Sculpting History at the Valentine Studio: Art, Power, and the Lost Cause American Myth Resources

In 1866, Richmond journalist and editor, Edward Pollard, wrote The Lost Cause: A New Southern History of the War of the Confederates which was one of the first pieces in a propaganda campaign that reframed the story around the American Civil War and reestablished a social order that benefitted white southerners.

The phrase Lost Cause began to emerge as a series of beliefs to convince the public that:  

1) The war was fought to protect Southern states’ rights, not the institution of
2) Slavery was a beneficial social structure for both enslavers and the enslaved.
3) The South's role in the war was not a treasonous act against the United

The Lost Cause myth was spread through the centers of power: media, politics/money, education, religion, and violence. Below you will find primary sources that uncover ways the Lost Cause myth was promoted and resisted over time.

Collections in the Classroom: The Lost Cause by Edward Pollard Flyleaf Advertisement and Excerpts

Media: How does the media you consume affect your beliefs?

Collections in the Classroom: Primary Sources

Lost Cause Promoters 

Uncle Henry
-R. A. Wise letter (done, needs proofing)
Nation’s Ward
-Newspaper Sources: RTD from the table (not done)
-Human Confederate Flag postcard (done, needs proofing) 

Lost Cause Resisters 

-Newspaper Source: Daily Planet from the table (not done) 

Education: Who Decides What We Learn About The Past?

Collections in the Classroom: Primary and Secondary Sources

Lost Cause Promoters

    • Knowledge is Power: Collections in the Classroom (done) 
    • Textbook Example and RTD 5/27/1932 (not donedone, needs proofing) 
    • Measuring Rod (not donedone, needs proofing) 
    • UDC Catechism (not done) 


    • Link to some Resister thing-Picture of Armstrong kids burying “Joe Racism”

Featured Stories


Politics and Money: How Does Money Support Political Power?

Collections in the Classroom


-UDC-JDMA meeting minutes/fundraising (done, needs proofing)
1883 Rads Must Go handbill (not done)
– Equal Suffrage and the Negro Vote (not done) 


-Maggie Walker (?) (not done)
-JMJ and story about the trolly boycott from Richmond Planet (not done)
-Something from Jackson Ward Collective (not identified) 


-Controversy/History – Beyond Politics: Voicing Our Ideas

Featured Stories & Essays

Address to the People of Richmond from Henry Hudnall, James E. Tyler, Joseph B. Garthright and James W. Mitchell. 10 points about why they should support the Readjuster Party.

Readjusters in Richmond

The Readjuster political party emerged in Virginia after the Civil War but was short-lived.

Voting Political Action Group: Richmond Forward

In 1972, Richmond suspended local elections for five years. It’s a long story…

Portrait of a middle-aged Black man in a suit with his right hand on his typewriter.

Voting Richmond: The Lily White and the Lily Black Ticket

The 1920s was a moment in our city’s history where issues of voting, race and power converged in surprising and transformational ways.

Religion: How Are Religion And Race Connected?

Violence: Why Do We Use Violence?