Richmond Magazine (p.54), “Reflections Reflections: A Thalhimer’s quest to learn about her family and their store” by Nancy Wright Beasley, October 2010
I really enjoyed reading Finding Thalhimers…it was a very interesting, honest and often emotional glimpse into one of the power families of Richmond. I still miss “the store.”
- Cheryl Miller, Anchor, WTVR-CBS 6 in Richmond, Virginia
In Finding Thalhimers, Elizabeth Smartt has made her mark as a fine storyteller. She has done so with a fresh and intriguing voice, clearly a triumph for a first-time author. Smartt will pull you head over heels into an ever-expanding family saga from the first page to the last. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll identify with the family characters as your own. And, if you’ve lived anywhere near, in or around Richmond, you’ll remember when…. Don’t take this book to bed with you, unless you plan on staying up all night.
- Nancy Wright Beasley, Richmond magazine columnist and author of Izzy’s Fire
“Historical significance and personal snapshots collide to create a book that is a historical treasure. If you’re lucky enough to receive this beautiful book, or smart enough to purchase it for yourself, you’ll never think about Richmond in the same way.”
- Kate Willoughby Hall, RichmondMom.com
The personal stories of Elizabeth’s quest give the story a vital thread that draws the reader through her quest to uncover her family’s original ancestry…It’s a fascinating read that not only reveals a huge part of Richmond’s history, but tells the story of what’s happening to many family-owned businesses in the era of big box chains and Wal-Marts.
- Colleen Curran, Staff Writer at Richmond.com
What could have been a straightforward telling of names and dates is made more accessible (and entertaining) by Elizabeth’s choice to include a warm and sometimes heartbreakingly honest account of her own experiences uncovering her family’s history…The past gives context to the present, the present shows the importance of the past, and you’re left feeling there’s no way the book could have given you one without the other — it just wouldn’t be the complete Thalhimer story.
- Valerie Catrow, Editor at RVANews.com
Finding Thalhimers is a compelling blend of memoir, history, and genealogical treasure hunt. One must admire Elizabeth Thalhimer Smartt’s meticulous devotion to revealing her family’s legacy, in full. The Thalhimers lived through and helped shape momentous chapters in American life. But the author’s quest to understand these roots and how they might serve as a guide for her own young family is a story in itself. It is heartfelt, at times deeply funny, and in the end, a testament to the enduring power of memory.
– Shane Harris, Senior Writer, Washingtonian magazine and author of The Watchers
As one who grew up in Virginia, I am all too easily swept away just by the name Thalhimer and the memories it evokes. Finding Thalhimers is a complex book, chronicling the rise and fall of a great department store while tracing the lives and times of the Thalhimer family, from Germany to the American South, through Elizabeth Smartt’s in-depth research. A rich and evocative read.
– Lisa Tracy, author of Objects of our Affection
It’s no secret that Richmonders, and thousands of yearly visitors, have a particular fondness for heritage and tradition. History lovers come to tour battlegrounds and other attractions of bygone eras — and Richmonders are known for their dedication to hometown merchants. Smartt keeps the writing simple, but sharp, with some humor sprinkled in for good measure. Finding Thalhimers provides a mostly positive but ultimately satisfying chronicle of one of the city’s most admired and cherished retail institutions.
- Dave Smitherman, Senior Editor of Greater Richmond GRID