Diplomas, 1912-1936 *JMU Records*

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Descriptive Summary


Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: A Guide to Diplomas, 1912-1936

Collection No.: UA 0036
Creator: State Teachers College at Harrisonburg (Harrisionburg, Va.); State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg (1908-1914); State Normal School for Women (1914-1924)

Extent: 1 folder; .3 cubic feet

Language: English

Abstract: Diplomas, 1912-1936, is an artificial collection, comprised of 15 diplomas and certificates issued to students at the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg, later called the State Normal School for Women, State Teachers College at Harrisonburg, and the State Normal School Summer Session.


Administrative Information

Access Restrictions: Collection 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 University Special Collections Library to use this collection.

Use Restrictions: Copyright for Official University records is held by James Madison University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (library-special@jmu.edu).

Preferred Citation: [identification of item], [box #, folder #], Diplomas, 1912-1936, UA 0036, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.

Acquisition Information: Items were collected from various donors over the years. The Ruth Taliaferro diploma (1915) was a gift of Mrs. Lois W. Gaynor; the Garland Hope Farrar diplomas (1915, 1916) were a gift of Henry B. Frazier, donated on December 7, 1994; the Pauline Miley diplomas (1918, 1920) and Mary Louise Overton diploma (1922), were a gift of Mrs. John W. Wilson; the Frances Beam diploma (1936) was a gift of her daughter, Connie Daniels; the Anna Virginia Hollar diploma (1931) was a gift of Diane Yerian, donated August 6, 2015; the Violetta Lorane Davis diplomas (1923, 1930) were gifts of Wendy Mathias, donated October 20, 2018; others are orphaned in the collection.
Processing Information: Collection was formerly given the collection number SU 93-0225, Diplomas in Carrier Library.

Administrative History:

Diplomas and certificates awarded by the State Normal and Industrial School reflected the various courses of study designed to prepare white women for teaching in rural Virginia schools. The first graduating class was June, 1911, in which twenty students received diplomas.

The Regular Normal Course was a program designed to prepare women to teach in public schools. At the school's founding in 1909, the Regular Normal Course consisted of one to six years of study, and was open to students with little to no high school education. In 1910, entrance requirements were raised, and women had to have completed at least two years of high school or hold a teaching certificate as a result of a state examination in order to attend, which meant that the Regular Normal Course went from a six-year to a four-year course of study. By 1914, the first two years of the Regular Normal Course (the equivalent of the last two years of high school) was reformed as the two-year Preparatory Course, and upon completion, students received a First Grade High School Certificate. Completion of the third year of the Regular Normal Course entitled a student to receive the Professional Certificate, so long as certain teaching requirements were met. Those who completed the fourth year of the Regular Normal Course received the Full Normal diploma, which amounted to a lifetime teaching certificate requiring no ongoing maintenance.

The Professional Course was a two-year course designed for women who already had four years of high school, those who had completed the Preparatory Course, or who had already received a professional certificate. By 1915, students enrolled in the Professional Course had the option of pursuing specialized certification in Kindergarten and Primary grades, Intermediate and Grammar grades, or High School. A student that completed one year of the Professional Course received a Junior State Normal Certificate, or the Professional Certificate. Those who completed the two-year Professional Course received a Full Normal diploma.

Various other programs, namely Household Arts Program (later named Home Economics Course), Manual Arts, Industrial Arts Course, Kindergarten Training, among others, were offered in the early years, though enrollment was quite small relative to the Regular and Professional Courses.

The Harrisonburg Summer Session, which started in 1910, was designed to appeal to those already in teaching positions. In 1911, the State Board of Education authorized the Normal School to issue a Summer School Professional Certificate – one for primary school and one for grammar grades – awarded to students who completed courses in the two six-week summer terms in two separate years. The Summer Professional Certificate was considered more advanced than the First Grade Certificate. By 1916, the certificate requirements increased to three six-week terms over three separate summers, and in 1918 it was replaced by the Elementary Professional Certificate, which required still more study. A unique feature of the Harrisonburg Summer Sessions was that enrollment was also open to men.

In 1918, the State Normal School began to offer four year Bachelor programs in Home Economics and Elementary teaching. In 1934 the school officially became a liberal arts institution, able to issue Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in Education.

Scope and Content:

Diplomas, 1912-1936, is an artificial collection, comprised of thirteen diplomas and certificates issued to students at the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg, later called the State Normal School for Women, State Teachers College at Harrisonburg, and the State Normal School Summer Session.

They include the following: 1912 - Ruth Randolph Conn; Full Normal Course 1912 - Lizzie Stern McGahey; Full Normal Course 1914 - Kathleen Chevallie Harless, Full Normal Course 1915 - Ruth Taliaferro; Full Normal Course 1915 - Garland Hope Farrar; Junior State Normal Certificate 1916 - Isabelle M. Bateman; Summer School Professional Certificate, Primary Grade 1916 - Garland Hope Farrar; Full Normal Course 1918 - Pauline Miley; Professional Course 1920 - Pauline Miley; Bachelor of Science in Elementary Teaching and Supervision 1922 - Mary Louise Overton; Home Economics Course 1923 - Violetta Lorane Davis; Professional Course 1927 - Mary Julia Keezel; Professional Course 1930 - Violetta Lorane Davis; Bachelor of Science in High School Teaching and Administration 1931 - Anna Virginia Hollar; Professional Course 1936 - Frances Beam; Bachelor of Science in Education Of particular note is the Isabelle M. Bateman certificate, issued by State Department of Public Instruction, which contains a field for "race: white." The Bateman certificate has four photographs adhered to reverse, with the following labels: Bettie Leffel, age 5; Uncle Arthur Davis; Grandmother Bateman; Uncle Arthur and Curtis Fawley.


Items are arranged chronologically in a single folder.


Dingledine, Raymond C. "Madison College, the First Fifty Years, 1908-1958." Harrisonburg, VA: Madison College, 1959.


Folder Title
Box : Folder
Diplomas, 1912-1936

Ruth Randolph Conn, June 11, 1912

Lizzie Stern McGahey, June 11, 1912

Kathleen Chevallie Harless, June 9, 1914

Garland Hope Farrar, June 8, 1915

Ruth Taliaferro, June 8, 1915

Garland Hope Farrar, June 6, 1916

Isabelle M. Bateman, August 18, 1916

Pauline Miley, June 4, 1918

Pauline Miley, June 8, 1920

Mary Louise Overton, June 6, 1922

Violetta Lorane Davis, June 5, 1923

Mary Julia Keezel, August 26, 1927

Violetta Lorane Davis, July 25, 1930

Anna Virginia Hollar, August 27, 1931

Frances Ruth Beam, June 8, 1936

OV 1:1

Compiled by: Sarah Roth-Mullet, February 2018; Tiffany Cole, November 2018