World War II Poster Collection

C1:184
1939–1945
403 unique posters, 568 total

Bits of careless talk are pieced together by the enemy. Stevan Dohanos. 1943

During World War II, the United States government, through the Office of War Information and the U.S. Treasury, mobilized the best advertising men available to create posters that would speak to the nation. The images portrayed played on deep levels of fear, pride, duty, and patriotism in illustrating subjects such as recruitment and enlistment; fund-raising through liberty loans; communications; and the medical, social, economic, and industrial aspects of the war. Some posters also addressed the civilian war effort. Citizens were told through posters that they needed to work hard and sacrifice at home in order to beat the enemy. To that end, the ad men succeeded. People felt as though their efforts at home were truly helping “the boys” overseas. The Library of Virginia’s World War II Poster Collection consists of 403 unique posters, with 568 total posters in the collection.

As with the World War I Poster Collection, this collection uses the graphic arts to portray a message. In contrast to the WWI posters, which are reminiscent of fine art drawings (most notably by Howard Chandler Christy and James Montgomery Flagg), the design of the WWII posters follows the commercial illustration style of the time, popularized by artists such as John Atherton, Adolph Treidler, and J. Walter Wilkinson and his son, Walter G. Wilkinson. … Read the rest

Virginia Geological Survey sketches by William Thompson Russell Smith (1812-1896)

Virginia Geological Survey, Records, 1834-1903. Accession 24815, State Government Records Collection
52 sketches. Pencil, ink, watercolor, pastel, and oil on paper and cardboard. Dimensions: Vary from 11 11/16 x 7 11/16 in. to 23 9/16 x 18 1/8 in.


Visual Studies Collection.
1 sketch. Watercolor on paper. Dimensions: 12 5/8 x 8 ½ in.

One hundred and seventy-five years ago this summer, William Barton Rogers and William Thompson Russell Smith boarded a train in Pennsylvania bound for Washington, D.C. Their ultimate destination was the western part of Virginia, where they intended to describe and document geological features. Rogers (1804-1882), a geologist, chemist, physicist, and professor at the University of Virginia, had begun work on a geological survey of Virginia in 1835. Although funding from the General Assembly ceased in 1842, Rogers believed a final report would eventually be authorized. He hired Smith, an artist he had worked with on previous geological publications, to illustrate this final report.

William Thompson Russell Smith (1812–1896), better known as Russell Smith, was born in Glasgow, Scotland. His father brought the family to rural Pennsylvania in 1819 before moving to the growing town of Pittsburgh to be near schools. After studying with the portrait artist James Lambdin, Smith began developing a reputation as a theatrical scene painter and commercial artist. His lifelong affection for landscape painting and his work in scientific illustration both prepared him for his travels with Rogers.… Read the rest

Collection of Colonial Governor Portraits by William Ludwell Sheppard (1833–1912)

State Art Collection
1877
3 paintings. Oil on canvas. Dimensions: De La Warr – canvas 29 ¼ x 25 ½ in.; frame 36 x 32 in. Dunmore – canvas 29 ¼ x 25 ½ in; frame: 36 x 32 in. Effingham – canvas 30 x 24 7/8 in.; frame 39 ½ x 34 ½ in.

On June 2, 1877, the Daily Dispatch reported that “W.L. Sheppard, Esq., artist of this city, will sail from New York for Europe on the 12th, and will be absent in France one or two years.” It was not unusual for 19th-century American artists to take extended tours through Europe to study with masters or visit museums to refine their craft. However, Sheppard, a Richmonder perhaps best known for his Civil War sketches and depictions of postwar southern life, had an additional reason for his trip. The Commonwealth of Virginia had commissioned him to paint portraits of three of Virginia’s colonial governors: Thomas West, third baron De La Warr; Francis Howard, fifth baron Howard of Effingham; and John Murray, fourth earl of Dunmore.

William Ludwell Sheppard (1833–1912) started as a clerk in a Richmond merchant firm, but quickly realized that his true interest and talent lay in art. While he was initially a self-taught painter, he went to New York in the 1850s to work and study. On his first trip to Europe, in 1860, he visited museums … Read the rest

Collection of Busts of Virginia-Born Presidents (State Art Collection)

State Art Collection 1931.3-7, 9-10
1931
7 busts. Marble.
Average: 35” high x 24” wide x 17” deep

Today’s visitors to the rotunda at the Virginia State Capitol are unlikely to consider how the seven marble busts depicting Virginia-born presidents came to sit in niches along the walls. The busts seem to be a natural addition to the space, complementing the design and decorations around them. Unlike most works in the State Art Collection, however, the busts are the result of a single act of legislation and the efforts of one governor, John Garland Pollard, who made their acquisition an objective for his new administration.

The rotunda of the Virginia State Capitol has housed two important pieces of statuary since 1796—the full-length marble statue of George Washington and the marble bust of the Marquis de Lafayette, both by French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741–1828). Prior to 1930 there was no clear policy or plan to fill the eight architectural niches. The State Art Commission attempted to create some guidelines in 1917 when proposals to add commemorative bronze plaques to the rotunda came before the General Assembly. The commission stipulated that only busts should go in the niches, and that only marble should be used, as bronze would “detract from the beauty of the rotunda interior.”

In 1926 the General Assembly asked the governor to appoint a committee to create a list of names of “Virginia’s most … Read the rest

Jeanne Hunton Witt Cabell Family Scrapbooks

C1: 199
c. 1920s–1950s
Four scrapbooks containing an assortment of photographs, letters, ephemera, telegrams, enclosure cards, stationary, and newspaper clippings.

The Cabell Family Scrapbook Collection was organized and arranged primarily by Jeanne Hunton Witt Cabell. The four scrapbooks detail Cabell’s debutante ball, marriage to lawyer Robert Gamble Cabell, hobbies, and the early education of her son, John C. Cabell.

C1:199

A graduate of Episcopal High School, Jeanne Hunton Witt Cabell (1907–1976) was deeply involved in Richmond’s arts and culture scene as society editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch in the late 1920s. Cabell was the daughter of Judge Samuel Brown Witt, of Richmond’s Hustings Court, and Mariana Foster Witt. Her earliest items include clippings from the society pages of the Times-Dispatch, dance cards, telegrams and written correspondence, and enclosure cards from floral arrangements.

The later portions of the collection focus on Cabell’s sculpting hobby and interest in the work of Baroness Suzanne Silvercruys, a prominent sculptor and political activist. Clippings from her husband’s roles as president of the Country Club of Virginia and president of the Board of Collegiate School are included. Cabell also created a scrapbook for her son, John C. Cabell, which includes his birth, first drawings, and items from the early years of his education at St. Christopher’s School. A fourth scrapbook, which appears to have been created by John C. Cabell himself, includes football and baseball ephemera from the 1954–1955 academic year.… Read the rest