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University Archives Update, Part 1: University Records

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
January 22nd, 2018

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

In honor of WVU’s new and exciting records retention schedule, here is a little history about the University Archives and information about what we are collecting.

People working at desks on the 10th Floor of Wise Library, West Virginia University

The stacks in the old Wise Library used to be open; now they are closed and we store a lot of the University Archives here.

The West Virginia & Regional History Center is the special collections unit of WVU Libraries and the home of WVU’s university archives.  It all began in the 1920s when an ambitious WVU history professor started to seek support for preserving the state’s historical records. By 1933, we were authorized by the University as the “Division of Documents,” and in 1935 we hired our first full-time archivist Dr. Festus P. Summers.  Read the rest of this entry »

Dreaming of Spring: Historic Garden Catalogs in the West Virginia and Regional History Center

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
January 17th, 2018

Blog post by Stewart Plein, Rare Book Librarian

Long, cold winter nights are the perfect time to dream of spring.  What shall we plant in the garden this year?  Will we order plants, seeds, or some of both?  Will we have a vegetable garden or will we plant flowers?  Should we dig a new bed for those iris we’ve always wanted to plant?  This might be the year!  If you’re like me, you’ve already received garden catalogs offering heirloom seeds or the latest cultivars. I always get drawn into the beautiful images of plants, the latest introductions, and ways to use them in the home and garden.  There’s nothing like looking at garden catalogs on a snowy day to make you think of spring.  Read the rest of this entry »

Arts build community among WVU Libraries, campus and Morgantown

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
January 12th, 2018

As library collections become increasingly digital, West Virginia University Libraries seeks to engage our users and community in our spaces in new ways. One avenue is the Art in the Libraries program, which brings art and collaborative exhibitions into the library buildings to spark discussions and inspire new ideas.

“Having art and exhibits in these publicly used spaces presents a unique opportunity for exhibitor and library guest,” said Sally Deskins, exhibit coordinator for WVU Libraries. “The exhibitor’s work is in a neutral space, a space which preserves and protects new ideas and perspectives, and a space where some who wouldn’t normally seek out art and exhibits, will go.”

Art in the Libraries programming spans the Downtown Campus, Evansdale and Health Sciences libraries. The committee welcomes ideas for collaborative and engaging programs and submissions for exhibition proposals on an ongoing basis.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dean of the Libraries Student Art Awards, 2017

Posted by jetapia@wvu-ad.wvu.edu.
January 12th, 2018

In November, the Art in the Libraries Committee awarded College of Creative Arts’ students Megan Grindle and Christina Kang with the Dean of the Libraries’ arts awards. Grindle’s work, Exposure (2017, acrylic paint, ink, glitter, and art resin)  and Kang’s work Creatures of Dichotomy: Finding a Bridge Between (2017, sceenprint under etching, watercolor, pins), won the awards selected by the Art in the Libraries Committee at the CCA’s Juried Student Exhibit in Laura Mesaros Gallery.

Exposure will be on display in Evansdale Library January through April 2018; Creatures of Dichotomy: Finding a Bridge Between will be on display in the Downtown Campus Library Lobby January through December 2018.

Artist Megan Grindle’s work can be explained simply as abstract, but there are more to the layers of paint than that. She explains that her process takes a careful, skillful hand but the decisions on how to move her hands comes from her unconscious mind. For her work she uses an abstract fluid style that allows her to use the randomness of the paint to create a beautiful outcome.

Artist Christina Kang is a printmaker working on her BFA. She is a self proclaimed “tiny lines enthusiast” and explains that her creating her artwork is her way of showing people her personal identity.

Grindle and Kang will have more artwork on view alongside work by recent graduate Mallory Burka, on display in Room 1020 of DCL January 20-February 2018.

Artist Mallory Burka’s paintings, from afar, seem photographic until viewers look a little closer. Burka’s paintings, though based on her own photographs, are made with oil paint and drop cloth to create a painterly-realistic depiction of structural and natural landmarks in West Virginia. She hopes to interest viewers and persuade them to visit the sites of West Virginia that inspired her.

More information at exhibits.lib.wvu.edu.

Contact: Sally Deskins, Exhibits & Programs Coordinator, WVU Libraries
sbdeskins@mail.wvu.edu, 304-293-0369

Server Maintenance

Posted by jetapia@wvu-ad.wvu.edu.
January 9th, 2018

Systems Development will be performing server maintenance on Thursday, January 11th beginning at 9am.  Downtime should be minimal, but there may be brief outages.  The following system will be affected:

textbooks.lib.wvu.edu

We are very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

WVRHC’s Latest Newsletter Features Ancella Bickley

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
January 9th, 2018

The latest issue of the West Virginia & Regional History Center’s newsletter has been released!  The feature article is “Ancella Bickley Papers Document the Life and Work of Pioneer Black Educator and Historian.” Additional articles include a celebration of the recent donation of a set of glassware of the Kennedy Presidential pattern, which was produced by the Morgantown Glass Company, and the donation of a set of historical newspapers that document key moments in history. We also honor our recently retired Coordinator of Public Services, Kevin Fredette, who helped the patrons of the Center for 10 years.

