Virginia Historical Inventory

C1: 160
1938
approx. 19,300 reports, approx. 6,200 photographs, 103 maps 


C1:160  Virginia Historical Inventory.  Unidentified house, Greensville County, Va  (LVA vhi_12_0286)

The Virginia Historical Inventory is a massive and rambling collection of photographs, annotated maps, and written reports on the architectural, cultural, and family histories of thousands of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century buildings, mostly private homes, in rural communities throughout the commonwealth. Commissioned by the Works Progress Administration, the inventory has been part of the Library’s permanent collection since its completion in 1938. The original field reporters were mostly women, non-experts recruited locally and given crash-course training in identifying and describing the architectural motifs of the so-called vernacular (homey) architectures the inventory sought to document, as opposed to the ornate, “high style” houses of major cities—the usual fare of the better known Historic American Buildings Survey. During on-site investigations and interviews with residents and locals, inventory reporters captured a wealth of technical and narrative information, giving family sagas, local folklore, and ghost stories equal time with descriptions of chimneys, catalogs of books and antiques, the locations of wells, and transcriptions of epitaphs, diaries, letters, deeds, and wills. Many of the houses surveyed have not survived to the present day. 

Arrangement and access:
The entire collection is searchable by location or keyword through the Library’s online photo collections. 

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Adolph B. Rice Studio Collection

C1: 112
ca.1950–1960
approx. 16,400 photographic negatives, 5,000 prints, 12 vintage 16 x 20″ exhibition prints, and a mix of 8 x 10″ negatives, transparencies, and additional vintage prints 


C1:112  Adolph B. Rice Studio Collection.  Street lights, Jefferson Avenue at night  (LVA rice2734b)

Adolph Bransford Rice (1909–1960) was a prolific photographer, addressing a range of commercial needs in Richmond throughout the 1950s. A well-liked businessman, Rice was active in Richmond’s Catholic community, as evidenced by his frequent photographic coverage of church activities, as well as a member of several photographic associations, and regularly contributed images to the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the News Leader. After Rice’s death at age 51, the studio went to his son, Adolph Rice Jr., who went on to serve as a staff photographer for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Library of Virginia, eventually donating his father’s entire photographic inventory to the latter. 

Browsing the collection is an exercise in discovery as one stumbles upon subjects as eclectic as funerals and Noel Coward plays, broken sidewalks and local celebrities, austere priests and laughing nuns, retail displays and Tobacco Festival parades, highway construction and traffic accidents, groundbreaking ceremonies and retail showrooms, office parties and stag parties, school field trips and Civil War reenactments, elevator operators and Easter bunnies. Unlike many commercial photographers of the period, Rice seems to have had a personal ease with his subjects, who never come off as posed or awkward.

Rice also cultivated, as a specialty, aerial views of … more

H. D. Milhollen Virginia Courthouse Etching and Photograph Collection

C1: 068
1940–1941
178 photographs, 158 film negatives, 13 etchings


C1:068  H. D. Milhollen Virginia Courthouse Etching and Photograph Collection  (LVA 09_0869_019)

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. 

Provenance:
Etchings purchased 1973, photos and negatives purchased 1992 

References:
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

Harry C. Mann Panoramic Photograph Collection

C1: 159
ca.1910–1917
58 panoramas


C1:159  Harry C. Mann Panoramic Photograph Collection  (LVA 08_0911_001)

A companion to our larger Harry C. Mann Photograph Collection, this digitized set of 58 panoramic images of Norfolk and Virginia Beach provide a sense of scale (often epic) for collective human activities in environments specific to those activities. Included are early-twentieth-century panoramic views of Virginia Beach First Baptist Church, the Chautauqua Building, O’Keefe’s Casino, Norfolk’s Miller & Rhoads department store on Plum Street, McKendree Methodist Church, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Norfolk Harbor, Willoughby Spit, Elizabeth City, and Glenwood Park.


C1:159  Harry C. Mann Panoramic Photograph Collection  (LVA 08_0911_025)

Arrangement and access:
The original negatives are part of the collection at Norfolk Public Library.

References:
Norfolk Public Library Newsletter, vol. 2, no. 3 (Spring 2008)

Related resources and collections:
Harry C. Mann Photograph Collection, C1: 008

C1:159  Harry C. Mann Panoramic Photograph Collection  (LVA 08_0911_021)more

Hampton Institute Photograph Album

C1: 134
ca. 1880–1890
1 album, 32 cyanotypes


C1:134  Hampton Institute Photograph Album  (LVA 10_1354_003)

In Hampton Roads, Virginia, 1868, the Union general and educator Samuel Armstrong (1839–1893) opened Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute on the grounds of a former slave-holding plantation, with the stated purpose of “train[ing] selected Negro youth who should go out and teach and lead their people first by example… to replace stupid drudgery with skilled hands, and in this way to build up an industrial system for the sake not only of self-support and intelligent labor, but also for the sake of character.” The institute (today Hampton University) received its first Native American students, refugees from the Red River War, in 1878.  Throughout the 1880s and 1890s, the date of these cyanotype images, the institute saw a dramatic increase in enrollment and course offerings, emphasizing not classical studies but practical experience in trades and industry, such as carpentry, clock making, printing, tailoring, bricklaying, and, of course, farming, as well as rigorous classes in mathematics and the sciences. 

