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.


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