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Cleveland Family Papers

Identifier: SC 0043
  • Not requestable

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content

The Cleveland Family Papers, 1880-1958, are comprised primarily of photographs of Elizabeth and Annie Cleveland and other Cleveland family members. Additional materials include documents related to the deaths of Annie Cleveland and Elizabeth Cleveland. Photocopies of box labels pertaining to Cleveland Sadler are also included.

The 16 black-and-white photographs of Elizabeth Cleveland feature professional portraits and group shots. Most of the photographs are undated, but likely date from the late-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. Some photographs feature Elizabeth with family members (Lucinda Gillespie, Margaret Gillespie, Lucinda Shepherd) and others feature her with classmates or colleagues from Hollins University. Many of the photographs are inscribed with the subjects’ identities. Other persons featured include Etta Moore, Genevieve Rudd, Roe Hurt, Leila Turner, Joe Turner, Robert Hollins Alberti, Sadie White, and Alice Kelsey. Photograph studios featured include André Studio; Dean’s Studio and Gitchell’s Studio in Harrisonburg; Maury in Salem, Virginia; Fred Walter in Staunton, Virginia; Thuss and Bingham in Memphis, Tennessee; P. G. Pickerill in Little Rock, Arkansas; and Merin-Baliban in Philadelphia.

A photograph of Annie Cleveland features her seated in a wheelchair surrounded by four children. The inscription on the back of the photograph indicates that these children are her nieces and nephews Vergilia Sadler, Mary Sadler, Cleveland Sadler, and Hugh Sadler. The photograph is undated, but likely dates to the late-nineteenth century. There are also four photographs ranging in date from 1909 to 1954 featuring Vergilia Sadler. In two of these, both dated 1909, Vergilia is dressed as a Brethren minister for the play Cohee and Tuckahoe.

Documents related to Annie Cleveland’s death in 1916 include one single-sheet program from her memorial service on January 14, 1917, as well as a packet of typed papers and a bound pamphlet recapping the events and speeches delivered at the memorial service. The pamphlet contains speeches delivered by university president Julian Burruss, history faculty member John Wayland, student Zola Hubbard, Reverend W.F. Watson, and Mr. C.A. Mason as well as remembrances by Vera B. Pettit, Floyd W. King, Bettie L. Gray, Emma D. Thomas, Mrs. N.B. Gay, and Willie M. Shiflett. Excerpts from Annie Cleveland’s diary are also included in the pamphlet. An 1880 article written by Annie Cleveland entitled “My Father” is also included. Two newspaper clippings of Elizabeth’s 1958 obituary are included.

Lastly, the collection contains photocopies of box labels that housed The Schoolma’am yearbooks. Two unannotated 1915 yearbooks were removed from the collection and discarded. The box labels indicate that the yearbooks were owned by or intended for Cleveland Sadler, nephew to Elizabeth and Annie Cleveland. One box read, “Cleveland Sadler,” and the second box, “This book I saved for Cleveland Sadler, unless he has one. I think Elizabeth might like it now, in the home.”


  • Creation: 1880-1958


Access Restrictions

Collection is 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

Annie Vergilia Cleveland (1847-1916) and Elizabeth Pendleton Cleveland (1867-1958) were sisters, and they both became faculty members at the State Normal and Industrial School for Women in Harrisonburg, Virginia in 1909. Annie served as an assistant instructor of English and French until her death in 1916. Elizabeth served as the head of the English department and later the French department until her retirement in 1943.

The Cleveland sisters were born in Kent’s Store, Virginia to Mary Elizabeth Perkins and Thomas Cleveland. Annie and Elizabeth both attended Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. Before coming to Harrisonburg, Annie taught public and private school in Fluvanna County, while Elizabeth taught at Hollins University and at Central University and Ouachita Baptist University, both in Arkansas. While teaching at the State Normal and Industrial School for Women, Elizabeth earned her master’s degree from the University of Virginia (1927) and saw to the founding several long-running student organizations: the Lee Literary Society, Lanier Literary Society, and The Schoolma’am (now Bluestone) yearbook. The dormitory Junior Hall was renamed Cleveland Hall in 1957 in honor of Elizabeth Cleveland.

Neither Annie nor Elizabeth had children, but they did have numerous nieces and nephews. One of whom was Cleveland Sadler, the son of Annie and Elizabeth’s sister Mary E. Cleveland Sadler. He is featured with other young relatives in photographs in the collection. Also featured are nieces Vergilia Pendleton Sadler (1890-1965) and Mary Emma Sadler who graduated from the State Normal and Industrial School for Women in 1911 and 1912, respectively. Vergilia Sadler returned to the university to acquire her graduate degree in 1921.


0.2 cubic feet (1 half-Hollinger box)

Language of Materials



The Cleveland Family Papers, 1880-1958, are comprised primarily of photographs of Elizabeth and Annie Cleveland and other Cleveland family members. Additional materials include documents related to the deaths of Annie and Elizabeth Cleveland.


The collection is arranged topically in four folders.

Acquisition Information

These items were transferred from the James Madison University Office of Alumni Affairs to the Special Collections Library.

Separated Material

Two copies of the 1915 Schoolma’am yearbook were removed from this collection and discarded due lack of internal annotations and due to duplication elsewhere in Special Collections. The boxes in which the yearbooks were housed indicated that they belonged to or were intended to be given to Cleveland Sadler. The boxes were discarded. Photocopies of labels affixed to the boxes are retained.


  • Crowley, L. Sean. James Madison University: 1908-1909 to 1958-1959, An Annotated Historical Timeline. Harrisonburg, Virginia: James Madison University, 2006.
  • The Schoolma'am, 1911. Harrisonburg (Va.): State Normal and Industrial School for Women.
  • The Schoolma'am, 1912. Harrisonburg (Va.): State Normal and Industrial School for Women.
  • The Schoolma'am, 1921. Harrisonburg (Va.): State Normal School for Women.

Processing Information

All newspaper clippings were photocopied and originals were retained.

A Guide to the Cleveland Family Papers, 1880-1958
Ellen Blackmon
October 2015
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