Massanutten Hatchery Photographs, 1934-1948

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Summary Information

Repository:
Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University
Creator:
Massanutten Hatchery
Title:
Massanutten Hatchery Photographs
Collection No.:
SC 0300
Date:
1934-1948
Extent:
1 box, .2 Cubic Feet
Language of the Material:
English .
Abstract:
The Massanutten Hatchery Photographs, 1934-1948, comprise black-and-white photographs of chickens likely used for the hatchery's promotional materials and sales catalogs. Photographs of the Massanutten Hatchery interior and exterior and the hatchery's breeding farm in McGaheysville are also included.

Preferred Citation

[identification of item], [box #, folder #], Massanutten Hatchery Photographs, 1934-1948, SC 0300, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.

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Administrative History

Massanutten Hatchery, Inc., variously known as Massanutten Farms Hatchery, was formed in 1923 by C. B. Williamson (1880-1958), former superintendent of the Chesapeake Western Railway, and Gilbert Spitzer (1886-1935). The chicken hatchery was located at 1020 S. Main Street in Harrisonburg. The hatchery also operated a breeding farm in McGaheysville, Virginia.

With a capacity of more than 200,000 chicks, Massanutten Hatchery was widely recognized as the largest commercial hatchery in the south. They specialized in White Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, New Hampshire Reds, and Barred Rocks. At some point, the hatchery transitioned to include turkeys.

In 1953, Harold W. Clark, a Pennsylvania businessman with experience in poultry husbandry, purchased the hatchery from C. B. Williamson and Bessie Baker, Gilbert Spitzer's widow. Charles W. Wampler (1885-1976) became president of the hatchery in 1956. Massanutten Hatchery, Inc. is last listed in the 1970 Harrisonburg city directory. At that time, Charles W. Wampler was listed as its president, Marion I. Eberly as its vice president, and William D. Wampler as its secretary/treasurer.

During the 1970s, James Madison University acquired the hatchery building and renovated it into an experimental theatre space - Wampler Experimental Theatre/Wampler Building. The building was also known as Theatre II and housed JMU's School of Theatre and Dance administrative and faculty offices and classrooms.

The hatchery building was razed in the summer of 2010. As of 2020, a JMU parking lot (K Lot), a FedEx Office, and JMU Print Services occupy the former approximate location of Massanutten Hatchery.

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Scope and Content

The Massanutten Hatchery Photographs, 1934-1948, comprise black-and-white photographs of chickens likely used for the hatchery's promotional materials and sales catalogs. Photographs of the Massanutten Hatchery interior and exterior and the hatchery's breeding farm in McGaheysville are also included.

The photographs document the breeds of chickens (and chicks) available through the hatchery, specifically White Leghorns, Barred Rocks, and New Hampshire Reds and/or Rhode Island Reds. Over the course of its business, the hatchery had both variety of Reds available. As the photographs are all black-and-white, it is difficult to determine which breed of Red is documented in each particular photograph. The chickens are photographed in their flocks, at the breeding farm in McGaheysville, in the hatchery in Harrisonburg, and in posed photographs usually featuring only one chicken in profile. Interior shots of the hatchery primarily document chickens, but a selection include workers and equipment. Photographs of the hatchery's exterior are included.

Many of the photographs include captions, notations, or specifications for cropping or other edits to be made for publication. Photographers, as identified by stamps on the back of photographs, include Lee Studio (Harrisonburg), Dean-Kaylor Studio (Harrisonburg), and Gitchell's Studio (Harrisonburg).

Four catalogs document the hatchery's marketing and sales techniques and include comparable photographs to the originals found in the collection.

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Arrangement

The photographs were received in no particular order. The photographs of chickens are mostly arranged according to breed and style of photograph. No attempt was made by the archivist to distinguish between photographs of New Hampshire Reds and Rhode Island Reds. All photographs documenting what appears to be a red variety of chicken are grouped together. The collection is further arranged chronologically.

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open to 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 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 (library-special@jmu.edu).

Acquisition Information

Acquired from Tim Abbott Americana in November 2019.

Processing Information

The photographs exhibited curling when received by Special Collections. The panoramic photograph of Massanutten Hatchery was humidified, flattened, and housed in a mylar sleeve. The other photographs were flattened under weight for a period of time.

Location

Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

880 Madison DriveMSC 1704Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807library-special@jmu.eduURL: https://www.lib.jmu.edu/special/

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Related Materials

Related Material

Aerial photographs of Massanutten Hatchery, Hoyle Garber Collection, Mt. Jackson Museum.

Harrisonburg Historic Map Collection 1873-1982 (bulk 1903-1956), SC 0050, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.

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Index Terms

Genre and Form

  • Photographs
  • Negatives (photographs)
  • Sales catalogs

Subject

  • Chickens -- Hatcheries -- Virginia -- Harrisonburg
  • Poultry -- Hatcheries -- Virginia -- Harrisonburg
  • Poultry -- Shenandoah River Valley (Va. and W. Va.)
  • Poultry industry -- Virginia -- Harrisonburg
  • Agriculture -- Economic aspects
  • Harrisonburg (Va.) -- History

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Bibliography

Harrisonburg Chamber of Commerce. Harrisonburg, Virginia: A General Industrial Survey. Harrisonburg, VA: The Garrison Press, 1926.

Laura Cochran and Lindsay Marti, "Enrollment levels after four year rise," The Breeze, November 5, 2001.

Amber Logsdon, "With new Home Comes Reflections On Past Performance Spaces," The Breeze, April 22, 2010.

"New Firm Takes Over Hatchery," Daily News-Record, July 20, 1953.

Obituary for Gilbert R. Spitzer, Daily News-Record, August 1, 1935.

Obituary for C. B. Williamson, Daily News-Record, February 5, 1958.

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Collection Inventory

Title/Description Instances
Massanutten Hatchery catalogs, 1934-1948 box 1 folder 1
Chicks, 1935, undated box 1 folder 2
Barred Rocks (in profile), 1935 box 1 folder 3
Barred Rocks (flocks), 1935, undated box 1 folder 4
New Hampshire Reds/Rhode Island Reds (in profile), 1935, undated box 1 folder 5
New Hampshire Reds/Rhode Island Reds (flocks), 1935-1936, undated box 1 folder 6
White Leghorns (in profile), 1935, undated box 1 folder 7
White Leghorns (flocks), 1935-1936, undated box 1 folder 8
Massanutten Hatchery interior and exterior, 1938, undated box 1 folder 9 Map Case 1 Drawer 5 folder 1
Negatives, undated box 1 folder 10
Photograph clippings, undated box 1 folder 11