John C. Rust Archives

Lost Papers Discovered in 2017

The John Rust Archives project began in 2017 with a gift to Larry Roeder of papers that used to belong to a 19th/early 20th Century politician named John Rust, and his family. Papers cover the range of 1832 to 1917. The topics are often personal letters, but also are documents related to Rust’s work as a Justice of the Peace, Commissioner of the Revenue, and other positions. Communications with other politicians are also included.

The owner in 2017 was going to toss out the entire collection to be burned until Roeder agreed to take ownership. Processing of the papers has been done by Society volunteers, including Mr. Roeder. Mr. Roeder has an MLS from the Catholic University of America.

Initial preservation efforts, in consultation with the School of Library Science, the Catholic University of America, and the Preservation Office of the Library of Congress, involved cleaning out insects that had infested the paper. The wood also had to be preserved and the paper treated for molds and dampness. The latter took several months, first by freezing each item between sheets of wax paper. They were then vacuumed with a special tool. There were also leather objects and photographs which needed special treatment. Photographic reproduction of old photos was done by Neil Steinberg of PhotoWorks, Leesburg.

Entrance to the cellar where the records were discovered.

Actual scanning of documents and analysis by Larry Roeder and Sarah Dillistin (a county public librarian) ran from 2018 and continued into 2019. After a pause, more was done in 2021. This included meetings with the Rust Family in Bluemont in 2018 and 2019, which also touched on the Bluemont Colored School.

The Society is looking for a volunteer to continue working on this project in 2022/2021. We also are requesting donations for archival quality boxes. Here are sample photos.

Records were found in the damp basement of Tankersfield White School, which was very damp and moldy.
1901 Document covered in dried mold.
Most papers must be handled with gloves and face mask.
Might be John Rust
Fragment of Envelope addressed to John Rust from Superintendent of Public Schools.
Above: 1905 Petition for Reverand Popkins to be School Superintendent in Loudoun.
Above: Rare Optimeter Found in the Box. Had to be carefully cleaned.
Above: 1832 Deed
1903 Announcement of John Rust to be Commissioner of the Revenue.