A few years ago, my mother and I were cleaning out some closets and I ran across a scrapbook she made as a college freshman. She told me that there probably wasn’t much in it since she spent all her time studying, but a look at the programs, napkins, invitations, ticket stubs, and photographs proved her wrong!
The Library of Virginia has a number of scrapbooks from individuals, organizations, and state agencies. I ran across one created by an unnamed individual who attended Hampton Institute, now Hampton University, in the 1930s. A clue to the possible creator of the scrapbook is a brochure called “The Key to Your Character as shown by Your Handwriting,” addressed to Miss Doris Anderson.
Included in the scrapbook are several newsletters or activity sheets from the Phenix Training School (later Phenix High) in Hampton. The George P. Phenix Training School opened in 1931 and the Hampton Institute students taught there as student teachers in order to earn their degree.
Also of note are a number of postcards depicting Hampton Institute and the surrounding area and programs from plays and other events. In 1933, the Musical Arts Society of the Hampton Institute booked Lilian Evanti, an American opera singer who studied in France and toured throughout Europe and South America before returning to sing in the United States. The scrapbooker must have attended since the program is found in the scrapbook.
As it was for my mom, college was clearly not all work and no play for the creator of this scrapbook! I wish I had more time to look at every piece in detail and research clues as to who it was. Hmm, maybe that’s a project one of our readers will take on!
For more information on the private papers collections at the Library, search the LVA online catalog or contact Archives Reference Services at 804-692-3888.
A virtual workshop on private papers at the Library of Virginia will be held in April. Visit the Library of Virginia’s genealogy workshops page for the 2021 schedule and registration information.
Archives & Library Reference Services Manager