A Guide to the
John G. Stewart Collection, 1761-2002 (bulk 1953-1973)
Compiled by: Kristie Kendall and Tracy Harter, December 2008;
Addition: Tiffany Cole, March 2010
Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University
Title: John G. Stewart Collection, 1761-2002 (bulk 1953-1973)
Collection No.: SC# 4016
Creator: John G. Stewart
Extent: 5 Holllinger boxes; 2.09 linear feet
Language: English, German
Research materials and topical files, in English and German, pertaining to Shenandoah Valley folk culture including recipes, cures for ailments, folklore stories, and other traditions gathered and documented by John G. Stewart and Elmer Smith, former professors at Madison College (James Madison University).
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).
Photocopied unpublished materials from other individuals in the collection may be used and reproduced under the terms of Title 17, Section 108 of U.S. Code. The user is responsible for determining whether a work has passed into the public domain or obtaining copyright clearance from the copyright holder for permission to use the materials in excess of fair use.
The John G. Stewart Collection, 1761-2002, SC# 4016, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.
John Stewart donated this collection of research material and notes in August 2007 and June 2009.
John G. Stewart was born in 1918 in Vienna, Austria, under the name Hans Gideon Stein, to Wilhelm Stein and Margarethe Pick Stein. Practicing Jews, the family was subject to scrutiny and Hans was arrested during Kristallnacht. Fearing for their safety, the family obtained visas to come to the United States soon after Hitler invaded Austria in 1938. Hans Gideon Stein attended the College of the Pacific, now called the University of the Pacific, from 1939 until he was drafted into the United States Army in October 1941, where he served as Staff Sergeant in Military Intelligence. He became a United States citizen in 1943 and officially changed his name to John Stewart. After World War II, Stewart decided to complete his education. He attended Columbia University from 1945 to 1948, obtaining a masters degree. Stewart taught at Harrisonburg High School from 1951 to 1958, when he was offered a teaching position at Madison College in the language department, for which he taught German and Latin until 1973. Until 1989, he continued teaching classes on folklore and folk culture in the Department of Sociology. After retirement, Stewart continued to research and write about Shenandoah Valley German folklore and culture. He passed away August 27, 2010.
Elmer L. Smith was born in 1920 in Newark, NJ. After earning a B.S. at Florida Southern College, an M.A. at Western Reserve University, and a Ph.D. at Syracuse University, he taught government, economics, and sociology in several Pennsylvania colleges and universities. In 1958 he came to James Madison University (then Madison College) as Director of the Social Sciences Division, serving until his death in 1981. Smith recognized that there was a large German-speaking segment of the population that had settled in the Shenandoah Valley. He conducted research and interviews to document the folk culture of the Shenandoah Valley, and published a wide variety of books and papers. Most of Smith's papers and many of his publications are available at the Blue Ridge Institute of Ferrum College in Ferrum, VA.
Smith and Stewart collaborated on research and conducted interviews with descendants of the German settlers in the Valley, much of which is documented in this collection. Together, Stewart and Smith established the Valley Folklore Society in the early 1960s. They compiled and published information on many folk traditions of the Shenandoah Valley Germans, including holiday traditions, food recipes, medicinal remedies and favorite pastimes.
Scope and Content
The John G. Stewart Collection consists of 5 Hollinger boxes, measuring 2.09 linear feet, spanning the years 1761 to 2002. The collection contains a wide array of facsimile documents pertaining to Germanic folklore and culture in the Shenandoah Valley including notes from Stewart's own lectures and presentations on particular Valley topics. Documents consist of photocopies and drafts of articles written by Stewart and his colleague Elmer L. Smith, information compiled from interviews with Valley residents, as well as photocopies of primary source materials such as images, recipes, correspondence and medicinal remedies from individuals living in Rockingham, Augusta, Wythe and Shenandoah Counties in Virginia and Pendleton County in West Virginia. Most of the photocopied articles are reprints from the Pennsylvaanisch Dietsch Eck and "Valley Folklore" articles from the Highland Recorder (Highland County, Va.) spanning from November 1953 to November 1973. A detailed list of those articles is included in the Contents List below, as a link to a pdf document, and is also on file in Special Collections. The collection has been left largely in the order in which Mr. Stewart used it, with minor exceptions. It is arranged in six series: Topical Research Files, Folk Medicine and Remedies, Pow-Wow Documents, Lectures and Administrative Files, Henkel Materials, and Folk Culture Posters. Numbers in brackets in the contents list below indicate item count within a folder.
