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Joan G. Paull papers

Identifier: MS2038

Scope and Contents

This collection contains periodicals related to the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal and the National Historical Parks. The material dates from 1972-92 with the bulk of the records covering the years 1983-86. Many local publications have articles in this collection such as "The Washington Post," "The Towline" (publication of the C&O Canal), "The Montgomery Journal," "The Montgomery County Sentinel," "The Gaithersburg Gazette," "The Frederick Post," and other local and national publications.

These papers were gathered by Joan Paull during her years of involvement with the C&O Canal Association. Included in the collection are: photocopies of newspaper clippings and articles about the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal NHP) which give a real flavor of what the C&O Canal NHP meant to the public and how it was used by them in the 1980's; publications by the National Park Service about the C&O Canal NHP, such as trail guides, facilities descriptions, and schedules for boat rides and concerts; and material about the region in which the C&O Canal NHP lies, such as tourist information for the Potomac Valley, the Cumberland Valley, and the Hagerstown-Washington County area.


  • Creation: 1972-1992


Restrictions on Access

Some records may be restricted.

Restrictions on Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Joan G. Paull was heavily involved with the C&O Canal Association for many years. She was the Chair of Work Parties for eleven years. This involved recruiting and supervising volunteers to do work projects assigned by the staff of the C&O Canal National Historical Park. One of her major projects was to repair a cabin at the Paw Paw campground and staff it with volunteer campground supervisors on summer weekends; although, the flood of 1985 damaged the cabin and brought the project to an end. In response, she organized volunteer work parties to repair flood damage. She was also a Level Walker for the C&O Canal Association on Level 8 (Swain's Lock to Pennyfield Lock) for the same length of time. As a Level Walker she walked her Level every two or three months, recording events of nature, users of the canal and towpath, and problems to be called to the attention of the Association or the National Park Service.

A teacher by profession, she always put time and effort to community service. Active with the Girl Scouts for 31 years, she combined Scouting with the C&O Canal by creating and co-leading the program where Girl Scouts act as docents at Riley's Lockhouse on the canal. This program has introduced a whole generation of girls to regional history. Ms. Paull also volunteered with the Smithsonian Folk Festival for 22 years.

Joan G. Paull was born in Washington, D. C., and was a life-long resident of the area. She was married to Norman Paull and had a daughter, Diane. Paull died on May 23, 2021 in Silver Springs, MD.


1 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Collection contains periodicals related to the Chesapeake and Ohio (C & O) Canal and the National Historical Parks. The material dates from 1972-92 with the bulk of the records covering the years 1983 to 1986.

Physical Location

Materials may be stored off-site, and may require additional retrieval time. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.

Acquisition Information

This collection of materials was originally donated by Joan Paull to the C&O Canal Association for inclusion in their archives. In 1996, the C&O Canal Association donated their archives to the Special Collections Department of the Gelman Library. Future accretions from Ms. Paull are anticipated, particularly relating to the Riley's Lockhouse program and the Potomac Valley Commission. Upon their donation, the Joan Paull Papers were found to include some material relating to her coordination of volunteer activities and work as a Level Walker for the C&O Canal Association. These materials have been placed with the C&O Canal Association Records.

Reparative Description Projects

This finding aid was revised in March 2023 to address harmful descriptive language. During that revision, staff edited the Biographical/Historical note. (Staff also updated the note to reflect Paull's death in 2021.) To see the description prior to revisions, please view the previous version of the Joan G. Paull papers .

Reparative Description Projects

Guide to the Joan G. Paull papers, 1972-1992
Folder Inventory
Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository

George Washington University Gelman Library
2130 H Street NW
Washington DC 20052 United States of America