Archive | April, 2012

Today in Rip Payne

30 Apr

by Emma Earnst


On this day in 1960, Rip Payne photographed a book signing and talk in the old Barrett Reading Room at UVA (how humanities).  The Barrett Reading Room, named in honor of Clifton Waller Barrett was established in the 1960s on the second floor of Alderman Library.* According to UVA’s Board of Visitors minutes, Barrett was “an alumnus and noted bibliophile.”  What a lovely characterization!  (If only every such person got a reading room named after them.) When the Small Special Collections Library opened in the early 2000s, the Barrett Room (in name only) moved to the new building.  The original physical room began renovations to become an East Asian reading room instead.**

In addition to having a nifty little story behind these pictures, they are pretty cool all on their own.  I would just like to highlight a few fashion notes:

  1. Men were wearing super-cool black-rimmed glasses back then, too. Guess it only took 50+ years for that to come back into style.
  2. Mink was acceptable attire for book signings in the near-basement of a library.  Seems a little over-board to me, but I’ll try it out at our next signing (faux fur, of course).
  3. Can we please talk about that gorgeous polka dot dress? Or better yet, how about that Jackie-O-style jacket on the standout brunette (above)? I swoon.

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*Question: With whom does Barrett share an awesome/confusing middle name?

Answer: William Waller Hening, editor of the Statutes at Large, the collection of all Virginia laws from 1619 to his present.  Check out a big new collection of them over in the Encyclopedia Virginia’s primary resources section.  Yours truly may have had a small part in that!

Further Reading:

Susan Tyler Hitchcock, Buried treasure: UVA’s Special Collections get a new homeThe Hook, March 3, 2005.


Today in Rip Payne

27 Apr
by Emma Earnst

Throughout the 1960s, on this day, Rip Payne stayed pretty busy.

On this day in 1984, my parents also stayed pretty busy, as they were getting married. Happy Anniversary!!

They are going to kill me for this...

Just for the record, Rip Payne had nothing to do with that picture.  He did, however, have quite a lot to do with the rest of these.

First up, in 1961, Rip Payne snapped a single shot of a woman being awarded (inducted?) by the Order of Easter Star, a co-ed fraternal organization.  According to their website, the Order is a spiritual, though not religious, organization with the specific values of charity, education, fraternity, and science.  It is a suborder of Freemasonry, and requires all members to have Masonic connections. Today, the Charlottesville Eastern Star Order resides at 425 East Main Street (pictured to the left), with masonic symbols clearly marking the territory.


Then, in 1965, Rip Payne captured the marquis advertising the Paramount Theater’s showing of The Night Walker. The film was directed by William Castle and starred Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwick in her final feature film. The film, according to reviews, wasn’t all that great. But, the Paramount is truly in all its glory here.  It is set on what was still a street-scape at this time (not the paved pedestrian mall of today), and I can just picture it all lit up against the night sky with those big bright lights.  Can you tell that I have my rose-colored glasses on?

Finally, in 1968, Rip Payne documented another awards ceremony, this time at a different type of fraternal organization, Leggett’s.  Leggett’s was the precursor to the Belk we know today, and at this time resided on the “Mall” (or, more appropriately, East Main before it was the Mall) not Fashion Square Mall, where Belk now lives. I guess they didn’t get very creative with their changes.





Don’t you just love cat-eye glasses?!?!

I will leave you with this:

Rip Payne stayed busy today.  My parents had the most important day of their lives today.  The lady in the picture above knew enough to drink her coffee and drink it black today.  Don’t let the spirit die.  Be productive, and accomplish something great today!

Today in Rip Payne

26 Apr
by Emma Earnst

Today in 1973, Rip Payne enjoyed another beauty making her rounds— this time Miss America visiting Lane High School. You may not recognize her, but the beauty queen was none other than Terri Meeuwsen, who went on to co-anchor The 700 Club with Pat Robertson.  Before this, though, Meeuwsen decided she wanted to be a singer, moved to L.A., and joined the New Christy Minstrels.*  Her promotional appearances for the group are what ultimately led her to the career she would be most known for – being the pretty, sweet lady next to Pat Robertson on the couch.  In case that isn’t enough, she also founded a charity organization, Orphan’s Promise, married, and had seven children!

During her visit, Terri belted out some tunes, had a photo op with local beauty queens, and then sat back to enjoy a full-out performance by the kids at Lane High School that rivals the kids of Glee in visual appeal.

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*Sorry, I couldn’t find any with Terri.  This video is from before Meeuwsen joined the group.

The Season for Seasons

26 Apr
by Emma Earnst

Looking back on the past often involves rose-colored glasses, but today my spectacles are completely clear.  As I am currently in the heat of “conference season,” when I came across this medal from the American Legion, I was quite impressed.  For those of you who aren’t aware, as the warm air entices folks outside, folks tend to name repetitive activities by attaching season to the end of an appropriate generic term.  For us twenty-somethings, there is the wedding season; for my snobby D.C. friends, there is the social season (apparently people don’t leave home during the winter?); and for adorkable academics, there is conference season.

