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WPA Historic Houses Drawings Collection

D1:003
 c. 1932–1937
140 drawings in pen-and-ink, pencil, and watercolors, ranging in size from 25 x 35 cm to 40 x 45 cm 

D1:003 WPA Historic Houses Drawings Collection

The WPA Historic Houses Drawings Collection includes 140 images of houses, courthouses, churches, mill houses, and taverns, representing 39 Virginia counties. In the early- to mid-1930s, the Virginia State Commission on Conservation and Development’s Division of History and Archaeology received funds from the Works Progress Administration’s (WPA) Federal Art Project to commission five artists to create drawings for a publication on historic Virginia shrines. Like other WPA-funded projects, the artists applied for work through local emergency relief offices before being assigned to the Federal Art Project. Several of the artists also contributed to other New Deal projects at the time, including stamp designs for the National Recovery Act and illustrations for the Index of American Design, a nationwide Federal Art Project. 

Under the direction of Hamilton J. Eckenrode, the commission’s Division of History and Archaeology began making a record of historic buildings in Virginia in 1932. Field assistant (and artist) Rex M. Allyn took photographs of buildings while on assignment to the Division’s Historic Highway Marker project. From 1932 to 1937, Allyn and four other artists—Edward A. Darby, Dorothea A. Farrington, E. Neville Harnsberger, and Elsie J. Mistie—each created numerous pen-and-ink and pencil drawings from the photographs. In some cases, the artists were asked to make … Read the rest

Hamblin Studio Service Station Photograph Collection

C1: 163
late 1920s
62 photographic images

C1:163 Hamblin Studio Service Station Photograph Collection. LVA 09_1009_61

These photographs give a detailed visual account of Suffolk-area service stations in the early automotive age, including station personnel, oil-delivery vehicles and drivers, off-site oil storage facilities, and other elements of oil-related infrastructure. Architecturally, the service stations range from pagoda-like roadside huts to urban brick produce market/gas station all-in-ones, most displaying the distinctive “Sinclair Gasoline” sign. Gas can be seen for sale at 25 cents a gallon. 

The original purpose of this series is unknown. While some of the images smack of promotional photography, especially those in which drivers pose with their vehicles, others seem more documentary or photojournalistic, particularly a handful of images showing the aftermath of a dramatic rollover car wreck. Most of the drivers and many of the station owners are named.

Provenance:
Electronic copies donated, 2009.
Vintage prints retained by donor. 

Related resources and collections:
C1: 162 Hamblin Studio Photograph Collection

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Harry C. Mann Panoramic Photograph Collection

C1: 159
ca.1910–1917
58 panoramas

C1: 159 Harry C. Mann Panoramic Photograph Collection

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

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

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Hampton Institute Photograph Album

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

C1:134 Hampton Institute Photograph Album

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 … Read the rest

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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