Nov. 16 marks the 20th year for an annual conference organized by Charles E. Brownell, Ph.D., the head of VCU's Architectural History Program. Traditions IV: 20th Symposium on Architecture and Decorative Arts was scheduled to take place at the Virginia Historical Society. (Above: a detail from a book cover by the Richmond publisher Engelhardt.)
In the words of Brownell, the conference was created "to air valuable work by current and recent VCU graduate students, as well as important research by other members of the VCU family circle." Ray Bonis, archives coordinator at Cabell, was scheduled to present on "Griffin and Randall, American Masters" and University Librarian John E. Ulmschneider chaired a session on "Twenty Years of Research at VCU."
For 20 years, Dr. Brownell, professor in VCU's Art History Department, has deposited copies of his graduate students' research papers on architectural history topics to Special Collections and Archives at James Branch Cabell Library. More than 300 of these papers exist and they offer a deep scholarly imprint on Richmond's architectural history. Many of these papers develop into topics for master thesis and others are turned into papers presented at the VCU Annual Architectural History and the Decorative Arts Symposium. About the papers.
Some of the most architecturally significant buildings of 19th and 20th century Richmond are located on, or adjacent to, the campuses of Virginia Commonwealth University. A focus has been on documenting the architecture of what is known today as Richmond's Fan District and especially the buildings of VCU's Monroe Park Campus.