Topical Research Files, 1761-1995, are further divided into subseries: Calendar Events and Other. The series consists of drafts of articles written by Elmer L. Smith and John Stewart, reprinted articles from the "Pennsylvaanisch Dietsch Eck" (1953-1963), and "Valley Folklore" columns from the Highland Recorder (1965-1973), and miscellaneous notes taken by John Stewart. Of particular interest in the Calendar Events subseries are folders pertaining to traditional German holidays such as Belsnickeling and Martinmas. The Belsnickel was the Christmas gift giver, who disguised himself as an evil man. For good children he gave presents, but for naughty ones he carried whips or sticks. Martinmas, or the Feast of Saint Martin, was celebrated on November 11th and typically marked the first day of winter. Materials in the "Other" category cover a wide range of topics and are arranged alphabetically.
Materials in the Folk Medicine and Remedies, 1790-1984, were left in the donor's original order and primarily consist of photocopies or photographs of original primary source documents obtained from individuals in Rockingham, Shenandoah, Augusta and Wythe Counties in Virginia and Pendleton County, West Virginia. Also represented are articles by John Stewart, Kurt Kehr, Elmer Smith, and Billie Jo Monger. Documents include medicinal remedies for ailments such as arthritis, dog bites, and blisters. Information regarding provenance of various items in this series, if available, resides in the administrative file for this collection in the Special Collections office.
The series Pow Wow Documents, 1883-1900, contains materials pertaining to the handwritten, unpublished Pendleton County Pow-Wow Book of West Virginia and other related materials. The Pow-Wow Book demonstrated the art of healing people through prayer and the placing of hands on the body, which was ostensibly a custom among the Pennsylvania Germans. The series contains the following: photographs of the original Pow Wow book, which was written in German; English translations of part of the book; an undated typed article by Elmer L. Smith and John G. Stewart entitled An Occult Remedy Manuscript from Pendleton County, W.VA; a reprint of Elmer Smith's c.1976 article "The Medical Therapy of Powwowing: Early History in Europe to Surviving Practices in Modern America," typed notes taken from Folk-Medicine: a Chapter in the History of Culture (1883), by William George Black, and Der Deutsche Volksaberglaube der Gegenwart (1900) by Adolf Wuttke, regarding folk healing practices.
Lectures and Administrative Files, 1966-2002, include various papers and notes on topics Stewart presented at conferences, seminars, and other speaking engagements in the Vallley and abroad. Topics generally concern Valley folklife and folklore. Material pertaining to his teaching and research obligations include course syllabi, a grant application, an oral history program proposal, and bibliographies.
Henkel Materials, 1796-1963, document the the general history of the Henkel Family and Henkel Press of New Market, Virginia and consist of photocopies of publications and medicine labels printed at the press. Materials pertaining to Paul Henkel include an index and transcriptions from his daybook and diary as well as materials documenting his sermons and correspondence. A list of Solomon Henkel correspondence is also included. Photographic images of broadsides printed at the Henkel Press and woodcuts and imprints used in various publications are present. The donor's research notes concerning materials at Special Collections at JMU are also contained within this series.
Folk Culture Posters, undated, is a collection of oversized photographs taken by the donor of Frakturs, tomb stone rubbings, folk medicine recipes, and Henkel Press broadsides. The images are mounted on cardstock and numbered according to the donor's description list.
The collection is arranged in six series:
I. Topical Research Files, 1761-1995
Aurand, A. Monroe. The "Pow-Wow" Book; A Treatise of the Art of "Healing by Prayer" and "Laying on of Hands", etc... Harrisburg, Pa.: Aurand Press, 1929.
Elmer Lewis Smith Collection, SC# 4038, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University.
Daily News-Record. Obituary of John Gideon Stewart. August 30, 2010.
"John Gideon Stewart," Shenandoah Valley Folklife Society 23, no. 3 (Sept. 2010): 1-2.
Smith, Elmer Lewis and John G. Stewart. A Collection of Papers from the Virginia Folklore Collection, Valley Folklore, and Specialized Collection of Pennsylvania Dutch Folklore from the Region, 1965-1967.
Smith, Elmer Lewis, John G. Stewart and M. Ellswo. The Pennsylvania Germans in the Shenandoah Valley. Allentown, Pa.: Pennsylvania German Folklore Society, 1962.
Stewart, John G. Memoirs of Hans Stein/John Stewart.
Stewart, John G. Oral History Interview, John G. Stewart; interviewed by Carol Maureen DeHart, 2003. SdArch no. 25-1.
Location of Originals
Many original documents cited by Mr. Stewart in his notes may still be in the hands of the owners or their heirs.
