NORFOLK, VA – The Sargeant Memorial Collection (SMC) of Norfolk Public Library and the City of Norfolk is proud to announce the completion of The Virginian-Pilot photographic collection donation. This collection also includes photographs from the former Ledger-Star. These photographs are the visual heritage for the greater Hampton Roads region and northeastern North Carolina from the mid-1950s to roughly 2000. This donation is significant in that there is no other major newspaper photograph collection held by a public library or archival institution in Virginia. Across the country, there are only a handful of institutions that have major newspaper photograph morgues.
The collection contains several hundred thousand photograph prints and at least 400,000 photographic negatives. It took ten pallets and more than 200 boxes to move everything to the library. The photographs range across the entire spectrum of life here in this region. Some images document the struggle for equality during the Civil Rights era including major figures in the Civil Rights movement such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Malcom X, and Reverend Jesse Jackson who all visited this region at one time or another. Some images cover emerging sports and recreation like surfing at the Virginia Beach oceanfront. The newspaper visually recorded this region’s connection with the early efforts by the United States to reach for outer space. Lastly, the images in this collection also include photographs of the many different people who made an impact, big and small, on this region.
This donation brings together all the photographs created by The Virginian-Pilot and related publications from the mid-1920s to early 2000 under one roof. In the early 1980s, The Virginian-Pilot donated their historic photographs and negatives from the mid-1920s to mid-1950s to the Sargeant Memorial Collection.
The collection will be closed to the public for research while SMC does inventory and processes the photographs. SMC will selectively digitize some of the photographs once the inventorying of the collection is completed. Once the digitizing of the selected images is complete, those images will be hosted online at SMC’s digital collection.
ABOUT SARGEANT MEMORIAL COLLECTION: The Sargeant Memorial Collection is the local history and genealogy collection for the Norfolk Public Library. Founded in 1927, its’ mission is to curate the written and visual historical record of Norfolk and this region. This non-circulating collection contains a variety of books and periodicals about Norfolk and Virginia, as well as Norfolk maps, photographs, high school yearbooks and city directories for the Hampton Roads region. Nearly 200 years of Norfolk newspapers on microfilm are available. SMC’s genealogy collection encompasses Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, and other nearby states and includes books and microfilm to assist in family research. https://www.norfolkpubliclibrary.org/