A Look Back – Interview with Preservation Assistant Madison Whitesell

Madison Whitesell is a recent JMU graduate with degrees in art history and studio art. She began working in Preservation as a sophomore in 2015 and spent this summer working as a wage employee. This is her JMU Libraries story. “Madison, tell our audience a little bit about yourself and how you came to be a preservation assistant” I’ve been interested in art conservation since high school. When I first realized that I loved art history as much as I loved making art, conservation presented itself as a way to combine the academics of art history with the hands on skills of making art. I heard there was a library preservation job available to students where you got to help repair books and I was immediately sold. I emailed Julia Merkel, Preservation Officer, and (politely) begged her to hire me.   “What are some of the major projects/highlights of your time here?” I’ve gotten to do some of the coolest things here; things I never imagined doing when I was first hired. Just the idea of repairing books for the rest of my life was exciting but I’ve also gotten to help plan, curate, and install library exhibitions, as well Continue reading A Look Back – Interview with Preservation Assistant Madison Whitesell

In short, we consider him diseased from head to foot

While the summer is generally less hectic on campus due to fewer students, less traffic, etc., here in Special Collections we have been busy, busy, busy growing our collections in materials related to local history. A new acquisition we are really excited about relates to the Richard Stephens (1831-1890) family of Melrose, just north of Harrisonburg on Rt. 11. The collection itself is comprised of hundreds of miscellaneous documents, correspondence, receipts, deeds, and indentures and spans several generations of the Stephens/Dovel/Yount families of Rockingham County. Of particular interest, are several documents pertaining to Richard Stephens’ medical exemption from serving in the Civil War. We are spotlighting one such document today. But be warned – detailed descriptions of disease and oozy discharge await the reader.

Processing Update – Davis, Kline, and Hutton Family Papers

We’re happy to announce that one of our most recent (and significant) acquisitions is currently undergoing processing. In early April 2017, we acquired several boxes of manuscript material including photographs, correspondence, ledgers, and scrapbooks from the estate of Mary Hutton of Elkton . Mary Hutton was a graduate of Madison College and descendant of Charles L. Davis (1874-1960) of Singers Glen. This collection, when fully arranged and described, will contribute greatly to the study of three generations of local families – Davis, Kline, and Hutton -, Rockingham County history, and the history of James Madison University.