Blog post by Jane Metters LaBarbara, Assistant Curator,
Please note, this post
mentions the suicide of a fictional character.
While reprocessing the collection of Margaret Prescott Montague, a West Virginia-born author, I discovered that one of her stories was made into a movie when I found a large folder of clippings about it. I wanted to know more about what this White Sulphur Springs native had written that would make it to the big screen.
Blog post by Lori Hostuttler, Assistant Director, WVRHC.
Dr. Ancella R. Bickley is a celebrated author, historian and educator from West Virginia. The Ancella Bickley Research Papers (A&M 4208) held at the West Virginia & Regional History Center document her life, work, and service to the public, especially her research and writing on topics of African American history.
Ancella Bickley speaking at Marshall University commencement in 1990. Image from the Bickley Collection.
One of the projects recorded in her papers are interviews of black women teachers in West Virginia that she undertook with Dr. Rita Wicks-Nelson. The interviews are part of Series 4, Interviews and Oral History Interviews—Black Teachers, 1955-2011, and were completed during Bickley and Wicks-Nelson’s time as Rockefeller Scholars-in-Residence at Marshall University. The series includes transcripts of the interviews, correspondence with interviewees, as well as background information about the women. Additionally, the project files contain administrative records about the project and scholarly articles by Bickley and Wicks-Nelson that draw conclusions from the interviews.
The teachers interviewed came from three regions of the
state: North-Central West Virginia (Marion County), the Eastern panhandle (Jefferson
County), and South/Southwest West Virginia (Cabell, Kanawha, Logan, Fayette,
McDowell, and Mercer Counties.) Most had
attended black schools and graduated from black colleges. All taught in public schools and three became
principals. The teachers ranged in age
from 54 to 92 years old at the time of their interviews. They grew up in times when racial segregation
was the norm. Bickley notes that “over
time, they became more aware and less accepting of racism. Among the profound
changes they personally experienced was, of course, change in the educational
Faculty at Douglass High School in Huntington, W. Va., ca. 1919-1920. Image from WV History OnView.
The interviews provide insights into integration of public schools in West Virginia from the teachers’ perspectives. As the school systems combined white and black schools, African American teachers moved to previously all white schools, but not all black principals were given new assignments. The transferred teachers had mixed experiences – some were treated well, while others were set up to fail – with principals, parents, and colleagues. The teachers noted pros and cons for their students as well. Integration provided better supplies and equipment and enabled a broader curriculum. At the same time from the teachers’ perspectives, black students experienced poorer academic performance, fewer opportunities for getting involved in school activities, and a loss of history and culture that was embedded in their school buildings. Overall, most participants were disappointed in the disparity between the promises and realities of integrated schools.
Selected quotations from the teachers illustrated the mixed feelings and experiences regarding integration. Nancie Smith Robinson shared her feelings of alienation from her new colleagues:
“I’ve always been kind of a private person and I just, I wasn’t friendly with the teachers [at Jefferson Elementary School, an all-white school]. I just didn’t try to be friendly. I wasn’t mean to them or anything but I didn’t want to be [friends]—I just wanted to do my work, do my job, and come home. And that’s what I did…[the school] had a bowling team. Well, instead of them asking me—it was the teachers—instead of them asking if I wanted to be on the bowling team and give me the right to refuse or whatever, they didn’t. They would sneak off in the evenings like they weren’t going anywhere. And I never heard anything about it until I heard from one of the patrons at [the bowling alley], wanted to know why I wasn’t on the bowling team. I didn’t even know they had one. And then another thing, like they would have birthday parties for themselves and they wouldn’t tell me anything about it. And I just happen [sic] to go down the cafeteria and there they were after school having a party…And uh, I, I just, after that I just didn’t try to make friends with any of the teachers at [the school].”
