Grabill, John H. Papers, 1843-1981 (bulk 1894-1922)

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Descriptive Summary


Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: John H. Grabill Papers, 1817-1981 (bulk 1894-1922)

Collection No.: SC 0125
Creator: Grabill, John Henry, 1839-1922

Extent: 1 box; .17 cubic feet

Language: English

Abstract: The John H. Grabill Papers, 1843-1981 (bulk 1894-1922), contain a variety of items including business documents, personal correspondence, and ephemera relating to John H. Grabill, the Grabill family of Shenandoah County, and the Shenandoah Herald.


Administrative Information

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 (

Preferred Citation: [identification of item], [box #, folder #], John H. Grabill Papers, 1843-1981 (bulk 1894-1922), SC 0125, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.

Acquisition Information: The collection was purchased from Rocky's Gold, Silver, and Antiques in Weyers Cave, Virginia in December 2008.
Processing Information: 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 3018.

Bio/Historical Note:

John Henry Grabill (1839-1922) was born to Ephraim and Caroline Donaldson Grabill in Mount Jackson, Virginia. After graduating from Dickinson College in 1860, Grabill served in the 33rd Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment (Stonewall Brigade) and in the 35th Battalion of Virginia Cavalry (White's Comanches) during the Civil War. In 1866, Grabill married Mary L. Hollingsworth of Woodstock and in 1868 became the owner and editor of the Shenandoah Herald until his death in 1922. Grabill was appointed the first superintendent of the Shenandoah County school system in 1870 and along with P.W. Magruder established the Massanutten Academy, now the Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Virginia.

Scope and Content:

The John H. Grabill Papers, 1843-1981 (bulk 1894-1922), consist of one box of items including business documents, personal correspondence, and ephemera relating to John H. Grabill, the Grabill family of Shenandoah County, and the Shenandoah Herald.

The collection is comprised of general correspondence and correspondence to and from the Shenandoah Herald newspaper, including drafted letters. Letters written to the Herald often reference proposed topics for articles including the myths about prohibition propoganda and how to grow one's own vegetables in an effort to triumph in the WWII effort. Also present are legal documents, receipts, promissory notes and other accounting papers, and fire insurance policies, the latter of which were used as scrap paper for diary entries. A folder of ephemera consists of a photograph of three named WWII soldiers who were stationed at Camp New Orleans in France, a United States ration sheet that belonged to Mary Caroline Grabill, programs, postcards, and paper samples from the Chemical Paper Manufacturing Company. Documents such as receipts and accounting papers pertaining to Israel and Ezra Huffman are also present, although their relevance or relationship to the Grabill's is unclear.


The collection is arranged topically in eight folders.


Cappon, Lester J. Virginia Newspapers, 1821-1935: A bibliography with historical introduction and notes. New York & London: Appleton-Century Company, Inc., 1936.

Hanks, Calvin J. "Capt. John H. Grabill." The Confederate Veteran Magazine, June 1922.

Wayland, John W. A History of Shenandoah County Virginia. Strasburg, Va.: Shenandoah Publishing House, 1927.

Related Material:

Grabill, John H. Diary of a Soldier of the Stonewall Brigade. Woodstock, Va.: Press of the Shenandoah Herald, 1909.


Folder Title
Box : Folder
General correspondence, 1872-1945
Shenandoah Herald correspondence, received, 1895-1946
Shenandoah Herald correspondence, drafts, 1907-1922
Notes and Fire Insurance Policies, 1845-1907
Receipts and Accounting Miscellany, 1843-1938
Legal Documents, 1843-1899
Ephemera, 1894-1981
Huffman Documents, 1853-1870

Compiled by: Tiffany W. Cole, May 2010