A Guide to the Middle Ground Institute Collection, 1861-1897

Collection Number SC # 3068


Compiled by: Chris Bolgiano, December 1996

Edited by: Kayla Payne, July 2012


Descriptive Summary


Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: Middle Ground Institute Collection, 1861-1897

Collection No.: SC# 3068

Extent: three folders

Language:  English

Abstract: This collection contains web site printouts of transcriptions of primary sources, provided with permission of The Middle Ground Institute.


Administrative Information


Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research.
Use Restrictions: Permission to quote or publish in part or whole should be requested from Middle Ground Institute.

  The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk. (library-special@jmu.edu).

Preferred Citation:   [identification of item], Middle Ground Institute Collection, 1861-1897, SC#3068, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.

Acquisition Information: Printed out and added to Special Collections by written permission of Middle Ground Institute director Robert Sims.

Other Formats Available: These documents were once available on a website http://handmade-history.com/handmade.htm but the website has since been taken down.

Accruals: none

Provenance: The contents of this collection were posted in 1996 on a World Wide Web site called HandMade History by Middle Ground Institute, PO Box 667, Luray VA 22835, and were printed out and added to Spec. Coll. by written permission of Robert Sims, director.

Processing Information: none

Bio/Historical Note:  The Middle Ground Institute was a small non-profit education corporation located in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Their primary mandate was “to promote the history & heritage of the Valley” by making space available in their On-Line Archives for documents. On their website (as of 12/4/96), the Institute made a plea to the general public to have professional preservationists protect their documentary family heirlooms from deterioration and have them scanned into a computer and transcribed so their contents could be enjoyed by “every interested party.”

Scope and Content:  This collection has three folders:

  1. The Gander-Hite Collection of Civil War Letters, by residents or former residents of Page County, VA, 1861-1897. Transcribed by permission of owners Mr. Jamie Gander of Page County and Mrs. Gladys M. Fahrney of Frederick, MD, by Debbie Owens of the Page County Genealogy Society, Robert Sims of Middle Ground Institute, and Harlan R. Jessup of Newtown, CT.
  2. The Civil War Diary of Joseph Fant Kauffman, a resident of Page County, VA, recounting his service in Company K, 10th VA Regiment under General Stonewall Jackson from 28 March 1862 to his death at Second Manassas on 28 August of that year. Transcribed by Debbie Owens of the Page County Genealogy Society.
  3. The Narrative of Bethany Veney, a slave woman in Page County, VA. Typescript by Debbie Owens and Robert Sims of a booklet published in Worcester, MA, in 1889.

Arrangement: Collection consists of three folders: Gander-Hite Letters; Kauffman Civil War Diary; and Bethany Veney Narrative. Within the folder each set of printouts is in numerical page number.


HandMade History. “HandMade History: On-Line Archives.”

http://handmade-history.com/archive1.htm (Synopsis printed December 4, 1996)

Location of Originals: Original letters/diary/narrative retained by various owners; collection consists of website printouts of transcriptions of these letters




Middle Ground Institute                                                 Box: Folder

              Gander-Hite Letters                                                      1:1

              Kauffman Civil War Diary                                              1:2

              Bethany Veney Narrative                                               1:3