Saturday, March 30, 2013

Master Gardeners Help the Library

The snows are gone; the soil is turned; now what to plant in the garden?- Gladiolus, Lilies, Dahlias!  The Master Gardeners of the Central Shenandoah Valley are ready to help you and the Library.  From Tuesday April 2 through Monday April 15 in the Lobby of the Main Library in Harrisonburg, the  Master Gardeners will answer your landscaping and planting questions and take your order for bulbs.  Proceeds from the sales will be contributed to the Massanutten Regional Library.  Call the Library at 540.434.4475, ext. 129  or check the Massanutten Regional Library website ( for the specific hours of this program. 

CVSMG is a local volunteer group sponsored by the Virginia Cooperative Extension.  They provide gardening education and information to local home and property owners. Ask the gardeners to help you plan and plant a cutting garden, a long season of colors, or a species or color-planned beds while you make your selections.  They may be able to help you with your critter and pest problems. They have two telephone  help lines:  Augusta County-- 540-245-5184 and Rockingham County-540-564-3080.  They provide hands-on “Greenery, Herb, and Flower Arranging” workshops.  They sponsor the Thomas Harrison Middle School After School Gardening Club and help with community gardens.  Come to the Main Library and meet these wonderful Master Gardeners.

  If you are interested in becoming a candidate for the Program, talk to these gardeners or go to the  organization’s  website  They describe the program as a, “training program for volunteer educators who are interested in spreading the good word about best agricultural practices.”

                We encourage you to stop by the Library to order plants and see what this community organization can do for you.  Happy Gardeneing!!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Crystal Theodore, Part 2

The Teacher

After the War, Crystal Theodore completed a doctorate at Columbia University and pursued advanced studies at various institutions throughout her life. When Dr. Theodore resumed her teaching career it was as head of the Huntington College (Alabama) Art Department. Later East Tennessee State College (now University) appointed her the head of its Art Department. At the latter institution two of her students were Ron Carrier and Edith Johnson (Carrier), the future first couple at JMU. The three of them would again meet at Madison.

 In the mid-1950’s while at Tennessee State, realizing the opportunities in educational television, Theodore scripted and hosted local television programs on the world’s finest art and interviewed local artists whom she often asked to demonstrate their craft. In 1957, the Educational Television and Radio Center of Ann Arbor Michigan awarded a grant for the program. In that same year Theodore received an offer to become head of the Madison College Art Department. The grant was transferred from East Tennessee to Madison, bringing the latter institution into the television age. It was the College’s first venture into television programming. The program on WSVA-TV was called “Viewpoint” and under Theodore’s supervision it focused on the arts and artists in the Shenandoah Valley. [i]

Friday, March 8, 2013

Crystal Theodore, Part 1

During Women’s History month the MRL Reference Blog features Crystal Theodore, a local artist and educator whose determined efforts raised the profile of the arts and of artists in the Shenandoah Valley. 

Crystal Theodore was born in Greenville, SC on July 27, 1917.  Her father, James, was a Greek immigrant who was a chocolatier, and her mother, Florence Bell, was from an old South Carolina family.  Crystal entered Winthrop College (now University) as a member of the class of 1938.  She took art classes, but, she majored in English and Latin as job prospects were thought to be better with this background.  Ironically, after graduation Winthrop College hired her to teach drawing and design, which she did for four years.  She was a loyal alumnus and the University awarded her professional achievement awards in 1986 and 1998.  In the fall of 2008, Theodore was included in an Alumni Art Exhibition at the University.  She was the oldest contributor.[i]  Oddly, the Director of University art collection reports that the University does not have any of her work in its collection.[ii]

Wanting to be engaged in the war effort, Theodore left the University and joined the Tennessee Valley Authority as a junior draft engineer in the topographical division.  She much preferred to join the Marine Corps, but was rejected as she was already “employed in a vital industry…[and]…she was already contributing to the war effort.”[iii]  She chose the Marine Corps because it was considered the most challenging branch of the military services.  In the spring of 1944, the TVA, during a downsizing, released her.