A Guide to the

Office of the President: Board of Visitors Records, 1908-2001

UA 0010

Compiled by: Chris Bolgiano and Kim Johnson, February 2000
Updated by: Julia Merkel, October 2005
Revised by: Emily Rheault, July 2015; Brianna Melchione, February 2016; Tiffany Cole, January 2017

Descriptive Summary


Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: Office of the President: Board of Visitors Records, 1908-2001

Collection No.: UA 0010
Creator: Office of the President, Board of Visitors

Extent: 18 Hollinger boxes, 2 half-Hollinger boxes, 1 oversize Hollinger box; 6.94 cubic feet

Language: English

Abstract: The Office of the President: Board of Visitors Records, 1908-2001, document the activities of the James Madison University Board of Visitors and its predecessor, the Board of Trustees. Materials include meeting minutes, correspondence, financial documents, and president’s reports.


Administrative Information


Access Restrictions: Collection is 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: Copyright for Official University records is held by James Madison University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (library-special@jmu.edu).

Preferred Citation: [identification of item], [box #, folder #], Office of the President: Board of Visitors, 1908-2001, UA 0010, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.

Acquisition Information: This collection was formed from the merger of several groups of materials received from Fred Hilton in JMU Media Relations (accessions 93-0107, 93-0210), Gail May in the President’s Office (accessions 99-1122, 00-0215), and Machelle Rader in the President's Office (2005-0519). These accessions were combined under the collection number PR 99-1122.
Other Formats Available: Beginning with the March 26, 1999 meeting, JMU Board of Visitors meeting minutes are available online at: https://www.jmu.edu/visitors/meetings/minutes/index.shtml. Selected material from this collection has also been digitized and made available at: http://www.lib.jmu.edu/special/foundingdocs/.
Processing Information: The collection was reprocessed in 2016 and contains all documents from the original accession (PR 99-1122) except for the Faculty Minutes, 1908-1998, which were removed to form a separate collection (UA 0011). A copy of the original finding aid is located in the collection control file. Old collection folders were reused during reprocessing and folder titles were retained when possible. Inserts found in the Board of Trustees Minute Book were removed and foldered separately. The inserts were subsequently photocopied and those copies are also foldered separately. The Board of Visitors meeting minutes and President’s Reports were originally bound, but were disbound in 2016 during reprocessing.

Administrative History:

James Madison University’s Board of Visitors was created in 1964 with the prime directive of overseeing the effective government of the university, then Madison College. When the institution opened in 1908 as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg, the governing body was its own Board of Trustees. The school changed its name to the State Normal School for Women at Harrisonburg in 1914 and governance was shifted to the Virginia Normal School Board, a state agency. The institution was renamed once again in 1924 to the State Teachers College at Harrisonburg. The governance also experienced change as control was transferred to the State Board of Education. In 1964, the final change occurred when the Virginia General Assembly established independent boards of visitors for each of the state’s former teacher colleges.

The Governor of Virginia holds the power of appointing each member of the Board of Visitors. The first Board of Visitors was comprised of 11 members; its first rector was Burr P. Harrison. The Virginia General Assembly acted to have the board size increased to 15 members in 1989. Of the selected members, no more than two can be non-Virginians and board members include both JMU alumni and non-alumni. In addition to appointed members, a student representative and the speaker of the JMU Faculty Senate serve on the board. Terms of service do apply as board members are not eligible to serve more than two consecutive four-year terms. Officers of the board (rector, vice rector, and secretary) are elected annually by the board for one-year terms.

Scope and Content:
The Office of the President: Board of Visitors Records, 1908-2001, document the activities of the James Madison University Board of Visitors and its predecessor, the Board of Trustees. The collection is comprised primarily of meeting minutes and correspondence. Minutes from the Board of Visitors’ first meeting on July 16, 1964 are included. Researchers should note that meeting minutes from the various iterations of university governing bodies between 1914 and 1963 are not included. The correspondence is chiefly official memoranda, letters concerning business and new board members, and contractual agreements granting faculty members temporary leaves of absence. The collection also includes annual reports and reports to the Board of Visitors, financial materials documenting lease agreements involving James Madison University, athletic program expenditure statements, and audit reports. Miscellaneous items include documents explaining the origins of buildings’ names, a Board of Visitors manual, and a document of Board of Visitors Resolutions.


The collection is arranged into five series:

Series 1: Meeting Minutes, 1908-2001
Series 2: Correspondence, 1964-1995
Series 3: Miscellaneous, 1981-1994
Series 4: President’s Reports, 1909-1967
Series 5: Financial Documents, 1922-1989
Subseries 5.1: Leases/Legal Documents, 1922-1981
Subseries 5.2: Budget Reports, 1961-1989

All series are arranged chronologically with the exception of subseries 5.1 which is arranged alphabetically and subseries 5.2 which is arranged topically.

