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Historic Photographs of African American Life At The Turn Of The Century To Be Exhibited At U.Va.

March 11, 1999 -- An exhibit of more than 100 rare photographs of black Central Virginians from the early 20th century will be on display as part of a multi-media exhibit sponsored by the University of Virginia's Carter G. Woodson Institute for Afro-American and African Studies beginning March 25.

The exhibit, "History, Memory, Race, and Place in the Jim Crow South, 1900-1925," will open in Minor Hall at 3 p.m. on March 25 with a brief talk and a reception. The display will feature historic images from the Rufus W. Holsinger Studio Photograph Collection, held in the Special Collections Department at Alderman Library. It will remain on view from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays through July 2.

The collection records a unique view of life in Central Virginia from before the turn of the century through World War I. It is drawn from dry-plate glass negatives from the commercial studio of Charlottesville photographer Rufus W. Holsinger. The U.Va. Library staff photographed the original glass plate negatives -- the precursor of film negatives -- and turned the images positive again.

With the assistance of local African-American residents, U.Va. researchers from the Woodson Institute have identified more than 400 images. "Using names and other information recorded by the photographer, researchers have constructed a social and cultural portrait of African-Americans living in Central Virginia at the turn of the century," said Woodson assistant director Scot French.

The Holsinger collection is available on the World Wide Web in an online searchable database at: http://www.lib.virginia.edu/speccol/holsinger

Holsinger's University Studio on West Main Street was the leading studio in town. The photographer, who was white, was a member of the City Council, president of the Chamber of Commerce and director of the National Bank of Charlottesville.

Photographs for the exhibit are courtesy of U.Va. Library's Special Collections Department. Funding for the exhibit came from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the Joelson Foundation.

The Woodson Institute was established in 1981. It coordinates the Afro-American and African Studies program and hosts the Emerging Scholars Program for minority undergraduate students.

Contact: Katherine Jackson, (804) 924-3629.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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