Norfolk Historical Society 


  • Sunday, February 26, 2017 2:00 PM | Peggy McPhillips (Administrator)

    Dr. Richard Guy Wilson, Commonwealth Professor in Architectural History, The University of Virginia, presents "Creating an Architecture for the Young Republic: The Moses Myers House, The Virginia State Capitol, and Monticello."

    Sunday, February 26, 2017, 2:00 PM / Kaufman Theater, Chrysler Museum of Art / One Memorial Place, Norfolk VA

    Free Admission


  • Saturday, February 06, 2016 2:00 PM | Peggy McPhillips (Administrator)

    Please mark your calendars for this interesting program in the Kaufman Theatre at the Chrysler Museum of Art on Saturday, February 6, at 2:00 PM.

    How did Moses Grandy, an enslaved Great Dismal Swamp waterman, know Moses Myers, a wealthy ship merchant? Eric Sheppard, a Grandy descendant, takes us through his family heritage and how these two maritime families navigated slavery in the South.

    This lecture is free and open to all.  

    For more information: call Michael Berlucchi, 757-664-6217.

  • Thursday, February 04, 2016 4:10 PM | Peggy McPhillips (Administrator)

    Norfolk Historical Society Annual Meeting~24 January 2016

    St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Parish Hall

    The annual meeting of the Norfolk Historical Society was called to order by Mrs. McPhillips at 2:35 PM.  Board members present were:  Joanne Berkley, Anne Brockenbrough, Bill Davis, Caroline Doonan, Steve Forrest, Carter Furr, Jim Gildea, Greta Gustavson, Joyce McKeever, Peggy McPhillips, Bill Miner, and Troy Valos.

    Mrs. McPhillips opened the meeting by thanking everyone for being present and also thanked St. Paul’s for hosting the event.  She then gave a recap of 2015 and also noted some highlights to look forward to in 2016.  Mrs. McPhillips also acknowledged the refreshments committee.

    Secretary’s Report

    Minutes of the 2015 annual meeting were posted on the NHS website.

    Financial Report

    Mr. Gildea stated that 2015 was a good year and that we spent less than we took in!  The budget for 2016 is slightly under $26,000.  He said that we currently have 111 paid memberships with the majority at individual and family levels.  He added that 1/3 of our income is from membership.  The pledge to the Slover Library will be finished in 2018.  The pledge was designated for the local history room and the naming of a conference room in memory of Louis Guy.

    Proposed Amendments to the Articles of Incorporation

    The proposed changes were available for review at the beginning of the meeting.   Mr. Furr moved that the amendments to the Articles of Incorporation be adopted.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Davis; the motion carried.

    Nominating Committee

    The Nominating Committee submitted a slate of officers for 2016 and new and returning board members.  A motion to accept the report as submitted was made by Mrs. Berkley and seconded by Mr. Davis.  The motion carried. 

    Update on St. Paul’s “Dig”

    Mr. Warren Chauncey said that the work to find the foundation of the 1691/1699 church began three years ago.  Archaeologists have found material from three different centuries.  Mr. Chauncey told many interesting stories that have resulted from the dig.  Mrs. McPhillips presented Mr. Chauncey with a check from NHS to help defray expenses as work continues.


    Mrs. McPhillips introduced Mrs. Shirley Sellers as the featured speaker.  Mrs. Sellers told the audience that she always was interested in family history and the stories about them, especially those about her great-grandmother.  Mrs. Sellers was taking a writing class and started writing about her great-grandmother and it was then she was encouraged to write a book.  She incorporated many of the stories in the recently published novel, Just Across the Sound.  At the end of the speech, Mrs. McPhillips presented Mrs. Sellers with an honorarium and invited everyone to enjoy the refreshments.

    The meeting was adjourned at 3:50 PM.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Greta Gustavson, Secretary


  • Wednesday, December 23, 2015 12:20 PM | Peggy McPhillips (Administrator)

    On behalf of the board of Norfolk Historical Society, I thank you for your interest in and support of the society in 2015. It was a busy year and I would like to share some highlights with you.

