Edith Shelton's Richmond Revisited

Explore mid-20th Century Richmond neighborhoods through a new selection of imagery by amateur photographer Edith Shelton.

Brook Road and Duval Street, Jackson Ward (1956-08) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

Edith Shelton's Richmond Revisited

Nearly five years ago, the Valentine mounted an exhibition of images from the more than 3,000 35mm color slides taken by local amateur photographer Edith Keesee Shelton. The photographs, primarily of downtown Richmond neighborhoods such as Jackson Ward, Carver, Monroe Ward and Shockoe Bottom, fascinated viewers with their vibrant color and captured a city entering a period of dramatic physical change. The images, most taken during the mid-1950s, resonated with the Valentine’s visitors, many of whom asked to see more.

115 N. Morris Street, Fan District (1957-11) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

We now offer an additional group of photographs spotlighting the unique eye of Edith Shelton.  

Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Cathedral Place, Fan District (1975-09) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

According to her niece, Mrs. Edgar J. Fisher, Jr., Miss Shelton "...loved Richmond—alleys, cobblestones, manhole covers.  She loved everything...she was always having adventures, in her mind anyway..."

James River and Kanawha Canal from the 9th Street (Manchester) Bridge, Riverfront District (1957-11) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

An energetic walker, Shelton spent hours photographing Richmond, documenting a city whose landscape and customs echoed the past, even while it began to experience the physical and social changes that marked the post-World War II era.

700 block Munford Street, Carver (1955-09) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

The Edith K. Shelton Slide Collection offers a glimpse into Richmond's older neighborhoods, many that have disappeared with the advent of road construction and redevelopment projects.  

300 block W. Cary Street, Monroe Ward (1956-05) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

As well as being visually appealing, Miss Shelton's images also serve as a resource to those interested in the history of Richmond’s neighborhoods, businesses, and buildings—many of which no longer exist.

Main Street Station,1500 E. Main Street, Shockoe Bottom (1958-08) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

Want to see more? Digitized through funding from Universal Leaf Foundation, the Edith K. Shelton Photograph Collection is available through the Valentine's online database at thevalentine.org.

22-24 E. Broad Street, Jackson Ward (1977-11) by Edith Shelton, photgrapherThe Valentine

Who was Edith Shelton?

Who was Edith Shelton?

Edith Keesee Shelton (1898–1989) was born in Richmond, Virginia, to Edith Morton Keesee and W. Penick Shelton, a banker.  She attended Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia, graduating in 1918 with a degree in Latin. In about 1927, Miss Shelton began working for the University of Richmond, where she continued to work as a cashier in the Treasurer’s Department until retiring in 1969.  After her mother’s death in 1950, Miss Shelton lived alone until her own death in 1989. Miss Shelton was a member of local historical and preservation organizations, such as the Valentine Museum and the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities. Although she was an untrained photographer, Miss Shelton did have a vision for her images—she was not just a casual observer. When the collection came to the Valentine in 1991, it included a carefully maintained index with descriptions of every image. 

300 block W. Cary Street, Monroe Ward (1956-05) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

Now the site of VCU Cary and Belvidere Residential College.

300 block W. Cary Street today

518-520 Church Street, Oregon Hill (1957-03) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

Now the site of the Virginia War Memorial.

518-520 Church Street today.

John Marshall High School and House, 800 block E. Marshall Street, Court End (1956-08) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

Now the site of the John Marshall Courts Building.

800 block E. Marshall Street today.

700 block Munford Street, Carver (1955-09) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

Now Belvidere Street near W. Clay Street.

700 block Munford Street today.

118 W. Cary Street, Monroe Ward (1957-04) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

Now a parking lot.

118 W. Cary Street today.

5 N. Second Street, Monroe Ward (1957-03)The Valentine

Now the site of SunTrust Bank driveway.

5 N. Second Street today.

420 Brook Road, Jackson Ward (1973-10) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

420 Brook Road today.

920 W. Moore Street, Carver (1955-08) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

Now the site of an empty lot near Interstates 95/64.

920 W. Moore Street today.

800 block W. Leigh Street, Carver (1956-08) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

800 block W. Leigh Street today.

700 block Axtell Street, Jackson Ward (1955-08) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

Now an empty lot near Interstate 64.

700 block Axtell Street today.

Brook Road and Duval Street, Jackson Ward (1956-08) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

Now an empty lot near Interstates 95/64.

Brook Road and Duval Street today.

Main Street Station,1500 E. Main Street, Shockoe Bottom (1958-08) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

Main Street Station today.

806 W. Cary Street, Fan District (1970-11) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

Now the site of the VCU West Main Street Parking Deck.

806 W. Cary Street today.

Little Sisters of the Poor, 16 N. Harvie Street, Fan District (1970-11) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

Now the site of the Warsaw Condominiums.

16 N. Harvie Street today.

1401 Idlewood Avenue, Randolph (1970-05) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

Now the site of a modern brick home.

1401 Idlewood Avenue today.

Church Hill Furniture Repairing Company, 316 W. Broad Street, Jackson Ward (1973-11) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

Now the site of Managed Care Innovations.

316 W. Broad Street today.

Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Cathedral Place, Fan District (1975-09) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

Cathedral of the Sacred Heart today.

22-24 E. Broad Street, Jackson Ward (1977-11) by Edith Shelton, photgrapherThe Valentine

22-24 E. Broad Street today.

115 N. Morris Street, Fan District (1957-11) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

115 N. Morris Street today.

810-816 Riverside Park, Oregon Hill (1956-12) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

810-816 Riverside Park today.

Small Boat Harbor, Tobacco Row in background, James River and Kanawha Canal, Shockoe Bottom (1956-11) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

James River, Kanawha Canal and Tobacco Row from James River Interstate Bridge today.

James River and Kanawha Canal from the 9th Street (Manchester) Bridge, Riverfront District (1957-11) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

James River and Kanawha Canal from the 9th Street (Manchester) Bridge today.

Coleman and his horse, Price and Leigh Streets, Jackson Ward (1955-08) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

Price and Leigh Streets today.

Flower Seller, Arthur Ashe Boulevard at Hanover Avenue, Fan District (1972-06) by Edith Shelton, photographerThe Valentine

Arthur Ashe Boulevard at Hanover Avenue today.

Credits: Story

Curator: Laura G. Carr
Project Manager: Meg Hughes
Digitization Sponsor: Universal Leaf Foundation
Acknowledgements:
Image360-RVA
Richmond Camera
Rick’s Custom Frame + Gallery

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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