The Resource Barnard-Nickels family papers

Barnard-Nickels family papers

Barnard-Nickels family papers, 1929-1972
Barnard-Nickels family papers
Inclusive dates
  • Papers, 1929-1972, of the Barnard and Nickels families of Prince George County and Hopewell, Virginia, namely Judith Fenner Barnard (1896-1984), and her daughter Elizabeth "Beth" Archer Barnard Nickels (1918-2012), and her husband Samuel B. Nickels, Jr. (1918-2001). Includes correspondence, subject files, and papers relating to Barnard's career as an elementary school teacher in Hopewell, Virginia
  • A large amount of the correspondence was written during World War II, when Samuel B. Nickels, Jr. was serving with the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, first while stationed at Camp Wheeler and Fort Benning in Georgia, Fort Bragg in North Carolina, and then in Nashville, Tennessee, and Evansville, Indiana. Most of the letters are from Beth Archer Barnard to Nickels prior to their marriage. Subjects include courtship, her drafting career and job prospects, teaching duties at Surry High School, health, mail deliveries and phone calls, visits, wedding plans, finances, and social activities in Hopewell
  • After Pearl Harbor, her letters begin to express a concern for his safety during his military training, and her fears over his impending deployment. Other topics include fuel and tire rationing and shortages, opinions on the duration and outcome of the war, and news of mutual acquaintances. The correspondence after September 1943 is mainly from Nickels after his unit was deployed overseas to England. He writes about his loneliness and homesickness, weather, news of his comrades, recreational activities, mail and package deliveries, and his health
  • The 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment was a part of the D-Day invasion at Normandy on 6 June 1944. The correspondence from this time period is mainly between Beth and her parents, and friends whose husbands were serving with Nickels, and discuss concern for Sam's safety, and the lack of information concerning his whereabouts. Later letters are written by Nickels while he was recuperating in England from wounds to his hand. His unit was also involved in the Battle of the Bulge, and the seige of Bastogne, and there are letters written by him during this period. Finally, there are letters written to Beth from friends and family concerning the end of the war in Europe, and rumors of the unit's return to the United States. There is also a good deal of correspondence to Beth from her mother who was attending summer school sessions at State Teachers College in Farmville, Virginia, and from her father, Edgar C. Barnard (b. 1895), detailing his work as a civil engineer in Texas, Kentucky, and West Virginia
  • The post-war correspondence is includes job application letters, and letters written while Sam and Beth were on a trip to St. Louis. The latest letters in the collection are mainly to Judith Fenner Barnard, and are from family and friends in California, Florida, and Washington State. There are also letters written to her from former students, including one who was serving in combat during the Vietnam War. Other topics in the later correspondence relate to Barnard's involvement in various organizations including the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, the Society of the Descendants of Francis Epes I of Virginia, the Appomattox Manor Foundation, and her interest in Virginia history and family genealogy
  • The subject files include materials relating to the James River Branch of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, newspaper clippings, information on Beth Nickels's interest in architecture and her drafting career at Camp Lee and Binswanger Glass, school compositions and examinations of Judith Fenner Barnard while she was attending the State Teacher's College in Farmville, greeting cards, insurance papers, wedding invitations, photographs, Bible records of the Pulliam family of Prince George County, poetry, "The Bugle," the 1940 yearbook of Virginia Polytechnic Institute, letters from a former student of Barnard's who was serving with the military in Vietnam, a diary of Beth Archer Barnard covering the years 1933 and 1936 to 1939, and other items
  • The school teacher files document Judith Fenner Barnard's long career at Patrick Copeland Elementary School in Hopewell, Virginia. The series includes class exercises, lesson plans, class photographs, lists of students, calendars, programs, memoranda, and information from workshops and conferences she attended. There are also newsletters of the Hopewell Education Association, and numerous educational publications and instructional aids
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Biographical or historical data
  • Judith Roane Fenner was born on 14 June 1896. She was the daughter of Benjamin Fenner (1850-1925) and Elizabeth Archer Winfrey (1861-1949) of Prince George County, Virginia. She married Edgar Calhoun Barnard (b. 1895) on 16 June 1917. Judith Fenner Barnard was an elementary school teacher in Hopewell, Virginia, and she lived at her home "Sunnyside" in Prince George County. She died on 27 April 1984, and is buried in Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg.
  • Her daughter Elizabeth "Beth" Archer Barnard was born on 14 September 1918. She attended State Teachers College in Farmville from 1935 to 1937, and then received a degree in mathamatics from The College of William and Mary in 1939. She was a high school teacher for a short time, and then was employed as a draftsman with Solvay Process Company in Hopewell, and in civil service at Camp Lee during World War II. She was later an architect in Richmond. Beth Archer Barnard married Samuel B. Nickels, Jr. at Merchant's Hope Church in Hopewell on 11 July 1942. She died on 21 March 2012.
  • Samuel B. Nickels, Jr. was born on 13 November 1918. He was the son of Dr. Samuel B. Nickels and Lois Parsons. He graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1940, and the following year was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army where he was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment. He was awarded the Bronze Star and twice awarded the Purple Heart for his service during World War II. He was part of the D-Day invasion at Normandy, and was trapped during the seige of Bastogne during the "Battle of the Bulge." After the war, he was a chemist until he retired in 1975. Samuel B. NIckels, Jr. died on 31 May 2001, and is buried in Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg.
Cataloging source
Barnard-Nickels family papers
  • The Library of Virginia
Cumulative index finding aids
Governing access note
There are no access restrictions
Immediate source of acquisition
Crown Collectibles
Organization method
Organized into the following series: I. Correspondence. II. Subject Files. III. School Teacher Files.
Type of unit
cu. ft.



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Library Locations

    • Library of VirginiaBorrow it
      800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, US
      37.5415632 -77.4360805
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