“I can remember one [parent], and this was not my first year there. But she had had a crisis in her family. And she came down, she came to my room, crying. I mean she was broken up…I don’t remember what had happened. Had she just lost somebody, or one of her children was really ill? Something. Anyway, I can remember putting my arms around her and consoling her. And all of a sudden, she thought about who I was, and she did one of these numbers [dropped her arms and jumped back over from her]. I just stepped back, and, and let her go…my problem was mostly with parents. And I can remember being in the grocery store and one of my students running up to me, and her mother in a strong voice saying, ‘Come here!’ And there was another time in the grocery store, one of my kids saw me and said, ‘Mom, Mom…There’s [my teacher].’ The mother said–, never turned one way or the other.”
Other teachers received support in their new schools. Fannie Ashe Thomas described the actions of her principal that eased relationships with parents:
“The first year I went to Fayetteville I was the first black teacher there. And the principal was standing there with me at the door that morning. I wondered why he kept standing there with me. Word had gotten around, this black teacher’s coming. And here came this lady with her little boy. And she said to him, ‘I hear my son’s going to be in a black woman’s room. I don’t want him in there. He’s not used to black folks.’ Mr. Thomas said, “Now this is a good chance for him to get used to them, because he’s going to be right in [my] room.’ He had all the names on the door, the kids who were in my room. She got to be one of my best friends before school was out.”
The Ancella Bickley Papers shed light on the lives and
experiences of African American teachers in West Virginia during a time of
profound change. They are open to the
public for further research.
Many of the conclusions about integration discussed in this
blog come from the following paper. Ancella Bickley and Wicks-Nelson, “Mosaic
in Black and White: Black Teachers Remember School Integration in West Virginia,”
paper presented at Piecing It All Together: Ethnicity and Gender in
Appalachia, Marshall University,
Huntington, West Virginia, March 3-5, 2000, page 4. (A&M 4206, Box 11,
Special thanks to Library and Information Science Intern
Grace Musgrave for her research assistance.
excited that our inaugural OER grant program is off to a great start with the
potential of saving WVU students nearly $50,000,” said Martha Yancey, chair of
the grants committee. “This first cohort of grant recipients will provide good
models for other faculty to learn from and consider during next year’s grant
process. We hope to continue building momentum toward even bigger savings in
of the grants is to encourage development of alternatives to high-cost textbooks,
lower the cost of college attendance for students, and support faculty who wish
to implement new pedagogical models for classroom instruction. Awardees agree
to use their open textbooks in courses to be taught in fall 2019 or spring
2020, and then submit a course review/report.
Blog post by Michael Ridderbusch, Associate Curator, WVRHC.
Recently, while working the reference desk in the Manuscripts Room at the History Center, I browsed the papers of West Virginia Governor Ephraim Morgan (1921-1925) that had been retrieved for a researcher and discovered a couple items of historical interest. While the era of the early 1920s was a time in which Governor Ephraim’s attention was focused on the conflict between labor and management in the coal industry, a conflict known as the “mine wars,” it was also a time of prohibition in America, so it wasn’t surprising to discover letters in the collection related to its enforcement.
West Virginia UniversityLibraries’ Teaching and Learning
Committee has selected Hannah Coffey and Kelsey R. Eackles as 2019 Robert
F. Munn Undergraduate Library scholars.
“All of us at WVU Libraries are pleased to name
Hannah Coffey and Kelsey Eackles as Munn Scholars,” Dean of Libraries Karen
Diaz said. “Both exceeded expectations with their remarkable efforts in
researching their topics and then writing their impressive works of
During the Permian Period,
acidic, salty lakes and groundwaters existed in Kansas. Remnants of these
extreme environments have been preserved as rocks and include red muds,
blue gypsum, and clear halite, along with entrapped microcapsules of Permian
water, atmosphere, and microorganisms.
professor Kathleen Benison’s
photographs of these rocks serve as both scientific evidence and aesthetic
archives are used for research, they can also inspire contemporary thought,
perspective and fun, which is the aim of this curated project,” said Sally
Deskins, exhibits coordinator for WVU Libraries.
