Skip to main content

John J. Forrer Papers

Identifier: SC 0075
  • Not requestable

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content

This collection consists of one folder containing various typed notes about Virginia roads, and a manuscript entitled, "Maintenance of Colonial Roads in Virginia," by John J. Forrer. The manuscript is dated September 8, 1939, and several memos also in the collection indicate that it was produced for a professional meeting.


  • Creation: 1939


Access Restrictions

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.

Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collection Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (

Bio/Historical Note

John J. Forrer became the first Maintenance Engineer for the Virginia Department of Highways in 1923. He was promoted to Assistant Chief Engineer in 1951 and retired from the department a year later. He later served as Executive Director for the Virginia Asphalt Association until he retired from active service in 1958. Forrer pioneered the use of bituminous materials for road construction and started the development of low-cost roads under the pay-as-you-go system in the early 1920s.

John J. Forrer conducted experiments with various types of asphalts and asphalt road oils used in surface treating soil base roads". Though his work was largely unsuccessful, Forrer continued his work with asphalt suppliers to develop several types of liquid asphalt which were fast-setting for surface treatments. Forrer was elected to the Asphalt Institute’s Roll of Honor in 1968; this award is the highest level of recognition conferred by the Asphalt Institute." Those chosen to receive this award have contributed tremendously to the asphalt industry through either sustained technical achievement or through the substantial contribution of leadership." John J. Forrer passed away on October 16, 1973.


0.08 cubic feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of one folder containing various typed notes about Virginia roads, and a manuscript entitled, "Maintenance of Colonial Roads in Virginia," by John J. Forrer.


This collection contains only one folder. Within the folder there are: memoranda from J.J. Forrer; a copy of an article written by Forrer entitled Maintenance of Colonial Roads in Virginia;" a mimeographed copy of the paper read by Forrer at an A.A.S.H.O meeting; and typed notes about Virginia roads.

Acquisition Information

Deposited by the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Society.


  • Asphalt Institute. "Winners of Asphalt Institute Awards." Asphalt Institute.

Processing Information

In order to streamline the process of applying collection numbers, Special Collections staff completed a large-scale renumbering campaign in the spring of 2017. This collection was previously cataloged as SC 1760.

A Guide to the John J. Forrer Papers, 1939
Chris Bolgiano
April 1989
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Web version of the finding aid funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Revision Statements

  • Feb 19, 2004: PUBLIC "-//James Madison University::Carrier Library::Special Collections//TEXT (US::ViHarT::vihart00017::John J. Forrer Papers)//EN" "vihart00017.xml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • Feb 25, 2004: converted to conform to eadVIVA.dtd by vivastrict.xsl
  • 2013-11-21: Converted to schema conforming EAD by dtd2schema.vh.xsl.
  • 2017: Collection renumbered.
  • 2020-03-27: Minor revisions to finding aid.

Repository Details

Part of the James Madison University Libraries Special Collections Repository

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