African American Family Names
Before you get offended at the way these lists are arranged, hear me out. Harry Stilson’s notations were of his time. In other words, he identified some of the African American people in his photographs by adding the term “col” after their names so I think we can assume everyone with that term in their description is an African American. I used his designation of race to create two different lists of names to make searching for family names a little easier.
Dr. & Mrs. Riggler (at Hartshorn College)
Sue Coleman colored head cook
Mrs. Susie Smith
Mrs. Charity (Cornelium)
John Taylor & wife 602 Elizabeth St (Sparrow’s)
Mrs. Loise Baxley
Dr. Geo W White
Mrs. Watson (her Bessie)
Briggs & Stevens
Collens , Henrico St
Lila Graham 2202 Henrico
Hartshorn College drill team
Alonzo Waller as “Spider”
Lucille Brown with Elk head on
Lucretia Gee, Bowe, Elk dress
Frank Pryor & mother
People to Identify
Harry Stilson kept meticulous records of his photography work. He wrote down names, dates and places as well as exposure settings and time for thousands of images. Sometimes he wrote details in wallet-sized journals, sometimes on pads of paper only slightly longer than a matchbook and barely as wide.
Transcription of the journals resulted in a list of 600 names of people as well as where and when they posed for Harry's camera. A small percentage of pictures or negatives were found in envelopes bearing the names of the subjects involved. However, most of the photographs in the Stilson collection of people were unlabeled so matching his journal notes with pictures is challenging, if not impossible.
When an article about his collection appeared in the Richmond Times Dispatch, several people called to identify people and places in photographs accompanying the piece. One of Richmond In Sight's objectives is to identify Harry's photo subjects and to capture family stories from their descendants so we decided to repeat the process on the website.
In the columns on either side of this page are many of the names of people Harry photographed. In the gallery below are some photographs of people yet to be identified. If you can match names to faces or provide information to identify people in this collection, we need your help. Please look through the gallery or the list of names and use the contact form to let us know what you know.
The images presented online are not the original image Harry took but are revised, cropped and altered versions to focus better on the subjects and to establish the copyright for each online derivative work in the name of Richmond In Sight. Any use of these images in a commercial venture without the expressed written permission of Richmond In Sight is prohibited by law.
Hover your curser over the photograph and press the Play button to start slideshow.
Jewish Family Names
This list is also not as I would like it but it may be helpful in identifying folks.
These names did not have the term "col" after them. They were listed as Jewish or were described as being residents of Jackson Ward, Carver, Newtowne or other neighborhoods with a large concentration of Jewish families.
It may help to know that Harry Stilson wrote and presented a speech titled “The Tinted Population” in 1907 in which he argued that different races and ethnic backgrounds produced a stronger population. He was a ‘man of his time’ but...not. Go figure.
Mrs. Shocket & boy
Mrs. Senf (owned store at Norton & Clay)
Shurrick & wife store at Fairfield & 17th
Miss Ida Oakley Jewess Fairfield St
Valentine (think Gertie Valentine, mentioned with children later)
Grough or Trough, Dineen & Leigh
Mrs. Shocket in door Dineen & Leigh
Gertie Valentine & brother
Molly Hacherman or Hackerman
Valentine’s daughter Thelma son Robert
Willie & Sadie Alberton with baby boy
Little Lena Shull
Miss Elsie Myers
Stokes 1928 W Leigh