90 glass slides, 3 x 4 inches, housed in original wooden box
These rare slides, many of which are hand-colored, offer a glimpse into the founding of the Richmond branch of Goodwill Industries by Dr. J. T. Mastin and the Rev. Samuel Coles in 1923, before its eventual merger with Citizens’ Service Exchange. Featured are detailed interior and exterior shots of early Goodwill-related activity, including refurbishment of furniture and clothing, horse-drawn Goodwill wagons, volunteers and patrons, several scenes of prison interiors (presumably in connection with Mastin’s correctional work), and many images unrelated to Richmond, including views of England and South Africa. The Goodwill headquarters featured so prominently in these images stood at 1814 E. Grace Street, only a few yards from the Craig House in Shockoe Bottom, and has since vanished without a trace.
The slides most likely served as a visual aid to educational or religious lectures. Lantern slides, as a technology, were popular in America as early as 1850, yielding “magic” projections of images large enough to be easily visible to large audiences.
The accompanying collection file contains much biographical information about Mastin (1855–1943), a Methodist minister, secretary of the State Board of Charities and Corrections, a native Virginian and, according to one article, “the South’s greatest social worker.”
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