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Robert H. and Lorraine Strickler Collection of John Zigler Daybooks

Identifier: SC 0128
  • Not requestable

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content

The Robert H. and Lorraine Strickler Collection of John Zigler Daybooks, 1816-1903, consists consists primarily of 19 daybooks and ledgers from the John Zigler tannery and pottery businesses in Timberville in Rockingham County, Virginia. Additional materials include photographs, notes, letters, and loose financial accounts.

Series 1: Daybooks and Ledgers, 1816-1903, contains daybooks and ledgers numbered consecutively according to date. These daybooks include references to Henry Jordan as tanner, Andrew Coffman as potter, use of dollars and pounds, references to hauling hides from Winchester, references to milling hemp, reference to death of John Zigler Sr., and references to the pottery kiln, saw mill, and tons of hay. Daybooks record transactions chronologically; ledgers group transactions under individual account names. Entries made throughout ledgers and daybooks refer to the purchasing of hides and bark. Entries relating to purchasing hemp begin around 1826; entries mentioning pottery and a saw mill begin around 1830. Entries relating to the "sharping" of shovels and removing of shoes suggest the presence of a blacksmith. Many entries also suggest the presence of a shoemaker. The later years of the ledgers seem to document a change to a farm supply or general store. Many entries relate to dry goods or to agricultural products and methods such as hay and threshing. Of particular interest is the simultaneous use of both pounds and dollars until around 1845. Also, two types of entries can be found throughout the ledgers and daybooks relating to African Americans. The name of a person is sometimes followed by "black" or "blackman;" or a name may be followed by "by his blackman" or "blackboy." Many inserts were found in apparently random order in the daybooks and ledgers. Some were merely scraps for calculating numbers, while others contained account information. Unless there was a connection between an insert and the pages where it was found, it was filed in a folder. There is also one undated photograph thought to be of the kiln. Oversize daybooks are included in this series and contain accounts of Daniel Zigler and references to buying calfskins in Baltimore.

Series 2: Unbound Material, 1843-1893, consists of financial accounts of the Zigler family, notes, memos, and a photograph of Zigler's Timberville kiln.


  • Creation: 1816-1903


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 Collections Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (

Bio/Historical Note

John Zigler (b. 1786) moved to Timberville in Rockingham County, Virginia in 1814. In this year, he also opened a tannery, which was known as the largest and best in the Shenandoah Valley by the year of his death in 1856. Along with his tannery, he also started a pottery business in 1830, and later opened a hemp mill. John Zigler was also part of a project to build a free bridge across the Shenandoah River in 1833. Zigler and his family were also affiliated with the Church of the Brethern (Dunkers).


2.9 cubic feet (7 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Robert H. and Lorraine Strickler Collection of John Zigler Daybooks, 1816-1903, consists chiefly of daybooks and ledgers related to the John Zigler tannery and pottery businesses in Rockingham County, Virginia. Additional materials include photographs, notes, letters, and loose accounts.


This collection is arranged in two series:

  1. Daybooks and ledgers, 1816-1903
  2. Unbound material, 1843-1893


The Stricklers purchased the John Zigler daybooks at the M. Otto Zigler estate sale held by Green Valley Auctions, Inc. on August 11, 1990.

Acquisition Information

Robert H. "Twig" and Lorraine Strickler donated this collection to Carrier Library in December 1990.

In March 2022, Special Collections aquired from Crown Collectibles a ledger/daybook (Daybook/Ledger 19) belonging to the same John Zigler.


  • Jonassen, Diane. German Influences on the Early Arts in the Shenandoah Valley. Harrisonburg: James Madison University, 1981.
  • Miller, Gordon. Rockingham: An Annotated Bibliography of a Virginia County. Harrisonburg: Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society, 1989.
  • Wayland, John W. A History of Rockingham County. Dayton: Ruebush-Elkins, 1912.

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 3025.

The ledger acquired from Crown Collectibles was added to the collection in April 2022.

A Guide to the Robert H. and Lorraine Strickler Collection of John Zigler Daybooks, 1816-1903
Mindy Tanner, Alicia Henneberry
March 1991, September 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2013-11-21: Converted to schema conforming EAD by dtd2schema.vh.xsl.
  • September 2013: Revised by Alicia Henneberry
  • 2017: Collection renumbered.
  • 2022 April 12: Interfiled Zigler ledger from 2022 accession. Updated folder listing in box 6.

Repository Details

Part of the James Madison University Libraries Special Collections Repository

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