1 album, 7.5 x 9 inches; 360 cards
With the invention of wrapping machines in the 19th century, pieces of plain card were used as protective stiffeners to protect the contents of paper packages. By the late 1870s in the United States, Allen & Ginter were embellishing these inserts with advertisements and illustrations. This quickly became an efficient and creative means of cultivating brand loyalty, and the practice spread rapidly to Great Britain and other foreign manufacturers. By the 1890s, many of the larger British tobacco companies were issuing cards, and they soon progressed to series on particular themes: actresses, soldiers, ships, kings and queens, etc.
The outbreak of war in 1914 inspired many patriotic card issues. Multiple influences were at work: the spontaneous expression of national pride; a desire to help the war effort; an insatiable public craving for news, particularly good news and information; a wish to glorify the heroism of British forces; and a determination to demonstrate the supporting role of civilians on the home front. Three of the seven sets in the British Cigarette Card Collection represent this time period: Army Life (October 1910), Regimental Uniforms (July 1912 and July 1914), and Military Motors (October 1916).
The popularity of cigarette cards grew during the 1920s and 1930s. Many of the sets issued during this time were reissues of earlier series with a timeless appeal. Drum Banners & … more
Mixed materials—including vintage prints, color snapshots, oil studies, finished drawings, process drawings, ink-jet printouts, flyers, and posters—ranging in size from 2 x 3 to 26 x 36 inches
Richmond-based painter J. Bohannan was born in New York City in 1950 and moved with his family at age two to Hilton Village, Newport News, and later, as a teenager, to Hopewell. After studying art at the Richmond Professional Institute (now Virginia Commonwealth University) in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Bohannan worked as a salesman in his father’s art supply store, selling his own original artwork on the side. By his own admission, his paintings of the time were derivative of the European high art and contemporary abstraction he had studied at RPI. Then one day he picked up a copy of Matthew Baigell’s The American Scene: American Painting of the 1930s (1974) from a discount book bin. Until then, Bohannan says, he had never really seen, much less studied, modern American painting, despite four years of formal art education.
Working alongside street artists in Verona and Munich, copying famous Caravaggios and Bouchers in pastel on public sidewalks, Bohannan developed a passion for “plastic realism,” embedding human forms in visual space in a way that is, as Bohannan puts it, “more there than right”—that is, more materially present than technically correct. After his return to Virginia from Europe, Bohannan began developing … more
178 photographs, 158 film negatives, 13 etchings
Courthouses were essential in establishing a sense of permanence and rule in early Virginia communities, being not only centers of legal and civic activity but venues for business and barter, playing host likewise to a spectrum of community-building social activities such as picnics and games. In the winter of 1940–1941, the Virginia-based Hirst Dillon Milhollen (1906–1970), an etcher by trade and chairman of the exhibits committee for the Washington Society of Etchers, photographed courthouses throughout the commonwealth, the only criterion for inclusion being that the courthouse had to predate 1871 in its construction. The following year, Milhollen privately printed Old Virginia Court Houses, a 100-edition loose-leaf portfolio whose etchings drew upon Milhollen’s own gathering of original photos.
Arrangement and access:
Alphabetical by county.
Etchings purchased 1973, photos and negatives purchased 1992
Hirst D. Milhollen, Old Virginia Court Houses (1942)—original limited edition portfolio held in LVA Special Collections
Related resources and collections:
Carl Lounsbury, The Courthouses of Early Virginia: An Architectural History (2005)… more
12 lithographic cards, 2 x 3 inches
The mild pastels of these lithographic novelty cards belie their content, which is uncharacteristically downbeat for Southern wartime images. They feature Dixie caricatures populating scenes of defeat and despair, such as a man in gray—who appears to be lonesome, cold, and hungry—reminiscing about the “good times” of 1861. Most of these “life scenes” are not historically specific. “A Flank Movement” visually puns military action, showing a hungry soldier armed with a stiletto stalking an oblivious pig. “Heroes Still,” apparently a post-War scene, or one anticipating the fruits of pursuing a lost cause, shows humbled white Southerners tilling their own fields. Other scenes include “In a Bad Place,” “First Winter,” “Homesick,” “In the Trenches,” “The Vidette,” “The Camp Darkey,” “Following Stonewall,” and a sea battle captioned “No. 290.” The cards were originally held together into a dainty, homemade fascicle, fashioned from sackcloth, which includes the handwritten title of the collection along with an almost indecipherable name written in pencil: “Hope Stewart.”
Six of the images were reproduced in Cavalcade (winter, 1951).… more
Failed insurance salesman Dugald Stewart Walker (1883–1937), a native Richmonder and self-styled eccentric very much in artistic and cultural sympathy with the British aesthetes of a generation before, studied drawing at the University of Virginia and the New York School of Art, and was by the late 1920s internationally renowned as both a fine artist and popular illustrator of children’s books. While his gallery work was praised in the museums of London, Paris, and Rome, Walker’s elegant grotesqueries fared poorly back home in Depression-era Richmond—though he was keenly sought after as a bookplate designer by the Richmond and New York elite.
