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Betty Brown Clemmer and Willis Clemmer papers

 Collection
Identifier: SC 0280

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content

The Betty Brown Clemmer and Willis Clemmer Papers, 1920-2015 (bulk 1943-1949), largely comprise correspondence between Betty Brown Clemmer and Willis Clemmer during their courtship while Betty was a student at Madison College. Other papers relate to Betty's coursework at Madison College including art drawings and program cards, Willis' service in the Army Air Forces including a patch and correspondence from the Veterans Administration, and family biographies and histories related to Augusta County.

Dates

  • 1920-2015
  • Majority of material found within 1943-1949

Creator

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 (library-special@jmu.edu).

Bio/Historical Note

Betty Brown Clemmer was born in Chesterfield County, Virginia to Ruth Leigh Moseley Brown (1905-1998) and Henry Brown (1906-1985). After graduating as valedictorian from Buckhorn High School, Betty enrolled at Madison College in the fall of 1947 to pursue her studies in home economics education. Betty was a member of the German Club and Granddaughters’ Club as her mother also attended the State Teachers College at Harrisonburg. While in Harrisonburg, Betty met Willis Clemmer of Staunton, Virginia and they were engaged in March 1948. She decided to postpone her college career in January 1949 in preparation for marrying Willis in April 1949. She returned to Madison College and graduated in 1966 with a bachelor’s degree. Betty went on to teach elementary school for 29 years and volunteered at the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Museum and Augusta Health Center.

Willis Clemmer (1926-2013) was born near Fairfield, Virginia to Viola Ralston Clemmer and Alva Lewis Clemmer. During WWII, while attending Lee High School in Staunton, Willis enlisted as a cadet pilot in the Army Air Forces, returning after the war to complete his high school degree. For a short period of time in 1946, Willis also enrolled in Shenandoah College in Dayton, Virginia. After graduating from Dunsmore Business College, Willis worked for Smith’s Transfer, Westinghouse, and Staunton’s Public Work Department. He had a particular fascination with automobiles and was a member of the Model A Ford Club of American and the Antique Automobile Club of America.

Extent

1.72 cubic feet (5 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

The Betty Brown Clemmer and Willis Clemmer Papers, 1920-2015 (bulk 1943-1949), largely comprise correspondence between Betty Brown Clemmer and Willis Clemmer during their courtship while Betty was a student at Madison College. Other papers relate to Betty's coursework at Madison College, Willis' service in the Army Air Forces, and family biographies.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged into two series. Series 1: Correspondence is arranged into subseries according to recipient. Each series is arranged chronologically.

  1. Correspondence, 1943-1949
  2. Personal and Biographical Papers, 1920-2015

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated by Betty Brown Clemmer in August 2018.

Separated Material

Two self-published local history publications were removed from the collection and cataloged separately.

Bibliography

  • Obituary of Willis Lee Clemmer, The News Leader, July 12, 2013.
  • The Schoolma'am, 1948. Harrisonburg (Va.): Madison College.
  • The Schoolma'am, 1949. Harrisonburg (Va.): Madison College.

Processing Information

The Seawright Springs (Augusta County, Virginia) history compiled by Ralph Coffman was originally housed in a three-ring binder with each page in a plastic sleeve. The history was disbound and the plastic sleeves discarded. The pages were foldered together and in their orginal order in an acid-free folder. All pieces of correspondence were removed from their respective envelopes. The letters and envelopes were joined with a slip of acid-free paper and a stainless steel paper clip.

Title
A Guide to the Betty Brown Clemmer and Willis Clemmer Papers, 1920-2015 (bulk 1943-1949)
Status
Completed
Author
Tiffany Cole
Date
March 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the James Madison University Libraries Special Collections Repository

Contact:
880 Madison Drive
MSC 1704
Harrisonburg Virginia 22807
(540) 568-3612