A Guide to the
Leri Melissa Thomas Papers, 1932-1995 (bulk 1988-1992)
Compiled by: Lindsay Mannell and Chris Bolgiano, December 1998
Revised by: Tara Mastrangelo, October 2010
Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University
Title: Leri Melissa Thomas Papers, 1932-1995
Collection No.: SC# 4015
Creator: Leri M. Thomas
Extent: 1 Hollinger box; 0.42 linear feet
The Leri Melissa Thomas Papers, 1932-1995 [bulk 1988-1992], consists of one Hollinger box of files documenting the relationship between Shenandoah National Park (SNP) and residents and officials in several counties adjoining the park, especially Madison, Augusta, and Rockingham counties, Virginia.
Collection is open for research.
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. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Leri Melissa Thomas Papers, 1932-1995, SC# 4015, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.
Ms. Thomas donated the collection in September 1998.
In 1979, Leri Melissa Thomas moved to Madison County within five miles of SNP. In the late 1980s, when the park inaugurated a study of its surrounding lands, she became a leader in the private property rights movement that protested the potential expansion of the park. She contacted government officials at all levels and publicized the public concern over the park's Related Lands Study (also known as Adjacent Lands Study) and other activities. Among her neighbors were descendants of people who had been dispossessed by the park in the 1920s and 1930s, when the park was first established.
Scope and Content
The Leri Melissa Thomas Papers, 1932-1995 [bulk 1988-1992], consist of one Hollinger box of files documenting the relationship between Shenandoah National Park and residents and officials in several counties adjoining the park, especially Madison, Augusta, and Rockingham counties, Virginia.
The documents, which include both original and photocopied materials, constitute a wide variety of items including newspaper clilppings, newsletters, correspondence, memorandum, reports, maps, minutes of meetings, and surveys.
Folder One, Related Lands Study, 1932-1992, is composed of information about the development, funding, and implementation of the Related Lands Study conducted by SNP. The folder includes a copy of the original park creation bill, proposals for the land study, reports, SNP memorandum, articles and clippings, and correspondence.
Folder Two, Land Surveys, 1980s/1990s, contains forms of survey information for Rockingham and Madison counties, including information on corporate and individual landowners and maps of land tracts.
Folder Three, SNP Acquisitions, 1979-1992, includes documents concerning land acquired by SNP and the role of the Conservation Fund in securing those aquisitions. Copies of laws concerning the park's abilitity to obtain new land, correspondence, and news-clippings dealing with public reaction are all part of Folder Three.
Folder Four, Gore Tract, 1989-1992, consists of documents and maps related to SNP interest in the Gore Tract of land in Madison county, Virginia.
Folder Five, Rose River Tract, 1991, consists of documents and maps related to SNP interest in the Rose River tract of land in Madison county, Virginia.
Folder Six, Light Tract, 1981-1990, cconsists of documetns and maps related SNP interest in the Light property of Madison county, Viriginia.
Folder Seven, Page County, 1988-1992, consists of ducuments and maps related to SNP interse in several tracts of land in Page county, Virginia.
Folder Eight, Park Jurisdiction, 1969-1992, contains items concerning the park's boundaries and concurrent areas of jurisdiction.
Folder Nine, Property Rights and Anti-Park Expansion, 1979-1992, contains newsletters, a signed petition, correspondence with members of Congress, a pamphlet entitled "Us vs. NPS," co-authored by the donor, and other documentes concerned with private property issues in general and specifically as related to SNP.
Folder Ten, Blue Ridge Committee on SNP Relations, 1992-1993, includes documents concerning the formation and development of an advisory committee consisting of the eight counties bordering SNP.
Folder Eleven, Miscellaneous Newspaper Articles, 1978-1991, contains photocopies of newspaper articles pertaining to SNP and the private property movement during this period.
Folder Twelve, Hunting/Poaching, 1977-1992, includes letters describing several incidents that occured in or near SNP, as well as correspondence between Leri M. Thomas and government officials. Also includes material related to SNP jurisdiction.
Folder Thirteen, Report on Floods, 1995, consists of one fifteen page report by the donor, Leri M. Thomas, entitled "The Floods of 1995: A Case Study of Madisonian Attitudes and Experiences in the Wake of Flood Relief Efforts." This work links attituteds and behaviors in response to the floods with the response towards SNP. Report includes some biographical information on Leri Thomas.
This collection is arranged topically into thirteen folders.
Location of Originals
Some originals are retained by the donor.
For more on the residents who were displaced by SNP in the 1920s and 1930s, see also:
Smith, Dorothy Noble. Recollections: The People of the Blue Ridge Remember. Verona, Va.:McClure Print Co., 1983.
The Shenandoah Park Oral History Collection, 1964-1999, SdArch SNP, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.
Folder Related Lands Study, 1932-1995 1 Land Surveys, 1980s-1990s 2 SNP Acquisitions, 1979-1992 3 Gore Tract, 1989-1992, and undated 4 Rose River Tract, 1991, and undated 5 Light Tract, 1981-1990 6 Page County Tracts, 1988-1992, and undated 7 Park Boundaries and Jurisdiction, 1969-1992, and undated 8 Property Rights and Anti-Park Expansion, 1979-1992, and undated 9 Blue Ridge Committee on SNP Relations, 1992-1993 10 Miscellaneous Newspaper Articles, 1978-1991 11 Hunting/Poaching, 1977-1992 12 Report on Floods, 1995 13