RVA50 Object 17 “The Noble James: Past-Present-Future, 1968”

The Noble James: Past-Present-Future, 1968

Bobby Jones, photographer
Photographic print

The first regular steamboat service on the James River serving the city of Richmond began around 1815.  A steamboat or steamship, sometimes called a steamer, is a ship in which the primary method of propulsion is steam power, typically driving propellers or paddlewheels. Steamboat traffic, including passenger and freight business, grew exponentially in the decades before the American Civil War. So too did the economic and human losses inflicted by shoals, boiler explosions, and human error.

In the late 1960’s, the Valentine Museum mounted an exhibition that discussed the role of steamboats in the city’s history.  Called “The Noble James:  Past-Present-Future,” this exhibition is captured in a series of black and white press photographs, one of which is feature here.

Gift of Richmond Newspapers, Inc., 1968