Ask A Librarian

Something Good from Helvetia: Pfeffernusse

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
December 6th, 2019

Blog post by Lori Hostuttler, Assistant Director, WVRHC

A couple of years ago, I purchased a small cookbook from the Helvetia table during WVU’s Mountaineer Week.  I collect local cookbooks and this one was of special interest because I had just learned that my Hochstadler ancestors had likely immigrated from Switzerland to America in the mid-eighteenth century.

Cover of book showing title "Oppis Guet’s Vo Helvetia" and a green china hutch.
The cover of my cookbook. Art by Delores R. Baggerly. Oppis Guet’s Vo Helvetia translates to “Something Good from Helvetia.” The WVRHC has 1969 original prints of the cookbook in the collection. My copy is a modern reprint.
Read the rest of this entry »

Apple Stack Cake

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
November 25th, 2019

Blog post by Jane Metters LaBarbara, Assistant Curator, WVRHC.

After my blog post about Shoofly Pie, controversially credited as the WV state dessert on some websites, I’ve been on the lookout for a dessert that would better suit the title of “West Virginia state dessert.”  It has proven to be a real challenge.  My most recent search turned up new ideas (summed up nicely in this WV Gazette Mail article) from hot dogs/mad dogs (tasty pastries that are actually filled with cream) to peanut butter oat cookies (which I love, knowing them from my non-WV childhood as chocolate oatmeal no bake cookies and other less pleasing names).  I kept digging through the internet, seeing apples and molasses pop up a couple of times as quintessential ingredients.  Then, I stumbled on Appalachian Apple Stack Cake.

Read the rest of this entry »

Remembering the Farmington Mine Disaster November 20, 1968

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
November 19th, 2019

Blog post by Stewart Plein, Assistant Curator for WV Books & Printed Resources & Rare Book Librarian

Huge plume of smoke billowing from an obscured structure over a parking lot

Early on the morning of November 20, 1968, while the day was still in darkness, an explosion rocked the Consolidation Coal No. 9 mine in Marion County, WV.  The Farmington Mine Disaster, as it is remembered today, took the lives of 78 miners.  Of the 99 miners at work in the mine that day, only 21 survived.  Of the 78 miners who died, 19 of the dead have never been recovered.  Their grave is the mine where they worked. 

Read the rest of this entry »

My West Virginia Family Ghost Story

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
November 15th, 2019

Blog post by Lori Hostuttler, Assistant Director, WVRHC

By the time this is published, Halloween will be a diminishing memory for most but I think ghost stories are enjoyed year round!  So I wanted to share my family’s ghost story. When I was in elementary school, one of my teachers read to the class from the West Virginia classic, The Telltale Lilac Bush and Other West Virginia Ghost Stories by Dr. Ruth Ann Musick.  The book was published in 1965. Dr. Musick was folklorist and faculty member at Fairmont State College (now University.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Halloween Poem

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
October 31st, 2019

Courtesy of Stewart Plein, Assistant Curator for WV Books & Printed Resources & Rare Book Librarian

Enjoy this short Halloween poem from an item in our rare book collection:

Carved jack-o-lanterns sketch

We are merry Jack O’Lanterns, See!
Come and join us in our glee,
While we dance beneath the tree,
While we dance upon the green,
While we dance on Hallowe’en,
Come and join our merry ranks,
While we play our jolly pranks
Come and hear us as we tell,
What the witches know so well,
Come, Oh come! And do not wait,
While we dance here on the green,
While we dance on Hallowe’en.

Sketch of children carrying jack-o-lanterns

Poem and images (which can be printed as coloring pages, if you like) all from:

Lewis, G.W. The Story Primer.  Illustrated by Bess Bruce Cleaveland.  Third edition.  Chicago: G.W. Lewis Publishing Co. 1915.  Pages 70-72.

Happy Halloween from the WVRHC!

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
October 28th, 2019

Blog post by Jane Metters LaBarbara, Assistant Curator, WVRHC.

Still looking for costume ideas?  In addition to the many historical outfits you can find examples of in our West Virginia History OnView database of photos, we also have examples of costumes people have worn in the past.

With basic papier-mâché skills and some rather large clothes, you could make your very own Very Tall Person costume:

Children hiding behind five people in very tall person costumes.
Parade Participants in Tall Costumes, Morgantown, W. Va., early 1900s
Read the rest of this entry »

WVU Libraries to host Games Day

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 24th, 2019
Games Day logo

In celebration of International Games Week, WVU Libraries is hosting their annual International Games Day on Friday, Nov. 1, from 4-7 p.m. in the Downtown Campus Library, Room 2036.

