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Bettie Hiter Willis Papers

Identifier: SC 0224

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

The Bettie Hiter Willis Papers, 1864-1942 consist of 41 digital files that were created by Special Collections from thirty-eight letters, three journal segments, and one poem. The bulk of the letters were written to family members in Virginia. Several letters and diary entries written by Bettie Hiter Willis as a young girl describe local events from the Civil War.


  • 1864-1942


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk. (

Biographical / Historical

This collection contains digital images of the correspondence and diaries of Bettie Hiter Willis, including journals from 1864-1865 and 1878-1879. She writes about her experiences with the Civil War as well as personal relations. She lived in the Culpepper, VA, and for a short period in the Shenandoah Valley, and wrote about local deaths in the War as well as her own personal take on Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. The collection begins at age 13, in 1864, and continues with her children’s correspondence until 1942.


0.48 Gigabytes (41 digital files)

Language of Materials



The Bettie Hiter Willis Papers, 1864-1942, is comprised of digitized diary entries and letters from Willis, including documents created during the Civil War.


The material is arranged into two series:

  1. Journals, 1864-1874, undated, is comprised of scanned excerpts of journals written by Bettie Hiter Willis, and further arranged by date. The scanned documents are accessible as 3 pdfs.
  2. Correspondence, 1867-1942, undated, is comprised of scanned letters, a postcard and a poem, and further arranged by date. The scanned documents are accessible as 39 pdfs.


MaryMay Angelil is the great-granddaughter of Bettie Hiter Willis. The letters have been in the family's possession since the Civil War.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The items loaned to Special Collections by MaryMay Angelil in September 2012 for scanning, after which, the originals were returned to the donor.

Processing Information

The pages were flattened and then scanned on an Epson 10000 XL scanner at 600 dpi. The scans have been separated into the original journal segments and letters. The collection was kept in the original order for scanning. The scans were created as TIF files and assigned sequential unique identifiers. These files were subsequently converted to pdfs for access, and the files were renamed by form of content and the date of creation. The collection was formerly assigned collection number SC 5053.

A Guide to the Bettie Hiter Willis Papers, 1864-1942
Chelsea Tholen
April 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • April 2019: Digital files were arranged and described by Sarah Roth-Mullet

Repository Details

Part of the James Madison University Libraries Special Collections Repository

880 Madison Drive
MSC 1704
Harrisonburg Virginia 22807
(540) 568-3612