Pierre Balmain

Fashion designer, Pierre Balmain was born in France in 1914. He studied architecture in Paris, but turned to dress design, working for Edward Molyneux and Lucien Lelong. Read more

New Donations

In 2011, Geline Bowman Williams (who served as mayor of Richmond from 1988 to 1990) gave this framed collage related to the 25th anniversary of the Expert Letter Writing Company, owned by her mother John-Geline MacDonald Bowman (1890-1946). Bowman purchased the company in 1923, expanded it, and by 1941, made it the third largest direct mail advertising company in the south. She operated Expert Letter Writing until she died in 1946. Read more

Hubert de Givenchy

Hubert de Givenchy was the youngest of all haute couture designers. He began designing in 1952 and was renown for his innovative design. Givenchy was well known for his use of bold colors and patterns, striking silhouettes and unique accessories. He was famous for imaginative patterns and fresh colors. Audrey Hepburn was one of his clients; he designed her wardrobe in “Sabrina” and her legendary dress in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Read more

Dear Diary…

What can be more interesting than reading the rants and raves in someone’s private journal? Read more

The Arrow Collar Man

One of the best-known men’s shirt brands is Arrow, which is part of Cluett, Peabody & Co. Arrow started with Hannah Lord Montague, who invented a detachable collar for a man’s shirt in 1885. The innovation allowed a man to have a crisp collar without having to wash his shirt daily. Illustrator J.C. Leyendecker popularized the brand by creating the Arrow Collar Man. This fashion icon essentially became the male counterpart to the Gibson Girl. In the 1920s, shirts became more casual and started to deviate from the detachable collar, favoring a collar that was connected to the shirt. Read more

Going Digital

We’ve been working hard to make more of the History Center’s collection available online. What are some recent additions to our collection database? Read the post to see some examples. Read more

Richmond History Tours 2012 Season Kicks Off April 1

RICHMOND – March 5, 2012 –
The Valentine Richmond History Center is pleased to announce the 2012 Richmond History Tours season formerly referred to as Historic Richmond Tours.  The name was changed this year to align the program with the History Center’s name.  The History Center offers more than 370 opportunities to explore Richmond history on foot or by bus. Tour topics vary and include the neighborhoods, architecture, churches, movie theaters, retail districts, monuments, cemeteries, waterways and people that make the city unique. All guides are trained and certified by the History Center. Read more

The Wickham House at 200 years – The 1812 Tour

With the arrival of the 200th anniversary of the Wickham House, came the opportunity to highlight the historic house, its original family and the social, religious, cultural, economic, and political atmosphere and events of Richmond in 1812. It is our hope that the combination of these varying spheres into one cohesive tour will engage both volunteers and visitors alike and help us to see and understand the Wickham House in new ways as the tour is presented throughout 2012. Read more

Commemorating the History of African Americans in Central Virginia

As a staff member at the Valentine Richmond History Center, I have heard stories of how this institution has uniquely offered a place where local African American children could explore the 400-year history of Richmond.  In its 114 years of operation, the History Center has consistently included African American themes in its educational programs.  An integral part of the organization’s mission is to chronicle the contributions of African Americans to the ongoing growth and success of the Richmond region. Read more

A Word From Your Friendly Neighborhood Archivist

The Valentine Richmond History Center Collection

Did you know that Richmond has an amazing art heritage?  Some of the best American artists have called the River City home.  Among them are father and son photography team George and Huestis Cook, makers of some of the most iconic photographic images of Virginia.  Other artists represented in our manuscript collections include important painters such as William James Hubard (1807-1862), Conrad Wise Chapman (1843–1910) and his father John Gadsby Chapman (1808–1889).  The History Center also has the records of the Craig House Art Center, an important organization for African-American art in the 1930’s. Read more