A Guide to the Records of the Charlottesville School Board 1869-2006 Charlottesville School Board, Records, 1869-2006 14210

A Guide to the Records of the Charlottesville School Board 1869-2006

A Collection in
Special Collections
The University of Virginia Library
Accession number 14210


Special Collections, University of Virginia Library

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University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia 22904-4110
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Processed by: Special Collections Staff

Special Collections, University of Virginia Library
Collection Number
Records of the Charlottesville School Board 1869-2006

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Boxes 38-45 are restricted. Charlottesville City Schools staff may access with written permission of chair of the City School Board or the Superintendent of City Schools.

Use Restrictions

Boxes 38-45 are restricted. Charlottesville City Schools staff may access with written permission of chair of the City School Board or the Superintendent of City Schools.

Preferred Citation

Records of the Charlottesville School Board, 1869-2006, #14210, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.

Acquisitions Information

The Charlottesville City School Board loaned the collection to the University of Virginia Library on December 20, 2007.

Biographical/Historical Information

One of the first public schools in Charlottesville dates back to [1881] and was named "Midway Grammar and High School" or Primary School, and was the school for white children. It was also referred to as Lane or Charlottesville School (although a high school was built in 1940 which was also named Lane after Principal James Walker Lane). Midway was located on the east end of Main Street and originally provided education for elementary, middle and high school students. There was a school for "Negroes" which was the "Jefferson Graded School" and was located in the Delevan Hotel building on 632 Main Street in 1865. It was later moved to Brown and Fifth Street Northwest [1926] near the western edge of the Vinegar Hill neighborhood. New schools were soon constructed, McGuffey Elementary in 1916 located on Second Street; Venable Elementary was built on Fourteenth Street in 1922; George Rogers Clark Elementary School was built in Belmont in 1930; and Lane High School was built on Preston Avenue and McIntire Road in 1940. These schools were built under the careful scrutiny of James G. Johnson, who was the Superintendent of Schools from1909 to 1946 and knew every detail of the construction. According to his correspondence, overseeing the construction on a weekly if not a daily basis caused him many sleepless nights and exhausted him physically and mentally.

Fendall R. Ellis was the next school superintendent from 1947 to 1964 and had the difficult task of trying to keep the schools open during desegregation. He was included in the lawsuits in all three of the important court cases in Charlottesville and worked closely with the attorney for the School Board, John S. Battle, Jr. Ellis tried to mediate between massive resisters and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in order to keep the schools open during desegregation.

As the number of school buildings multiplied and the issue of desegregation gained acceptance, the next school superintendents wrestled with more general issues in education, such as budgets, overcrowding, quality of education, new methods of teaching, the safety of students, busing, sex education in schools, and maintaining diversity in all of the Charlottesville City Schools. These school superintendents were George C. Tramontin from 1963 to 1966; Edward R. Rushton from 1967 to 1972; William J. Ellena from 1973 to 1981; Thomas J. McLernon from 1981 to 1982; Vincent C. Cibbarelli from 1982 to 1989; Joseph R. McGeehan from 1990 to 1995, and Dorothea Shannon [1996-2001].

Scope and Content

This collection consists of the official records of the Charlottesville School Board from 1869 to 2006, including information about events that occurred during the desegregation of the schools in Charlottesville, Virginia from 1954 to 1964. There is extensive correspondence, as well as legal documents, petitions from Oliver W. Hill to end segregation, an order from the Governor of Virginia to close the schools (1958 September), a report by Booker T. Reaves on the attitudes regarding desegregation, and transcripts of the major desegregation cases in Charlottesville: Doris Marie Allen et al., v. Fendall R. Ellis and the City of Charlottesville School Board, (1956 July 12), Caroline M. Dodson v. Fendall R. Ellis and the City of Charlottesville School Board, (1961 April 14), and Doris Dillard v. Fendall R. Ellis and the City of Charlottesville School Board, (1962 September 17).

