Virginia Elizabeth Tisdale [Fenlon]


A Guide to the

Virginia Elizabeth Tisdale Fenlon Collection,


SC# 4058

Compiled by: Heather Browne,
July 2008


Descriptive Summary

Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: Virginia Elizabeth Tisdale Fenlon Collection, 1925-1934

Collection No.: SC# 4058

Creator: Virginia Elizabeth Tisdale Fenlon

Extent: .41 linear feet; one legal sized Hollinger box




This collection is comprised of one scrapbook Fenlon compiled during her years at the State Teachers College in Harrisonburg, Virginia, along with one folder of photographs of Fenlon taken during her childhood and while attending HSTC.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions:



Collection is open for research.

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], The Virginia Elizabeth Tisdale Fenlon Collection, 1925-1934, SC# 4058, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.

Acquisition Information:



Gift of Mrs. Jane Fenlon Rowe, April 2008.

Processing Notes:



The scrapbook was cleaned and remains intact.  Preservation recommends that dismantling and contents migration be considered for long-term storage due to the inherent instability of the supports.

Biographical Note

Virginia Elizabeth Tisdale (Fenlon) was born in Chase City, Virginia (Mecklenburg County) on Sept. 19, 1908 to George and Eliza Tisdale.  She graduated from the professional courses at the State Teachers College in Harrisonburg, Virginia in 1927. While attending HSTC Mrs. Fenlon was the Society Editor for the Breeze; secretary of the Lanier Literary Society; Chairman of the Program Committee for the Lanier Literary Society; a member of the Cotillion Club, Choral Club, Athletic Association and the YWCA. Her inscription in the 1927 School Ma’am reads: “A lovely being, scarcely formed or moulded, A rose with all its sweetest leaves yet folded.” Pasted into her scrapbook is a printed quote which reads: “Virginia Tisdale’s motto: Never let your studies interfere with your education.” Upon graduating in 1927 Mrs. Fenlon accepted an Elementary school teaching position in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She married John Llewellyn Fenlon on March 24, 1937. Their daughter, Jane, was born on July 8, 1940, in Richmond, Virginia. During World War II, the family was stationed in Corpus Christi, Texas.  Shortly thereafter, they returned to Virginia, first to Richmond, then settling again in Fredericksburg by 1947, where Mrs. Fenlon then taught until retiring in 1968.  She passed away on May 29, 1972. In 1994 Mrs. Jane Fenlon Rowe established the Fenlon Memorial Scholarship in honor and memory of her mother, Virginia Tisdale Fenlon, and Ada Virginia Pollock Fenlon, her stepmother. The scholarship is for students studying Early Childhood education.

Scope and Content

The Virginia Elizabeth Tisdale Fenlon Collection, 1925-1934, consists of one scrapbook and one folder of photographs contained in one legal sized Hollinger box.  The folder contains photos of Virginia Tisdale Fenlon when she was child, as well as while attending HSTC. The scrapbook is made out of a purple felt cover with orange lettering on the front. In script is written “Memories” and “HTC” for Harrisonburg Teachers College. The contents of the scrapbook are mounted on black paper pages and consist of letters, telegrams, dance cards, May Day programs, the sophomore edition of the Breeze from May 28, 1927, place settings, invitations, a Cotillion Club banner, and a page covered in stamps from various letters Mrs. Fenlon received. Many of the pages include notes and captions written directly onto the pages. There are also a small number of black and white photographs and postcards. A large part of the scrapbook is reflective of her early years in Fredericksburg, Virginia as an elementary school teacher.


School Ma’am, 1927

AN 93-0916 Commencement programs; 1910 - present; June 8, 1927 Program

Related Collections

Alice Virginia Kellam Scrapbook, 1923-1925, SC# 5004

Elizabeth Arrena Carroll Scrapbook, 1921-1925, SC# 5011

JMU Archival Collections: Memorabilia and General; SU 2004-0904 and SU 2004-1216

Mary Spitzer Etter Papers, 1924-1976, SC# 5012

Marian Colton Smith Harris Papers, 1932-1938, SC# 5008

Separated Material

Consider removal or cross-listing material that may fill gaps in JMU Historical files content. 1926 and 1927 editions of the School Ma’am donated with this collection were shelved with yearbooks in Special Collections.