Heatwole, John L. Personal Papers, 1973-1995

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Summary Information

Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University
Heatwole, John L., 1948-2006
John L. Heatwole Personal Papers
Collection No.:
SC 0101
1973 - 1995
2 boxes, .84 Cubic Feet
Language of the Material:
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.

Preferred Citation

[identification of item], [box #, folder #], John L. Heatwole Personal Papers, 1973-1995, SC 0101, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.

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Bio/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.

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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 1, 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 2, 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 3, 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 4, 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 5, 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.

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

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Administrative Information

Revision Description

Revised by Tara MastrangeloConverted to schema conforming EAD by dtd2schema.vh.xsl. September 20102013-11-21

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for 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

The copyright interests in this collection have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collection Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (library-special@jmu.edu).

Acquisition Information

Materials were donated by John L. Heatwole in December 1987 and September 1995.

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. In order to streamline the process of applying collection numbers, Special Collections staff completed a large-scale renumbering campaign in the spring of 2017. This collection was previously cataloged as SC 2075.


Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

880 Madison DriveMSC 1704Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807library-special@jmu.eduURL: https://www.lib.jmu.edu/special/

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Index Terms

Genre and Form

  • Diaries
  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Photographs


  • Heatwole, John L., 1948-2006
  • Cheek, Leslie, 1908-
  • Artists -- Virginia -- Biography
  • Folk artists -- Virginia -- Biography
  • Wood-carvers -- Virginia -- Biography
  • Wood-carving
  • Wood-carved figurines
  • Art -- Philosophy

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

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Collection Inventory

Series 1: Diaries, 1979-1995

Title/Description Instances
Diary, 1979-1981 box 1 folder 1
Diary, 1981-1983 box 1 folder 1
Diary, 1983-1991 box 1 folder 2
Diary, 1991-1995 box 1 folder 2

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Series 2: Letters, 1976-1987

Title/Description Instances
Artists and Students, 1981-1986, undated box 1 folder 3
Cheek, Leslie, 1984-1987 box 1 folder 4
Clients, 1978-1987, undated box 1 folder 5
Dow Agency, 1984-1987 box 1 folder 6
Lectures, 1976-1987, undated box 1 folder 7
Neiman-Marcus, 1979-1986, undated box 1 folder 8
Miscellaneous Letters, 1982-1986 box 1 folder 9

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Series 3: Media, 1973-1989

Title/Description Instances
Articles about Artist, 1978-1984 box 1 folder 10
Clippings, 1973-1987, undated box 1 folder 11
Recording of Interview with J.L. Heatwole, WVPT, May 10, 1990

Interview with J.L. Heatwole conducted in August 1989, produced by Phil Easley, WVPT. Originally aired on Skyline Illustrated (channel 51) on May 10, 1990.

Original VHS, May 10, 1990 Media Cabinet 1

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Series 4: Miscellaneous, 1976-1987

Title/Description Instances
Published Articles by Heatwole, 1986-1987 box 1 folder 12
Article drafts by Heatwole, 1987, undated box 1 folder 13
Business Documents, 1977-1987, undated box 1 folder 14
Event Memorabilia, 1976-1987, undated box 1 folder 15
Photos, 1979-1985, undated box 1 folder 16

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Series 5: Oversize Materials, 1976-1987

Title/Description Instances
Neiman-Marcus Poster, 1981 box OV 1 folder 1
Neiman-Marcus Posters, 1981-1982 box OV 1 folder 2
Neiman-Marcus Posters, 1983-1984 box OV 1 folder 3
Sketches, 1976-1983 box OV 1 folder 4
Sketches, 1984-1987 box OV 1 folder 5
Sketches, undated box OV 1 folder 6

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