The cyanotypes suggest an artistic sensibility at work on the campus. All images appear to have been taken by the same photographer, probably a member of a student photography club, among which cyanotypes were popular because they were inexpensive and relatively easy to process. Imposing exterior shots of college buildings, most notably Memorial Church and Virginia-Cleveland Hall, contrast with more delicate images of dogwood blossoms, sailboats in the harbor, and … more

Virginia State Chamber of Commerce Photograph Collection

C1:161
1922–1972
approx. 30,000 8 x 10 inch photographic prints 


C1:161  Virginia State Chamber of Commerce Photograph Collection.  Virginia Beach Sand Festival, 1952  (vcc_014973)

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.

Provenance:
Donated, 1974

Related resources and collections:
1939 World’s Fair … more

Hamblin Studio Photograph Collection

C1: 162
ca.1909–1979
approx. 1,360 glass-plate and film negatives 


C1:162  Hamblin Studio Photograph Collection.  Thomas Rose, October 4, 1945  (vdlp_suffolk_ng0156)

The Hamblin Studio Collection represents the collective output of four Suffolk photographers working throughout the 20th century. Their photos represents a variety of subjects, including portraiture, sporting events, fraternal organizations, medical facilities, public utilities, local unions, manufacturing plants (in particular Planters Peanuts), and schools, including black private schools and segregated and integrated public schools. As well as being a good general portrait of 20th-century Virginia, the Hamblin Studio Collection is an excellent documentary resource for African American community life in Suffolk. 

Note: The collection includes images from the city of Nansemond prior to 1974, when it merged with the independent city of Suffolk. 

Arrangement and access:
The entire collection is available through the Library’s online collections searchable by keyword and date. 

Related resources and collections:
C1: 163 Hamblin Studio Service Station Photograph Collection

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Life Scenes of a Confederate Soldier

C1: 011
ca.1865
12 lithographic cards, 2 x 3 inches


C1: 011  Life Scenes of a Confederate Soldier  (LVA  11_1148_002)


C1: 011  Life Scenes of a Confederate Soldier  (LVA  11_1148_004)

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.” C1: 011  Life Scenes of a Confederate Soldier (LVA 11_1148_001)C1: 011  Life Scenes of a Confederate Soldier  (LVA  11_1148_003)

Provenance:
Donated, 1951

References:
Six of the images were reproduced in Cavalcade (winter, 1951).… more

Stereograph File

C1: 060
1860s–1910s
approx. 318 stereographs (most albumen) and other photographic prints mounted on 4 x 7 inch cards 


C1:060  Stereograph File.  Building spire of Lutheran Church, Winchester, Va.  (LVA 07_0786_329)

Stereographic views were a popular nineteenth-century novelty that enabled photographs to be viewed in three dimensions. What appear to be identical photographic images paired adjacently on a cardboard support are actually slightly different and, when viewed through the lenses of a stereoscope, they “merge” to yield an unexpectedly convincing 3D effect. The Library’s Stereograph Collection contains over 300 images from many prominent photographers from the Civil War to the World War I eras. Photographs and publishers represented in the collection include the Keystone View Co., George S. Cook, Lee Gallery, D. H. Anderson, E. S. Lumpkin, Underwood & Underwood, George Ennis, Selden & Co., the Kilburn Bros., and Timothy O’Sullivan. Most of the images offer views of Richmond and other Virginia locales, such as the Old Stone House (now the Poe Museum), interiors of Washington’s Tomb, Salt Point, the Executive Mansion and Capitol Grounds (including the long-vanished wrought iron gazebo that housed the statue of Henry Clay), Monumental Church, and Libby Prison. There are also several rare photographs of Blue Ridge Springs and other long-defunct Virginia resorts, as well as a one-of-a-kind series of homemade stereographs with views of late- nineteenth-century Petersburg. 

Arrangement and access:
The collection is available for view on Digitool.

Provenance:
Varied 

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Virginia Legislature Photograph Collection

C1: 169
1857–ongoing
average size 11 x 15 inches 


C1:169  Virginia Legislature Photograph Collection  (LVA  09_0669_014_1940)

The state’s bicameral legislature, consisting of the House of Delegates and the Senate, was confirmed in the Virginia Constitution of 1776, but can trace its lineage directly to the 1619 Jamestown House of Burgesses, making it effectively the oldest legislative body in the Western Hemisphere. The present Virginia Constitution requires that the House consist of 90–100 members and the Senate of 33–40 members. Arranged chronologically, the Virginia Legislature Photograph Collection contains annual composite portraits of the General Assembly, beginning near the advent of photography in 1857, which are primarily the work of Richmond’s Foster Studio, and later Dementi Studio. 09_0638_001_1871-1872The rosters witness the emergence of women, and the re-emergence of black Virginians, in the realm of state policymaking.  Although not every year is represented in the collection, in many cases the rosters feature the only known photographs of early Virginia lawmakers. 

Arrangement and access:
The entire collection is available on DigiToolmore