Natalie Lancaster letter to H. A. Anderson
Scope and Content
The Natalie Lancaster Letter to H. A. Anderson, 1923 February 6, comprises a one-page typed letter from Lancaster, as social director at the State Normal School for Women at Harrisonburg, to H. A. Anderson, likely a student affiliated with the Virginia Tech Minstrels. Lancaster thanks Anderson for his most recent letter and reacts to the Minstrels' January 1923 performance at the Normal.
The correspondence is printed on letterhead from the Office of the Social Director at the State Normal School for Women, Harrisonburg Virginia and is addressed to H. A. Anderson, V. P. I., Blacksburg, Virginia. Lancaster thanks Anderson for his letter and relates her appreciation for the recent visit of the "Tech Minstrel" troupe to the Harrisonburg campus. Lancaster is likely referencing the January 20, 1923 performance of the Virginia Tech Minstrels. The Virginia Tech Minstrels was an all-male traveling theatrical student group comprising white actors in blackface engaging in minstrelsy.
Lancaster refers to the Normal students as "my girls" and relates that they look forward to the visit of the troupe as "an event of the session." Lancaster also relates that she has shared with Dr. Julian Burruss her high regard for the performance and troupe, and appreciation of the "bearing and gentlemanly conduct of the students of V.P.I." Burruss was the former president of the Normal at Harrisonburg and, at the time of this letter, president of Virginia Tech.
- Creation: 1923 February 6
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In 1909, Natalie Lancaster (1882-1952) was hired by the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg as the mathematics instructor. She had previously taught at the State Female Normal School at Farmville (now Longwood University). During her time at the Harrisonburg Normal, Lancaster also served advisor to the YWCA and as social director, later known as dean of women. The social director position was responsible for supervising dormitory conduct as well as the overall social life of the students. Lancaster resigned in 1923 to accept the position of dean of women at the Presbyterian Assembly's Training School in Richmond.
The identity of H. A. Anderson, the recipient of Lancaster's letter, is unknown though presumably, given the address line, he was a Virginia Tech student or faculty. It's possible Lancaster addressed the letter in error and the recipient's name was actually H(arvey). W(ilson). Anderson ('23) who, during the 1922-1923 academic year, served as the assistant director of the Virginia Tech Minstrels.
0.08 cubic feet (1 folder)
Language of Materials
The Natalie Lancaster Letter to H. A. Anderson, 1923 February 6, comprises a one-page typed letter from Lancaster, as social director at the State Normal School for Women at Harrisonburg, to H. A. Anderson, likely a student affiliated with the Virginia Tech Minstrels. Lancaster thanks Anderson for his most recent letter and reacts to the Minstrels January 1923 performance at the Normal.
Framed letter is presumed to have been transferred from a JMU office, where it was likely once on display.
Letter was found framed in Special Collections storage in 2022.
- The Bugle, 1923. Blacksburg (Va.): Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute.
- Dingledine, Raymond C. Madison College, the First Fifty Years, 1908-1958. Harrisonburg, VA: Madison College, 1959.
The letter was removed from its frame in March 2022 and the frame discarded.
- State Normal School for Women at Harrisonburg (Harrisonburg, Va.) -- History (Organization)
- James Madison University -- History (Organization)
- Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute -- History (Organization)
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University -- History (Organization)
- A Guide to the Natalie Lancaster Letter to H. A. Anderson, 1923 February 6
- Tiffany Cole
- March 2022
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