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Hampton Institute student photograph album

 Collection — Box: BW 33, Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 16525

Content Description

This collection contains a photograph album of a student from Hampton Institute. The original photo album, measuring 7' x 10' with 24 pages, contains 44 black and white photographs of an unidentified young Black woman, approximately 20 years old, as well as cut newspaper images and a photo postcard. She is seen at Hampton Institute, a historically Black University, in Hampton, Virginia, posing in front of school buildings, clowning around with friends, and preparing for graduation. Also included are scenic photographs of places she visited such as a dam, a church, and a parade. The last few pages contain family photographs; a couple photographs show her with an elderly woman. Some of the baby photographs are inscribed "To Grandma" and "To Grand Dad" and another is labeled "Me". The identification of the Hampton Institute as the locale comes from a real photo postcard with the title "The Hampton Institute Creative Dance Group" and a newspaper cutout of the Hampton Institute Choir along with the news caption, "They Keep Spiritual Values High at Hampton." It is possible that this album was kept by the grandparent of the young women.


  • Creation: undated

Biographical / Historical

The identity of the student who owned the Hampton Institute photograph album is not known. The history of the Hampton Institute reflects decades of a movement towards more inclusiveness and diversity. The institute originally evolved from a camp near Fort Monroe, Virginia where African Americans were arriving in 1861 during the American Civil War to find freedom from being enslaved in the South. Mary Peake was a free African American woman who held the first class of about twenty students under a simple oak tree. “Today the tree still stands on the campus of the Hampton Institute as a lasting symbol of the promise of education for all, even in the face of adversity.”

Several Union Army Generals (General Benjamin Butler and Brigadier General Samuel Armstrong) founded and improved the school, naming it the Butler School. It was associated with the Freedmen's Bureau of the Ninth District of Virginia (Little Scotland which was adjacent to the school), the Whittier School and the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute. "During the night of April 18, 1878, a group of Native Americans arrived in Hampton from Fort Sill, where they had been imprisoned at the close of the Red River War. Several buildings were constructed during this twenty-year span, including Whipple Barn, and Wigwam Dormitory. In 1868, Booker T. Washington was a student at the school.

In 1930, it became the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute. 1n 1940 the Institute hired more diverse faculty to fill the roles of high-ranking administrative positions. In 1949, Dr. Dr. Alonzo Graseano Moron became the first African American president. In the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement, noted civil rights leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King, visited the Hampton campus. In 1957 Rosa Parks moved to the Hampton area where she worked on campus as a hostess at The Holly Tree Inn. On February 11, 1960, a group of Hampton Institute students were the first in Virginia to stage a lunch counter sit-in, to protest local business' refusal to serve blacks and whites equally.

"In 1984, after a nine-month study of Hampton Institute's rapid growth and development in quality of students, faculty and academic offerings, the recommendation was made to change the name to Hampton University."Today, over 150 years after its inception, Hampton University continues to break new ground in academic achievement, staying true to General Armstrong's original promise of The Standard of Excellence, An Education for Life."

Source: Based on the Hampton University website: Retrieved 9/17/21 Equal Opportunity Accessibility


.04 Cubic Feet (1 legal sized folder) : album

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was purchased from Max Rambod by the Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia on June 28, 2021.

Condition Description




Guide to the Hampton Institute student photograph album
Rose Oliveira/Ellen Welch
20 July 2021
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