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Jefferson Cable Corporation collection

Identifier: MSS 11458

Scope and Contents

The majority of the collection is composed of videotape recordings of local-origination programming aired on the Jefferson Cable Corporation, including City Council Meetings and local news specials.

The collection includes approximately 300 color slides used in productions; color slides of a University of Virginia baseball game, 1970; photographic negatives of Lawrence Halpin's model of the Downtown Mall; Charlottesville City Council agenda, 1971 October 4, with an item concerning Jefferson Cable's franchise renewal; news clippings and miscellaneous printed materials concerning Robert Allan Monroe and the Monroe Institute; and several pieces of advertising ephemera, circa 1907.

Of interest are two letters from James Lawrence Cabell to William Beverley Towles, 1885 August 1 and 3, concerning Towles' daughter's health.There is also a letter from Dumas Malone to Fredson Bowers, concerning printing Bowers' book "The fairy knight" on 18 April 1940.


  • Creation: 1885-1982

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Original media formats such as LPs, audiotapes, reel-to-reels, videotapes, films, CDs, and DVDs cannot be handled directly by patrons. Please contact Special Collections via our online Reference Request form,, to request access to these materials. Please be aware that additional actions may be required to make these items available. Items will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis before access can be made. Depending on the size of the request, it may take some time to make them available for use.

Biographical / Historical

The Jefferson Cable Corporation was founded by Robert Monroe (1915–1995) in 1963 to serve Charlottesville as well as Waynesboro, Virginia, 40 miles to the west over the Blue Ridge Mountains. Monroe had an extensive radio production background, moved into managing radio stations in North Carolina and Virginia, and became intrigued by the developing market for cable television systems. Monroe is an unusual figure in that his passion outside of broadcasting was the exploration of human consciousness—he popularized the term “out of body experience” and experimented extensively with attempting to alter brain patterns via sound. He would go on to sell the station in 1975, founding The Monroe Institute in nearby Nelson County, Virginia to focus full time on such research.

As in other areas where topographical variation limited the ability to reliably receive broadcast television signals, this early community antenna system gained a healthy pool of subscribers. We know their subscriber base exceeded 3,500 subscribers at the time of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) 1969 ruling that cable stations of this size would be required to provide some locally originating programming, rather than simply aggregating the content of other stations. Production of local origination content began at the station's 324 West Main Street studio in Charlottesville in 1970 with the launch of the station WJCC 11. The videotapes in this collection are predominantly recordings of this local origination programming.

In 1993, Adelphia Communications purchased the existing cable system, and the tape library and equipment were salvaged by collection donor Steve Ashby.


Stockton, B. 1989. Catapult: The biography of Robert A. Monroe. Norfolk, Virginia: The Donning Company.


23.5 Cubic Feet : letters, ads, programs, agenda, newspaper clippings, articles, and production slides

239 open reel videotapes

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was a gift from Stephen Ashby to the Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia Library on 22 November 2013.

Jefferson Cable Corporation collection
Ellen Welch, Steven Villerreal, Katie Rojas, Lauren Zuchowski Longwell
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States