The Resource John G. Stewart Collection

John G. Stewart Collection

John G. Stewart Collection, 1790-1992
John G. Stewart Collection
Inclusive dates
  • eng
  • ger
  • eng
  • Research materials and topical files, in English and German, pertaining to Shenandoah Valley folk culture including recipes, cures for ailments, folklore stories, and other traditions gathered and documented by John G. Stewart and Elmer Smith, former professors at Madison College (James Madison University)
  • The John G. Stewart Collection consists of 5 Hollinger boxes, measuring 2.09 linear feet, spanning the years 1790 to 1992. The collection contains a wide array of documents pertaining to Germanic folklore and culture in the Shenandoah Valley. Documents consist of photocopies and drafts of articles written by Stewart and his colleague Elmer L. Smith, information compiled from interviews with Valley residents, as well as photocopies of primary source materials such as recipes, correspondence and medicinal remedies from individuals living in Rockingham, Augusta, Wythe and Shenandoah Counties in Virginia and Pendleton County in West Virginia. Most of the photocopied articles are reprints from the Pennsylvaanisch Dietsch Eck and "Valley Folklore" articles from the Highland Recorder (Highland County, Va.) spanning from November 1953 to November 1973. A detailed list of those articles is included in the Finding Aid (see web link above). The collection largely has been left in the order in which Mr. Stewart used it, with minor exceptions. It is arranged in six series: Topical research files, Folk medicine and remedies, Pow-Wow documents, Lectures and administrative documents, Henkel materials and Folk culture posters. Numbers in brackets in the contents list below indicate item count within a folder
Biographical or historical data
  • John G. Stewart was born in 1918 in Vienna, Austria under the name Hans Gideon Stein. Fearing for their safety, the family left Austria for the United States soon after Hitler annexed Austria in 1938. Hans Stein attended the College of the Pacific, now called the University of the Pacific, from 1939 until he was drafted into the United States Army in October 1941. He became a United States citizen in 1943 and officially changed his name to John Stewart. After World War II, Stewart attended Columbia University from 1945 to 1948, obtaining a masters degree. Stewart taught at Harrisonburg High School from 1951 to 1958, when he was offered a teaching position at Madison College in the language department, for which he taught German and Latin until 1973.
  • Stewart collaborated with fellow Madison College professor and local historian, Elmer Smith, on research and conducted interviews with descendants of the German settlers in the Valley, much of which is documented in this collection. Together, Stewart and Smith established the Valley Folklore Society in the early 1960s. They compiled and published information on many folk traditions of the Shenandoah Valley Germans, including holiday traditions, food recipes, medicinal remedies and favorite pastimes.
Cataloging source
Language note
English, German
John G. Stewart Collection
Series I. Topical research files, 1953-1995. -- Series II. Folk medicine and remedies, 1790-1984. -- Series III. "Pow-Wow" documents, 1883-1900, Series IV. Lectures and administrative documents, 1966-2002. -- Series V. Henkel materials, 1796-1963. -- Series VI. Folk culture posters, [undated]
Control code
Cumulative index finding aids
See web link above for inventory.
5 Holllinger boxes; 2.09 linear feet
Governing access note
For use, see Special Collections librarian
John Stewart donated this collection of research material and notes in August 2007 and June 2009.

Library Locations

    • Special Collections Research CenterBorrow it
      Carrier Library Second Floor Room 203, MSC 1704, 880 Madison Drive, Harrisonburg, VA, 22807, US
      38.438299 -78.8741916
Processing Feedback ...