John Shaw (1942–2010) was a prolific wildlife photographer and painter strongly associated with Virginia, where he was born and made his home. Quitting his day job as a military satellite tracker in 1982, Shaw, largely self-taught, committed himself to his art, which appeared in countless incarnations—as paintings in private homes, in wildlife magazines and illustrated calendars, on postage stamps and birdseed packages.
The 35mm images in our collection demonstrate a technical sophistication and commitment to realism and detail for which Shaw’s later work was so widely admired. Striking shots of songbirds taking wing, casting shadows on what are apparently artificial backdrops, intermingle with more casual photos of Copper and Butch, the family spaniels, and colorful domestic interiors featuring a reserved older couple, probably Shaw’s parents. Other images include opossum and deer, skunks and flying squirrels, a dozen species of songbird, as many national and state parks, and locales such as California wine country and the covered bridges of Pennsylvania. Of special interest to Virginians may be Shaw’s photos of Monticello, Shenandoah National Park in autumn, and the Blue Ridge Parkway—with images of Mabry Mill and the Puckett Cabin, home of “Aunt” Orelena, the famous midwife. While most of the slides themselves are undated, images of the Seattle World’s Fair place their creation in the early 1960s.
Arrangement and access:
The 1,288 Kodachrome slides are arranged as received, labeled by … more
ca. 1940–1975, bulk 1947–1957
3,888 negatives, photographs
Spanning nearly three decades, this collection includes candid images documenting the growth of an industrial city. In 1912, the DuPont Company selected the Hopewell area as the site of its explosive powder production operations. Completion of the factory coincided with the start of World War I. DuPont built a company town around the factory, providing housing for the workers. As with other industrial planned communities of the early twentieth century, DuPont also provided for the physical, intellectual, and social lives of its workers by building schools, churches, gymnasiums, libraries, clinics and hunt clubs. By the 1930s, several local and national industries recognized Hopewell’s pool of workers and established factories alongside DuPont.
In an effort to preserve individual employee rights in a town largely controlled by industry, Hopewell plant workers joined labor unions such as District 50 of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). The UMWA industrial union was formed in 1890 by the amalgamation of the National Progressive Union (organized 1888) and the mine locals under the Knights of Labor. The UMWA’s stated purpose was to address the lack of continuity of employment, limited access and ownership in company-owned towns, and the extreme occupational hazards that led to regular strikes and constant efforts to improve conditions through collective bargaining. At the time of the construction of Union Hall in 1952, five local chapters were represented within … more
64 albums, approx. 3,500 photographs
On June 15, 1942, the army officially activated the Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation, under the command of the army’s Transportation Corps, with its headquarters in Newport News. By the end of World War II, more than 772,000 men and women had gone to war via the port. Hampton Roads saw even more arrivals than departures: 915,116 people, including U.S. wounded and European POWs. The Transportation Corps maintained a port historian’s office and regularly assigned Signal Corps photographers to document as much port-related activity as possible. In almost all cases, the individuals in the photographs are identified by name and rank.
Our U.S. Army Signal Corps Photograph Collection includes more than 3,500 individual 8 x 10″ black-and-white photographs from the Hampton Roads Embarkation Series, 1942–1946. These photos show, often in intimate and unexpected detail, the preparation and loading of war materials, daily activities of the U.S. Quartermaster Corps, U.S. military personnel arriving and departing through the ports of Hampton Roads, the work of civilian employees, WACs, Japanese-American servicemen, and the Red Cross, group portraits, wounded personnel, entertainers, animals, German and Italian prisoners of war, military funerals and religious observances, training and drills, equipment, vehicles and warships, aerial views of the port, and servicemen going to the barber or dentist, receiving communion, and relaxing in racially segregated dining facilities. The collection is significant for its account of all aspects … more