“Board of Visitors” James Madison University Centennial Celebration. Accessed January 26, 2017. http://www.jmu.edu/centennialcelebration/wm_preview/rectors.shtml.

James Madison University - Board of Visitors. Accessed January 26, 2017. https://www.jmu.edu/visitors/about/index.shtml.


Series 1: Meeting Minutes, 1908-2001

Arranged chronologically.

This series is comprised chiefly of Board of Visitors meeting minutes from 1964 to 2001 beginning with the first meeting on July 16, 1964. During that first meeting the members decided on the official design for “The Visitors of Madison College,” agreed upon making the meetings of the Visitors closed to the public, approved of the revised faculty salary, and approved the continuation of degrees being offered to students. Also included is the original Board of Trustees minute book dating from 1908 to 1914. A full transcript is also contained within this series.

Folder Title Box : Folder
Board of Trustees Minute Book, 1908-1914 1:1
Board of Trustees Minute Book – Inserts, 1908-1914 1:2
Board of Trustees Minute Book – Inserts (Copies), 1908-1914 1:3
Board of Trustees Minute Book – Transcript, 1908-1914 2:1
Minutes, July 1964-November 1965 2:2
Minutes, January 1966-August 1967 2:3
Minutes, November 1967-March 1968 2:4
Minutes, April 1968-September 1968 2:5
Minutes, January 1969-May 1969 2:6
Minutes, August 1969-September 1969 2:7
Minutes, November 1969-August 1970 3:1
Minutes, October 1970-November 1970 3:2
Minutes, February 1971-April 1972 3:3
Minutes, May 1972-November 1972 3:4
Minutes, January 1973-June 1974 3:5
Minutes, August 1974-October 1976 3:6
Minutes, January 1977-September 1978 3:7
Minutes, October 1978-January 1980 4:1
Minutes, March 1980-May 1981 4:2
Minutes, July 1981-October 1983 4:3
Minutes, January 1984-April 1985 4:4
Minutes, July 1985-April 1986 4:5
Minutes, July 1986-May 1987 4:6
Minutes, July 1987-April 1988 4:7
Minutes, August 1988-December 1988 5:1
Minutes, February 1989-June 1989 5:2
Minutes, July 1989-December 1989 5:3
Minutes, March 1990-July 1990 5:4
Minutes, August 1990-December 1990 5:5
Minutes, February 1991-April 1991 5:6
Minutes, June 1991-October 1991 5:7
Minutes, January 1992-April 1992 6:1
Minutes, May 1992-July 1992 6:2
Minutes, August 1992 6:3
Minutes, October 1992-December 1992 6:4
Minutes, May 1993 6:5
Minutes, June 1993-August 1993 6:6
Minutes, December 1993 6:7
Minutes, March 1994 7:1
Minutes, May 1994-June 1994 7:2
Minutes, August 1994 7:3
Minutes, December 1994 7:4
Minutes, February 1995-April 1995 7:5
Minutes, May 1995-July 1995 7:6
Minutes, December 1995 7:7
Minutes, February 1996-April 1996 7:8
Minutes, June 1996-September 1996 8:1
Minutes, October 1996 8:2
Minutes, January 1997-March 1997 8:3
Minutes, April 1997-June 1997 8:4
Minutes, October 1997-February 1998 8:5
Minutes, March 1998-September 1998 8:6
Minutes, October 1998 8:7
Minutes, January 1999 9:1
Minutes, March 1999 9:2
Minutes, March 1999-May 1999 9:3
Minutes, June 1999 9:4
Minutes, September 1999 9:5
Minutes, October 1999 9:6
Minutes, October 1999-January 2000 10:1
Minutes, March 2000-June 2000 10:2
Minutes, June 2000-September 2000 10:3
Minutes, September 2000-January 2001 10:4
Minutes, January 2001-March 2001 10:5
Minutes, March 2001-June 2001 11:1
Minutes, June 2001 11:2
Minutes, June 2001-October 2001 11:3
Minutes, October 2001 11:4


Series 2: Correspondence, 1964-1995

Arranged chronologically.

This series contains correspondence between fellow board members, government officials, and members of the university administration. Contract agreements between board members and faculty of the college are included. Topics of interest include but are not limited to campus construction and related funding, appropriation increases, project requests, requests related to enrollment increases, G. Tyler Miller’s retirement, and faculty promotions.

Folder Title Box : Folder
Correspondence, 1964-1967 12:1
Correspondence, 1968-1969 12:2
Correspondence, 1970-1971 12:3
Correspondence, 1972 12:4
Correspondence, 1973-1974 12:5
Correspondence, 1975-1977 12:6
Correspondence, 1978-1983 13:1
Correspondence, 1984 13:2
Correspondence, 1985-1987 (Folder 1 of 2) 13:3
Correspondence, 1985-1987 (Folder 2 of 2) 13:4
Correspondence, 1988 13:5
Correspondence, 1989-1990 13:6
Correspondence, 1991 (Folder 1 of 2) 13:7
Correspondence, 1991 (Folder 2 of 2) 13:8
Correspondence, 1992-1993 14:1
Correspondence, 1994 14:2
Correspondence, January 1995-March 1995 14:3
Correspondence, April 1995-June 1995 14:4


Series 3: Miscellaneous, 1981-1994

Arranged chronologically.

