Virginia E. Randolph June 8, 1874 – March 16, 1958
On November 8, 1970, the Virginia Randolph Home Economics Cottage was dedicated as a museum in memory of Virginia Estelle Randolph, a pioneer educator, a humanitarian, and a creative leader in the field of education.
This museum, the only one of its kind in the South, honors the memory of Miss Randolph, who for 57 years worked as an educator in Henrico County, molding and shaping the lives of girls and boys so they would become worthwhile citizens.
Virginia E. Randolph was born in Richmond, Virginia, on June 8, 1874, the third of four children of slave parents. At the age of sixteen, she was graduated from Richmond Normal School, now known as Armstrong High School.
After a short teaching experience in Goochland County, Virginia, she secured a teaching position with the Henrico County School Board and opened the old Mountain Road School in 1892. In 1908 Miss Randolph was named as the first Jeanes Supervisor Industrial Teacher by Superintendent Jackson Davis, Henrico County Schools.
March 30, 1908, Miss Randolph conducted the first Arbor Day Program in Virginia. On that day, she and her students planted twelve Sycamore trees, naming them for the twelve disciples. Some of the trees remain standing as living monuments, but over the years, some of the trees were lost to disease.
In 1976 the museum was named a National Historic Landmark by the United States Department of Interior, National Park Service. The Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission designated the museum a State Historic Landmark and the original Sycamore trees were named the first Notable Trees in Virginia.
On visiting the museum, one is able to see, among other things, many of Miss Randolph’s personal possessions and numerous photographs taken during her career as an educator.
Miss Randolph died March 16, 1958, and was later reinterred on the site which contains the museum.
Photos and painting courtesy Henrico Public Schools.