This fall, the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia will allow readers to take a trip back in time to the early days of the city. However, the experience won’t be through the pages of a newspaper but rather in the form of a brand new hardcover coffee table book.
“Richmond Memories: The Early Years,” will include 152 pages of archival quality photos featuring aspects of daily life up until 1939. The Times-Dispatch is partnering with Pediment Publishing for the fifth time on the project.
“We’ve worked with them on several books before and they make the whole process extremely easy,” said executive editor Paige Mudd. “The fact that most of the heavy lifting is done by their experienced team makes this kind of project work well for us. Also, since history is so vitally important to Richmond, it’s a no brainer to do a book of historical photos of life in the city.”
Although the paper’s archive holds a sizable amount of historical pictures, members of the community were invited to share any original photos they had from the past as well. Local residents could either submit images online or attend a scanning session hosted by Pediment.
“We really wanted this to have a community feel, which is why we opened it up to the public,” Mudd said. “Anyone whose photo is selected will receive credit in the book.”
Both members of the newspaper and Pediment team will review and select the final group of photos for publication. The paper plans to pre-sell books for $29.95 in order to obtain an idea of the demand before printing additional copies for sale at the Times-Dispatch office and website.
“We found a few gems, including a beautiful print of a 1860s-era image of a house and family in Richmond’s famous Church Hill neighborhood,” Mudd said. “Also, a 93-year old woman called today and said she’s bringing a box of photos including images of her great-grandfather at a city fire station.”
The book will also include historical photos from organizations such as The Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, Beth Ahabah Museum and Archives and Virginia Union University.
Previous projects, such as “Back Roads: People, Places and Pie Around Virginia,” have been so popular that they have gone through several printings. The paper plans to publish another “Richmond Memories” book next year that leans heavily its own archives from the early 1900s. While Mudd declined to disclose any financial information about current or past projects with Pediment, she noted that the Times-Dispatch “wouldn’t be pursuing this book and others if it wasn’t a solid revenue stream.”
“From arts and festivals, to the James River and universities, to restaurants and breweries, there’s really a lot to love about Richmond. I think that’s why so many people go away to school and then come back to settle down here,” Mudd said. “It’s not all roses and sunshine, and there are your normal issues with government dysfunction, but overall, it’s a fantastic place to live.”