For more than two decades, Nancy Sorrells has managed to combine two vastly different careers of journalism and history. She is a 1977 graduate of Riverheads High School, received a history degree from Bridgewater College, and earned a secondary education teaching certificate and a master's degree in local, state, and regional history from James Madison University.
After graduating from Bridgewater, she worked full-time at a daily newspaper. There she honed layout and journalism skills that were sparked in high school as a staff writer for the Riverheads Shield.
For more than a decade she has edited and produced the statewide Virginia Native Plant Society newsletter. She also edits the Augusta County Historical Society journal. She freelances for a number of newspapers and magazines. Her articles, several of which have won awards, run the gamut from conservation and outdoors to history and human interest. In line with that, she has served as the president and chairman of the board for the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association. She has been selected as a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. In 1994, Nancy co-authored A Cyclist's Guide to the Shenandoah Valley, which was positively reviewed in several magazines. She has had a number of historical essays published in scholarly journals and books.
On the history side of her life, she was the research historian for ten years at the Museum of American Frontier Culture. There she researched and interpreted the details of everyday life from seventeenth-century England, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Ireland, eighteenth-century Germany, and nineteenth-century Shenandoah Valley. While there she developed an expertise in African-American, agricultural, and Shenandoah Valley history. She has actively worked in the museum field for twenty-five years. In addition to the Frontier Museum, she was at the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace in Staunton, and the Robert E. Lee Memorial in Arlington.
In the education field, Nancy was a homebound instructor for the Augusta County School System for more than a decade. For more than ten years she has taught elderhostel students about Shenandoah Valley history and Thomas Jefferson.
Nancy has always been active in her community, including helping to found several organizations promoting wise land use and agricultural vitality. In November of 2003, she was elected to a four-year term on the Augusta County Board of Supervisors, the local governing body for the county.
History, obviously, figures prominently in her life. She is a past president of the Augusta County Historical Society and has been one of the society's representatives in the restoration project of a nineteenth-century railroad hotel in Staunton. She is a member of the Education and Interpretation Committee of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, which promotes and interprets the Valley’s Civil War heritage.
Nancy lives in the Cold Springs area of Augusta County, east of Greenville, with her husband Randy and their dog and cat. There she logs several thousand miles a year on her bike. She also enjoys traveling, hiking, and working in her yard. She and Randy keep in close contact with their seven siblings and twenty nieces and nephews.