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Dorothy McKinley Spooner Garber Papers

Identifier: SC 0293
  • Not requestable

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content

The Dorothy McKinley Spooner Garber Papers, 1925-1978, comprise Garber's wedding portraits and a small collection of personal papers. Garber's black-and-white wedding portraits were taken by Richardson's Studio of Photography of Bedford, Virginia, and feature Garber in three different poses. Garber's papers include her 1925 marriage certificate, her 1970 membership certificate for the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a 1967 certificate of appreciation presented to Garber in honor of her retirement from Madison College, a July 1970 letter from Garber to her nephew concerning genealogical matters and the recent naming of Garber Hall, and a copy of her obituary. A pen and ink drawing of Garber Hall (entitled "Dorothy Garber Hall, Madison College") by EAnn Stokes is included.


  • Creation: 1925-1978


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

Dorothy McKinley Spooner Garber, daughter of George Hansford Spooner and Prudence Sangstone Allen Spooner, was born March 4, 1897. Garber graduated from the State Normal School for Women (now James Madison University) in 1920 with her post-graduate degree. While at the State Normal School, Garber was an active member of the student body, serving as president of Student Government, her Degree and Post-Graduate Classes, Stratford Literary Society, and Junior Red Cross. Additionally, Garber was a member of YWCA, the Ministers’ Daughters Club, Basketball Team, Home Economics Club, Tidewater Club, Glee Club, and Racket Tennis Club. She married Harry Emerson Garber (1898-1939) on September 1, 1925. Her father George officiated the ceremony.

Garber began her career in education in 1920 as a science teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School in Portsmouth, Virginia. In 1922, she became science supervisor for the Junior High School in Harrisonburg and also taught chemistry at Harrisonburg High School. Garber returned to the State Teachers College at Harrisonburg in a professional capacity in 1925 as Instructor and Assistant Professor of science. In 1930, she became a field representative and in that capacity visited Virginia high schools to promote the State Teachers College. Between 1939 and 1941, Garber worked as a commissioned agent for the Continental Oil Company of Harrisonburg. She returned to Madison College in 1941 and became Dean of Freshman Women. Garber was promoted to Dean of Women in 1960. In addition to these positions, Garber served as Alumnae Secretary from 1922 to 1952. Beyond her myriad roles at Madison College, Garber was a member of Asbury United Methodist Church, where she sang in the choir and taught Sunday School, and the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She retired from Madison College in 1967. Garber Hall, a dormitory located in the Village Area of JMU’s campus, was completed in 1969 and named after Dorothy Garber. Garber died May 21, 1978 and is buried at Woodbine Cemetery in Harrisonburg.


0.1 cubic feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



The Dorothy McKinley Spooner Garber Papers, 1925-1978, comprise Garber's wedding portraits and personal papers.


The collection is arranged chronologically in four folders.


Kalen Spooner Inabinett, Dorothy Garber's great-niece, donated the collection to JMU's Office of the President in 2014.

Acquisition Information

Steve Smith, former associate vice president for constituent relations, transferred the collection to Special Collections in May 2014.


  • The Breeze, May 15, 1967. Harrisonburg (Va.): Madison College.
  • The Schoolma'am, 1920. Harrisonburg (Va.): State Normal School for Women.

Processing Information

Garber's wedding portraits, the 1967 certificate of appreciation, and the pen and ink drawing of Garber Hall were framed when transferred to Special Collections and were subsequently deframed for archival storage.

A Guide to the Dorothy McKinley Spooner Garber Papers, 1925-1978
Tiffany Cole
May 2019
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