Diamond, head of West Virginia University Libraries’ Office of Curriculum and
Instructional Support, has been selected as a 2019 Fellow for the Institute for
Emerging Leadership in Online Learning (IELOL). In its 11th year,
the IELOL Institute selects its Fellows from an international pool of
candidates through a competitive application process.
five-month Institute incorporates online learning with a week-long onsite
immersive experience. The cohort of IELOL Fellows investigate personal, local,
and global leadership challenges in online learning through individual, group,
and team projects. Participants apply their new knowledge, experience, and
connections to online learning projects at their home institutions. The IELOL
Institute begins this July and will culminate with the IELOL Masters Class at
the Online Learning Consortium annual conference in November.
Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
April 29th, 2019
Blog post by Lori Hostuttler, Assistant Director, WVRHC.
In 2018, the WVU Humanities Center funded a project to explore the memories of the Scott’s Run community through oral history and photography. For the project, grant team members chose a set of historical images of the Scott’s Run area from the West Virginia & Regional History Center’s online photographs database, West Virginia History OnView. Over a series of interviews with community members who gather every Saturday at the Scott’s Run Museum, team members recorded residents’ memories and observations derived from viewing the selected photographs.
If you were a student at West
Virginia University sometime during the past four decades, you probably
benefited from Carroll Wilkinson’s work at WVU Libraries.
Did you ever check out a book
at the Charles C. Wise, Jr. Library or the Downtown Campus Library? Did you log
into eReserves to retrieve required course materials? Are you a student-veteran
studying for final exams in one of the Libraries’ two Study Bunkers?
After 41 years of service to
WVU, Wilkinson officially retired April 15.
“Carroll Wilkinson has been a
valued librarian at WVU for 41 years,” Dean of Libraries Karen Diaz said. “She’s
seen many changes within the profession and on campus and has herself been a
change agent in helping move the libraries ever forward. Her insights,
experience, and wisdom have been incredibly valuable to me during my interim
term as Dean, and into my permanent role. I’ll miss her very much, but can
think of no one more deserving of a rich and healthy retirement!”
Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
April 15th, 2019
Blog post by Jessica Eichlin, Reference Supervisor, WVRHC.
Shuttlesworth, a twenty year old West Virginia University student, recorded the
1918 flu epidemic in her diary, writing that “the Spanish influ[enza] is
spreading like mad, 150 of the boys have it, (the Delt house has been taken
over as a hospital) ten girls at the hall and five of our kids at the house”
have it. The particularly deadly strain
of Spanish influenza initially appeared in August 1918, but the first mention
of the fall epidemic did not appear in a local Morgantown newspaper until
September 11, 1918. By September
twenty-fifth, an unidentified Associated Press author states that “Spanish
influenza has spread over the country so rapidly that officials of the public
health service, the war and navy departments and the Red Cross conferred today
on measures to help local communities in combating the disease,” which had
spread to twenty-six states. By October
first, the number of cases nationwide reached 88,000, and the Spanish flu
finally arrived in Morgantown.
WVU Libraries and the Morgantown Public Library will jointly hold events on Friday, April 12, in conjunction with Food Justice Day, to celebrate the opening of the Morgantown Seed Preservation Library.
The Downtown Campus Library will
host a panel session on seed sovereignty and seed/food justice from 1:30-3 p.m.
in the Milano Reading Room. Barbara Hengemihle, associate university librarian,
will open the session, and the moderator will be Mehmet Oztan, a WVU service assistant
professor of geography who created the Morgantown Seed Preservation Library in
collaboration with the Morgantown Public Library, WVU Libraries and the Food
Justice Lab at WVU.
