|Norfolk Public Library||Sargeant Memorial Collection||Norfolk Memories|
Carroll Herbert Walker, Sr.
Carroll Herbert Walker was born in 1904 in Baltimore, Maryland, however he was raised in Norfolk, Virginia. His family moved down to the Brambleton section of Norfolk where he attended Norfolk Public Schools. Walker's father, a florist, died when Carroll was still a young boy, thus leaving his mother to raise him and his four other siblings. Walker always wanted to become a painter but the Great Depression forced him to leave the New York School of Industrial Arts. He joined the Norfolk and Western (now Norfolk Southern) Railroad as a sales representative and would remain with the railroad company for 38 years. Walker with a steady job dove into his passions for history and photography. He began to gather all sort of items especially photographs relating to Norfolk and the surrounding Tidewater region. He idolized Harry C Mann and his photographs of Norfolk from the turn of the century. Walker throughout his lifetime sought images he could find by Harry Mann and prominently displayed them in his two books on the photographic history of Norfolk.
The 1940s was a monumental decade for Walker when he begun to professionally pursue photography and he met and married Isabella Bailey. Carroll Walker began his professional career as a photographer here in Norfolk by taking baby pictures during the World War II. A few years later he moved into taking wedding pictures and taking shots of places around the city of Norfolk. His passion for history led him to join Civil War reenactment groups and even gave him the rare opportunity of taking photographs of the last reunion of living Confederate veterans in Norfolk. They met at a band concert at College of William & Mary - Norfolk Division (now Old Dominion University) and really hit it off with her parents when Isabella introduced Carroll to her father who was also an avid gun collector. They later married in 1942 in Norfolk. They had two children, both a son and daughter named Carroll.
Walker continued to pursuing his passions and love for photography and local history after his retirement from Norfolk and Western Railroad. He was a regular fixture photographing at almost all the events around Norfolk. Walker published two books on Norfolk's photographic history, Norfolk: Its Pictorial History and Norfolk: Its Tercentennial History. His love for Norfolk even surpassed death when he gave his entire photographic collection containing his own photographs, images taken by Harry Mann and other Norfolk photographers to the Sargeant Memorial Room, Norfolk Public Library, so everyone can appreciate the photographic tradition of Norfolk.
Photograph: Carroll Walker enjoying himself at one of the Harborfest at Waterside in Downtown Norfolk, early 1980s. From Carroll Walker Collection of Sargeant Memorial Collection, Norfolk Public Library.
Written by W. Troy Valos, December 2010.