This series contains documents about the naming of buildings on campus as well as information on resolutions, manuals, honorary degrees and the Russell Weaver Society.

Folder Title Box : Folder
Naming of Buildings, 1957-1976
Board of Visitors Manuals, 1981-1991 14:6
Honorary Degrees, 1983-1990 14:7
Student Board Members, 1984-1985 14:8
Russell M. Weaver Society, 1986-1988 14:9
Board of Visitors Resolutions, 1993-1994 14:10


Series 4: President’s Reports, 1909-1967

Arranged chronologically.

The reports contain data regarding enrollment, campus services, faculty salaries, and financial records. Also included are recommendations from the president on approvals of resignations and appointments, budget increases, academic changes, campus expansion, etc. These reports provide an overview of the administrative proceedings of the university from one year to the next and are comprised of reports to the State Board of Education, reports to the Board of Visitors, annual reports, and special reports.

Folder Title
Box : Folder
Reports, 1909-1926
Reports, April 1927-July 1934
Reports, October 1934-May 1938
Reports, July 1938-May 1941
Reports, July 1941-April 1943
Reports, June 1943-January 1945
Reports, March 1945-August 1949 16:2
Reports, September 1949-June 1951 16:3
Reports, August 1951-May 1956 (Folder 1 of 2) 16:4
Reports, August 1951-May 1956 (Folder 2 of 2) 16:5
Reports, 1956-1957 17:1
Reports, 1958-1959 17:2
Reports, 1960 17:3
Reports, 1961 17:4
Reports, 1962 17:5
Reports, July 1964-June 1965 17:6
Reports, August 1965-May 1966 18:1
Reports, August 1966-November 1966 18:2
Reports, February 1967-August 1967 18:3
Reports, 1970-1971 18:4


Series 5: Financial Documents, 1922-1989

Arranged in two subseries – Subseries 5.1: Leases/Legal Documents, 1922-1981, and Subseries 5.2: Budget Reports, 1961-1989. Subseries 5.1 is arranged alphabetically and Subseries 5.2 is arranged topically.

Subseries 5.1: Leases/Legal Documents, 1922-1981, is comprised primarily of lease agreements between James Madison University, both as the lessor and lessee, and persons or companies. Of particular interest are the fire insurance documents which include a Schedule of Buildings at the State Teachers College at Harrisonburg (June 2, 1924) and a Fire Insurance Report (February 1932) prepared by the Philadelphia Fire & Marine Insurance Company. The Schedule of Buildings lists all campus buildings, their architectural type, date of erection, and total cost. The Fire Insurance Report provides a detailed description of all campus buildings including date of erection, occupancy, recommendations, and estimated insurable value. Photographs are included with each building description.

Folder Title Box : Folder
Andrews, Arthur M., 1975
Baker House, 1966 19:2
Blue Ridge Gas Co., 1966 19:3
Colonial Drive Apartments, 1973 19:4
Dingledine Property, 1940-1943 19:5
Lincoln House/951 S. Main Street, 1940-1975 19:6
Master’s Property, 1980 19:7
Nicholas House, 1957, 1959 19:8
Old Agrico Building, 1961, 1973 19:9
Old Nurse’s Home, 1963-1966 19:10
Shenandoah Apartments, 1922-1939 19:11
SPE House, 1976-1980 19:12
Sprinkle House, 1917, 1933-1934, 1942-1944, 1966 19:13
Steele Property/131 Warsaw St., 1964-1966 19:14
Virginia National Bank, 1981 19:15
Walnut Lane, 1973-1974 19:16
Wellington Apartments, 1924, 1929, 1957, 1965-1969 19:17
Wolff, Mr. & Mrs. Frank A., 1978 19:18
Wright Estate, 1963-1966, 1980 19:19
Schedule of Buildings, Fire Insurance Report, 1924, 1932, undated 19:20

Subseries 5.2: Budget Reports, 1961-1989, contains annual reports, financial reports detailing the university’s business and financial operations, reports on audits prepared by the auditor of public accounts for the Commonwealth of Virginia, and a limited amount of material related to athletic program expenses. Researchers should note that the 1966 expenditure statement for athletics is not included in this collection.

Folder Title Box : Folder
Annual Reports, 1961-1963
Annual Reports, 1964-1966 20:2
Annual Reports, 1967-1968 20:3
Annual Reports, 1970-1982 20:4
Reports on Audits, 1969, 1972, 1978 20:5
Reports on Audits, 1979, 1980, 1986 21:1
Reports on Audits, 1987, 1989 21:2
Athletic Program Expenses, 1963-1969 21:3