- Elmer Lewis Smith Collection, SC# 4038
- Oral History Interview with John G. Stewart, SdArch no. 25-1
- Henkel Family Papers Collection, SC# 2065
- Paul Henkel Family Papers, 1781-1990 (Handley Regional Library)
- Socrates Henkel Papers, 1848-1894 (Handley Regional Library)
- Henkel Family Records, 1838-1903
- Henkel Family Papers Collection at Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia.
Original newspaper clippings were photocopied on archival paper and acidic originals discarded.
Due to copyright restrictions, photocopied materials from the following collections and books were removed:
- Henry Z. Jones, German Origins of Jost Hite: Virginia Pioneer, 1685-1761 (Edinburg, Va.: Shenandoah History, 1979).
- John Brown, Circular-Schreiben an die deutschen Einwohner von Rockingham und Augusta, und den benachbarten Caunties. Erster band. Von Johannes Braun. Prediger des Evangelii in den Caunties Rockingham und Augusta, Virginia (Harrisonburg, Va.: Gedruckt bey Laurentz Wartmann, Rockingham County, Virginia, 1818).
- Adolf Spamer, Romanusbüchlein; historisch-philologischer Kommentar zu einem deutschen Zauberbuch. Aus seinem Nachlass bearb. von Johanna Nickel (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1958).
- "Schreiben eines deutschen Juden, an den Präsidenten des Kongresses der vereinigten Staaten von Amerika," Deutsches Museum 1.6 (1783): 558-66.
The map Deutsche Einwanderung 1750-1850 entlang Shenandoah und Potomac sowie heutige Dialektinseln des Virginiadeutschen has been removed from folder German Immigration and placed in Map Drawer 5.
Series I: Topical Research Files, 1953-1973: Calendar Events Box:Folder
General Holidays, Customs, Traditions [29 items]
Christmas, Belsnickeling, Shanghaiing [36 items]
Easter [13 items]
Ground Hog Day, Candlemas [12 items]
Halloween [6 items]
Lent, Fastnacht, Shrove Tuesday [19 items]
May 1st [5 items]
Martinmas (Michaelmass) [1 item]
New Year, Shooting in the New Year [41 items]
St. Patrick's Day [1 item]
Seasons [10 items]
Thanksgiving [3 items]
Valentine's Day [18 items]
Almanac [3 items]
Amish and Mennonites [26 items]
Apple Butter, Sugaring [7 items]
Ballads, Poetry [17 items]
Bottles, Springs [6 items]
Churches, Preachers, Religion [91 items]
Civil War [12 items]
Domestic and Arts and Crafts [37 items]
Folk Architecture, Barns, Folk Art [50 items]
Folk Beliefs [45 items]
Folk Expressions (Language) [9 items]
Folk Humor [18 items]
Folk and Plant Medicine [92 items]
Folklore [44 items]
Funerals, Tombstones [39 items, inc. photographs]
Furniture [1 item]
1:29 Genealogy, Surnames, and Place Names [59 items] 1:30 German Immigration: Research Files [34 items] 1:31 Map Deutsche Einwanderung 1750-1850 entlang Shenandoah und Potomac sowie heutige Dialektinseln des Virginiadeutschen map drawer
Guns, Gunsmiths [9 items]
Henkel Press, New Market [37 items]
History, General [42 items]
Hunting, Fishing [10 items]
2:1 Interviews [7 items] 2:2
Language, Dialects [33 items]
Legends [4 items]
Proverbs [13 items]
Mail Musings, Letters from Readers [7 items]
Marriage [12 items]
Moonshine, Whiskey [2 items]
Pottery [12 items]
2:9 Probst Lutheran-Reformed Church, Pendleton County, WV [10 items] 2:10 Puzzles, Religious [12 items] 2:11
Public Events [8 items]
2:12 Reading [42 items] 2:13
Recipes [10 items]
Rhymes, Riddles, Tongue Twisters [18 items]
School Days, Memory Album [15 items]
2:16 Solomon's Church, Forestville, Shenandoah County [27 items] 2:17 St. Michael's Lutheran-Reformed Church, Pendleton County, WV [10 items] 2:18 St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Grove Hill, Page County [83 items] 2:19
Superstitions, Letters from Heaven (Himmelsbrief) [33 items]
Superstitions, Witchcraft [57 items]
2:21 Translations, Various Documents [25 items] 2:22
Traveler's Accounts (18th-19th Century) [77 items]