Participants will be able to demo games being created by WVU’s Game Developer’s Club, play in a mock Super Smash Brothers tournament, compete for prize giveaways from Starport Arcade, sample some board games, and have a throw at some classic yard games. Insomnia Cookies is also sponsoring the event.

International Games Week has been celebrated in 53 countries and territories on all 7 continents. Hundreds of libraries across the country will join WVU in celebrating the popularity and educational, recreational and social value of games. For more information, contact Sally Deskins, exhibits and programs coordinator for WVU Libraries, at sbdeskins@mail.wvu.edu.

Downtown Campus Library hosting Faculty Exhibit Award winner talk on Oct. 24

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 16th, 2019
Illustration titled The Fruit of the Mandragora

English Professor Lara Farina, winner of the 2019 Faculty Exhibit Award, will talk about her research and exhibit Thursday, Oct. 24, at 4 p.m. in the Downtown Campus Library, Room 1020.

WVU Libraries’ Arts in the Libraries committee selected Farina, a professor in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Department of English, for her proposal of an exhibit that visually showcases her scholarship in a new and experimental way.

Read the rest of this entry »

October is Archives Month!

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
October 14th, 2019

Blog post by Lori Hostuttler, Assistant Director, WVRHC. Photographs by Jessica Eichlin, Reference Supervisor.

October is Archives Month and the occasion has caused me to reflect on the work we do at the West Virginia & Regional History Center. I often give tours and lead classes where I have a short amount of time to relay all the moving parts that makes us a thriving archive.  In this blog post, I hope to do the same: provide a short overview of the myriad activities that comprise the important work we do.

Read the rest of this entry »

National Newspaper Week: Celebrating Morgantown’s Newspapers

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
October 10th, 2019

Blog post by Stewart Plein, Assistant Curator for WV Books & Printed Resources & Rare Book Librarian

Logo stating "Think First, Know Your 5 Freedoms, National Newspaper Week, October 6-12"

The editorial in yesterday’s Dominion Post newspaper for Wednesday, October 9, 2019, discussed National Newspaper Week, which recognizes the service of newspapers and their employees across North America.  This year, National Newspaper Week is October 6-12, and it is sponsored by the Newspaper Association Managers.  The poster pictured above, is the logo for this year’s celebration.

Read the rest of this entry »

WVU Libraries to host Women of Appalachia Project spoken word event on October 19

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 4th, 2019
Women of Appalachia Project artists come together to celebrate spoken word and fine art at Ohio University’s Baker Theater.

West Virginia University Libraries will host “Women Speak”, a juried performance of poetry, songs, short stories and essays, on October 19 from 1-3 p.m. in the Downtown Campus Library’s Milano Reading Room.

The annual event is a creation of the Women of Appalachia Project (WOAP) who issues a call for residents of all 420 Appalachian counties to submit writing to be featured.

“Many people have an image of an Appalachian woman, and they look down on her,” WOAP Organizer Kari Gunter-Seymour said. “The mission of WOAP is to showcase the way in which female artists respond to the Appalachian region as a source of inspiration, bringing together women from diverse backgrounds, ages and experiences to embrace the stereotype – to show the whole woman; beyond the superficial factors that people use to judge her.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Libraries seeking submissions for upcoming voter suppression exhibit

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 1st, 2019
flyer promoting exhibit

West Virginia University Libraries is seeking submissions for a major art exhibition to mark the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the U. S. Constitution, which granted women the right to vote, and the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which enforced voting rights for racial minorities.

“Undefeated: Canvas(s)ing the Politics of Voter Suppression since Women’s Suffrage” will open at the Downtown Campus Library in fall 2020 and address the political process with special attention to efforts to suppress the votes of women and minorities since 1920.

Read the rest of this entry »

Preserving the Emory Kemp Collection Inspires a Former Student and Spawns a New Addition at the WVRHC

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
September 30th, 2019

Blog post by Alanna Natanson, 2018-2019 Preserve WV AmeriCorps member who served at the WVRHC

Universities love monetary donations to help fulfill our missions, but at the West Virginia and Regional History Center (WVRHC), the special collections library at West Virginia University (WVU), we love donations of another kind: old papers! Specifically, the materials that individuals and organizations in West Virginia and Central Appalachia create during their lifetimes. My work with the papers of Dr. Emory Kemp as part of my AmeriCorps service caught the attention of WVU alum Glenn Longacre, and it inspired him to offer research materials from his own career to the WVRHC.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tales from Japan: Lafcadio Hearn and Japanese Folklore

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
September 25th, 2019

Blog post by Stewart Plein, Assistant Curator for WV Books & Printed Resources & Rare Book Librarian

This past weekend I lazily paged through a recent issue of the New Yorker magazine and found a book review for Monique Truong’s The Sweetest Fruits.  After reading it, I found that I was already familiar with its subject, the writer Lafcadio Hearn (1840 – 1904), whose books are part of the WVU Library’s rare book collection. 

