Through Virginia, 1935: A Scrapbook of a Trip Through Virginia, Washington DC and Pennsylvania

C1: 097
1935
1 album, 12 x 17 inches, 40 pages, 130 photographs, mixed ephemera

C1:097  Through Virginia, 1935: A Scrapbook of a Trip Through Virginia, Washington DC and Pennsylvania.
“Through Virginia, 1935” was assembled, we speculate, by one of a group of three female auto tourists to commemorate their journey in the autumn of 1935.  The album is a virtual collage of ephemera from the period, intermingling personal photographs with postcards and brochures from various chambers of commerce promoting all manner of historic, industrial, recreational, and natural attractions.   The album not only brings together diverse ephemera from a particular historic moment in modern Virginia, it reveals the tourist’s desire to capture the experience of the road trip itself. The Virginia leg of this trip, including Richmond, Charlottesville, Virginia Beach, Hampton Roads, Fredericksburg, and Alexandria, occupies the bulk of the album, and includes original photos—extreme close-ups—of cotton and peanuts (southern novelties to a northern tourist) and the “old slave block” in Fredericksburg. A brochure proudly advertises Shenandoah Caverns as the only caves in the state with elevator service. In one instance, there are no fewer than six different brochures for Natural Bridge on a single page.  There are also many photos from the D.C. area, including Washington’s tomb, the Lincoln Memorial, the Franciscan Monastery, “bird’s eye” shots from the top of the Washington Monument, and more “vacationy” pictures of the women goofing off on the plinths of the Capitol in a manner that would now be inconceivable.
C1:097  Through Virginia, 1935: A Scrapbook of a Trip Through Virginia, Washington DC and Pennsylvania. C1:097  Through Virginia, 1935: A Scrapbook of a Trip Through Virginia, Washington DC and Pennsylvania.

While the identities of the women (Lizzie, Elsa, and “Ma”) who took the trip remain a mystery, the Library’s research and in-person interviews have established the identities of the children whose candid photos are included in the album. Of the three children pictured, only one, James Massie (in the dark-colored sweater), is living, predeceased by his sister Jacqueline Miller Massie and brother Wayde Hampton III. Massie, age five in 1935, continues to reside in Rappahannock County, about two miles from where the pictures were taken, and fondly remembers the days when his mother, Ada Mae Massie, opened her home, Hampden Hall (hitherto a thriving 150-acre apple farm) as a kind of hotel or bed-and-breakfast for wealthy Northern auto tourists, among whom were the creators of the “Through Virginia” scrapbook. Massie recalls the tourists who stayed at Hampden Hall as friendly, affluent, and frequent, almost always phoning for reservations and as often as not returning for multiple visits, enticed by one dollar fried chicken and country ham dinners. The scrapbook includes photos of the house’s distinctive and somewhat incongruous neoclassical design, candid shots of Ada Mae Massie and guests, the servants Louise Jackson and Charlotte Tobin stiffly posed on the front steps, and the Massie children heaped together on a single tricycle.

Arrangement and access:
All items, including original photos, travel brochures, postcards, and promotional materials, are pasted or otherwise fastened into a 26-page prefabricated album. Almost all brochures have been fastened to allow for foldout and examination. Though not an official part of the collection, contemporary photos of Hampden Hall and James Massie are kept in the collection’s corresponding file and can be made available to researchers.

Provenance:
Unknown

Related resources and collections:
Untitled article about Hampden Hall in Fine Homebuilding (January 1995, No. 92)

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