    The Louis L. Guy History Series completed its ninth year of monthly programs. In 2015, we recognized the 200th anniversary of the ratification of the Treaty of Ghent; the 100th anniversary of the First World War; and the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Lincoln. 2015 was also the 50th anniversary of NHS! On a lighter note, “Strip Tease Girls,” the history of Norfolk’s Gaiety Theatre, drew an enthusiastic crowd in November; and a record-breaking audience turned out for war correspondent Joe Galloway’s Covering America’s Wars: from Vietnam to Iraq in December. More than 20 Vietnam veterans in the audience received medals from the United States government, and a standing ovation. We are grateful to the MacArthur Memorial for hosting the series; and to Norfolk’s Channel 48 for broadcasting the programs on the city’s cable channel 48 and Norfolk’s YouTube station. Programs are also streamed on our web site (

    Historic Fort Norfolk was open to visitors on Sunday afternoons June through September, with guided tours by costumed docents, and saw a steady stream of visitors. War of 1812 and Civil War (both Union and Confederate) re-enactors were especially popular. The Fort will be open on Sunday afternoons in 2016, beginning on June 11. Come for a visit and take a trip back in time!

    The Bicentennial of the Ratification of the Treaty of Ghent was celebrated in grand style, with events that included a rose planting at the Chrysler Museum; programs on Second Wednesday, a dress ball with dance demonstrations by the Regency Society of Virginia; and a friendly “battle” between our own Ghent breweries, SmartMouth and O’Connors’s, who settled their rivalry by co-creating a special beer for the occasion. Special thanks to NHS board member Chris Melhuish for coordinating the events, and to our partners, including the Belgian Consulate, Woman’s Club of Norfolk, Regency Society of Virginia, and Hampton Roads Naval Museum.

    Why join NHS?Your membership helps support important initiatives in the Norfolk community, especially in the areas of education, preservation, and advocacy. In 2015, you helped to fund: 

    ·         Speakers for the Louis L. Guy Monthly History Series, free and open to the public;

    ·         Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church’s archaeological dig in search of the church’s 1699 foundation;

    ·         Two ACCESS College Foundation scholarships for college-bound Norfolk high school seniors who plan to pursue a degree in a history-related field;

    ·         Pledges to the Slover Library endowment, in support of the Sargeant Memorial Collection of local history and in memory of Louis Guy;

    ·         Chrysler Museum of Art Capital Campaign, designated for the Moses Myers and Willoughby-Baylor historic houses (completed);

    ·         Sponsorship of MacArthur Memorial’s World War I film series;

    ·         Sponsorship of Norfolk Public Library Foundation’s annual Norfolk Historical Calendar. Proceeds from the 2016 calendar will help fund a new library bookmobile;

    ·         Advocacy in support of a Fort Monroe National Park;

    ·         Support of historic Fort Norfolk.

    If you have already joined or renewed by mail or online for 2016, thank you! If you have not, you may do so on our web site ( using PayPal (either with a credit card or with an active PayPal account) or by sending your check, made payable to Norfolk Historical Society,  to P.O. Box 6367, Norfolk, VA 23508. Feel free to include a donation for a specific NHS initiative, telling us how you would like it earmarked. If you are still considering giving us a try, I encourage you to step up and help “Strengthen Norfolk’s Future by Preserving her Past” by being a part of NHS.


    Peggy McPhillips

    Peggy McPhillips, President, Norfolk Historical Society




  • Wednesday, January 14, 2015 9:49 AM | Anonymous

    We're glad that you've taken the time to visit the new NHS website and we want to make certain that you get everything out of it that you can!  If you're a member, you should have received an e-mail from the NHS with information on how to access the "Members Only" section of this website.  If you haven't, it is most likely because we don't have your e-mail  address on file.  E-mail us at and provide us with your current e-mail address and we can send you information so that you can explore the site even further!

    Not a member? We'd love to have you join so that you, too, can explore the other parts of the website!  Visit our membership page to learn more about becoming a part of the Norfolk Historical Society! 

  • Friday, November 21, 2014 1:23 PM | Anonymous

    You may have noticed that the NHS website looks a little different from before.   We hope that this new site will allow the Norfolk Historical Society to better inform and interact with the public regarding our activities and purpose.  Through this new site, you can view and register for upcoming events, review past events, and discover other organizations and resources which are relevant to Norfolk history.  You can also join or renew your membership or donate to the Norfolk Historical Society at your convenience! 

    Members will be able to explore exclusive content on this page as well as post to forums where you can discuss various topics regarding Norfolk's past.  If you are a member of the Society, you will be able to access membership directories and modify your profile to keep your information up to date.

    We're still in the process of tweaking and adding to the site.  As you familiarize yourself with the site, we invite your comments so that we might improve it!  Post below or e-mail us.

Address: P.O. Box 6367, Norfolk, VA  23508-0367

Phone: (757) 640-1720


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