A Groundskeeper at Sweet Briar House, c. 1910s. Sweet Briar College Library
Sweet Briar’s Invisible Founders: Two Centuries of African American Labor
Join VFH Fellow Lynn Rainville for a public talk on her upcoming book about how two centuries of African American labor transformed a plantation into a college. Due out in 2018 with Berghahn Press, her book will be an in-depth study of an enslaved community and the many unrecognized contributions they made to create an […]
Marion Post Wolcott, “Tobacco Barns and Cigarette Advertisements,” 1940.
Growing the Cigarette
Growing the Cigarette is a revisionist history of tobacco in the twentieth century that takes farmers, government officials and citizen-activists as its main characters. By looking beyond “Big Tobacco,” Sarah Milov demonstrates that, paradoxically, smoking was a product of an expanded vision of the state, and that the politics of anti-smoking were born of an […]
African American photojournalist Ernest Withers at the King Memorial March in Memphis 1968 - Photo by Jack Hurley, Courtesy Univ Memphis Special Collections
Telling Untold Stories
VFH Fellows Investigate the Lives of African American Trailblazers
These three fellows—of the dozen typically in residence at VFH during an academic year—are each at work on a biography of a relatively unknown figure whose story illuminates an era.
Camille Pissarro, "Women Chatting by the Sea," 1856
Impressionism and the Black Atlantic
French Impressionist innovations in color, light and subject matter revolutionized western art. Those advances took place in an age of political upheaval—and of slave emancipation in the Americas. To a surprising extent, Impressionist-era artists were fascinated with African-American and Caribbean subjects. Join VFH Fellow Jon Sensbach as he explores the little-known influence of black freedom on […]
Image courtesy Richmond Times Dispatch
The Legacy of Kepone
Uncovering the history of one of Virginia's first public environmental disasters.
Gregory Wilson, professor of history at the University of Akron, is researching the history of the Kepone disaster that took place in Hopewell, VA in the 1970s. Wilson recently sat down to talk with us about what he’s learned during his fellowship at VFH.
Book Artist, Frank Brannon. Courtesy of Frank Brannon.
Print Your Own Language
Book Artist and VFH fellow, Frank Brannon, will discuss his work supporting Cherokee language revitalization through letterpress printing. Brannon will also exhibit the recently completed work of student printmaking artists from Southwestern Community College, NC.
Fishing Tales, a , limited edition letterpress book in English, Latin and Cherokee - Courtesy of Frank Brannon
The Lost Art of Cherokee Letterpress
In 2009, VFH fellow and book artist Frank Brannon, began work with the Oconaluftee Institute for Cultural Arts in Cherokee, Norther Carolina, to revitalize the nearly lost art of Cherokee letter press printing. Now, he talks about his with the Cherokee community, as well as history of the Cherokee written language itself.
Mary Booth Pardon File, 21 August 1882, Records of the Secretary of the Commonwealth - Library of VA
From Mary Booth to Virginia Christian
Child Incarceration and the Making of the New South While many Virginians may be familiar with the story of Virginia Christian, the 17-year-old juvenile executed by the state of Virginia in 1912, few have heard of Mary Booth, a 14-year-old African American girl convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1882. This talk by […]
Image courtesy Richmond Times Dispatch
Toxic Dust: The Virginia Kepone Disaster
VFH Fellow Dr. Gregory Wilson, professor of history at the University of Akron, will discuss his research into the Kepone disaster in Virginia at the Library of Virginia in Richmond. Kepone first came into the public consciousness as a dangerous toxin in July 1975. That month news broke about the poisoning of workers in Hopewell […]
Photo by Earl Swift
The Long Life and Prospective Demise of a Storied Island Community Settled since 1778 and populated by that first family’s descendants, Tangier is one of two inhabited offshore islands in the Chesapeake Bay and a leading center for the pursuit of the bay’s famed blue crab. But throughout its recorded history it has been disappearing. […]
The First Vote: Recalibrating Reconstruction
VFH Fellow Don DeBats shares findings about the patterns of early voting ballots in the years following the American Civil War as well as his current explorations into data preserved from 1860-1900 in the poll tax books and census records of two Kentucky counties.