Skip to main content

Lytle Family Papers

Identifier: Mss. Coll. Lytle

Scope and Contents

The Lytle Family Papers are comprised of a number of materials that chronicle Virginius Cornick Hall Jr.'s interests in Ohio and Virginia local history, his and his wife's family histories, and various eccentric people and items. Hall's own personal affects, correspodence and research notes for his various published works and projects are also included within this collection. The Lytle Family Papers contain the combined research efforts of Hall, his mother Josephine Lytle Livingood and his grandfather Charles J. Livingood into their family history over several centuries. Items in the collection include:

1. diaries of deceased family members 2. letters and correspondence of Hall and other family members 3. newspaper clippings and website printouts related to the Lytle family 4. manuscripts of Hall's published works at various editing stages 5. family photographs and scrapbooks 6. original literary and musical compositions by Lytle family members 7. various geneaological records and family timelines 8. Hall's records of his own life and accomplishments

Other special interests detailed by this collection include:

1. English and European history 2. The Virginia Views Project 3. The Cincinnati Views Project 4. The Fruits and Nuts Project 5. Hall's Iteration of the "Curiosity Cabinet" 6. Nineteenth Century Cincinnati Businesses and Architecture 7. Virginian Art and Prints 8. Cincinnati Art and Prints 9. Personal Affects of Hall's Wife, Maria Jackson Hall 10. Personal Affects of Hall's Mother, Josephine Lytle Livingood 11. Groton School (Groton, MA) Memorabilia 12. Murray Bay and Quebec Local History 13. Cap. William Lytle Biography and Correspondence 14. Gen. William Haines Lytle Biography

Hall's extensive familial research in this collection covers the histories of the Lytle (namesake of Lytle Park in Cincinnati), Livingood, Foster, Ragsdale, McGuire, Jackson, Moodey, Cornick and Hall families. Several handwritten letters and artifacts from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that were created by earlier family members are included in this collection, and stored in binders and folders by Hall. Also included are several manuscript drafts of the published biography that Hall wrote about his ancestor, Cap. William Lytle.

Many materials in this collection relate to Hall's research into Cincinnati and Virginian architecture for both the Cincinnati Views and Virginia Views projects. These materials explain how certain buildings connect to local history. An index of notes and corresponding pictures provide notable historical context for several buildings that still exist today, and even document some structures which may have since been torn down.

Other materials are specific to Hall's personal life, including photographs of him and his family, transcripts of the talks he gave at various venues, essays he composed as a student or for national journals, memorabilia from his tenures at the Groton School, Princeton University and the University of Michigan, and an assortment of ephemera. Hall also took an interest in the history of Murray Bay and Quebec due to having cousins who resided there, and his wife's interest in the French language and culture. His research notes and mementos from his travels there are included in the collection.

And finally, the collection also contains Hall's notes for his "Fruits and Nuts" project, in which he created mini biographies about people he came across whom he found eccentric or odd in some way. These records provide insight into the social norms and customs of the nineteenth to twenty-first centuries that Hall was subject to.


  • 1497-2022

Restrictions on Access

This non-circulating collection is open under the rules and regulations of the Walter Havighurst Special Collections, Miami University Libraries.

Restrictions on Use

Reproduction of materials in the collection is subject to the restrictions of copyright law. To use materials not yet in the public domain, the researcher must obtain permission from the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Virginius Cornick Hall Jr. (1932-2022) was born to Virginius Cornick Hall Sr. (1894-1957) and Josephine Lytle Livingood (1900-1991). Through his mother, Hall was a descendant of Cap. William Lytle (1728-1797), an early settler of Cincinnati for whom Lytle Park in Cincinnati is named, and Gen. William Haines Lytle (1826-1863), a poet and Civil war general. Hall was also the grandson of Charles J. Livingood (1866-1952), a famed Cincinnati philanthropist who helped found the first art collection of the Cincinnati Art Museum and the nearby town of Mariemont.

Charles J. Livingood was a lifelong influence on Hall's work - after his death, Livingood passed on his research on his family history to Hall for him to build upon; but Livingood also bequeathed to Hall a collection of ephemera that was affectionately titled his "Curiosity Cabinet." Hall grew up fascinated by his grandfather's assortment of items that were interesting to him, but seemingly had no monetary value as a collection. The crown jewel of Livingood's original "Curiosity Cabinet" was what he claimed to be a piece of President George Washington's original coffin. After inheriting the "Curiosity Cabinet," Hall went on to include items of his own in the collection, in the hopes that he would similarly inspire his grandchildren to create collections of everyday items of their own. By the end of this life, he had added a plethora of objects to the "Curiosity Cabinet" such as can openers, mouse traps, whack packs and more. His wife Maria Hall also added groups of items, including fruit wrappers and shopping bags. Some of these unique assortments of items are contained within this collection.

