Category Archives: Richmond History
By Kyle Rogers, VNP intern
The Virginia Newspaper Project is happy to announce its collaboration with St. Catherine’s School in Richmond to film and digitize three of the historic school’s newspapers—The Scrap Basket, Odds ‘n’ Ends, and Arcadian—now available online on Virginia Chronicle. Founded in 1890 and owned and operated by the Episcopal Church Schools Corporation, St. Catherine’s is the oldest private, all-girls school in the City of Richmond. It serves girls age three through grade twelve, and its three independently published newspapers collectively span over ninety years of the institution’s history. Readers can follow the hyperlinks embedded in the following paragraphs to go directly to available issues of each of St. Catherine’s newspapers on Virginia Chronicle.
Twenty-one issues of St. Catherine’s oldest paper, The Scrap Basket (pub. 1927-40), that cover the years 1930–1940 are available for reading on Virginia Chronicle. The Scrap Basket is a utilitarian but endearingly whimsical publication that kept St. Catherine’s students apprised of the latest events and developments at the school. On the front page of the 1 November 1930 issue, for example, the editors noted recent architectural changes around St. Catherine’s, reminded students of the strict criteria for celebration in the school’s Hall of Fame, and praised the theater department’s much-celebrated performance of “Alice-Sit-By-The-Fire.” With separate sections for the Lower School, Middle School, and the athletics department, The Scrap Basket offered interesting reading for students of all ages, grade levels, and affiliations. Editorial columns written by the paper’s editors (Upper School students) helped inculcate St. Catherine’s hidden curriculum in younger readers:
Do you ever wonder why you go to boarding-school … Have you ever realized just what you are doing here? “Learning lessons,” … read more »
In August of 1976, gay and lesbian members of Norfolk’s Unitarian Universalist church formed a branch of the Unitarian Universalist Gay Caucus (UUGC), and quickly decided that they needed a newsletter: Our Own Community Press was born.
The first issue of Our Own Community Press asserted that “Not Just Another Gay Group is Born,” followed by an explanation of the guiding philosophy of the Tidewater UUGC:
We devote ourselves to the improvement of gay life through increased positive visibility. …We are not outwardly visible unless we allow ourselves to be… The gays who are confused, lack self-confidence, or question their unique lifestyle are gays who must be reached. They must be helped to realize whatever decisions they make for themselves cannot be labelled “good” or “bad” by virtue of a simple sexual preference. Gay is good when we first accept it for ourselves, and better when we educate the public with regard to our pride, productivity, and heritage.
Originally a newsletter, Its first issue was a single, one sided 8.5″ x 11″ sheet. Our Own Community Press changed to newspaper format in January of 1978. The paper was typed, edited, and assembled over a one week period every month by volunteers and staff. It was available for free, though readers could subscribe for a suggested donation. The paper also sold ad space to defray costs, and encouraged readers to “spend your gay money at gay businesses.”
In their coverage, the UUGC stayed true to their promise to provide visibility and hope to gay men and women in the region. In a time where positive gay representation in media was sorely lacking, Our Own Community Press took care to inform readers of new books, movies, or … read more »
By Claire Johnson, Newspaper Project Intern
Merry Christmas from the VNP!
The holiday season has long meant family gatherings and a a full social schedule. Women of early twentieth century Richmond who wanted to make sure their parties, menus, and wardrobes were current and stylish had to look no further than the women’s pages of their newspaper. There they could find decorating tips, menu suggestions, fashion advice, and etiquette help to make sure their holiday parties went off without a hitch.
In celebration of this holiday season, join us on a visual tour of the fads of Christmas past.
From The Times, December 1901
From The Dispatch, December 1901
From The Dispatch, January 1902
Richmond Times-Dispatch December 14, 1919
In our collection we have an unusual one-off edition of The Progressive Richmonder from June, 1950 that was circulated to promote support for the construction of a downtown expressway. The paper was produced by a group identified as the Forward Richmond Highway Committee.
The object of the paper was to convince readers to support a referendum to be held at a Special Election on Tuesday June 13, 1950. The referendum did not propose a specific route for an expressway but was used as a gauge of the public’s support for the idea. The project’s total estimated cost was $29 million. Richmond’s contribution would be about $8 million dollars, with the Commonwealth contributing another $8 million and the Federal Government contributing $13 million.
The reasons given to support the expressway included that it would relieve existing traffic congestion, increase safety, faster travel for Richmonders, economic development (though the phrase did not yet exist, a proponent explained, “Everyone, motorists and all, stands to benefit financially in the long-range expressway planning.”), and scenery, “Landscaping that accompanies the construction of expressways and the building of parkways will add to the city’s beauty.”
Another argument used was that other cities had expressways in their downtown areas. An article cited examples in Detroit, Michigan, Sacramento, California, Houston and Dallas, Texas, and Hartford, Connecticut. It also stated a number of other localities were presently in the process of building expressways, the cities included Boston, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles.
Alternative solutions and complaints by the opposition are briefly mentioned and dismissed. “We are told that the expressway would be an unsightly ditch. But the engineers say that it will be a handsome roadway, mostly at natural ground level, but if below ground … read more »