Ephemera Collection

British Cigarette Card Collection

C1:003
ca. 1910–1939
1 album, 7.5 x 9 inches; 360 cards

C1:003 British Cigarette Card Collection

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 … Read the rest

J. Bohannan Poster and Drawing Collection

D1: 001
1989–2010
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

D1:001 J. Bohannan Poster and Drawing Collection

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.

D1:001 J. Bohannan Poster and Drawing Collection

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 … Read the rest

Carney Christie Scrapbook and Ephemera Collection

C1: 123
ca.1900–1930
Four scrapbook albums, two photograph albums with 200+ photos, mixed ephemera 

C1:123 Carney Christie Scrapbook and Ephemera Collection

C1:123 Carney Christie Scrapbook and Ephemera Collection

Unlike many of our Prints and Photographs Collections holdings, which derive from individual artists, photographers, and agencies, the Carney Christie Collection derives from many sources—family photos, postcards, handwritten correspondence (on hotel stationary), theater programs, newspaper clippings, and other ephemera—which dovetail into a mixed media portrait of an individual man. 

A graduate of Staunton Military Academy, the actor Carney Pitcher Christie (1887–1932) gained early and enduring professional success on Broadway, perfecting the role of Pietro in Edward Locke’s comedy The Climax. Christie was the son of a prominent West Virginia druggist and brother to Mary Christie, a music teacher and sought-after pianist (and presumed assembler of the materials in our collection) with whom he often collaborated on popular “interpretive recitals” of Shakespeare, Sheridan, and Thomas Nelson Page. The family maintained residences in Richmond and Brooklyn, and a summer home in the resort town of Palmer Lake, Colorado, and Christie corresponded with them, especially Mary, during his theatrical tours all over the United States. According to one theater reviewer, he was “the very incarnation of buoyant youth.” About 1928, however, a “nervous collapse” forced Christie to quit touring and instead teach acting at the Leland Powers School in Boston. He later moved to Richmond to live with his … Read the rest

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 … Read the rest

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.” 

Provenance:
Donated, 1951

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

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