Woman of the Week: Lila Meade Valentine

Women’s equality has been, and continues to be a major issue in today’s world; it is a hot topic of discussion and a relatively predominant subject matter. We all know (and salute) the big names associated with female activism, such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Sandra Day O’Connor, Madam C.J. Walker, etc. but what about the women who are not as well known? What about those who worked locally in and around the Richmond area?

Lila Meade Valentine was a native Richmonder who married into the Valentine family when she wed Benjamin Batchelder Valentine in 1886. Although she had no children of her own, she was deeply committed to fighting for the children of Richmond and their right to be educated properly. Unfortunately, during this time Virginia’s education system was prejudiced against the poor, African Americans and females, making it especially difficult for them to receive quality educations. In an attempt to correct these injustices, Lila and several other activists formed the Richmond Education Association (REA), which purpose was to raise money for a new high school, develop programs to train teachers, increase salaries for teachers and in general help children obtain a better education.

On top of education reform, Lila also worked vigorously to restructure healthcare by helping found the Instructive Visiting Nurse Association of Richmond (IVNA). The IVNA’s primary focus was low-income citizens of the area and ensuring they had access to basic health-care services. She later got involved with the American woman suffrage movement and cofounded the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia. Between 1912 and 1913 Lila spoke to more than a hundred government officials and state organizations, eyes set on getting women a voice in politics. The Nineteenth Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution in 1920, which granted women the right to legally vote thanks to groups like the Equal Suffrage League and women like Lila.

Lila Meade Valentine passed away on July 14, 1921. We continue to recognize her work and the work of women like her.

 

Rooftop Forever

Rooftop bars are the place to be in the summer; crowds flock to Quirk, Kabana and the Hofheimer building to enjoy cocktails and an open space overlooking the city.  However, images from glass plate negatives in the Cook Collection show that this is not a new phenomenon.  Even in the 1920s Richmonders enjoyed the spacious rooftop garden at the Hotel Richmond. The building, now owned by the state, is the new home of the Virginia Attorney General’s office…bet they wish the garden was still there.

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Interview with Kristen Stewart for “Our Hearts On Our Sleeves”

Our Hearts On Our Sleeves is now open at the Valentine. The exhibition utilizes the Valentine’s extensive costumes and textiles collection to showcase the intersection of art and fashion. Talking more about the exhibition is Kristen Stewart, The Nathalie L. Klaus Curator of Costume & Textiles who curated the exhibition.

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The Power of Fashion

Let’s take a closer look into the Valentine’s exhibition, Our Hearts On Our Sleeves, now on view through January 28, 2018. The exhibition aims to highlight the symbiotic relationship of fashion and textile work with that of the Richmond’s culture. It explores the history of this relationship between philanthropist, artist, curator and community.

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North of the City

Made up of smaller neighborhoods including Ginter Park, Barton Heights, Hermitage Road, Highland Park and more; Richmond’s Northside is an area of growth and change that alludes to its ambitious past.

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Great Scott!

Scott’s Addition, named to commemorate Virginia-born, General Winfield Scott, is one of Richmond’s most recent neighborhoods to be added to the National Register of Historic Places (2005). Scott’s Addition’s lush history of factories, homes, and store fronts, mirrors the the illustrious life of its namesake General Winfield Scott, who at one point owned the land that is present day Scott’s Addition.

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Sweeney’s Claymount

Pottery production is among the earliest of American artisan crafts. Everything needed for the production of pottery was present in Virginia-clay deposits, hardwood for firing kilns, and skilled craftsmen and entrepreneurs. In 1838, Henrico County native Stephen Booker Sweeney bought land on the north side of the James River in Henrico County, adding parcels over the next twenty years to assemble a property he whimsically named Claymount. Read more

Open Air Schools: The Fight Against Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is an ancient disease that has killed over one billion people in the last two centuries.  Read more

An Interview with Wanda Hernandez on Nuestras Historias: Latinos in Richmond

Richmond is home to over 100,000 Latinos with various histories and lives. Opening July 27, 2017, Nuestras Historias: Latinos in Richmond, takes a look at the diverse culture and experiences of Latinos in Richmond. I sat down with curator Wanda Hernandez to talk more about the exhibition. Read the interview below and make sure to visit The Valentine when the exhibition openings this summer.

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Hollywood Cemetery is Alive

Hollywood Cemetery has it all: Civil War ghosts, mausoleums, pyramids, and a great place to run in the morning. Founded in 1847 by Richmond locals William Haxall and Joshua Fry, Hollywood Cemetery sold its first grave in 1849. Since then, the cemetery has become the resting site of numerous historical figures. Two United States Presidents: James Monroe and John Tyler reside in the cemetery. President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis’ gravesite can also be found there. The cemetery is home to many other prominent and historical local figures such as teachers, congressmen, generals and even a Supreme Court Justice.

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