Winchester High School Records

Stewart Bell Jr. Archives Room
Handley Regional Library
Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society

P.O. Box 58, Winchester, VA 22604
(540) 662-9041 ext. 17


Inventory created by Archives Staff date 11/1987. Last revised date 09/2020.

ACCESS RESTRICTIONS: Collection is open to all researchers.

USE RESTRICTIONS: Restrictions may apply concerning the use, photoduplication, or publication of items in this collection. Consult a member of the archives staff for information concerning these restrictions. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of copyright.

EXTENT: 0.21 linear feet

DATE:  1895 -1923

SCOPE AND CONTENT: The collection includes diplomas, broadsides, commencement programs, and report cards from Winchester High School, which was located in the John Kerr Public School building and operated from 1884 to 1923.

BIOGRAPHICAL/HISTORICAL: Upon his death in 1855, Winchester resident John Kerr bequeathed funds intended to provide for the education of “the poor white children of Winchester.”  The funds went to the building of a new school building at the southwest corner of Boscawen and Cameron Streets. Construction began in 1883 with the laying of the cornerstone and was completed in 1884. In 1895 the building officially became the John Kerr School.

The school’s principal, Captain John Crawford Van Fossen, a veteran of the 14th Virginia Cavalry, held his position until his death in 1904. In 1910 the school began to offer a four year high school. The class of 1919 was the last graduating class before students moved to the newly built John Handley High School in 1923. In the intervening years, students attended classes in temporary buildings at the campus of John Handley High School.

Winchester High School and John Handley High School were segregated until 1959.

RELATED MATERIAL: John Handley High School Records, 145 WFCHS/THL

BIBLIOGRAPHY: “The John Kerr Public School,” by Garland Quarles, The Winchester Star, September 23, 1983.                                 

CITE AS: Winchester High School Records, 670 WFCHS, Stewart Bell Jr. Archives, Handley Regional Library, Winchester, VA, USA




News Clippings, unnumbered leaves

Baccalaureate Service, 1 leaf, printed, 1920

Commencement Exercises, folder contains the following:
            Commencement Exercise Program, Class of 1918
            Commencement Exercise Program, Class of 1920
            Commencement Exercise Program, Class of 1921
            Commencement Exercise Program, Class of 1922 (3 copies)

Permission to be excused for tardiness, May 5, 1922, 1 leaf, mimeograph

Report Cards, George Good, Sept 3, 1917- June 11, 1918, 4th grade, 1 item, manuscript on printed form. 

Students – 1923-John Cammer

            Certificates for completion of courses, Commercial Accounting and Booking, 2 items, printed



Broadside for Free Night School, 1920

Diploma of Rena Frye, 1895

Diploma of Ruth Teresa Haines, 1920

Diploma of Ella Orndorff, 1895

PHOTOGRAPHS: Photographs and other images belonging to this collection may be accessed online through