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What Is Richmond In Sight?
My great-grandfather was a Richmond streetcar man in the early 1900’s but he was also a photographer who never set his camera down. I inherited his collection of photos and movies and realized that I hold an incredible treasure...a piece of history not well-documented. He photographed all of Richmond, with emphasis on Jackson Ward and Carver with residents performing daily tasks as well as historic events such as the return of African-American troops from World War I.
People would flag the streetcar down and ask him to take a family picture. The more historic photographs include Maggie Walker’s St. Luke Band members, Hartshorn College students on campus, and the Church Hill Tunnel before it collapsed. The ‘ordinary’ pictures of mule-drawn wagons, cobblestone work, rabbi on the street, a laundry basket carried on a woman’s head, and more aren’t really ‘ordinary’...they’re our past, often forgotten but precious just the same.
What has evolved from my desire to share this rare collection is a partnership with VCU Libraries to preserve and restore the Harris Stilson photo collection consisting of pictures, negatives and movies. The surviving movies have already been donated to VCU Libraries and evidence indicates that the ones shot in "lenticular color" are the oldest such films in a local or regional cultural institution in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Other facets of Richmond In Sight include books, presentations, displays, online education and other programs.
From A Richmond Streetcar, is available from Amazon, Dietz Press and local bookstores.
On The West Clay Line, is available from Amazon, in local bookstores and in our online store.