Tag Archives: books

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

1 Feb

I thought I’d do something a little different today, so we are going to play a little game of “Choose Your Own Adventure.”  In addition to being one of the coolest things to play/read as a child, this allows me to potentially escape the fate of running into another wrecked train (SPOILER ALERT!) after writing a Rip Payne post about it.  More on that later…

So for those of you who have never played, here’s the rules:

I give you two options and you pick between them, then get served the Rip Payne you deserve for picking that.  This is going to be a lot clearer than the typical Choose Your Own Adventure scenario wherein, without doubt, I always ended up getting killed or in some other terrible disaster.

Here’s your scenario:

Its almost noon o’clock, and you get to read an awesome Rip Payne blog post.  If you are having a rough day, and would like a random happy picture to cheer you up, please see Chapter 1 below.  If you are having a good day, and feel ready to take on the world, good, bad, ugly, and all, please scroll down to the bottom the page (Chapter 2).  You will still get some happiness on the way.  If you are having such a bad day that only other people’s mistakes//random acts of destruction could possibly make you feel happy, please scroll down to Chapter 2.  Don’t even bother looking at Chapter 1.

Chapter 1

Mrs. Dan Townsend's Birthday Cake, 1945

Chapter 2

Train Wreck at Orange, VA, 1965

Train Wreck at Orange, VA, 1965

Train Wreck at Orange, VA, 1965

Train Wreck at Orange, VA, 1965

Train Wreck at Orange, VA, 1965

Train Wreck at Orange, VA, 1965

Train Wreck at Orange, VA, 1965

Train Wreck at Orange, VA, 1965

Train Wreck at Orange, VA, 1965

Train Wreck at Orange, VA, 1965

Train Wreck at Orange, VA, 1965

The Mystery of the Embossed Album

26 Aug

I’m going all Nancy Drew on you this week.

Imagine for a moment that you’ve just moved into an old house… What is the coolest thing that could possibly find when moving in?  Here’s my list (in order):

  1.  A pile of money
  2. All my things unpacked already
  3. A ghost
Well, admittedly today’s object does not fall into any of these categories, per se.  But when Bonita Baer moved into her apartment at 1121 Wertland Street in the 1980s, she did have a rather interesting experience.  One that, in my opinion, could have involved any and all of these.   Needless to say, I would have totally traded places with her that day.  …um, had I been born yet…

1121 Wertland Street

Ms. Baer was a really nice lady, and gave ACHS what she found in her new apartment that day- so now we can share it with you all!


Okay then, here goes:

Do you know what Ms. Baer found yet?

If today’s title hasn’t given it away yet, maybe this will help…

An old photograph album!  Ms. Baer found this in the attic of her apartment at 1121 Wertland Street.  Inside the first page, an inscription can be found:

To Dean Lid
From Mag.
Xmas 1909

Truly, its quite a lovely gift.  The book is covered with embossed leather, decorated with leaves and scrolls.  Inside, the pages are embellished with colorful printed flowers and small landscapes.  The pages are thick, with recesses to place photographs.   An intricate-looking, yet inherently simple pin design locking system keeps the album closed.

The Mystery of the Album

So the album is really pretty, and we know where it came from, but who is “Dean Lit”?  And why did “Mag.” give him this album?

Well, I’d sure love to know, if you can find out…

1121 Wertland Street was built by Mr. Baker, the Registrar of the University at the turn of the (last) century.  It was occupied by his daughter and her husband -the Truymans- until 1924, when the Hill family moved in.  The Hills then rented out part of the house as apartments.  We assume that the album must have belonged to one of these tenants, of whom we have no record.  None of the known residents were Deans or Mags.

In any case, I’m sure it must have been quite an exciting find for Ms. Baer!  I know that it certainly was for me, and this isn’t even my house…  So the next time you find yourself moving into a new place, don’t dismay.  You probably won’t have a ghost help you move your stuff in and then present you with a big pile of cash.  But if you’re lucky, you might find something really cool in your attic.