Black Virginians, white lenses: Images from the Cook Photograph Collection

In 2000, VCU Libraries in collaboration with the Valentine selected and digitized this group of 250 images, primarily of African Americans, from the George and Huestis Cook Photograph Collection held by the Valentine. These images are scans of the original prints produced from glass-plate or film negatives. George S. Cook (1819-1902) and Huestis P. Cook (1868-1951) captured these images primarily in the Richmond and Central Virginia area during the late-19th and early-20th century.

Most of these photographs, like others from this era, were posed or staged. They provide some insight into both Black life and white racist perceptions of that existence.

Digital Collections come from a broad range of sources, including materials that are offensive or contain negative stereotypes. VCU Libraries provides access to these items to support research and inquiry.

This material is owned by the Valentine. Non-commercial use of this material is permitted. For any commercial uses, permission is required. Acknowledgement of Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries as a source is requested. For information about ordering copies and commercial use of these images, contact the Valentine.