2:23 Trinity Lutheran Church, Keezletown [18 items] 2:24
T.V. Set, Shenandoah Valley [15 items]
Unclassified [10 items]
Water Witching [9 items]
Weather [38 items]
2:28 Series II: Folk Medicine and Remedies, 1790-1984
Folk Medicine Recipes, 1850-1939 [7 items]
Andrew Hess' Notebook containing Recipes for Common Ailments and Diseases, 1849-1853 [24 items]
Recipes for Arthritis, Pendleton County, W. VA [4 items]
Letters from Heaven (Himmelsbrief), May 1908 and n.d. [18 items]
Dr. Wilhelm Stoy's Dog Bite Remedy [4 items]
Sator Formula to Protect Against Disease [5 items]
Recipes for Ailments (Horses, etc.) [5 items]
How to Prepare Blue Color [2 items]
Medical Prescriptions, New Market/Mt. Solon [8 items]
Medical and Personal Advice, sent from Henrich Muhlenberg to Mr. Henkel, 1800-1817 [19 items]
Articles re Herbal Medicine by John Stewart, Kurt Kehr, Elmer Smith, Billie Jo Monger, 1970s-1980s [96 pages]
Four Recipes for Common Ailments, from Shavers School House, Linville Creek, Virginia [2 items]
Pendleton County Pow Wow Book [25 items]
English Translations, Part 1 [37 items]
English Translations, Part 2 [13 items]
E.L. Smith and J.G. Stewart, "Occult Remedy" [11 items]
Miscellaneous Pow Wow Materials [87 items]
3:5 Series IV: Lectures and Administrative Files, 1966-2002 Lectures and Presentations: The Dumb Dutch of the Shenandoah Valley, 1966 [32 items] 3:6 How and When: Literature in the Foreign Language Curriculum, 1969 [16 items] 3:7 The German Element in Shenandoah Valley Folklore, 1975 [22 items] 3:8 The Valley Germans in the Revolutionary War, 1976 [16 items] 3:9 Folklore and Nationalism, Politics, Ideology, 1980 [17 items] 3:10 Shenandoah Valley Folklife, 1980 [10 items] 3:11 Naturalization Ceremony Speech, 1982 [3 items] 3:12 Folklore and Linguistics, 1982 [16 items] 3:13 German Settlers in the Shenandoah Valley in the American Revolution, 1985 [20 items] 3:14 How and When? Literature in the Foreign Language Curriculum, 1988 [20 items] 3:15 German Folk Culture in the Shenandoah Valley, 1988 [29 items] 3:16 The Zirkle Family: Historical Perspective, 1989 [31 items] 3:17 The Germans of New Market, Va., 1990 [26 items] 3:18 Shenandoah Valley Folk Culture, 1991 [24 items] 3:19 Early Books of the Shenandoah Valley, 1992 [20 items] 3:20 Fraktur Writing in the Shenandoah Valley, 1992 [31 items] 3:21 Popular Beliefs and Superstitions in the Valley of Virginia, 1993 [30 items] 3:22 Folk Culture and Medicine, 1993 [8 items] 3:23 Shenandoah Valley Folklore Fieldwork, 1993 [21 items] 3:24 Our Trip to Israel, 1995 [24 items] 3:25 Shenandoah Valley Fraktur, 1995 [13 items] 3:26 The New Market Henkels, 1999 [3 items] 3:27 Valley Germans in the Revolutionary War, 2000 [35 items] 3:28 Valley Germans, Customs, Traditions, 2000 [2 items] 3:29 Price Rotary Speech, 2000 [4 items] 3:30 Shenandoah Valley Fraktur, 2002 [29 items] 3:31 Teaching and Administrative Files: Bibliographies [34 items] 4:1 Syllabi [34 items] 4:2 Proposal for a Madison College Oral History Program [16 items] 4:3 Grant Application, A New Age in Shenandoah Valley History: A Cultural Resource Symposium [12 items] 4:4 Series V: Henkel Materials, 1796-1963 German Books and Printers [16 items] 4:5 Henkel Family: General History [36 items] 4:6 Paul Henkel Materials [101 items] 4:7 Solomon Henkel Materials [73 items] 4:8
General History [42 items] 4:9 Ballads [18 items] 4:10 Der Virginische Volkberichter und Neumarketer Wochenschrift [27 items] 4:11 Miscellaneous Publications [48 items] 4:12 Translations [25 items] 4:13
Broadsides [38 items] 4:14 Imprints [25 items] 4:15 Woodcuts [26 items] 4:16 Medicine; Directions, Uses, and Bottle Labels [26 items] 4:17 JMU Special Collections Research Notes [13 items] 4:18 Series VI: Folk Culture Posters, undated (description list) [60 items] 5