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March 21, 2007

Anniversaries help us take stock of the significant events occurring around us

Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas, celebrated its 200th, 215th, 250th, 300th and 350th anniversaries—just as this year it will its 400th. The spring edition of Colonial Williamsburg, the journal of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, takes a look at why we commemorate such events.

In his article, “Anniversaries and the Origin of History,” Michael Olmert, an English professor at the University of Maryland, writes “For humanity, the cognitive feat of noticing the existence of time and then inventing a calendar to understand and control it was huge. But when those calendars began to be dotted with anniversaries and heroes and stirring events, something else had its start. History.”

In his “Message from the President,” Colonial Williamsburg President Colin Campbell outlines the significance of the 400th Anniversary. “We look at Jamestown 2007, America’s 400th Anniversary, as an opportunity to remind all Americans of our cultural and national roots, an opportunity to gain new insights into the evolving American experience, and an opportunity to reflect upon our responsibility to sustain for future generations what we have inherited.”

The spring 2007 issue of the journal of Colonial Williamsburg now is available online on our Web site. The latest “Message from the President” is at, featuring a slideshow of the jewelry box Queen Elizabeth II presented to the foundation during her 1957 visit.

Elsewhere in the issue can be found:

  • “In Search of Lost Forts”— Journal contributor Ivor Noël Hume explores the mystery of the death of Elizabeth Abbott by the hand of her master, planter John Proctor;
  • “Voting in Early America”—Journal contributor Ed Crews discusses the importance of voting to the Virginia colonists; and
  • “Presidential Portraits”—Ellen Miles, curator and chair of the department of painting and sculpture at the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution, examines American portrait painter Gilbert Stuart.

    These articles and articles from previous issues are found online at Colonial Williamsburg can be purchased at Everything Williamsburg™ and Williamsburg Booksellers® at the Foundation’s Visitor Center. Complimentary copies of the printed magazine can be obtained and subscriptions ordered at

    Colonial Williamsburg, the journal of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, is published six times a year by The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. The journal is a benefit to donors who contribute $35 a year or more and $8 is reserved for the subscription.

    Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture — stories of our journey to become Americans. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. Williamsburg is 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information or reservations, call toll-free 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg on the Internet at

    Media Contact:
    Penna Rogers
    (757) 220-7121

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