approx. 30,000 8 x 10 inch photographic prints
One of the Library’s most important image collections, the Virginia State Chamber of Commerce Photograph Collection is one of the most organized and comprehensive visual resources for twentieth-century Virginia history and culture. Think of it as the official photo album of the commonwealth of Virginia, documenting activity associated with cotton, peanut, textile, tobacco, and fishing industries; farming and harvesting; government; public and higher education; the arts; recreation and entertainment; and countless local festivals for the fifty years between 1922 and 1972. In its subjects the collection resembles (and is indeed the source for) many of the images in our 1939 World’s Fair Photograph Collection (C1:001), also produced by the Chamber of Commerce. Highlights include, but are by no means limited to, photographic coverage of Queen Elizabeth II’s 1957 visit to Jamestown, the restoration/re-creation of Colonial Williamsburg, historical reenactments, and areal photos. Images are generally of high quality and upbeat in mood and tone—not at all photojournalistic, but nevertheless capturing fascinating details of locale, transportation, décor, and clothing. The item numbers by which the collection is arranged also reflect the images’ chronology.
Arrangement and access:
A significant portion of the collection is available through the Library’s online collections searchable by keyword and date. The photographs are also searchable by subject using the collection’s original card index.
Related resources and collections:
1939 World’s Fair Collection C1: 001