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A Guide to the

John L. Heatwole Personal Papers, 1973-1995

SC# 2075

Compiled by: Christina Bolgiano, March 1988; Updated, July 2008
Revised By: Tara Mastrangelo, September 2010

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: John L. Heatwole Personal Papers, 1973-1995

Collection No.: SC# 2075

Creator: John L. Heatwole

Extent: 1 Hollinger box, 1 flat box; 2.1 linear feet

Language: English


John L. Heatwole Personal Papers, 1973-1995, consists of one Hollinger box and one flat box of items such as correspondence, exhibit notices, consignment contracts, magazine articles, photos, and sketches relevant to Heatwole's work as an artist and lecturer.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions:


Use Restrictions:


Preferred Citation: 

John L. Heatwole Personal Papers, 1973-1995, SC# 2075, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.

Acquisition Information:

Materials were donated by John L. Heatwole in December, 1987.

Processing Information:

In 2010, a few series titles and folders were renamed and one folder was reorganized into additional folders to improve understanding of the collections's contents. The order imposed by the creator has been generally maintained in most cases.

Biographical/Historical Note

John L. Heatwole (1948-2006), born in Washington D.C., served in the U.S. Marine Corps and worked at the Library of Congress until 1974, when he and his wife, Miriam, relocated to the Shenandoah Valley. Heatwole originally took a job as a woodcarver with the Virginia Craftsmen Furniture Company in Harrisonburg, Va., and three years later he opened his own woodcarving shop in Bridgewater, Va. Heatwole drew on folklore and family sotries as inspiration for his wood carvings. Using only hand tools and a secret color staining process, Heatwole became widely recognized as a local artist of note. In addition to artist and woodcarver, he was also locally known as a tour guide, historian and folklorist in the Shenandoah Valley. Throughout his lifetime he sat on various committees and boards related to both art and history, and received many awards for his work. He chaired the Rockingham County Bicentennial Committee and in 1991 he was the first Virginian to display art in the National Capital Rotunda. Heatwole also authored several books relating to superstitions, folkways, and the Civil War.

Scope and Content

John L. Heatwole Personal Papers, 1973-1995, consists of one hollinger box and one flat box of items such as correspondence, exhibit notices, consignment contracts, magazine articles, photos, and sketches relevant to Heatwole's work as an artist and lecturer. The collection is arranged into five series: Diaries, Letters, Media, Miscellaneous, and Oversize Materials.

Series I, Diaries, 1979-1995, consists of four bound diaries arranged into two folders. The content of these diaries is mainly relevant to his business and art.

Series II, Letters, 1976-1987, includes incoming letters from students, fellow artists, clients, the Dow Agency, and Neiman-Marcus. Many letters are pertinent to exhibits, events, and lectures Heatwole participated in.

Series III, Media, 1973-1989, includes magazines and newsletters containing articles about Heatwole, photocopies of newspaper clippings about the artist, and a 1989 WVPT video of an interview with the artist.

Series IV, Miscellaneous, 1976-1987, contains a variety of items relevant to Heatwole's art, as well as events and activities in which he participated. The series includes two issues of Fine Woodworking Magazine which contain articles and reviews written by Heatwole. A few items of crrespondence from the publisher relevant to the articles are housed with the magazines. The series also holds drafts of articles by Heatwole; business documents such as sale receipts, consignment contracts, and deeds of gift; photographs of the artist and his woodcarvings; and event memborabilia such as public notices of exhibits, programs from events, and photocopies of a visitor register form from an exhibit of Heatwole's work.

Series V, Oversize Materials, 1976-1987, is an oversize flat box containing posters advertising Heatwole's work on display at Neiman-Marcus and a variety of Heatwole's sketches.


The collection is arranged by topic into 5 series: Diaries, Letters, Media, Miscellaneous, and Oversize Materials.


Heatwole, John L. John L. Heatwole: The Word Gatherer, Oral History Inteview. By Carol Maureen DeHart.  Staunton, Va.:Lot's Wife Publishing, 2007.

Related Material/Collections

For Heatwole's collection of Shenandoah Valley historical documents, see also the John L. Heatwole Collection, SC#2040.



Series I: Diaries, 1979-1995







Series II: Letters, 1976-1987

Artists and Students, 1981-1986, and undated


Cheek, Leslie, 1984-1987


Clients, 1978-1987, and undated


Dow Agency, 1984-1987


Lectures, 1976-1987, and undated


Neiman-Marcus, 1979-1986, and undated


Miscellaneous Letters, 1982-1986

Series III: Media, 1973-1989

Articles about Artist, 1978-1984


Clippings, 1973-1987, and undated


WVPT Intervew, 1989

Media Cabinet
Series IV: Miscellaneous, 1976-1987

Published Articles by Heatwole, 1986-1987


Article drafts by Heatwole, 1987 and undated


Business Documents, 1977-1987, and undated


Event Memorabilia, 1976-1987, and undated


Photos, 1979-1985, and undated

Series V: Oversize Materials, 1976-1987

Neiman-Marcus Poster, 1981


Neiman-Marcus Posters, 1981-1982


Neiman-Marcus Posters, 1983-1984


Sketches, 1976-1983


Sketches, 1984-1987


Sketches, undated




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