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The Oyster Beds of Chesapeake Bay

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"The oyster beds of the Chesapeake Bay provide employment for thousands of people in Tidewater Virginia nine months of the year." T. Beverly Campbell (1892-1964), Compiler. Virginia State Chamber of Commerce, New York World's Fair Photograph Collection.

Virginia was one of twenty-two states represented in the Court of States at the New York World's Fair in 1939. Located close to the main entrance, the Virginia Room was a place where footsore visitors could recuperate, enjoy a complimentary glass of ice water served by white-jacketed waiters, and peruse an array of 227 photograph albums prepared by the Virginia State Chamber of Commerce.

Beverly Campbell, an editor and playwright from Richmond who managed the Virginia Room, selected more than fifty-six hundred images submitted by corporations, government agencies, and individual photographers. Campbell organized the images within subject groups and added brief descriptive captions. As a collection, the optimistic, flattering pictures of the Old Dominion form an interesting and pronounced contrast to the many depression-era documentary photographs produced by such federal agencies as the Farm Security Administration. These positive views served as a public relations boost to Virginia's ailing economy and image. At the conclusion of the World's Fair, the Virginia State Chamber of Commerce donated the albums to the Library of Virginia.