Scope and Contents
The collection contains the papers of William S. Kibler (1911-2002), a high school teacher and educator, Stanley, Virginia, ca. 1925-2002, 23,684 items (103 Hollinger boxes; 43 linear feet) including his diaries, 1936-2002 April, recording in detail Kibler's daily activities as well as his impressions of events, travel journals and manuscripts for chiefly foreign trips, slides, postcards, and photographs, chiefly concerning his trips, both high school and college papers, literary work, and correspondence.
Biographical / Historical
William Kibler (1911-2002) was a student at the University of Virginia from 1929 to 1932; he graduated on June 14, 1932. That same year he assumed his first teaching position at a one room school in Cubbage Hollow, just east of Stanley, Virginia. From 1933 to 1940 he was a teacher, basketball coach and football coach at Shenandoah High School. He was a Masters student at Harvard from 1935/6 to 1938; further interruptions would make this a sixteen year process – he attained his degree in 1951. In 1936 his father Rufus Kibler died. In 1941 William took the position of principal at Grove Hill Elementary School.
In 1943 he was drafted as a Private in Company A, 1302nd S.U.R.C. In 1944 he was a Private in the 345th Harbor Craft Company. In this same company William was made corporal in June 1944, and sergeant in mid-June 1944. He trained primarily in Florida, spent three months in England, and was then transferred to France. He was next stationed in Belgium, where he saw significant combat. He earned a medal for his involvement in the Battle of the Bulge (1944-1945). His letter correspondence is largely with his mother, Julia Kibler (Mrs. Benton Koontz). From 1945 to 1946 he remained in the army and worked with recovering soldiers at Woodrow Wilson Hospital in Fishersville, Virginia.
He was discharged in May 1946, whereupon he took the position of English teacher at Florida Southern College; he eventually became the head of the department. In 1949 William returned to the University of Virginia to study German and French; during this time he taught Freshman English. From 1950 to 1952 he studied, wrote, and published "I Don’t Know Why," a book of 25 short stories about his observations of country life in Virginia.
From 1951 to 1956/7 he worked for a secret branch of the government – the Armed Forces Security Agency, a forerunner of the National Security Agency – intercepting messages during the Korean War. He informed the United States government mostly about economic and living conditions in North Korea. He would transition from educating military officers to teaching their children at the Columbia Preparatory School in Washington, D.C., where he taught for six years, becoming the head of their English Department.
From 1964 to 1965 William traveled around the world in about eighty days; this adventure would inspire him to spend the next twenty years visiting more than thirty countries – he toured most of Europe, Central and South America, portions of Asia and Africa, and sections of the Middle East. Notably, during his 1976 trip to the Middle East, he narrowly missed an attack by a terrorist group. He would eventually return to Virginia, where he continued to teach and write. On September 3, 1980, he was honored as a Page County Retired Teacher. In 1997 he was commended as a former teacher at Shenandoah High School.