With striking black-and-white prints reminiscent of the work of Aubrey Beardsley but distinctly his own, Walker created a whimsical, slightly sinister, and technically precise “Once Upon a Time” world of pleasure gardens, peacocks, satyrs, clowns, archers, and mounted knights. Often in his bookplates the highly personalized iconography of client preference is brought to bear on quaint themes and high modernist design. In the plate for the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, for example, delicately rendered chemistry beakers positioned above a “window” become, in their self-mirroring symmetry, a kind of ornamental pediment. In another plate, otherwise naturalistic boxers, poised for battle, become pilaster-like ornaments on either side of a monumental baroque doorway through which lovers can be glimpsed embracing in a glade. Perhaps the strangest item in this collection … more
74 chromolithographs in original bound volume, 6.5 x 10 inches
With the extraordinary popularity of cigars in late-nineteenth century America, and the consequent birth of the cigar-box-label salesman, came colorful catalogs and sample books, of which ours is an intact example, “showcasing” the variety of label designs available to cigar manufacturers and merchants. By the early 1880s most label production had shifted from small towns to large specialty printing firms on the east coast, among these the Manhattan-based O. L. Schwencke, begun in 1884 and absorbed by Moehle Lithographic Co. in 1900. Done in luxurious chromolithography, the embossed labels in our Schwencke sample book contrast scenes of leisure, privilege, and high sophistication, such as operagoing and pleasure-boating, with a dizzying array of images to appeal to all manner of disposition and fantasy: sentimental courtships and family tableaux, patriotic allegories, scenes of foreign travel, sportsmanship, war, adventure, and industry, elaborate and indecipherable insignia, exotic animals and cherubs, caricatures of Arabs and Native Americans, mildly sexualized women, and American playboys and tycoons. These scenes usually appear under very broad legends such as “Leader,” “Beauty,” and “Peerless,” with more specific-sounding legends such as “Santiago,” “La Rosa Especial,” and “La Amenidad” posing as exotic brand names but in fact easily mapped over whatever generic cigar the merchant or manufacturer might have had on hand or been eager to push on customers. One label, “Life Saver,” … more
1 volume, 10 pages
The collectible cigarette card, as a cultural phenomenon, originated in Richmond in 1875, created as a marketing tool by the Richmond-based tobacco manufacturer Allen & Ginter. Cigarette cards were among the first items of ephemera produced specifically for collecting and trading, to be used as proof of purchase for promotional giveaways and, in the long term, to cultivate brand loyalty. Premium albums of this type are much rarer than the individual tobacco cards and were available from the tobacco company issuing the cards in exchange for a complete set of the individual cards or in exchange for coupons issued with the cigarettes. While the tobacco cards were free in packs of cigarettes or tobacco, these albums had to be purchased (or stamps had to be sent in for postage charges). By late in the nineteenth century, the production of cigarette cards had become an industry in itself, practically independent of its tobacco-based origins.
The album, featuring lithography by Lindner, Eddy & Clauss and published by Allen & Ginter, seems to have educational aspirations, though it has a sometimes whimsical sense of geography, suggesting that kangaroos can be found in India, and it mischaracterizes primates as quadrupeds. The album is also, to a modern sensibility, startlingly violent. The cover illustration, for starters, shows a desert with Bedouins on camel and horseback violently stealing lion cubs and slaughtering their parents … more
mid-18th century through mid-20th century
Bookplates, small paper panels denoting book-ownership, have their origins in Renaissance Germany. Their use was standard in the eighteenth century, when books were vastly expensive and hard to produce, and they became popular as status symbols and collectibles during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries’ renewed interest in “the culture of the book.” Our collection demonstrates the extraordinary aesthetic range of bookplates, including abstract designs, landscapes, human subjects, crests, and mythological figures, ranging in style from the staid and classically armorial to the privately iconographic and bizarre.
The majority of this collection consists of bookplates belonging to notable Virginians, including Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie, Declaration-signatory George Wythe, Constitutional co-author Gouverneur Morris, Revolutionary general Hugh Mercer, Col. George Lee Turberville, DAR Magazine contributor (and great-granddaughter of Patrick Henry) Elizabeth Henry Lyons (“Lift the Latch and Find Me,” her bookplate says), Civil War major and correspondent John Hooper, Richmond city councilman and industrialist James Branch Ransom (whose mock-armorial crest features a cartoon chicken), prominent Richmond physicians Samuel Dove and John Brodnax, authors John R. Witcraft and the Rev. Philip Slaughter, Powhatan-born U.S. comptroller John Skelton Williams, and aviator, polar explorer, and Medal-of-Honor-winner Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd, of Winchester, a descendant not only of Pocahontas and John Rolfe but of William Byrd II, founder of Richmond. Also included are bookplates from Rainbow & Hannah’s Circulating Library in … more