At age 13, Hall moved to Groton, Massachusetts to attend an elite boarding school known as the Groton School, where he excelled academically and eventually became the editor of The Grotonian, the school's literary journal. After graduating from the Groton School in 1950, Hall earned an undergraduate degree in 1954 at Princeton University. There he had the opportunity to work with famous print collector Elmer Adler and curate print exhibitions under his guidance. He served in the US Army during the 1950s and later enrolled in the University of Michigan to earn a graduate degree in library science. Hall was very close with his mother Josephine, and exchanged weekly letters with her throughout the course of his educational career, several of which are included in this collection.

Hall spent much of his life in Richmond, Virginia, and he worked with the Virginia Historical Society for thirty four years in several administrative and research positions (from Rare Book Curator to Acting Director). He researched state deaths and the history of prints in the state, before this work culminated in a published catalog of the Virginia Historical Society's portraits with written descriptions titled "Portraits in the Collection of the Virginia Historical Society." Hall's interest in visuals continued into his Virginia Views and Cincinnati Views projects (the second of which started after he moved back to Cincinnati), in which he drew connections between city prints and images and historical events in order to give them greater context and meaning. He believed that these places are beautiful and their beauty is enhanced when its scenery is connected to local history.

Another project of Hall's was an evolution of the "Curiosity Cabinet," and fueled by the frequent travels around the world that he made with his wife Maria. This was the "Fruits and Nuts" project, in which Hall created biographies and notes about people in the world that he found interesting or strange for any reason. In an oral interview Hall described himself as a "flaneur" who enjoyed people watching in the streets while he was traveling, which allowed him to observe people and their perceived eccentricities. This collection contains detailed, alphabetized records of those chosen for the "Fruits and Nuts" projects.

Hall was a proud third generation member of the Cincinnati Literary Club, and he gave several talks and wrote many published articles for the organization throughout his lifetime. He was also a published author of an array of other books about his own family history, general history, and his various collections.

Hall married Maria Jackson Hall (1930-1994) in 1962, to whom he remained married for thirty two years until her death in Cincinnati. Maria was a French scholar who served as a Fulbright student in France as a young adult, which motivated family trips to France and Murray Bay, Quebec. Together they had two daughters: Maria Allison Hall Rooney and Susannah Hall Appleton, and were grandparents to four grandchildren (Lucy, Annabel, Nathan, Sayre).


55 Boxes

Language of Materials




This collection contains materials highlighting the life, collections, research and literary works of Virginius Cornick Hall Jr., descendant of Cap. William Lytle and Gen. William Haines Lytle and prominent Cincinnati and Virginia historian.


Series I: Virginius Hall

Subseries A: Correspondence Subseries B: General Research Subseries C: Manuscripts Subseries D: Artwork Subseries E: Legal Documents Subseries F: Personal Affects Subseries G: Groton Memorabilia Series II: Maria Jackson Hall

Series III: Josephine Lytle Livingood

Series IV: Local History

Subseries A: Cincinnati Views Subseries B: Cincinnati Subseries C: Murray Bay Subseries D: Virginia Views Subseries E: Ohio Subseries F: Virginia Series V: Family History

Subseries A: Lytle/Livingood Family Subseries B: Jackson Family Subseries C: Manuscripts Subseries D: Miscellaneaous Subseries E: Foster Family Series VI: Fruits and Nuts

Series VII: Oversize Items

Subseries A: Monograph Prints


Content Warning: Some materials that are part of the Lytle Family Papers collection may be considered offensive, harmful, or contain sensitive content. The Miami University Libraries strives to provide context for such items through descriptive records, and where considered necessary, attach a statement to the item that provides warning about potentially sensitive content. To that end, please note: The Lytle Family Papers collection contains a very small number of materials referring to or depicting Adolf Hitler, based on the Lytle family's experiences during World War II.

Lytle Family Papers
Finding aid prepared by Callie Martindale (2023).
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Walter Havighurst Special Collections Finding Aids Repository