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Nancy Bondurant Jones Papers

Identifier: SC 0192
  • Not requestable

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content

The Nancy Bondurant Jones Papers, 1909-2011 (bulk 1991-2007), consist of 19 boxes and 6.53 cubic feet of materials primarily consisting of research subject files, newspapers and clippings, correspondence, ephemera, speeches, and business and organizational documents. The bulk of the papers correspond to Shenandoah Valley and Virginia history, although some of the papers relate to national history including historical events like the Los Angeles Riots and women’s suffrage. Other topics, like cancer or cars, are broader in scope. The collection also includes responses, forms, and letters from JMU alumni, faculty emeriti, and former university presidents that Jones acquired during her research for Rooted on Bluestone Hill. Arranged in two series, there is overlap in some instances between the two. The original, intended arrangement from the creator has been maintained where possible. Changes to the arrangement include alphabetizing where needed, slight changes to folder titles when necessary, and interfiling loose papers with existing files.


  • 1909-2011
  • Majority of material found within 1991-2007


Access Restrictions

Collection open to 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

Nancy Bondurant Jones (1930-2017) was a well-known writer and historian in the Shenandoah Valley. She was born to Dr. Charles H. and Therma Barclay Bondurant in Roanoke. In 1956, she married Phillip Lawrence Jones, who passed away in 1979. She had two daughters, three sons, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren at the time of her death in December 2017.

Jones began her extensive teaching and writing career by getting her Bachelor of Arts at Shepherd College in West Virginia in 1953. Beyond Shepherd, she did additional work at George Washington University, University of Maryland, James Madison University, and University of Virginia. She also received fellowships from the University of Virginia and American University.

After twenty-nine years of teaching at schools in Montgomery County, Maryland and in Rockingham County at Elkton and Turner Ashby high schools, Jones spent the reminder of her career as a freelance writer. Her writing extended across newspapers, journals, speeches, and published books. Some of her most notable writing was done for the local newspaper, the Daily News-Record in which she wrote a weekly column, “Remembrances,” for eleven years based on personal memories supported with historical fact. After completing her writing for the DNR, she went on to contribute columns and articles to the Staunton-based paper eightyone, and to JMU’s Montpelier magazine. Jones also penned over a dozen books for various local businesses and organizations. Some notable titles include: Rooted on Bluestone Hill: A History of James Madison University (2004), Called to Care: A History of the Nursing Program at Rockingham Memorial Hospital (2004), and Ageless Legacy: A History of Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community (2004), all of which were nominated for the Library of Virginia’s outstanding non-fiction award.

Outside of her writing career, Jones was active in the local and statewide community. In 1983, she ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates District 27. She was also the former president of the Harrisonburg Pilot Club, the Rockingham Country Teacher’s Association, and the Shenandoah Branch of the National Association of American Pen Women. Beyond these organizations, Jones served on the boards of Greater Madison at JMU, the Sorenson Institute, and the Arts Council of the Valley. Personally, she was a member of the Emmanuel Episcopal Church and opened one of the first bed and breakfasts in the area in the mid-1980s.

For her extensive work through teaching, writing, and community involvement Jones was given a few honors including being cited in the 1989/1990 edition of Who’s Who in American Education and being named Women of the Year in 2000 by the Working Women’s Forum.

In addition to all this work, Jones also worked at JMU for eight years. After retiring from teaching English at Turner Ashby High School in 1989, Jones began working for JMU in former President Dr. Ronald E. Carrier’s office as the social events coordinator for Carrier and his wife, Edith. Soon she began writing Dr. Carrier's speeches and other documents as requested.In the early 1990s, Dr. Carrier commissioned her to write a book on the history of JMU that would appeal to a general audience. This book, Rooted on Bluestone Hill, was published in 2004.


6.53 cubic feet (19 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Nancy Bondurant Jones Papers, 1909-2011 (bulk 1991-2007), document the career and personal life of local teacher and writer Nancy Bondurant Jones. The collection mainly consists of research subject files, newspapers and clippings, correspondence, ephemera, speeches, and business and organizational documents. Also included are responses and letters from JMU alumni and Presidents Burruss, Duke, and Miller that Jones acquired during her research for Rooted on Bluestone Hill.


The collection is arranged in two series. Series 1: Subject Files is arranged alphabetically. Series 2: Personal Papers is arranged chronologically and then alphabetically.

  1. Subject Files, 1909-2010
  2. Personal Papers, 1979-2011

Acquisition Information

A small portion of the collection related to her work on Rooted on Bluestone Hill was donated by Nancy Bondurant Jones in 2004. The bulk of the collection was donated by Martin Jones and Randy Jones, Nancy's sons, in May 2017.

Appraisal Information

Due to duplication in the Daily News-Record and other periodicals, a collection of scrapbooks containing exclusively newspaper clippings of Jones's articles was returned to the donors.

Other Formats Available

All media items are pending processing and reformatting. Media items include floppy disks containing Jones's articles and other written documents as well as cassette and microcassette tapes that mainly appear to be interviews that Jones conducted with Dr. Ronald E. Carrier, Lucille Smead, Harry Caplinger, and others.

Separated Material

All published monographs have been cataloged individually and placed in Special Collections’ rare book collection.


  • Obituary for Nancy Bondurant Jones, Daily News-Record, December 14, 2017.
  • Jones, Nancy B. Rooted on Blue Stone Hill: A History of James Madison University. Santa Fe, NM; Staunton, VA: Center for American Places, 2004.

Processing Information

The initial accession of the Nancy Bondurant Jones Papers was processed by former Special Collections Librarian Chris Bolgiano in March 2005. The 2017 donation that comprises the bulk of the collection was combined with the original accession. The collection, as a whole, was donated in good condition and required minimal preservation work. The preservation work that was done included removing tape and rusty staples or paperclips from the papers. Loose papers have been interfiled with corresponding subject files. Duplicate items in the collection were discarded. Any Social Security Numbers in the collection were redacted and the original documents discarded. Education records for the Shenandoah Electric Company Scholarship have been removed. It appeared as if Jones was a reader for the scholarship applications. All documents of a personal nature, specifically financial and medical, were returned to the donors. The original arrangement of the collection has been maintained where possible. Books have been cataloged separately. Some loose items found in books have been interfiled in related folders. All these items are identified in their corresponding folders. All media items are pending processing and reformatting.

In order to streamline the process of applying collection numbers, Special Collections staff completed a large-scale renumbering campaign in the spring of 2017. The 2004 portion of this collection was previously cataloged as SC 5013.

A Guide to the Nancy Bondurant Jones Papers, 1909-2011 (bulk 1991-2007)
Chris Bolgiano, Selena St. Andre
March 2005, January 2018
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.
  • May 2007: Updated by Tracy S. Harter and Geraldine P. Suter
  • January 2018: Reprocessed and updated by Selena St. Andre

Repository Details

Part of the James Madison University Libraries Special Collections Repository

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