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William & Mary Libraries has recently digitized a collection of 30 almanacs that are known as much for their content as what was written in their margins.
The St. George Tucker almanacs are especially notable for the hand-written musings of George Tucker, a prominent 18th century lawyer, judge and William & Mary law professor.
According to a news release from the college, the notes run from 1769-1807 and range from short diary entries of events to full examinations of day-to-day life. The entries discuss garden planting plans, business transactions, births and deaths in the Tucker family.
“The notes are very interesting,” Susan Riggs, the Francis Lightfoot Robb Special Collections Librarian, said in the release. One of her favorite discoveries was an entry describing gardens at the Tucker House, which still stands in Colonial Williamsburg.
“Tucker planted rows of fruit trees and, because of these notes, we now know the types of trees he planted and their locations on the grounds,” Riggs said. “Since there is an interest in restoring gardens at the various historical sites in Virginia, these almanacs should prove invaluable to horticulture historians.”
According to the release, the almanacs are part of the Tucker-Coleman Papers, an extensive collection of the Tucker and Coleman families of Williamsburg, Winchester, Lexington, Staunton and Richmond from 1664 to 1945. They are housed in William & Mary’s Special Collections Research Center in Swem Library.
“We are very pleased to take this first step in digitizing the entire Tucker-Coleman Collection,” Jay Gaidmore, director of the Special Collections Research Center, said in the release. “One of our priorities is making collections more open to our users, and that is especially true for our unique collections like the papers of St. George Tucker and his descendants.”