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Helen Irvin Wells interviewed by Inez Ramsey and Carolyn Hobson, 1978 July 18

Identifier: SdArch 5. File 5-5

Scope and Contents

Records the reminiscences of Mrs. Helen Irvin Wells (b. 1898) of Harrisonburg, Va., school teacher at Grottoes, Elkton and Bridgewater Elementary schools and cook at Madison College for fifteen years. Describes her childhood incl. holiday observances (Easter, Christmas); games, ghost stories told by the half-breed Indian, making dolls & hats from corn husks, honeysuckle baskets; education (Effinger School, recollections of L. Simms, her brother, the poet U.G. Wilson, spelling contests, school schedule based on farming seasons), and later education at Va. State College); histories of local Methodist churches (circuit preachers John Wesley, Mr. Otterbein), gardening, canning, recipes (scripture cake); making quilts, hook rugs, and tatting (making lace). Recorded at the home of Mrs. Helen Irvin Wells, Harrisonburg, Va. on July 18, 1978 (?). Includes 4-leaf paper contains recollections of the well known teacher, Lucy Simms, the names of local black Civil War veterans, and a list of prominent black leaders within the community. Note that the paper indicates three dates (July 18-20, 1978).


  • 1978 July 18


Access Restrictions

Oral history is open to research.

Use Restrictions

Copyright interests have been transferred to Carrier Library.


From the Collection: 0.46 cubic feet (7 folders, 15 audiocassettes, 15 cds)

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Location of Interview

Recorded at the home of Mrs. Helen Irvin Wells in Harrisonburg, Virginia.


Repository Details

Part of the James Madison University Libraries Special Collections Repository

820 Madison Drive
MSC 1706
Harrisonburg Virginia 22807
(540) 568-3612