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Through the Lens of Time: Images of African Americans from the Cook Collection of Photographs

Father and son George and Huestis Cook were photographers active in the US South, particularly Virginia, from the 1860s to the 1930s. These work resulted in the George and Huestis Cook Photograph Collection at the Valentine Richmond History Center, which contains over 10,000 negatives. In 1954, 156 of these photographs were published in a book entitled Shadows in Silver. Through the Lens of Time offers digital versions of almost 300 of the Cooks' photographs, selected from the Valentine Museum's collection, and digitized by Virginia Commonwealth University. Although these pictures have been on the Web since 2000, with significant additions in 2001, it is well worth a return or first time visit to see them. George Cook, one of the first commercial photographers in the US, trained other photographers in the business, and acquired the collections of photographers who were retiring, amassing an extensive collection of photographs documenting the city of Richmond, VA. Huestis Cook's photographs are unique in showing African-Americans realistically, instead of in popular stereotypical settings. Huestis also documented the tobacco business and Virginia plantations. The Web interface provides both keyword searching and browsing by 19 different subject headings, such as children, portraits, or tobacco. Once images have been retrieved in a search, the subject headings are presented as links, so that users can easily broaden a search to related topics. Explanations of the terminology used to describe the pictures and instructions for ordering copies are also available at the site.
Archived Scout Publication URL
Scout Publication
Date of Scout Publication
November 27th, 2002
Date Of Record Creation
April 8th, 2003 at 10:19am
Date Of Record Release
April 8th, 2003 at 10:19am
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