Who doesn’t like a great photo of a queen and a giant peanut, with a couple of monkeys thrown in for good measure? I know I do!

So, imagine my excitement when I ran across this fabulous nugget in the Library of Virginia’s Virginia Chamber of Commerce Photograph Collection.

The photograph is a part of a series that documents the 1941 National Peanut Exposition in Suffolk, Virginia, collected by the Virginia State Chamber of Commerce. The first National Peanut Exposition opened in Suffolk in January 1941. Around 10,000 people showed up for the first festival, a number that swelled to around 50,000 by the time the event was held again that very same year, October 30-31.

The festival held room enough for 100,000 people. Indeed, on 15 October 1941, the Virginia Farm Bureau boasted that “close to 100,000 people are expected” for the second annual celebration. The same article went on to say, “The two-day celebration will feature parades, parties, dances, coronation of the queen, and tours of the peanut industry.” How better to celebrate Halloween?

The Virginia State Chamber of Commerce gave the Library an extensive collection of photograph negatives. Phil Flournoy was the primary photographer, where subjects range from dedication ceremonies to farming, harvests, and numerous local festivals celebrating Virginia agricultural industries. The collection is searchable in the Library of Virginia catalog and contains many fun, nostalgic photos such as this one. I invite you to explore.

So tell me, don’t you love a good peanut? Or maybe it’s a monkey you’re after?

Amanda Morrell

Amanda Morrell

Reference Archivist

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