Circa 1910 – A pair of scarce colorful lithographed postcards made from photographs by an important Virginia photographer, William Edward Burgess, who meticulously documented small town and rural life within the state
Shores and Scottsville, Virginia: A. L. Seay. Unbound.
These two unused, divided-back postcards picture the home and businesses of A. L. Seay in the tiny settlement of Shores, Virginia, just east of Scottsville on the north bank of the James River. Both cards are in nice shape.
One of the cards shows a red house and nearby white store painted with letters reading, “A. L. Seay. / General / Merchandise.” A title along the bottom reads “Shores, Virginia / Pub. By A. L. Seay, Shores, Va. Phot by W. E. Burgess, Scottsville, Va.”
The other features a five-story brick building painted with letters that read “A. L. Seay. / Flour. Corn. Meal. Grain. Hay. / Mill Feed.” It is captioned “Middleton Mills . . . Erected September 10, 1811. Burned in 1832 and again in 1865 by General Sheridan. . .. Rebuilt in 1866. Purchased by the Seay family in 1873. . ..” It is credited along the bottom “Pub by A. L. Seay, Shores, VA. Copyright 1910 by W. E Burgess.”. Very good. Item #010053
When Burgess’s died in 1935, Idylwood (his combination home and photo studio) contained over 450,000 different images including family groups, clubs, veterans reunions, weddings, funerals, disasters, wildlife, and supposedly every house, store, outbuilding and scenic view in Albemarle and Fluvanna counties.
Unfortunately, although some examples of his cards and photos are held by the University of Virginia and the Scottsville Museum, surprising few others have survived; “many . . . have been lost – victims to floods, fires, human carelessness, or the wear of time.”
(For more information, see Walker’s “Trial List of Burgess Postcards. . .. “ as well as “William Edward Burgess, Scottsville's Photographer,” Halliburton’s “William Edward Burgess: Poet-Historian with the Camera,” and Klippstein’s “Life, in Black and White,” all available online at the Scottsville Museum website.)Exceptionally scarce. Worthpoint and the Valuable Rare Postcards website show many Burgess postcards sell for up to $1,000 when they appear at auction. While Middleton Mills cards occasionally appear, the red house-general store card is exceptionally scarce. Only one other example is known to exist; it sold for $873 in a 2019 eBay auction.