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Bruce Kennett photographs of Bremo; Enslaved Housing at Carters Grove, and other projects

Identifier: MSS 16826

Content Description

This collection contains photographs and negatives of subjects and properties for projects of photographer Bruce Kennett. Most of the images are of Bremo, John Hartwell Cocke's nineteenth-century home. Kennett was invited to photograph the property, and much of Kennett's work was included in a monograph titled "Birth of a Virginia Plantation House: The Design and Building of Bremo."

Also included are images of Carter's Grove Housing (quarters) for Enslaved People in Colonial Williamsburg; the Baraud House, Study of George Wythe, and the United States Supreme Court Chamber. Kennett is a designer, photographer, and teacher currently based in Vermont.

(Color and black and white negatives, color transparencies, Cibachrome and gelatin silver prints, and printers CMYK approval proof endpaper)


  • Creation: 1989 - 2012


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Biographical / Historical

Bremo is an estate and former plantation covering over 1,500 acres (610 ha) on the west side of Bremo Bluff in Fluvanna County, Virginia. It includes three separate estates, Upper Bremo, Lower Bremo, and Bremo Recess, all created in the 19th century by the planter, soldier, and reformer General John Hartwell Cocke on his family's 1725 land grant. Bremo was established around 1808 when John Hartwell Cocke II moved to Fluvanna County, Virginia. Cocke completed a larger home for himself and his wife Anne Blaws Barraud around 1812.

General Cocke enslaved people on Bremo starting in 1781 and over many generations approximately 246 enslaved people played an important role in the life and history of Bremo Plantation. The collection of photographs includes a schoolroom in the basement of Bremo for enslaved children. Source: Bremo Plantation, Wikitree.

Carter's Grove is a 750-acre (300 ha) plantation located on the north shore of the James River in the Grove Community of southeastern James City County in the Virginia Peninsula area of the Hampton Roads region of Virginia in the United States.

The plantation was built for Carter Burwell, grandson of Robert "King" Carter, and was completed in 1755. It was probably named for both the prominent and wealthy Carter family and nearby Grove Creek.

The Burwell family enslaved people beginning in the 1650s and runs through the early years of the nineteenth century. Robert “King” Carter purchased them from African traders before 1730. Within several decades these people had formed families, learned to survive, and constructed a meaningful African-American culture. Source: From Calabar to Carter’s Grove: The History of a Virginia Slave Community. By Lorena S. Walsh (Charlottesville, University Press of Virginia, 1997) 335 pp.

Edward A. Chappell, the director of architectural research for Colonial Williamsburg says that there is more knowledge of the lives of enslaved people because of more resarch and excations at Carters Grove.

''Blacks experienced varying conditions according to marital status, position in the work force and owners' inclinations,'' Mr. Chappell said. At Carter's Grove there is one large frame house where eight people are believed to have lived. It has a brick fireplace and chimney. The other two houses are smaller, made of logs, with stick-and-mud chimneys. The three buildings housed two dozen field hands.

The Carter's Grove reconstruction may signal a shift in attitude. Williamsburg officials report a growing curiosity about slavery on the part of visitors. ''How are we going to deal with where we came from,'' Mr. Ellis said, ''if we continue to pretend it didn't exist?''

Source:Brown, Patricia Leigh. "Restoring a Past Some Would Bury. New York Time. September 12, 1988.


0.31 Cubic Feet (11 folders (letter-size) 1 Flat File Folder (Small, FF S))

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was a gift from Bruce Kennett to the Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia Library on 31 March 2023.

Related Materials

Related to Bremo papers MSS 6518-a, MSS 13080

Bruce Kennett photographs of Bremo; Enslaved Housing at Carters Grove, and other projects
Ellen Welch
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States