Awards Committee of the West Virginia University Library Faculty Assembly has
selected Alyssa Wright, social sciences librarian, as the Outstanding Librarian
award, presented triennially, recognizes a faculty librarian who has made
exceptional contributions toward the delivery, development, or expansion of
library services or special programs for the constituencies of WVU.
is a creative and dedicated librarian, and we are honored to present her with
the Outstanding Librarian Award this year,” said Anna Crawford, chair of the
Library Faculty Assembly Awards Committee. “The impact Alyssa has made with the
social science students and faculty she works with is apparent and highly
valued. And her work combining information literacy with community engagement
is just one example of the kind of innovative services she provides.”
than simply trying to define trauma, a group of undergraduate honors students created
works of art that illustrate and narrate trauma. Their exhibit, “Understanding
Trauma through Art and Literature,” will remain on display at the West Virginia
University Health Sciences Library through May 20.
healthcare, practitioners are often tasked with working with those in acute
distress, which we might generally describe as traumatic. Understanding trauma,
then, is an important aspect of the human condition that relates to medicine,”
said Renée Nicholson, an assistant professor of multidisciplinary
text here is from a talk I gave as part of Elon University’s Numen Lumen weekly
It’s November 2018, Thanksgiving, and I’m making my way to West
Virginia, 14 miles past the Virginia border into to a place that no longer
supports a store, post office, or gas station. No cellphone service. My pal
from graduate school, now working as a librarian in Spartanburg, South
Carolina, has agreed to come along for the ride. We prepare for three days with
24 degree weather and no running water.
We are making our way to the little turn in the road where my
father was born, which has been all but abandoned for about thirty years now,
save a few old houses that get dusted off and used during hunting season.
Clover Lick, unincorporated, a sign reads, sits along the Greenbrier River, and
declined around the same time that the train stopped coming. Today, Clover Lick
is mostly in a state of neglect. My cousin maintains one of the
houses, always dubbed “Cold Comfort Farm” in our family, and this is where
we will stay.
Are you preparing to start a new research project? Are you
exploring publishing options for your latest article?
In addition to connecting you with needed resources, West Virginia UniversityLibraries’
librarians and staff can support users with a high level of knowledge and
expertise at many points in the research life-cycle.
Last fall, WVU Libraries launched the Research
Commons, a suite of services to foster interdisciplinary connections
and support graduate student and faculty research needs.
conjunction with West Virginia University’s inaugural Research Week,
WVU Libraries will offer multiple workshops to help
students and faculty take full advantage of Scopus,
a popular scholarly search tool.
the largest curated abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature,
Scopus includes the fields of science, technology, medicine, social sciences,
and arts and humanities. It can be accessed on the Libraries website.
are scheduled at all three Morgantown campus. On each day there will be an
overview session that includes lunch.
Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
March 26th, 2019
Blog post by Jane Metters LaBarbara, Assistant Curator, WVRHC
Earlier this week, I attended the Seventh Annual History Roundtable, organized by the Morgantown Historic Landmarks Commission. About half of the meeting was devoted to reports about the recent Sabraton Neighborhood Survey. (FYI, the Historic Landmark Commission’s archive is at the Aull Center, if you want to see their work in full.) Despite living in the Sabraton area, I realized how little I knew about Sabraton. I learned that Sabraton was named after the first wife of Hon. George C. Sturgiss (1842-1925), Sabra. In one resource, her name was reported as Sabra Chadwick, but I think her maiden name was actually Sabra Jane Vance. In this post I briefly explore the name of Sabraton as well as what remains of Sabra’s life story.
you travel this summer, as long as you have Internet access, you can take ULIB300:
Film and Media Literacy. In this 12-week online course, students will watch the
films of Quentin Tarantino, including “Inglourious Basterds,” “Kill Bill,” “Pulp
Fiction,” “Reservoirs Dogs,” “Hateful Eight,” and “Jackie Brown,” and discuss
how they relate to other films in their genre, criticism, marketing, film
vocabulary, and media literacy.
3-credit course fulfills GEC 5 and 7, and GEF 6. To register in STAR, use the
Class Schedule Search and set Subject to “Library Instruction.” Learn more at
the Libraries website or
contact the instructor, Matt Steele, at firstname.lastname@example.org