Correspondents include Governor James Lindsay Almond, Jr., Governor Thomas B. Stanley, Superintendent of Schools Fendall R. Ellis, George C. Tramontin, John S. Battle, Jr., Oliver W. Hill, James Harry Michael, Jr., Thomas J. Michie, Booker T. Reaves, Charles E. Moran, Judge John Paul, and Sarah Patton Boyle. (Series I Desegregation correspondence and court cases)

There are also desegregation plans, news clippings, a report by Paul Gaston and Thomas Hammond, and speeches by John S. Battle, Jr., and Senator Harry F. Byrd, Jr. (Series II General Desegregation)

The rest of the collection relates to general school issues facing the School Board and the City of Charlottesville. The superintendents of the schools worked closely with the City Council and their correspondence is represented in this collection. Correspondents include Bernard J. Haggerty, Lindsay Mount, Burkett Reynolds, G. A. Vogt, Mitchell Van Yahres, Francis H. Fife, Charles L. Barbour, Nancy O'Brien, Laurence A. Brunton, Frank L. Buck, Elizabeth "Bitsy" Waters, Alvin Edwards, Thomas J. Vandever, James E. Bowen, T. W. Edwards, Cole Hendrix, and David J. Toscano.

There is also correspondence between the superintendent of schools and legal counsel (James Harry Michael, Jr.) about general advice and legal updates for the School Board from 1923-1995. (Series III Correspondence)

There is detailed information about facilities management and the construction of Charlottesville schools including architectural drawings (from 1913-1940) in the correspondence of Superintendent of Schools, James G. Johnson and architects, Charles J. Calrow and Pendleton Scott Clark. The correspondence mentions that some of the Charlottesville contractors were upset that bids on the construction work was awarded to out of town businesses. (Series IV)

The schools mentioned in this collection are Midway Grammar and High (1895-?), Jefferson (1869-1958), McGuffey Elementary (1916-1973), Venable Elementary (1925-present), George Rogers Clark Elementary (1930-present), Lane High (1940-1973), Jackson P. Burley Middle (1949-present), Johnson Elementary (1954-present), Walker Upper Elementary (1966-present), Jackson-Via Elementary (1966-present), Burnley-Moran Elementary (1954-present), Greenbrier Elementary (1962-present), Buford Middle (1966-present), and Charlottesville High School (1974-present).

There are also School Board minutes from 1879, and 1896-1898 in a bound volume. (Series VI). Other minutes of the School Board are related to general topics and are filed with correspondence in Series I Desegregation correspondence, Series II General desegregation, Series III Correspondence and Series IV Facilities Management correspondence.

There is miscellaneous information about principals, schools, and teachers (including war bonds for teachers), financial information including bank statements, expenditures, and payroll information, news clippings, and photographs. There are also deeds, reports, and records with information about land purchases, annual reports, fire drills, lunch menus, census and enrollment records, and teacher record books with student grades and attendance records. There are also reel to reel tapes of School Board meetings, trophies, printing blocks, and a school banner. The collection contains approximately 16,500 items, 167 hollinger boxes, 6 cubic boxes and 76.5 linear feet.


The collection is organized into ten series and is mostly arranged in chronological order. Series I on Desegregation is divided into two subseries: A. Correspondence and B. Court cases. Series II is General desegregation, which includes plans, minutes, news clippings, information about organizations, reports, interview notes, speeches, and statements, all arranged by topic. Series III is Correspondence and has two subseries: A. Legal correspondence and B. Correspondence with City Council, and the correspondence of the school superintendents. Series IV is Facilities Management and has two subseries: A. Correspondence and B. Specifications. Series V is financial information. Series VI is minutes of the School Board from 1879 to 1898, Series VII contains news clippings, Series VIII is miscellaneous information about principals, teachers, and schools, Series IX is photographs, and Series X has deeds, reports, and records.

Box and Contents Listing

Series I: Desegregation
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Series II: General Desegregation
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Series III: Correspondence
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Series IV: Facilities Management
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Series V Financial
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Series VI: Minutes of the School Board

Other minutes are included with the correspondence because they relate directly to various subjects in the correspondence.)

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Series VII: Newspapers
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Series VIII: Miscellaneous: Schools, Principals, and Teachers
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Series IX Photographs
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Series X Deeds, Reports and Records
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Folder: Photocopies of the images from printing blocks of schools, licenses and certificates. In addition there are the original printing blocks.
# Items
Trophies from school sporting events such as football…
# Items
40 items
Reel to Reel Tapes
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46 items
Reel to Reel Tapes
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Reel to Reels
7 items
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