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Surry County, Virginia, Historical Society and Museums, Inc.
P. O. Box 262, Surry, VA 23883   Phone (757) 294-0404
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Lorena Leath Photographs

In December 2000 the Surry County, Virginia, Historical Society and Museums, Inc., was given a gift of great significance to the county's history, the life's work of Surry's award-winning photographer, Lorena Leath. This is an extensive collection of slides depicting life in Surry and Sussex county in the twentieth Century.

Lorena Wilcox Leath was born in Surry County on January 20, 1902. She started her work in photography with pin hole cameras as a youth. She studied photography at what is now Longwood College, where she graduated. Photography became a life long hobby for Lorena, with the help of Jimmy Leath, her husband, assistant and the subject of many of her pictures. Route 603, the road fronting their farm, Bowling Green, was named Camera Road in honor of Lorena.

Lorena was the first person in Virginia to receive The Photographic Society of America's highest honor, the Five Star Award for color slides. The subjects of most of her slides were rural scenes in Surry and Sussex County, often on their farm. Many were national first prize winners. She amassed thousands of slides during her long life. No other collection shows as much of rural life in Surry and Sussex county.

Lorena Leath died on Oct. 4,1991, and Jimmy Leath, on September 4, 1994. Jimmy's and Lorena's heirs, Floyd and Virginia Carr of Yale, Virginia, have given her entire collection of slides to The Surry County, Virginia, Historical Society and Museums, Inc. The collection is both art and history.

Below are some examples of her work now housed at the Surry County, Virginia, Historical Society.

snow axle scythe
Our Sheep* Autumn Leaf Going Home
spin whl man ox
Spinning Wheel George Washington Plowing with an Ox
hogs jug boats
Love You In the Jug Autumn Tranquility

More information about Lorena Leath.

*Lorena Leath's Our Sheep won a Photograpic Society of America Gold Medal in the Wichita Falls, Texas, International Photographic Exhibition in 1968.

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