A Guide to the Wampler Business Records, 1916-1972:SC 0202

A Guide to the Wampler Business Records, 1916-1972:SC 0202

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number SC 0202


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Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Special Collections
Carrier Library
James Madison University
Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807
USA
Phone: (540) 568-3612
Fax: (540) 568-3405
Email: library-special@jmu.edu
URL: http://www.lib.jmu.edu/special

© 2018 By JMU Libraries. All rights reserved.

Processed by: Trevor Alvord, Kathryn Barela, Gabriel Camut, and James Dennis, May 2011; Tiffany Cole, September 2018

Repository
Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University
Collection Number
SC 0202
Title
Wampler Business Records, 1916-1972
URL:
http://ead.lib.virginia.edu/vivaxtf/view?docId=jmu/vihart00317.xml
Extent
11 cubic feet; 31 boxes
Creator
Wampler, Charles Weldon, Sr., 1885-1976
Language
English .
Abstract
This collection contains correspondence, reports, photographs, business documents, financial statements, publications, and other documents that relate to the businesses of Charles Wampler Sr. (Wampler Feed and Seed Company) primarily and to a lesser degree his son, Charles Wampler Jr. (Wampler Food Incorporated). Correspondence comprises the bulk of the collection.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for 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

The copyright interests in this collection have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (library-special@jmu.edu).

Preferred Citation

[identification of item], [box #, folder #], Wampler Business Records, 1916-1972, SC 0202, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Barbara W. Melby, daughter of Charles W. Wampler Jr., and Lawrence D. Bowers in May 2009.

Provenance

The bulk of this collection came from the Wampler family's Sunny Slope Farm Property near Dayton, Virginia. In 2009, James Madison University history professor Daniel Kerr was in communication with Barbara Melby, daughter of Charles W. Wampler Jr., who occupied the Sunny Slope property at that time. Mrs. Melby identified the storage of documents within the barn. After an initial inspection of the material, arrangements to transfer the material to Special Collections for cleaning, rehousing, and processing were made.

Processing Information

In order to streamline the process of applying collection numbers, Special Collections staff completed a large-scale renumbering campaign in 2017-2018. This collection was previously cataloged as SC 5024. During this time the collection was minimally reprocessed meaning that it was physically rehoused to eliminate the previous arrangement of housing according to series and the description was updated and enhanced where necessary.

Bio/Historical Note

The Wampler family emerged upon the American poultry industry in the early twentieth century changing the industry practices and beliefs. As a result of their success, the Wamplers became one of the most influential families in Rockingham County, Virginia and helped the Shenandoah Valley garner the moniker "Turkey Capital of the Nation."

In 1811, John Wampler and family, members of the Brethren Church, moved from Pennsylvania to the Timberville area of the county during a period when large groups of Brethren were migrating south. During the Civil War, John Wampler III gained notoriety for supposedly thwarting Union General Philip Sheridan's attempt to burn his family's barn. After the war, in 1871, John Wampler III purchased a farm in Dayton that he named Sunny Slope and built a house there. Under the setting of Sunny Slope, John Wampler III's children and grandchildren made their many significant contributions to agriculture.

Charles W. Wampler Sr., third son of John Wampler III, was born in 1886 and took quickly to the agricultural development of the county. He became a county agricultural agent and was an accomplished livestock farmer raising chickens and cattle. Eventually, he settled into turkey farming and started Rockingham County's first turkey hatchery. It was during this time that he became known as the "Father of the Modern Turkey Industry" because of his success in various agricultural experiments that changed the face of modern turkey farming. One of his earliest experiments was using chicken incubators to hatch turkey eggs. Starting with only ninety eggs, Wampler Sr. was able to hatch fifty-two poults. Another Charles Wampler Sr. innovation all but ended the wide spread practice of free-range turkey farming in commercial operations. Wampler Sr. believed, and was able to show, that free-range turkeys were less cost effective to raise as they expended more energy and required more feed at the expense of the farmer. Wampler practiced "incubation and confinement" which soon became the standard among successful poultry growers.

Charles Wampler Sr. also served as the first Rockingham County Extension Agent and founded the Wampler Feed and Seed Company in 1927 with two of his brothers. The company mixed feed for distribution to livestock and turkeys. Wampler Feed and Seed was the first in the nation to contract with farms to grow poultry. Wampler also helped found the National Turkey Federation. Among his many philanthropic activities, Charles Wampler Sr. served on the Board of Trustees for Bridgewater College, on the Board of Visitors for Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and on the Board of Directors for the Children's Home Society of Virginia.

Charles Wampler Jr. was born at Sunny Slope on November 25, 1915 as one of nine children (six daughters and three sons.) He attended Bridgewater College for two years and Rutgers University for one year. His early indoctrination in the poultry business began at the age of seven when he and a sister, with the aid of their mother, prepared feed for turkeys in the family business. Crushed eggs and oatmeal were the two main components of the feed. In 1936, his career officially began as a "field man" for Wampler Feed and Seed - traveling to various growers and inspecting livestock. Eventually, Charles Jr. became the company's general manager when Charles Sr. retired. In 1969, Wampler hatcheries, feed mills, and grower operations joined with Virginia Valley Processing to become Wampler Food Incorporated. Poultry processing, hatcheries, and growers were combined as a single corporation with Charles Wampler Jr. as president. In 1984, Charles Jr. oversaw the merger between Wampler Foods and Longacre Farms out of Franconia, Pennsylvania. By 1986, Wampler-Longacre acquired the Rockingham Poultry Cooperative and formed WLR Foods Incorporated with Charles Jr. as chairman of the board.

In addition to his business career, Charles Wampler Jr. had an equally distinguished career in service. Charles Jr. was a district representative for Rockingham County in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1954 until 1965 serving on several committees including Agriculture, Finance, and Labor. In 1957, he co-founded the United Way of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. From 1971 to 1984, Charles Jr. served as president and chairman of the board for the Rockingham Memorial Hospital. He has also served on James Madison University's Board of Visitors and the Rockingham County School Board. In 1990, he received James Madison University's Common Wealth award in recognition of outstanding contributions to the community. In addition, Charles Wampler Jr. was a member of the Church of the Brethren in Harrisonburg.

Scope and Content

The Wampler Family Business Records, 1916-1972, consists of 11 cubic feet and 31 boxes of material documenting Wampler Foods Incorporated. The collection is primarily comprised of personal and business correspondence of Charles Wampler Sr. The collection includes bound ledgers, financial documents, print material, reports, memoranda, and pictures. The collection is arranged topically into eleven series. Series include Administrative Files, Correspondence, Date Books, Farm Ledgers, Financial Papers, Philanthropy and Professional Organizations, Photographs, Press and Advertising Files, Print and Ephemera, Reports and Studies, and Business and Organization lists.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically by topic in the following ten series:

Series 1: Administrative Files, 1937-1972

Series 2: Correspondence, 1918-1971

Series 3: Date Books, 1939-1965

Series 4: Farm Ledgers, 1932-1951

Series 5: Financial Files, 1941-1971

Series 6: Philanthropic and Professional Organizations, 1939-1971

Series 7: Photographs, 1939-1971

Series 8: Press and Advertising Files, 1920-1963

Series 9: Print and Ephemera, 1916-1971

Series 10: Reports and Studies, 1927-1969

Series 11: Business and Organization lists, 1941-1967

Related Material

Elizabeth "Libby" Custer Papers, ca.1930s-1997, SC 0077, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.

Wampler Family Papers, 1798-1962, SC 0150, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA

Separated Material

Several publications relating to local matters were pulled from the collection, cataloged individuallly, and added to Special Collections' rare book holdings.


Index Terms


Bibliography

Charles W. Wampler Jr., interview by Jessica Silveri, March 15, 2007, transcript, Shenandoah Valley Oral History Project, Harrisonburg, VA. Virginia House of Delegates.

Historical Bio for Charles W. Wampler. Virginia House of Delegates. http://dela.state.va.us/dela/Membios.nsf/94f6e9b9c9b5678f85256b1b00732227/024c8d9337c5d82485256d780068407b?OpenDocument&Highlight=0,charles,Wampler (accessed May 04, 2011).

Wampler, Charles W. My Grandfather, my grandchildren and me; an autobiography. Harrisonburg, VA; Dayton, VA: Shenandoah Press, 1968.


Significant Persons Associated With the Collection

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Container List

Series 1: Administrative Files, 1937-1972
Scope and Content

Series 1: Administrative Files, 1937-1972, includes a diverse assortment of administrative documents representing the business' large-scale farming operations. Insurance information and documents represent a large portion of the series regarding farm capital and employees. Another large section of the series is "testing documentation" for the various animals owned and bred by the Wamplers including chickens, turkey, cows, and sheep. Nearly all of these animals required regular government-regulated testing, and the corresponding findings and results are within this series.

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Series 2: Correspondence, 1918-1971
Scope and Content

Series 2: Correspondence, 1918-1971, consists of letters ranging in date from 1918 to 1972. Early correspondence to and from Charles Wampler Sr. in regard to his turkey business and his position as county farm agent may be found here. Through the 1940s, the letters concern both agricultural and World War II topics as the Wampler businesses supported the American war effort through food production. Intermixed throughout this range are letters regarding both the financial and agricultural support Charles Wampler Jr. provided to colleges and universities through his service on their Boards of Visitors. Letters written during his terms as a state representative can be found in the 1950s and 1960s with some addressed to Virginia governors and politician Harry F. Byrd. Wampler's letters to congressmen and state representatives regarding local and national issues document his own political persuasions on sundry topics including gambling, the United Nations, and presidential candidates. The Wamplers' philanthropic pursuits and financial donations to various non-profits (Virginia League for Planned Parenthood, Virginia Council on Health and Medical Care, etc.) are also documented.

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Series 3: Date Books, 1939-1965
Scope and Content

Series 3: Date Books, 1939-1965, consist of date books signed by Charles W. Wampler Jr. which include personal appointments, business schedules, and notes on farm production.

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Series 4: Farm Ledgers, 1932-1951
Scope and Content

Series 4: Farm Ledgers, 1932-1951, contains information on the day-to-day operations of the Wampler properties. Some ledgers specify: Ralston Farm, Dry River, Sunny Slope Farm, Glendale Farm, and Blossom Farm. Other ledgers do not specify property names but do contain information such as expenses, account information, flock details, and livestock weights. Items are arranged chronologically.

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Series 5: Financial Files, 1941-1971
Scope and Content

Series 5: Financial Files, 1941-1971, houses all loose financial documents relating to the Wampler businesses. The majority of the series consists of receipts from shipping, Wampler Feed & Seed, Sunny Slope Farm, travel expenses, and general purchases while the second part of the series contains miscellaneous bank statements, account information, tax documents for state and federal income, business taxes, and some Wampler family business documents.

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Series 6: Philanthropic and Professional Organizations, 1939-1971
Scope and Content

Series 6: Philanthropic and Professional Organizations, 1939-1971, consists of memoranda, meeting minutes, summaries, and administrative information for various organizations with which Charles Wampler Sr. and Jr. were involved. The series documents local and national organizations, of which agricultural organizations figure prominently. See also materials in Series 10: Reports and Studies for philanthropic reports relating to the Bridgewater College Board of Trustees, Virginia Tech Board of Visitors and Children's Home Society of Virginia.

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Series 7: Photographs, 1939-1971
Scope and Content

Series 7: Photographs, 1939-1971, contains livestock pictures from the Wampler Farms and from farmers across the country with letters attached regarding breeding opportunities and purchase requests. Several personal photographs of the Wampler children are included here.

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Series 8: Press and Advertising Files, 1920-1963
Scope and Content

Series 8: Press and Advertising Files, 1920-1963, consist of marketing materials for the Wampler businesses that includes poultry advertisements and newspaper clippings. The collection also includes speeches, articles, and press releases authored by or about Charles Wampler Jr.

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Series 9: Print and Ephemera, 1916-1971
Scope and Content

Series 9: Print and Ephemera, 1916-1971, includes agricultural publications such as "Turkey World." This series also includes biographical information on Charles Wampler Jr. from magazines, newspapers, and farm sale catalogs of auctions held on his properties. A number of printed brochures from various manufacturers and charitable organizations also reside this series.

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Series 10: Reports and Studies, 1927-1969
Scope and Content

Series 10: Reports and Studies, 1927-1969, holds typed or printed reports. Agricultural materials from the U.S. Farm Bureau, National Turkey Federation, the U.S.D.A., and the Virginia and Pennsylvania Departments of Agriculture which include livestock disease reports, castor bean testing data, poultry stock reports, and inspection and market information. In addition, legislation related to agricultural issues is also represented. Other materials include reports regarding educational and charitable organizations in which Charles Wampler Sr. had a philanthropic interest (such as Bridgewater College, Virginia Tech, and Children's Home Society of Virginia); 1954 legislative Actions; War savings and Fund Campaigns; Senatorial Remarks; House of Representative Committee rules; and Virginia State Legislation and sub-committee reports.

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Series 11: Business and Organization lists, 1941-1967
Scope and Content

Series 11: Business and Organization lists, 1941-1967, comprises assorted lists concerning livestock and related sales, farming and agricultural pursuits, and professional and philanthropic organizations.

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