Friday, November 14, 2008

Historic Photographs of Virginia

What’s best for a gal who spent six years running around the Blue Ridge Mountains and learned to appreciate the dualities and complexities of Virginia? True: I am a NYer by birth, and I have many of those characteristics. However, I grew to love the living in Virginia during my undergraduate and graduate years at Hollins University. I learned to love the history, the accents, and the people of that glorious state. Thus, when I was sent a Historic Photos of Virginia, a little ding went off in my head and in my heart. I’ve since moved to New Orleans (yeah, I know: whoa) and have graduated with two degrees from that lovely college in Roanoke, but I still have love for the place, still consider it a home away from home.

This book from Turning Publishing documents Virginia through much of its development. The state’s history is divided into four sections: From War to a New Century: 1861-1909; The Roaring Decades: 1910-1929; Depression and Victory: 1930-1945; and A Time of Great Change: 1946-1970s. Using photographs from the Library of Congress and the Library of Virginia, Emily and John Salmon do a great job of documenting the growth of one of the most beautiful and culturally rich states in the United States of America.

This book isn’t just for good ole’ folks who love Virginia: The photos are great for any coffee table west or east of the Mason-Dixon Line. The stories and shards of history collected in this book are incredibly interesting and worth at least one read if not more. This book is a great tribute to the Commonwealth’s rich past and is great for those new to Virginia and those who carry a torch for the state that’s for lovers.

There are images from big and important events in history like the Civil War and well-known buildings or landmarks like Monticello, but there are images of lesser known buildings and people. Some of the more moving images are of the people of Virginia and their culture: everything from people working the land, posing with their musical instruments, and striking a cheerleading pose. This book showcases a range of histories of Virginia, and the images are as sweet as they are harrowing. The joy of Historic Photos of Virginia is the scope or reach of the book. And of course, I’m singing about mountain mamas and lovely valleys and the Roanoke star as I flip through the glossy pictures of this gorgeous book.

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