Etter, Mary Spitzer Papers, 1924 – 2002 *JMU Alum Papers*

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Descriptive Summary


Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: Mary Spitzer Etter Papers, 1924-2002

Collection No.: SC 0191
Creator: Etter, Mary Spitzer, 1912-2002

Extent: 7 folders; .25 cubic feet

Language: English

Abstract: The Mary Spitzer Etter Papers comprise correspondence, meeting minutes, treasurer's reports, and photographs related to Etter's time as a student and alumna of James Madison University.


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 #], Mary Spitzer Etter Papers, 1924-2002, SC 0191, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.

Acquisition Information: Received from Alumni Relations in May 2003.
Processing Information: In order to streamline the process of applying collection numbers, Special Collections staff completed a large-scale renumbering campaign in 2017-2018. This collection was previously cataloged as SC 5012.

Bio/Historical Note:

Mary Spitzer Etter (1912-2002) was the daughter of Perry Franklin and Mabel Baldwin Spitzer. A 1934 graduate of the State Normal School (later James Madison University), she was active in the Glee Club, and was a devoted participant in campus events both before and after her tenure as a student. Her subsequent teaching career spanned four decades. She sponsored scholarships at Bridgewater College, Shenandoah University and James Madison University to honor her sister, Ruth, and her parents.

Mary Etter was an active member of the Madison College Alumni Association, serving as President of the Board from 1962-1966 and in various capacities throughout the 1950s and into the 1970s. She bequeathed her late Victorian era home to the local (Harrisonburg) arts association. Her life and possessions were featured in a 2002 exhibition at the Shenandoah Valley Folk Art and Heritage Center in Dayton, Virginia, "Vignettes from the Mary Spitzer Etter Collection."

Scope and Content:

This collection documents the relationship of Mary Spitzer Etter (class of 1934) with James Madison University as an active alumna, class agent, and member of the Alumni Association's Board of Directors.

Correspondence, 1959-1975, contains several dozen responses to Mary Etter's January 15, 1968 letter of appeal to her classmates to support the Agnes S. Dingledine Retirement Fund honoring "Mama Ding's" years of service as Alumni Secretary. Also included are letters regarding fundraising for the Glee Club Alumni Association as well as the State Madison College Alumni Association and the Harrisonburg/Rockingham Chapter of Madison College Alumnae.

Minutes, 1924-1976, contains the minute book of the Alumni Association 1924-1976 and handwritten minutes of the Harrisonburg/Rockingham Chapter of Madison College Alumnae, 1961-1968.

Treasurer's Reports, Accounting Records and Miscellaneous Papers, 1962-1975, contains financial records of the Harrisonburg/Rockingham Chapter of Madison College Alumnae, including receipts and treasurer's reports from 1963-1968. These materials also contain lists of donors and donations from 1976-1972, as well as a constitution and by-laws (1965-1972), a JMU crest needlepoint pattern, and miscellaneous papers of the Alumni Association.

Publicity and Photographs, 1934-2002, include photographs of Etter as a student and alumni, newspaper coverage of a historic exhibit featuring Mary Etter, two photographs of the 1988 Bluestone Society induction ceremony, and a self-published booklet of poems, 1986.


The collection is arranged topically in seven folders.

Separated Material:

A copy of Etter's book of poems, Celebrating Life, was removed and cataloged. A second copy remains in the collection.


Folder Title
Box : Folder
Correspondence, 1959-1975, undated
Alumni Association Meeting Minutes, 1924-1968
Alumni Association Meeting Minutes, 1968-1976
Harrisonburg/Rockingham Chapter of Madison College Alumnae minutes, 1961-1968
Harrisonburg/Rockingham Chapter of Madison College Alumnae financial records, 1963-1968
Harrisonburg/Rockingham Chapter of Madison College Alumnae miscellaneous papers, 1962-1975
Publicity and Photographs, 1934-2002

Compiled by: Julia Merkel, 2004