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Part 4

100 Movers And Shapers

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James Branch Cabell
(1879-1958) b. Richmond
In his 1920 essay "The Sahara of the Bozart," H.L. Mencken derides the South as a "gargantuan paradise of the fourth rate."

But Mencken makes one exception, the novelist James Branch Cabell.

Mencken calls Cabell, "a scarlet dragon-fly imbedded in opaque amber." Cabell's unrealistic historical novels, which bordered on moral allegory, like "Gallantry" (1907), "Chivalry" (1909) and "Jurgen" (1919) were hugely popular in the teens and 1920s, but fell out of favor after the 1930s.

William Harry Schwarzschild
(1879-1952) b. Richmond
While other men in Richmond were building railroads in the decades after the Civil War, William Schwarzschild, the son of German immigrants, was selling railroad pocket watches on lower East Main Street. As Richmond expanded westward, the young retailer moved his Old Dominion Watch Company to West Broad Street in 1903 where he and his brothers, Henry and Sol, established Schwarzschild Brothers jewelers. In 1911, Schwarzschild co-founded Central National Bank, becoming its president in 1920. In 1930, the bank's great new art deco skyscraper opened just blocks from the store. Central National became Central Fidelity, which now is part of Wachovia. The jewelry store remains the "Tiffany" of Richmond.

Richard S. Reynolds
(1880-1955) b. Bristol, Tenn.
and Richard S. Reynolds Jr.
(1908-1980) b. Winston-Salem, N.C.
In 1918, Richard Reynolds founded the United States Foil Co. to manufacture cigarette foil. In 1928, he formed Reynolds Metals Company and in 1938 moved its world headquarters here. Richard Jr. joined the firm that same year. The company became a major aluminum producer, and in 1956, the company built the handsome headquarters on West Broad Street that would be Richmond's first suburban corporate campus.

Adele Clark
(1882-1983) b. Montgomery, Ala.
Adele Clark studied art in New York with such early 20th-century masters as Robert Henri and William Merritt Chase. For much of her life she worked in her studio behind the home she shared on Chamberlayne Avenue with companion Willoughby Ions, also an artist. Together with Nora Houston, they pushed for arts activity in the community. Clark and Houston were also leaders in the women's suffrage movement and child labor legislation.

John Powell
(1882-1963) b. Richmond
Pianist and composer John Powell, who lived on Plum Street, studied in Europe with Theodor Leschetizky, made his piano debut in Berlin in 1908 and in 1913 first played Carnegie Hall. His compositions, such as "Negro Rhapsody" (1918) and "Sonata Virginianesque" (1919), bridged the gap between classical and folk music and were critically well-received and performed worldwide. His legacy was damaged, however, by a reputation as an ardent segregationist.

William Lawrence Bottomley
(1883-1951) b. New York, N.Y.
This Manhattan-based, European-educated architect who catered to the carriage trade left his mark here in numerous handsome buildings. His mansions, all built in the classical style - with sophisticated undertones of old Virginia and art deco - set standards for quality and beauty that continue to be the local benchmark. His 1915 Hunton House is now part of the Jepson Alumni Center at the University of Richmond. Bottomley townhouses grace Monument Avenue and Windsor Farms.

Dr. William Sanger
(1885-1975) b. Bridgewater
Dr. William Sanger, then secretary of the State Board of Education, was chosen head of the Medical College of Virginia in 1925 and became the institution's first full-time president.

He arrived at a campus on the verge of organizational collapse and set about building the budget and expanding the physical plant. The campus grew from six to 30 buildings during his tenure, which lasted until 1956.

Charles F. Gillette
(1886-1969) b. Chippewa Falls, Wis.
Gardens throughout the South carry the prestigious imprint of Charles Gillette's designs. He helped form the local chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects and was known for his restoration work in historic gardens. Richmond landmarks include Virginia House, Agecroft, Richmond College, the Executive Mansion, Reynolds Metals headquarters and many private homes and estates. He worked with William Bottomley in the 1920s and '30s and later became the city's most sought-after garden designer.

Frederick Otto Seibel
(1887-1969) b. Oneida County, N.Y.
Each morning over breakfast for 40 years, Richmonders enjoyed Fred Seibel's editorial cartoons in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. After studying at New York City's Art Students League, Seibel tried his hand at photography, working in a law firm and even selling shoes before settling in Richmond in 1926. From that year until his retirement in 1968, he produced 14,866 cartoons for the Times-Dispatch. Feisty Virginia Sen. Harry F. Byrd and President Lyndon Johnson were among his favorite subjects. In the corner of most of his cartoons Seibel drew his trademark, a bird named Moses Crow who passively watched the day's events.

Henry H. Hibbs
(1888-1977) b. The Point, Ky.
Henry Hibbs moved to Richmond from New York in 1917 and worked closely with the Rev. J.J. Scherer Jr. of First English Lutheran Church to establish the Richmond School of Social Work and Public Health. The school's initial budget was $500. Those modest efforts grew to become Richmond Professional Institute in 1939 and Virginia Commonwealth University in 1968 when R.P.I. merged with the Medical College of Virginia. Hibbs served as head of R.P.I. until 1959, expanding the campus into Franklin Street mansions and carriage houses as property and funds became available. A supporter of the arts, he hired Theresa Pollak to teach the first art classes. His print collection forms the foundation of VCU's Anderson Gallery

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