Osborne Family Photos

Dublin Core


Osborne Family Photos


Williamsburg (Va.) - Photographs
Newspapers - Virginia - Williamsburg
Newspaper publishing - Virginia - Williamsburg
Business enterprises - Virginia - Williamsburg
Osborne, J.A. (Joseph Alexander)


Founded in 1736 by William Parks, the Virginia Gazette served as a critical instrument of communication in colonial Virginia throughout the eighteenth-century. It ceased publication in the early 1800s and then underwent a series of short periods of reintroduction throughout the remainder of the nineteenth-century. The Special Collections Department of the Rockefeller Library is fortunate to hold numerous original eighteenth-century issues of the Virginia Gazette, many of which are mounted online for research access: https://cwfjdrlsc.omeka.net/collections/show/5. In addition to this fascinating resource for studying many aspects of eighteenth-century Williamsburg, the library’s visual archives also holds a photograph collection relating to the revival of the Virginia Gazette in the early twentieth-century by the Osborne family, the Osborne Family Photos, AV1998.19.

Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin invited newspaper publisher Joseph A. Osborne Sr. to relocate to Williamsburg to lead the effort to reintroduce a revitalized Virginia Gazette after a brief run under the auspices of the College of William & Mary’s journalism department in the mid-1920s dismantled. Goodwin envisioned the revival of its publication as an important accompaniment to the restoration efforts underway in Williamsburg’s historic district by the late 1920s. The Virginia Gazette office opened in a portion of a building forming part of the new business and shopping district at the west end of Duke of Gloucester Street. Located at 420 Prince George Street, it stood next to Ayers Garage in the approximate location of today’s Blue Talon Bistro. On January 10, 1930, Osborne released the first issue of the new and revised Virginia Gazette and the newspaper has been in continuous circulation since that date.

The Osborne family developed close ties with Colonial Williamsburg through daughters Mattie Osborne, who served as a hostess, and Marguerite Osborne, who worked as Ed Kendrew’s secretary. Their small collection of photographs held by the library illustrates their involvement with many aspects of the museum’s activities. Mr. Osborne attended such events as the Governor’s Palace concert series while his daughters are pictured in costume participating in tours, training sessions, and even promotional photo shoots for Williamsburg chocolates. After World War II, Osborne’s three daughters, Marguerite, Mattie, and Midge, along with his son, J.A. Osborne Jr., assumed various responsibilities with production of the paper. Their growing roles with the business are reflected in a series of photos depicting family members conferring over newspaper proofs, greeting guests at an open house, and discussing printing equipment. Marian Osborne rose from the role of assistant editor in the 1950s to become business manager, a role she retained even after her family sold the paper in 1961 and until her retirement in 1975. Together, the twenty-three photos encompassing the Osborne Family Photos provide a record of the family’s significant role in bringing the Virginia Gazette back to life and to honoring the newspaper’s historic roots in eighteenth-century Williamsburg.



Is Part Of

Osborne Family Photos, AV1998.19


23 photographs

Rights Holder

Special Collections, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation