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Jay W. Johns, Jr. Papers

Identifier: Mss. 74 J64

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The collection contains mostly personal and business correspondence of Jay Winston Johns, Jr., including papers of the Atlas Fuel Corporation of New York, New York and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Lee-Jackson Memorial, Inc.; the Virginia Trust for Historic Preservation; and "Ash Lawn," now owned by the College of William and Mary.

The correspondence of Johns includes correspondence with Virginia Democratic Party figures such as Albertis S. Harrison, William M. Tuck, Mills Godwin, Harry F. Byrd, Sr. and Carter Glass. Other prominent correspondents are Morton G. Thalhimer, Harry de Butts, James J. Kilpatrick, and George C. Marsall. There are records of social occasions given by Mr. and Mrs. Johns, correspondence relating to her illness and death, and papers relating to his death.

The collection includes a manuscript collection by Johns including original items by Phillip Brooks (1835-1983), George Washington Parke Custis(1781-1857), Albert Gallatin (1761-1849) and D. H. Hill (1821- 1889); as well as typescripts and photocopies of letters written by Thomas Jonathan Jackson, Francis Lightfoot Lee, Mary Custis Lee, Richard Henry Lee, and Robert E. Lee; and materials concerning James Monroe and Ezekial Moses. It also includes 19th century original photographs and albums of largely unidentified people.


  • Creation: 1918-1979


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use:

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Biographical Information:

Jay Winston Johns, Jr. was a coal industrialist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who moved to Virginia and became a leader in preserving homes of renowned Virginians. He married Helen Lambert (1881-1964). Johns became blind in the late 1950's.

He and his wife owned "Ash Lawn," Albemarle County, Virginia which had been the home of James Monroe and designed by Thomas Jefferson. Johns was founder of the Lee-Jackson Memorial, Inc., a foundation dedicated to preserving the memory of Robert E. Lee, Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson and the South's part in the Civil War; and a founder of the Virginia Trust for Historic Preservation, an organization whose main purpose was that of purchasing, restoring, and maintaining for the public, homes of renowned men specifically, the Lee-Fendall House in Alexandria, Virginia. He collected material on James Monroe, including original manuscripts, which were donated to the College of William and Mary.

Johns, himself was a strong Democrat and corresponded with and publicly supported all of the prominent Virginia political figures of his time. He was a spirited supporter of the Virginia Military Institute as a member of the Board of Visitors, and as an honorary member of the Alumni Association; a charter member, and later trustee of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; and a member of the Virginia Chapter of the Society of the Cincinnati. He also received an honorary degree from the College of William and Mary in 1967. Further information about this individual or organization may be available in the Special Collections Research Center Wiki:


10.00 Linear Feet

Acquisition Information:

Gift: 4,507 items, 12/01/1974. Gift: Acc. no. 80-14; 7/01/1980. Gift: Acc. no. 83-42; 15 items, 9/01/1983. Gift: Acc. no. 85-46; 1 item, 10/01/1985. Gift: 2 items, 2/01/1988.

Related Materials:

This collection of James Monroe Papers was donated by Jay Johns and includes Includes letters by, to and concerning James Monroe, as well as a few printed items.

Jay Johns Collection of James Monroe Papers, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary. Jay Johns Collection of James Monroe Papers, 1780-1834.84 items. Mss. 68 M75


Additional information may be found at

Guide to the Jay W. Johns, Jr. Papers
SCRC Staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository