May 2016 Meeting – Patricia Donohoe

Join us on May 10 when our speaker, Patricia Donohoe, discusses the life and letters of a Civil War newspaperman.

Meeting time: 7:30 p.m., May 10, 2016

Location: Thomas Balch Library, 208 West Market Street, Leesburg, Virginia

Topic: History as Mystery: The Printer’s Kiss: Letters of a Civil War Newspaperman and His Family

Love, honor, and survival were all at stake in this true story about an intrepid newspaper editor and his outspoken wife in the treacherous Ohio River borderlands during the Civil War. Told through letters discovered in an old cracker tin and for sale on eBay, the story of Will and Eliza Wylie Tomlinson reveals what life was like for a passionate couple fighting their own personal battles as well as Confederates around that “abolitionist hellhole,” Ripley, Ohio. While Tomlinson was off serving in the Fifth Ohio and later working as a Union scout, spy, and newspaperman, his wife and children were left to fend for themselves as they dealt with one survival issue after another. Despite the news of the day, they believed that things could change for the better.

In her talk, “History as Mystery,” Pat will share surprises she encountered in the winding, serendipitous journey that resulted in The Printer’s Kiss. Using what she learned about her great-great grandfather, she will discuss how historical artifacts like original letters both reveal and obscure what we know about a person or an event.

Pat Donohoe is the great-great granddaughter of Will and Eliza Wylie Tomlinson, whose story she uncovered in her research for The Printer’s Kiss. The book, which is included in the Civil War in the North series, published by Kent State University Press, first came out in July 2014 and was reprinted in paperback in December of 2015.

Finding the storyline in a body of material has been essential in all of Donohoe’s careers—from teaching English to writing, editing, and working in public relations, and from ordained ministry to becoming a history sleuth.

Her Donohoe ancestors were among the early settlers of Leesburg and include Cornelius and Margaret (Maggie) McDowell Donohoe, who were buried in the Old Stone Methodist Cemetery. Although she has lived in many places over the years, she started school in Richmond and graduated from Cave Spring High School in Roanoke, attending North Carolina State University (NCSU), where she was among its first female students. In addition to a B.A. in English/Education from NCSU, her academic credentials include an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder and an M.Div. from Wesley Theological Seminary. She is a retired minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Pat Donohoe and her husband, David Borchard, live in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.



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