Community & News

Community & News


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Video Blog: Newcomer's Club Scrapbook

University of Richmond student Emily Kerwin created this video that explores a fascinating Richmond organization: the Newcomers Club of Richmond, established in 1950 in order to "promote interest in civic affairs" and "extend a friendly welcome to all newcomers to Richmond by introducing them to other newcomers and starting them on a new social life in the community." The scrapbook featured in the video is part of a collection of records related to the Newcomers Club of Richmond that are housed in the Valentine’s Archives.


According to Fashion: The Century of the Designer by Charlotte Seeling, a bustle is a pad, stuffing, or hoops serving as a base over which the rear of a skirt is draped so as to emphasize the derriere. They came into fashion about 1785, but reached the height of their popularity at the end of the Victorian Era. The bustle acted as a transitional undergarment from the bell shaped crinoline hoop skirt to the more streamlined, narrow silhouette of the Edwardian Era.

Fans: Heating Things Up During the Victorian Era

While the functional use of a fan is to cool things off, during the 19th century they were more often used to heat things up. Fans were used as tools of discreet communication between the sexes, creating a social intercourse ranging from flirtatious desire to devoted love.

More Shirts!

This summer at the Valentine, we began the long and labor-intensive process of inventorying the Costume and Textiles Collection. My fellow intern and I were assigned ‘men’s shirts’ as our starting point, beginning with the earliest dated pieces and moving forward through the decades. It seemed fitting to all involved to start the audit with such a basic component of men’s dress.

White Shirts: A Sartorial History

While womenswear is perpetually rewritten, contemporary menswear is consistently rooted in tradition. A man is given just a few inches of change here and there: a thinner tie, fewer buttons. Because he is limited in the tools of dress provided to him, his intents are expressed through subtleties.


Parasols originated in ancient Assyria. They began as fashioned palm branches and reeds held over the heads of Kings and other royalty. Pale skin from avoiding the sun through use of a parasol became associated with wealth and social status.

Buckles & Bits

“One, two, buckle my shoe…” – English Nursery Rhyme

The Joys of Research

The Joys of Research, or, Why I Love the Internet (and Libraries!)

A Brief History of Floorcloths

During John Wickham’s lifetime (1763-1839), a floorcloth was a term that referred to a traditional rug or fitted carpet substitute made from treated or untreated wool, linen, or cotton. Floorcloths went by numerous names including painted, printed, stamped, or common carpet, oil floor cloth, wax cloth, fancy-pattern cloth and various combinations of the above. Originally made of canvas, linseed oil, whiting and pigments, a painted floorcloth was water and insect resistant as well as more easily cleaned than the more familiar Wilton, Axminster or Turkish rug or carpet.

Edith Shelton Collection

The Valentine has another great photograph collection to share with the world! Donated by Mrs. Edgar Fisher, Jr. in 1991, the Edith K. Shelton Slide Collection is now ready for on line viewing. The collection of just over 3,000 35mm color slides is a glimpse into the architecture and life of Richmond’s older neighborhoods, often ones that have been demolished by road or building projects.