Francis L. Berkeley, Jr.
From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia
Francis Lewis Berkeley, Jr. (1911-2003) was born on April 9, 1911 at Red Hill in Albemarle County. He was the son of Francis Lewis Berkeley and Ethel Crissey Berkeley. Frank had three siblings, Cynthia, Helen, and Edmund. He graduated from Red Hill High School, long gone today.
After graduating from Red Hill High School, he attended the University of Virginia, receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1934. As a student, he served as secretary to the Jefferson Society. Following graduation, he taught in taught in high schools in Gloucester County and Roanoke, while continuing graduate work at the University.
Frank was married June 12, 1937, to Helen Wayland Sutherland at Moorland Baptist Church in Albemarle County. Their marriage spanned fifty-six years, ending with Helen’s death in 1993.
In1938, Frank was appointed the University’s first assistant in manuscripts in the new Division of Rare Books and Manuscripts in Alderman Library. He completed his M.A. in history in 1940, and in 1941, was appointed curator of manuscripts.
Frank served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and was stationed in the Pacific from 1942 to 1946. He remained in the U.S. Naval Reserve after the war, retiring with the rank of captain in 1971.
After returning home to Virginia, Frank worked on a number of research projects with the University libraries. With the aid of a Fulbright fellowship, he undertook a county-by-county recovery of public and private manuscripts, from England and Scotland, pertaining to Virginia between 1580 and 1780. He organized the Virginia Colonial Records Project, sponsored by Virginia’s four research libraries, recording 20 million Virginia documents for the years 1580-1780. Additionally, Frank launched a massive campaign to keep Virginia’s manuscript resources in Virginia, and, consequently, added millions of documents to the University’s collections. Frank was also awarded a Guggenheim fellowship to conduct research on the letter books, diary, and other correspondence related colonial Virginian, Robert “King” Carter (1665-1732).
Frank launched The University Press of Virginia as a statewide press dedicated to serving all of Virginia’s learned institutions. He initiated the two principal publications of the new press: "The Papers of James Madison" and "The Papers of George Washington". Until his death, Frank served on the editorial advisory boards of both of these continuing publications, as well as on the advisory committee for "The Papers of Thomas Jefferson" at Princeton University.
Frank served as secretary to the University’s Board of Visitors, 1953-1958, while continuing his full-time work for the Library. In 1963, President Edgar F. Shannon persuaded Frank to leave the Library to become his executive assistant where he served the University until his retirement in 1974.