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February 24, 2014 Lecture

   The Historical Society is joining with the Sons of the Confederacy to sponsor author Dan Morrow as a speaker for Monday, February 24th. He will be speaking on his book Murder in Lexington.

  The meeting will be held at the Spare Times Grill Located in the World of Sports Complex, 2030 Bill Tuck Highway, South Boston, Va 24592. Dinner (from the menu) will be at 6 p.m. for those wanting to join us. Otherwise the program will begin at 7 p.m.

  Dan Morrow is a co-founder and principal of the Jamestown Exploration Company, a consultancy specializing in the establishment, funding growth, and positioning of public/private partnerships. He serves as publisher, columnist, reporter, copy-editor, and general factotum at the Middleburg Eccentric, a community newspaper he helped found in 2003, serving the very best parts of Loudoun and Fauquier Counties, in the outermost ring of the Washington, DC, suburbs. He was the first Executive Director of the Computerworld Smithsonian Awards Program and served for nearly twenty years as Executive Director and, later, Chief Historian of its successor, the Computerworld Honors Program. He is Secretary and a member of the Board of Directors of the Windy Hill Foundation in Middleburg, Virginia and The Plains; Vice President and a board member of the Mosby Heritage Area Association for historic preservation. He served on the Loudoun County Public Library Board of Trustees, was a founding member of the Loudoun County Science and Technology Cabinet; a member of the Board of Visitors for the University of North Carolina's #1-ranked School of Information and Library Science, and a founding member of The Knowledge Trust and its "council of elders," the Louis Round Wilson Academy.

  In his studies at The University of Virginia in the mid-1960s, Morrow began an academic career in physics, and, as a result of what he describes as a profound personal overestimation of his mathematical talents (and a compensating affinity for German) completed two degrees in modern European history. His interest in American History and the Civil War date from his arrival in Washington in the 1980s, where he began research on his great grandfather's North Carolina infantry regiment as a Christmas present for his date. The project became an addiction and led directly to his work on Murder in Lexington. At UVA he was an Echols Scholar, a DuPont Regional Scholar, a University Scholar and Fellow, and a member of the Raven Society. After leaving the University of Virginia Dan did post-graduate work under John L. Snell at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and under Karl Otmar Freiherr von Aretin at the German Institute for European History in Mainz.

  Morrow's professional career has spanned executive positions in advertising and publishing at the Village Companies, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Whitney Communications Corporation; and the Washington Post. In addition to his position as Executive Director of the Computerworld Smithsonian Awards, and its successor, the Computerworld Honors Program, he served from 1989 to 1997 as President of Cudaback Strategic Communications.

  Morrow remains an avid student of the history of the Weimar Republic, 19th Century traditions of duty and honor, and the American Civil War. He is currently working on a study of racism and racist organizations in post-World-War-One Germany, the story of two young officers who served together in the 6th North Carolina Infantry, a biography of Colonel Charles Edward Lightfoot, and annotating a related diary and letter collection from the American Civil War. His spouse, delighted that he finally finished Murder in Lexington, keeps asking when he’ll finish another one.

  Murder in Lexington tells the true story of the 1854 death of VMI Cadet First Classman Tom Blackburn (of one of VMI Professor Stonewall Jackson's most notorious students) . . . and the trials of the law student who killed him (Charles Burks Christian of Amherst, later Lt. Col. of the 49th Virginia, one of the Immortal 600, author, lawyer, and world-class drinker. The young woman at the center of the Blackburn/Christian affair was none other than Mary Evelyn Anderson Bruce, later the wife of one of Blackburn's roommates, Sandy Bruce, of Halifax's County's national treasure of a plantation house, Berry Hill. The author is firmly convinced that the tragedy is a classic case study of the notions of family loyalty, courage, honor and justice for the generation of young men that led the Confederate Army in the filed during the American Civil War . . . and that, arguably, everyone who ever lived in the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1854 was related by blood or marriage to one of the principals in the case. (Well . . . maybe not EVERYONE . . . but surprisingly many of them).

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