For release: January 10, 2008
For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey
Acclaimed Memphis author and filmmaker William Bearden will present a gift of more
than 1,000 digital photographs of Memphis' Victorian Village to the University Libraries
at the University of Memphis. He will make the presentation Jan. 30 at noon in the
rotunda of the Ned R. McWherter Library. The program immediately following by Mr.
Bearden will occur on the fourth floor, west side of the McWherter Library, just outside
the Special Collections Department. The photos were taken by Bearden
and his staff.
The president of the William Bearden Co. and native of Rolling Fork, Miss., also will
speak on the Memphis Legacy Project, an ongoing photography, writing and video program
documenting Memphis and the surrounding area. As a part of the project, he is writing
and producing an hour-long film on Victorian Village, encompassing its history and
impending renaissance. It is the first Legacy photographic archive on Victorian Village
presented to the University Libraries.
Accepting the gift will be U of M President Shirley Raines; Dr. Sylverna Ford, dean
of University Libraries; and Edwin Frank, curator of Library Special Collections.
The photos will be maintained in Special Collections, where the public will have access
to them under secure conditions.
Bearden is the author of Cotton: From Southern Fields to the Memphis Market, Memphis
Blues: Birthplace of a Musical Tradition and maker of the films Visualizing the Blues,
Horn Island Journal, The Story of Cotton and Elmwood Cemetery.
Victorian Village is at the heart of the Memphis story. It was the first “suburb"
of Memphis, and in its heyday it was the true economic, social and political center
of the city. Captains of commerce and industry built grand homes to reflect the affluence,
tastes and opulence of the times. Although many of the neighborhood's homes no longer
exist, the remaining few are a testament to the hard work and seemingly limitless
possibilities of the Victorian era, and the struggles and triumphs of the men and
women who sought to make Memphis the shining jewel on the Mississippi.
“We are pleased that Willy Bearden has chosen the University Libraries to receive
this collection of Victorian Village images," said Ford. “The grand and beautiful
houses of Victorian Village represent an important part of the history of Memphis.
They reflect the wealth and power of the families that played key roles in the growth
and development of the city's economy. Many an intriguing story can no doubt be traced
to origins within those walls. The talents and skills of photographers such as Willy
Bearden give voice to those stories and make them come alive today. We are truly delighted
to add these images to our collection, and we welcome the opportunity to make them
available to those who wish to study the architecture and lifestyles of that era."
For more information, contact Tom Mendina at 901-678-4310.