Yes, I just used adorkable.  By the way, though, I’m totally over that phrase.  Zooey Deshanel is goddess, but don’t overuse phrases, publicists.  Okay? Thank you.

And…back to the object at hand. Usually when I attend a conference, I get a nice Microsoft-Publisher-style name badge with my name and one of the four organizations I might be representing that day.* Then I get a bunch of junk mail in a hideous bag and get shuffled away.  But back in 1938, the American Legion really knew how to treat their conference attendees right.  We’re talking full-on ribbon and brass medals, complete with images of Monticello, Jefferson (?), and American Legion seals.

 *P.S. I’m not bragging about this…it’s a confusing life I lead.

Today in Rip Payne

25 Apr

by Emma Earnst


On this day in 1968, Rip Payne had a ball!

Well, a golf ball, that is.

He spent the day at THE putt putt palace on Rio Road, snapping shots of the latest crowned Southeastern Putt Putt Queen.

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Didn’t know such a thing existed?  Don’t be foolish.  Back in the 1960s, even South Africa had a Putt Putt Queen!

It is worth mentioning that in the late 1960s, the putt putt business had really gone a tad overboard.  In addition to this full-blown international beauty contest, they published a regular newsletter, established a motto (“America’s Newest Professional Sport”) and even enlisted a chaplain (perhaps to cut down on the cursing when those *&@$ed windmills ate your ball?).

The appearance of “Miss Putt Putt,” as Rip named her in 1968, may have been a recurrence of the previous year’s PPA Tournament as part of the Charlottesville Dogwood Festival.  This 1967 tournament included a $1000 prize, a parade of national beauty queens, and an appearance by Ken Boy, the 1966 “Putter of the Year.”

Built by Lloyd “L.F.” Woods, the Rio Hill course still operates today. Kinda makes you want to go play putt putt now, doesn’t it?!

The Case of the Missing “Norman” (or, Some Dead Horses)

24 Apr
by Emma Earnst


A local resident recently donated a collection of Daily Progress newspaper clippings to the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society.  As we sifted through them, we came across a slew of rather interesting articles, most notably one on the horses of the Belle-mont Mansion.  Digging deeper, as so often is the case, I’ve uncovered a wealth of fantastic resources and stories that would force me to write a book, if only I had the time.

Well, it would be a short book, but it would still be a book.

The article, which you will find below, grabbed our (macabre) attention with the opening line,

Virginia’s first Percheron-Norman horses sleep in the Belmont section of Charlottesville.

These horses, now referred to as simply “Percheron” (the latter name, Norman, being dropped in the 1870s), are a French breed, first exported to the United States in the 19th century as work horses.  They were often used to pull buses until horse-drawn transportation waned in the 20th century, when the horses became revered as a major draft breed for both work and show.

In 1852, Slaughter Ficklin, owner of the Belle-mont Mansion in southern Charlottesville, brought the first group of Percheron-Normans to Virginia just after the Civil War ended.  The horses, as the article states, were truly quite apt at working, taking up heavy pulling that was previously reserved for oxen.  The Ficklin farm was a stock farm, and many of the Percherons eventually made their way to other farms around the country.

In the 1870s, after a decade and a half of breeding and national distribution, the first two of Ficklin’s horses kicked it, and Ficklin gave his beloved stud horses a proper Christian burial, marking the spot with a stone.

A decade later, Ficklin died at the age of 70, and after his wife’s death, the property was subdivided into smaller lots that today make up the Belmont section of Charlottesville.  That’s another story for another time, though.

But, if you are curious, check this out to start.

Today in Rip Payne

18 Apr
by Emma Earnst

On this day in 1946, Rip Payne took in a ball game at Lambeth Field.  The stadium, constructed in 1911 by Robert E. Lee Taylor, was

intended to be the ‘finest athletic stadium in the South and one that compares very favorably with the stadiums at Syracuse and Harvard.’

Named in honor of Dr. William A. Lambeth, the director of athletics at the time, it served as the football stadium until 1931, when Scott Stadium was constructed.  The field continued to serve other sports, including baseball, for many years hence.  In addition to being the premier athletic field of its day, Lambeth also became well-known for hosting, perhaps, one of the first flights to which Charlottesville bore witness (in 1912).

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In researching this entry, I came across the following discussion on regarding Charlottesville businesses (including Keller & George, whose sponsorship is advocated in Payne’s photos), the city/county border, and blogging ethics.  Which has still left me to wonder… what is the oldest Cville business?
In other news, George Reed, who serves as the managing director of Monticello Media (which, consequently, owns WCHV, the radio group picture above) recently wrote an article discussing the Keller Radio Talent Institute at Appalachian State University.  App State, in turn, is the home to History Matters, a historical publication in which my undergraduate thesis was published. Whoa… that’s a lot of coincidences for one day.