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Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of History


This thesis includes the work, research, and findings that culminated from a non-traditional project that revolved around the processing and analysis of the William Garber Photograph Collection, which is housed in Special Collections of Carrier Library at James Madison University. After processing the photograph collection according to standard archival practice, I analyzed the images to make conclusions about life in the Shenandoah Valley during the post-World War II era. As I delved further into the photographs, I became increasingly aware of three trends: rural modernization, the prevalence of white supremacy, and an emphasis on tourism in the region. Secondary work on the period confirmed these processes, allowing me to use Garber’s photographs to make a case for the occurrence of each in the Valley as it became more integrated into a broader national framework in the mid-twentieth century.

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