From reading the review I gathered that Truong’s book can be seen as an imagined conversation that relives moments in Hearn’s life, as spoken by the women who were important to him. The promotional description on Amazon’s website describes the book in this way: “The lives of writers can often best be understood through the eyes of those who nurtured them and made their work possible. In The Sweetest Fruits . . .  three women tell the story of their time with Lafcadio Hearn, a globetrotting writer best known for his books about Meiji-era Japan.” 

Read the rest of this entry »

Art Crawl to highlight art, history, nature on campus

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
September 25th, 2019
Flyer for art crawl

West Virginia University Libraries encourages University and Morgantown community members to participate in the Campus Art Crawlon Friday, Sept. 27, 1-5 p.m.

This collaborative event includes 11 stops with fascinating exhibits ranging from topics like photography to education, Appalachia to LGBTQ history. Spanning all three campuses – Downtown, Evansdale and Health Sciences – the Campus Art Crawl will feature exhibits, activities, food, and drink. Participation and admission is free. Hours will differ at some locations.

Read the rest of this entry »

WVRHC receives fifth NEH grant to digitize historical newspapers

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
September 18th, 2019
Picture of a front page of a newspaper

This image is an example of the searchable content available on the Chronicling America website.

The West Virginia University Libraries’ West Virginia & Regional History Center has received a $201,917 grant – its fifth from the National Endowment for the Humanities – to continue digitizing newspapers published in West Virginia from 1790 to 1923.

The award is part of the National Digital Newspaper Program, a collaboration between the NEH and the Library of Congress to enlist libraries and institutions from around the country to create a digital database of historical United States newspapers. This grant brings the NEH’s total funding of the WVRHC’s efforts to $968,000.

“We are honored that the NEH recognizes the tremendous value of the historical newspapers archived in the WVRHC,” WVRHC Director John Cuthbert said. “Their support speaks volumes to the instrumental roles the Mountain State and its citizens played in the formation and growth of our nation.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Lucy Shuttleworth at WVU

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
September 10th, 2019

Blog post by Jessica Eichlin, Reference Supervisor, WVRHC.

Now that the students at West Virginia University have settled back into their school routines, we thought it might be a good idea to take a look back at what other WVU students experienced in the past.  This post will just focus on one such student: Lucy Shuttlesworth, who attended WVU from 1917-1921.

Headshot portrait of Lucy Shuttleworth
Lucy Shuttlesworth’s high school senior portrait, 1917.  From the Allerlei.
Read the rest of this entry »

The Incredible Story behind the Collapse of the National Bank of Keystone

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
September 4th, 2019

Blog post by Linda Blake, University Librarian Emeritas

Twenty years ago, on September 1, 1999, a federal agency, the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC), closed the National Bank of Keystone and turned it over to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Button on jacket that says "I survived the 1st National Bank of Keystone"
Button on jacket that says “I survived the 1st National Bank of Keystone”
Read the rest of this entry »

Mountaineer Week Collection

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
August 26th, 2019

Blog post by Jane Metters LaBarbara, Assistant Curator, WVRHC.

The University Archives recently received records from the Office of Multicultural Programs that cover the planning of Mountaineer Week in the past. Among other things, we now have their planning binders covering 1995-2005.  This has been a very enjoyable collection to process, though it has made me crave funnel cake and kettle corn a few months too early.  (Mountaineer Week runs November 1-9, 2019.) There are a few highlights that I found so far to share with you.

Read the rest of this entry »

Touchdown Challenge 2019 – Are You Ready?

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
August 20th, 2019
aerial picture of stadium

Football is in the air and that means West Virginia UniversityLibraries and the WVU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics are teaming up once again for the Mountaineer Touchdown Challenge, our annual fundraising campaign to benefit the Libraries.

“The Athletics Department has enjoyed its partnership with the WVU Libraries for the past eight years in supporting the Mountaineer Touchdown Challenge,” WVU Director of Athletics Shane Lyons said. “It’s an outstanding initiative, because everyone wins – our fans are happy when our players score touchdowns, which hopefully turns into wins, and that assists the entire student body with their academic endeavors. I encourage our alumni and fans to join us in the Challenge and support all of WVU.”

The initiative, in its ninth year, has provided for many student needs, such as digital cameras, laptops, graphing calculators and other technical equipment that can be checked out, poster printers and a presentation practice room. The Downtown Campus, Evansdale and Health Sciences libraries have all shared in these benefits. 

Read the rest of this entry »