on the front and back.
The original namesake of our publication was published from 1857 to 1867 by John R. Hathaway, roughly where Norfolk's World Trade Center, across Waterside Drive from our museum, is located today. The paper contained various local advertisements, news, upcoming events, railroad schedules, as well as naval and maritime shipping information. By 1860, Mr. Hathaway was advertising his paper as having, “Circulation in Norfolk, Portsmouth, and all surrounding country greater than all the papers of both cities combined.”

Dogs seem to have been a problem in Norfolk even before General Butler ordered that “every third dog be shot” during the Union occupation of the city during the Civil War. This article dates from 1860.

The CSS Virginia was still causing a commotion in Norfolk well after it sank in 1862. This news story is from June 11, 1867.

Our Daybook has certainly grown as well. The most recent volume, our twentieth, boasted 25 full-color pages apiece with articles written by local museum professionals, scholars and historians such as Diane L. Cripps, Curator of History for Portsmouth Museums; historian, author, and director of the Douglas MacArthur Memorial Chris Kolakowski; Coast Guard Atlantic Area Historian Dr. William H. Thiesen; as well as former Navy officer and adjunct professor of history Christopher Pieczynski. The publication itself has a large circulation among the Norfolk naval community and is available for reading at several local libraries. The Daybook also recently received an International Standard Serial Number, or ISSN, for publications.
The last issue of The Daybook (Volume 20, Issue 3) featured work from the Navy Art Collection not often seen by the public. 

The Daybook is not for sale but you can obtain your own copy by stopping by the Hampton Roads Naval Museum and picking one up. Alternatively, all members of the Hampton Roads Naval Historical Foundation have copies mailed to their homes. You can join by contacting the foundation. A digital reading library of some older editions of The Daybook can be found online at the museum’s website.  Bound volumes of The Daybook, from oldest to newest, can be viewed at Norfolk’s Slover Library in the Sargeant Memorial Collection by request.

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