A Guide to the Shenandoah National Park Oral History Collection, 1964-1999 Shenandoah National Park Oral History Collection SdArch SNP

Guide to the Shenandoah National Park Oral History Collection, 1964-1999

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number SdArch SNP


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Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Special Collections
Carrier Library
James Madison University
Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807
USA
Phone: (540) 568-3612
Fax: (540) 568-3405
Email: library-special@jmu.edu
URL: http://www.lib.jmu.edu/special

© 2010 By JMU Libraries. All rights reserved.

Processed by: Gillian Schulz and Chris Bolgiano

Repository
Special Collections, James Madison University
Collection Number SC#
SdArch SNP
Title
Shenandoah National Park Oral History Collection 1964-1999
Extent
6 Hollinger boxes, 6.6 linear feet of media cabinet drawers; 9.1 linear feet total
Language
English
Abstract
The Shenandoah National Park Oral History Collection, SdArch SNP, 1964-1999, consists of audio, transcripts, and images pertaining to interviews conducted primarily by Dorothy Noble Smith in additon to members of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, park collaborators Eugene and Diane Zior Wilhelm, Darwin Lambert, and others.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Restricted interviews are noted with R.

Use Restrictions

Restricted interviews are noted with R.

Preferred Citation

Interview with [interviewee name] by [interviewer name], [interview date] [interview number], in the Shenandoah National Park Oral History Collection SdArch SNP, Special Collections, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va., SdArch SNP, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated by the National Park Service in May 2001.

Alternative Form Available

All interviews are retained in an audio form whether on tape or reels in addition to a digital form.

Processing Notes

Nearly all original interviews were recorded on five-inch reels. Most recordings had been transferred to cassettes at an earlier date. The majority of interviews have been migrated to digital format with the bulk having a corresponding transcript.


Biographical/Historical Information

Beginning in December 1924, groups like the Southern Appalachian National Park Committee and the Shenandoah National Park Association began to champion the project of creating a park in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. In the spring of 1926, Congress passed the bill authorizing the establishment of the Shenandoah National Park and the subsequent reclamation of lands owned or farmed by mountain residents. Subsequently over 450 families were relocated from the park boundaries and moved to nearby communities. After the park was officially established in December 1935, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) began building visitors centers throughout the mountains.

Dorothy Noble Smith (1915-1999) was a native of New Jersey and a graduate of Duke University. She had a distinguished career in banking in New York City before retiring to Luray, Virginia. She was a contributing writer for the Page News and Courier for more than twenty years. Fascinated by a way of life that was drastically altered with the creation of the Shenandoah National Park in December 1935 she, along with other people associated with the park service, conducted recorded interviews in the late 1970s and early 1980s to document the lives and stories of the former residents of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her findings based on the oral histories conducted were published in Recollections: The People of the Blue Ridge Remember.

Founded in 1927 on the principles of volunteerism and public service to outdoor enthusiasts, the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC), headquartered in Vienna, Virginia, is one of 30 trail clubs located in cities along the Appalachian Trail. The PATC's section of trail includes 240 miles beginning at Pine Grove Furnace in Pennsylvania and ending at Rockfish Gap at the southern end of the Shenandoah National Park. The PATC's activities include building and maintaining trails, cabins, shelters, and publishing a monthly newsletter. PATC members Edward Garvey (1914-1999), Samuel Moore (1920-1999), and Walter Smith conducted interviews in this collection.

Diane Zior Wilhelm (1938-2010) and Eugene Joseph Wilhelm, Jr. conducted many of the earliest interviews within this collection. Diane's interests encompassed Andean Indians, Irish street-traders, New Jersey suburbanites, and Blue Ridge Mountain people focusing on an anthropological persepective. She taught at Middlesex County College in New Jersey from 1967 until her retirement in 2007. A year prior to her death, Dr. Wilhelm was contacted by Special Collections staff, and expressed interest in donating the remainder of her materials and notes from interviews to this collection. Eugene's interests included geography and ecology. He wrote his dissertation entitled Folk Georgraphy of the Blue Ridge Mountains while at Texas A & M. Eugene was a visiting geography professor at the University of Virginia and professor of geography at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Beginning in 1956, the couple often spent weeks during the summer in the Shenandoah National Park researching and interviewing mountain residents.

