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Bedpan Elegance: Celebrating the Beauty of an Everyday Object



Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences, First Floor Gallery Area
509 North 12th Street, Richmond, VA 23298


The centerpiece of this exhibit is a series of thirty photographs of bedpans and other elimination vessels by William W. DuBois, professor and chair of Visual Media at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Since 1978, Professor DuBois has amassed a private collection of more than 60 bedpans in a variety of durable materials such as enamelware and ceramic, documenting a period of medical history before the revolution of disposable plastics. He has combined his collection with his passion for photography, resulting in these one-of-a-kind images of bedpan elegance.

In addition to the photographs, the exhibit includes bedpans and similar vessels that are part of the medical artifacts collection of the Tompkins-McCaw Library. "Bedpan Elegance" is the inaugural exhibit in Tompkins-McCaw Library's recently renovated gallery.

The exhibit is free and open to the public during all normal library hours. Parking is available for a fee in the 8th Street parking deck. If special accommodations are needed, please contact Thelma Mack, research and education coordinator, at (804) 828-0017.

Opening Reception

An opening reception will be held on Thursday, March 31, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Special Collections and Archives reading room at Tompkins-McCaw Library.

About the Artist

Professor in the School of Photographic Arts & Sciences and Program Chair of Visual Media at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY, William W. DuBois has collected bedpans since 1978, amassing a total of 65 over the years. This set of 30 large-format prints was first exhibited at the Nina Freudenheim Gallery in Buffalo, NY, followed by a showing at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA.

Mr. DuBois has been at Rochester Institute of Technology since 1974, serving in a number of roles in the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences. He earned the M.Ed. at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH, and the BFA from the Ohio University in Athens, OH, and has worked as a medical photographer, consultant and freelance architectural photographer for clients including the Susan B. Anthony House, the International Museum of Photography and the Eastman Kodak Corporation.

He lives in Rochester, New York.


VCU Libraries

James Branch Cabell Library Monroe Park Campus
901 Park Ave., Box 842033
Richmond, VA 23284-2033
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
(804) 828-1111
All Libraries
Tompkins-McCaw Library MCV Campus
509 N. 12th St., Box 980582
Richmond, VA 23298-0582
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
(804) 828-0636

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