Milbourne, L. R. Letters, 1886-1906

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Summary Information

Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University
Milbourne, L. R., 1855-1906
L. R. Milbourne Letters
Collection No.:
SC 0108
1 folder, .08 Cubic Feet
Language of the Material:
The L. R. Milbourne Papers consist of letters between Lodowic Ralph Milbourne and his fiancée Virginia Ann Strickler documenting day-to-day life and religious topics of the time from 1886 – 1888 in Luray, Virginia as well as a notebook detailing wardrobe expenses from 1893 – 1906.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], [box #, folder #], L. R. Milbourne Papers, 1886 - 1906, SC 0108, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.

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Bio/Historical Information

Lodowic Ralph Milbourne was born in Somerset, Maryland on January 18, 1855 and died in 1906. His wife Virginia Ann Strickler was born in Page County, Virginia in 1867 and died in 1948. Lodowic began his life in the Baptist church at an early age; he was the grandson and nephew of Baptist preachers on the Eastern Shore in Maryland, and he entered Crozer Theological Seminary in Upland, Pennsylvania in 1871 to prepare for the Baptist Ministry. He first preached in Newport News, Virginia, where he was ordained on July 14, 1881 and went on to organize the First Baptist Church in Newport News. In 1884 Lodowic began preaching at the Luray Baptist Church in Luray, Virginia where he remained until 1889. During his time in Luray he married Virginia Ann Strickler. While living and working in Luray, Lodowic also acted as the pastor of a new church in Marksville, (now Stanley) Virginia and helped to organize a church in Rileyville, Virginia. In addition to his pastoral duties, he contributed to missionary work across the state and was involved in the Shenandoah Association. In 1889 Lodowic returned to Maryland and worked as a pastor at churches in Rockville and Barnesville.

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Scope and Content

This collection consists of 14 items; thirteen letters from 1886 – 1888 between Lodowic Ralph Milbourne and his fiancée Virginia Ann Strickler, and small notebook belonging to Strickler that lists the wardrobe expenses for her family from 1893 – 1906 while she is traveling and attending Hollins College. All letters are from Milbourne with the exception of one response from Strickler. In many of the letters, Lodowic comments on Virginia's location; in one she is at Hollins College and in others she is traveling in Chicago, Illinois and St. Paul, Minnesota. Lodowic's commentary on Virginia's activities, particularly his disapproval at her attending the theater in Chicago, provides insight into gender relations during the time.

The letters show the workings of the Luray Baptist Church community in Luray, Virginia. Milbourne primarily discusses religious topics through his interpretation of various passages in the Bible and relates day-to-day news of his activities as a preacher in Luray and the surrounding area. Milbourne writes about strictures for a proper Christian life, sermon topics, visits to members of the town, activities of the missionary Sunbeam Society, his interactions as a preacher with various townspeople, and his upcoming marriage to Virginia. Strickler's letter to Milbourne addresses religious topics and a petition for a prohibition amendment.

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The thirteen letters and one notebook are arranged within one folder.

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Administrative Information

Revision Description

Revised by Kate MorrisConverted to schema conforming EAD by dtd2schema.vh.xsl. June 20132013-11-21

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. Accession file contains photocopies of nine of the letters from January 16, 1888 – February 1, 1888. Use these copies for reproduction. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (

Acquisition Information

The collection was purchased by Carrier Library in March of 1994 from Bookworm and Silverfish, Wyethville, Virginia.

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 2088.


Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

880 Madison DriveMSC 1704Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807library-special@jmu.eduURL:

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Index Terms

Genre and Form

  • Letters (correspondence)


  • Milbourne, L. R. -- Correspondence
  • Strickler, Virginia -- Correspondence
  • Strickler family
  • Sunbeam Society (Luray, Va.)
  • Conduct of life -- Moral and ethical aspects
  • Baptists -- Missions
  • Baptists -- Societies, etc
  • Temperance -- Biblical teaching
  • Luray (Va.) -- Social life and customs -- 19th century
  • Luray (Va.) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century
  • Luray (Va.) -- Religion -- 19th century
  • Luray (Va.) -- Religion -- 20th century

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Taylor, George Braxton. Virginia Baptist Ministers Fifth Series 1902 -1914 with Supplement. Lynchburg, VA: J. P. Bell Company, Inc., 1915.

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Collection Inventory

Title/Description Instances
L.R. Milbourne Letters, 1886-1906 box 1 folder 1
Notebook, "Facts from the Eleventh Census", 1893 - 1906

Contains lists of Strickler's wardrobe expenses for herself and her children and husband Lodowic.

From Milbourne in Luray to Strickler at Hollins, January 20, 1886

The letter relates the events of Milbourne's birthday dinner, his visit to a 19 year old woman who died of consumption, and church events.

From Strickler in Luray, July 24, 1887

The letter discusses religious topics and a petition for a prohibition amendment.

From Milbourne in Warrenton, August 16, 1887

The letter relates the news that his sister has died from epilepsy.

From Milbourne in Lynchburg, November 12, 1887

Milbourne relates numerous speeches from various professors and reverends, and mentions talking with a reverend that remembered him from seminary school. He relates that there has been a proposal for a new board composed to women to be located in Richmond to control women's missionary societies in Virginia, and states that he is opposed it and to the appointment of women delegates.

From Milbourne in Luray to Strickler in Chicago, January 13, 1888

Milbourne discusses religious topics and a sermon he is preparing and relates his sadness that Strickler is so far away in Chicago.

From Milbourne in Luray to Strickler in Chicago, January 16, 1888

Milbourne relates visits to various townspeople and mentions the Sunbeam Society's intent to send a package to Brazil. He discusses at length the way he believes Christ saves a sinner and mentions his upcoming trip to preach at a church in Rileyville.

From Milbourne in Lurary to Strickler in Chicago, January 23, 1888

Discusses religious topics and includes an essay on the topic Was Saint Paul Married?

From Milbourne in Luray to Strickler in Chicago, January 24, 1888

Milbourne discusses news from the town and admonishes Strickler for attending the theater in Chicago. He attacks the theater as an enemy to religion.

From Milbourne in Luray to Strickler in Chicago, January 26, 1888

Milbourne again discusses the vices of theater, and his looking forward to the upcoming marriage.

From Milbourne in Bentonville, VA to Strickler in Chicago, January 27, 1888

Discusses the trip to Bentonville and the sermons heard there.

From Milbourne in Luray, February 2, 1888

Milbourne discusses the religious environment of Luray, calling it a time of revival.

From Milbourne in Luray to Strickler in St. Paul, Minnesota., February 1, 1888

Milbourne teases Strickler about getting scalped by Indians and discusses the texts he plans to preach on for upcoming sermons. He also relates the charges of the discipline committee against some of the brethren regarding the use of money in elections.