Darwin Lambert (1916-2007) was the first employee of the National Park Service at the Shenandoah National Park, hired March 1, 1936. Interested in the relationship between man and nature, He authored several books pertaining to the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah National Park including those listed below in the bibliography and as related material.

This collection was originally housed at the Shenandoah National Park headquarters in Luray, Virginia, but was never served to the public because the oral histories were not considered official park records. In May 2001, under the direction of Cultural Resource Specialist Reed Engle, the collection was donated to James Madison University.

Scope and Content

The Shenandoah National Park Oral History Collection, SdArch SNP (formerly SC# 4030), 1964-1999, consists of 135 interviews of people who were living in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia prior to the creation of the Shenandoah National Park. Most of the interviewees resided on land that was claimed by eminent domain by the Commonwealth of Virginia and subsequently turned over to the U.S. Government in the 1930s. The collection is comprised of 6 Hollinger boxes and 6.6 linear feet of media cabinet drawers of audio, transcripts, and images pertaining to interviews conducted primarily by Dorothy Noble Smith as part of her research for Recollections: The People of the Blue Ridge Remember in additon to members of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, park collaborators Eugene and Diane Zior Wilhelm, Darwin Lambert, and others.

Topics discussed by interviewees include mountain folklife, music, food preservation, traditional medicine, agriculture and harvesting, bark peeling, moonshining, chores and family life, and schooling with additional references to the Civilian Conservation Corp, the New Deal, promoter of Skyland Resort and author George Freeman Pollock, and residents' feelings towards the creation of the Shenandoah National Park. Interviews conducted by Barbara Wright, Norman Taylor, Gloria Updike, and Ken Steeber were presumably added to the collection separately from the interviews conducted in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged alphabetically by interviewee's surname.

Related Material

Smith, Dorothy Noble. Recollections: The People of the Blue Ridge Remember. Verona, Va.: McClure Printing Company, 1983.

Lambert, Darwin. The Earth-Man Story: Starring Shenandoah National Park. New York: Exposition Press, 1972.

--- Beautiful Shenandoah: A Handbook for Visitors to Shenandoah National Park. Lynchburg, Va.: J.P. Bell Company, 1937.

Pollock, George F. Skyland: The Heart of the Shenandoah National Park. 1960.

Wilhelm, Eugene J., Jr. The Blue Ridge: Man and Nature in the Shenandoah National Park and Blue Ridge Parkway. Charlottesville, Va.: University of Virginia, 1968.

Separated Material


Adjunct Descriptive Data

Bibliography

Interview with Cecil B. Graves by Diane Zior Wilhelm, May 10, 1966, SdArch SNP-056, in the Shenandoah National Park Oral History Collection SdArch SNP, Special Collections, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va. Lambert, Darwin. The Undying Past of the Shenandoah National Park. Boulder, Co.: Roberts Rinehart, Inc. Publishers, 1989. Potomac Appalachian Trail Club Reeder, Carolyn and Jack. Shenandoah Heritage: The Story of the People Before the Park. Washington, D.C.: The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, 1978. The Star-Ledger, January 10, 2010.

Bibliography

Interview with Cecil B. Graves by Diane Zior Wilhelm, May 10, 1966, SdArch SNP-056, in the Shenandoah National Park Oral History Collection SdArch SNP, Special Collections, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va. Lambert, Darwin. The Undying Past of the Shenandoah National Park. Boulder, Co.: Roberts Rinehart, Inc. Publishers, 1989. Potomac Appalachian Trail Club Reeder, Carolyn and Jack. Shenandoah Heritage: The Story of the People Before the Park. Washington, D.C.: The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, 1978. The Star-Ledger, January 10, 2010.

Contents List

Detailed Contents List