The Resource The Shenandoah National Park oral history collection

The Shenandoah National Park oral history collection

The Shenandoah National Park oral history collection, 1964-1999
The Shenandoah National Park oral history collection
Inclusive dates
  • The Shenandoah National Park Oral History Collection, SdArch SNP, (formerly SC# 4030), consists of 135 interviews of people who were living in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia prior to the creation of the Shenandoah National Park. Most of the interviewees resided on land that was claimed by eminent domain by the commonwealth of Virginia and subsequently turned over to the US government in the 1930s
  • Topics discussed by interviewees include mountain folk-life, music, food preservation, traditional medicine, agriculture and harvesting, bark peeling, moonshining, chores and family life, and schooling with additional references to the Civilian Conservation Corp, the New Deal, and residents' feelings towards the creation of the Shenandoah National Park. Many interviews include references to George Freeman Pollock, a wealthy entrepreneur and owner of Skyland resort, who was a leading figure in the founding of the park and the construction of Skyline Drive
Biographical or historical data
Dorothy Noble Smith (1915-1999) was a native of New Jersey and a graduate of Duke University. She had a distinguished career in banking in New York City before retiring to Luray, Virginia. She was a contributing writer for the Page News and Courier for more than 20 years. Fascinated by a way of life that was drastically altered with the creation of the Shenandoah National Park in December 1935, she along with other people associated with the park service conducted recorded interviews in the late 1970s and early 1980s to document the lives and stories of the former residents of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her findings based on the oral histories conducted were published in Recollections: The People of the Blue Ridge Remember.
Cataloging source
Date time place
Recorded on various dates between 1964 and 1999, with the majority taking place between 1977 and 1980
Form of composition
Format of music
not applicable
Literary text for sound recordings
Music parts
not applicable
Series statement
James Madison University sound archives
Series volume
Transposition and arrangement
not applicable
The Shenandoah National Park oral history collection
There are no background papers or stacks copies for this collection
Control code
The collection is comprised of 6 Hollinger boxes and 2 1/5 media cabinet drawers of audio, transcripts, and images pertaining to interviews conducted primarily by Dorothy Noble Smith.
Governing access note
For use, see Special Collections Librarian
Immediate source of acquisition
This collection was originally donated to the Shenandoah National Park headquarters in Luray, Virginia, but was never served to the public because the oral histories were not considered official park records. In May 2001, the collection was donated to James Madison University to permanently house and serve the oral histories.
Terms governing use
Reproduction for publication, exhibition, web display or commercial use is only permissible with the consent of James Madison University's Libraries & Educational Technologies' Special Collections (540) 568-3612,

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
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