A Collection in
Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell
Collection Number M 285
James Branch Cabell Library, Virginia Commonwealth UniversityContact Information:
James Branch Cabell Library
Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia 23284-2003
Phone: (804) 828-1108
Fax: (804) 828-0151
Processed by: B. Pittman and Heather Foster
Funding: Web version of the finding aid funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
© 2001 By Copyright Virginia Commonwealth University. All Rights Reserved.
Collection is open for use without restrictions
Box/folder, Richmond Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, M 285, Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library, Virginia Commonwealth University
The collection was donated to the Department by the Executive Directory in August 1990.
Collection processed in July 1990. Finding aid revised in April 2000.
In February 1883, Mrs. W. Ben Palmer held a meeting in her home for those interested in forming a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals. The following month, an entertainment was given at the old Richmond Theatre (Broad and Seventh streets) to raise funds to finance such a Society. Eight years later, in October 1891, there were finally enough interested persons to organize the Richmond Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The organization was incorporated in the City of Richmond in February 1892 and its first elected officers were Dr. Jud B. Wood, President; Mr. S.H. Hawes, first Vice-President; Mr. Joseph Bryan, second Vice-President; Mr. W. Ben Palmer, third Vice-President; Rev. H. Carmichael, fourth Vice-President; Mr. James Lyons, fifth Vice-President; Mr. Ira Mowery, Secretary; Mr. W. Ben Palmer, Treasurer; and MR. A.B. Guigon, Attorney. The first agent was Mr. Emmett C. Taylor, who filled this position until his death in January 1929.
For nearly twenty years the Society struggled to survive with very little money and little outside support. The city of Richmond appropriated $500 a year to help the organization fulfill its goal. These funds, with the contributions of friends and the dues from members, constituted the entire budget for the RSPCA. In 1911, the Society received the good news that it was the sole beneficiary of the estate of Louisa B. Nelle, a relative of Mrs. Palmer's. From 1917 through 1923 the work of the Society foundered, public interest languished and funds were not forthcoming. Plans for a shelter had to be put aside for the time.
In June of 1924, interest was revitalized in the Society and the Charter amended to allow for the opening of a shelter. The first shelter opened in October 1924 and housed over 950 animals in its first year. The Society was fortunate at the same time to be incorporated into the budget of the Richmond Community Fund.
Since this time the work of the Society has increased and become a well-known presence in Richmond. A new shelter was constructed in the 1960s and a cooperative arrangements negotiated with the appropriate city offices in areas where the two overlap.
The collection consists of reports, statistics, promotional materials, correspondence, blueprints, clippings and miscellaneous items relating to the growth and development of the Richmond Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The bulk of the collection concerns the construction of the new shelter on Chamberlayne Avenue in the 1960s, but also includes sporadic annual reports and statistics, presidents reports and laws under investigation for the protection of animals.
Materials arranged alphabetically by subject and chronological therein.Organization
The collection is arranged alphabetically by subject and chronologically therein. The oversize materials are stored separately. The scrapbooks are shelved in the oversize area in chronological order. Photographs have been separated and are located in the University Photograph Collection. The book Dogs as I See Them by Lucy Dawson has been transferred to the Department's book collection.
1925-1926, 1929, 193?, 1946, 1949-1951, 1953, 1955, 1958-1959, 1962
1923, 1947, 1949-1955, 1963, 1968, 1970