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Joseph J. Dorsey papers

Identifier: SC 0005
  • Not requestable

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content

The Joseph J. Dorsey Papers, ca. 1912-1953, consist of two photographs of Joseph J. Dorsey and his 1953 obituary as published in the Daily News-Record. One photograph depicts Joseph Dorsey with a group of workers, including one African American man, outside of one of the first buildings at Rockingham Memorial Hospital. An inscription on the verso of the photograph reads: “Joseph J. Dorsey and men working for him at Rockingham Memorial Hospital. When he built bldgs. at Madison College he had 40 men working for him. Dr. Duke was president at time at Madison.” The second photograph features Dorsey sitting outside on a rock pile in front of wooden structure. Lastly, Dorsey’s obituary from the March 19, 1953 issue of the Daily News-Record is included.


  • Creation: circa 1912-1953


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

Joseph J. Dorsey, born December 2, 1860 in Rawley Springs, Virginia to Mr. and Mrs. Joseph F. Dorsey, was an accomplished stone contractor and stonemason. He entered the trade at the age of 25 and went on to become the dean of the stonemasons in the Harrisonburg area. Dorsey assisted in the erection of many structures in Harrisonburg including churches, the Daily News-Record building, the first units of Rockingham Memorial Hospital, and a number of the initial buildings that comprised the campus of what is now James Madison University. Dorsey was also employed as a stonemason for projects at the University of Virginia. Dorsey was a Harrisonburg resident for 67 years until his death on March 18, 1953. He is buried in Woodbine Cemetery.


0.08 cubic feet (1 legal folder)

Language of Materials



The Joseph J. Dorsey Papers, ca. 1912-1953, consisting of one folder, contain two photographs of Joseph J. Dorsey and his 1953 obituary as published in the Daily News-Record.


One folder containing two photographs and one obituary.

Acquisition Information

James Madison University Alumni Association donated these materials to Special Collections prior to 2013.


  • "Jos. J. Dorsey Dies at Age of 92: Retired Stonemason Contracted For Many Buildings Here." Daily News-Record (Harrisonburg, Virginia), March 19, 1953.
A Guide to the Joseph J. Dorsey Papers, ca. 1912-1953
Kaitlin Scott, Tiffany Cole
September 2016
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