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John H. Grabill Papers

Identifier: SC 0125
  • Not requestable

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content

The John H. Grabill Papers, 1843-1981 (bulk 1894-1922), consist of one box of items including business documents, personal correspondence, and ephemera relating to John H. Grabill, the Grabill family of Shenandoah County, and the Shenandoah Herald.

The collection is comprised of general correspondence and correspondence to and from the Shenandoah Herald newspaper, including drafted letters. Letters written to the Herald often reference proposed topics for articles including the myths about prohibition propoganda and how to grow one's own vegetables in an effort to triumph in the WWII effort. Also present are legal documents, receipts, promissory notes and other accounting papers, and fire insurance policies, the latter of which were used as scrap paper for diary entries. A folder of ephemera consists of a photograph of three named WWII soldiers who were stationed at Camp New Orleans in France, a United States ration sheet that belonged to Mary Caroline Grabill, programs, postcards, and paper samples from the Chemical Paper Manufacturing Company. Documents such as receipts and accounting papers pertaining to Israel and Ezra Huffman are also present, although their relevance or relationship to the Grabill's is unclear.


  • 1843-1981
  • Majority of material found within 1894-1922


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 been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collection Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (

Bio/Historical Note

John Henry Grabill (1839-1922) was born to Ephraim and Caroline Donaldson Grabill in Mount Jackson, Virginia. After graduating from Dickinson College in 1860, Grabill served in the 33rd Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment (Stonewall Brigade) and in the 35th Battalion of Virginia Cavalry (White's Comanches) during the Civil War. In 1866, Grabill married Mary L. Hollingsworth of Woodstock and in 1868 became the owner and editor of the Shenandoah Herald until his death in 1922. Grabill was appointed the first superintendent of the Shenandoah County school system in 1870 and along with P.W. Magruder established the Massanutten Academy, now the Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Virginia.


0.17 cubic feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



The John H. Grabill Papers, 1843-1981 (bulk 1894-1922), contain a variety of items including business documents, personal correspondence, and ephemera relating to John H. Grabill, the Grabill family of Shenandoah County, and the Shenandoah Herald.


The collection is arranged topically in eight folders.

Acquisition Information

The collection was purchased from Rocky's Gold, Silver, and Antiques in Weyers Cave, Virginia in December 2008.

Related Material

Grabill, John H. Diary of a Soldier of the Stonewall Brigade. Woodstock, Va.: Press of the Shenandoah Herald, 1909.


  • Cappon, Lester J. Virginia Newspapers, 1821-1935: A bibliography with historical introduction and notes. New York & London: Appleton-Century Company, Inc., 1936.
  • Hanks, Calvin J. "Capt. John H. Grabill." The Confederate Veteran Magazine, June 1922.
  • Wayland, John W. A History of Shenandoah County Virginia. Strasburg, Va.: Shenandoah Publishing House, 1927.

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 3018.

A Guide to the John H. Grabill Papers, 1817-1981 (bulk 1894-1922)
Tiffany Cole
May 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the James Madison University Libraries Special Collections Repository

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