You can read a PDF copy of the newsletter or contact the Center to request a print copy.  If you want to see back issues of the newsletter, they are all online and accessible through our Newsletter webpage.

WVU Plagiarism Avoidance Tutorial

Posted by jetapia@wvu-ad.wvu.edu.
January 3rd, 2018

The Libraries are now offering two versions of our updated plagiarism avoidance tutorial.  Both tutorials cover how plagiarism is defined; why students may advertently and inadvertently plagiarize; possible penalties for plagiarism; how to use information ethically in research papers / projects; and where to get help with researching and writing. To enhance usability, students can watch videos, read scripts, or listen to audio covering the Tutorial’s content. Students work through 5 modules, taking self-tests in order to progress from one module to the next. After completing the last module, students take an exam on the Tutorial’s material. The final exam, consisting of 20 questions, randomly draws from a bank of 58 possible questions. Students generally require about 1 hour of concentrated work time to complete the tutorial.

eCampus

 

This version can be added to your course in eCampus, and the exam’s grade is immediately entered into the eCampus gradebook. To add the Plagiarism Avoidance Tutorial to your class:

  1. Go to https://ers.wvu.edu
  2. Click on the course that you want to add the Plagiarism Avoidance Tutorial to.
  3. Click on the Request Content button.
  4. Check the box next to the sections you want to add it to and click Next.
  5. Click on Development System when it asks where your source content is located.
  6. Then click on Other.
  7. In the Name box, type “WVU Plagiarism Avoidance Tutorial” and click Next.
  8. Then click Submit.

If you would like to review the Plagiarism Avoidance Tutorial before adding it to your current or future class, you can add it to the course shell of a non-current class using the process listed above.

Web

 

This version is available at https://lib.wvu.edu/plagiarism. Students will simply visit this link and take the tutorial and quiz.  At the end of the quiz, they will be prompted to email their scores to their instructors.  This new process will eliminate the need for students to register or for instructors to be added to a list.  This will streamline the process for both students and instructors.  Both this updated version of the tutorial and the previous tutorial will be available through the Spring 2018 semester.  On May 7, 2018, the old version will be removed.

Art in the Libraries Annual Faculty/Staff Exhibits Award

Posted by jetapia@wvu-ad.wvu.edu.
December 27th, 2017

As part of its mission, Art in the Libraries seeks to highlight the art and scholarship of WVU faculty and staff. With the Annual Faculty/Staff Exhibits Award, Art in the Libraries committee invites current WVU faculty and staff to submit ideas for consideration for an exhibit to visually showcase their scholarship in new and experimental ways, providing a visual evolution of their work, visualizing their research and influences, or answering a research question.

Broader goals of this award include:

  • to provide a multidisciplinary platform for deeper learning.
  • to foster a continuation of intellectual discourse and discussion.
  • to demonstrate the breadth of WVU’s creative and innovative activity.

Exhibitions will take place in the Downtown Campus Library, room 1020 for an agreed-upon duration, and include a public lecture, program or demonstration. Non-art faculty or staff may submit a proposal based on their academic research that could become visualized with Library consultation and limited resources. Applicants must submit an outline of their proposal on the Propose an Exhibit online form , with “Annual Faculty/Staff Exhibits Award Submission” in the Proposed Exhibit Location section. (Exhibits.lib.wvu.edu)

Award includes $1,000 as professional development funds. Award also includes promotion, and coordination of public program and reception, offering an opportunity for exposure.

Eligibility: All West Virginia University part-time or full-time faculty or staff.

Winners will be selected by the Art in the Libraries Committee.  Selection will be based on applications that best meet the award’s goals listed above.

Deadline: Midnight, February 28, 2018

Exhibition space is in Downtown Campus Library room 1020.  This is a prime viewing location with glass front walls, located on the first floor of the Library (which averages 4,000 visitors each day).  A hanging system allows for two-dimensional work to be displayed conveniently on the 12’ tall off-white walls.  Three dimensional work can be displayed using the exhibitor’s own pedestals or installation, but must not inhibit student study space area.  Exhibition space will be open during normal Downtown Campus Library hours listed on the website and security is limited to the staff working at the service desks.  There is no security guard or locked hanging system, however the Libraries hold the University-wide insurance which can cover loss or damage with proof of worth.

Applicants may contact Sally Deskins, sbdeskins@mail.wvu.edu, for a tour and/or consultation before applying.

Room 1020 Floorplan (above); entrance is from main 1st floor area.

Celebrating Nitro, 100 Years, 1917 to 2017

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
December 19th, 2017

Blog post by Stewart Plein, Rare Book Librarian

Panoramic View of Nitro

One hundred years ago this month, on December 23, 1917, ground was broken for the development of Nitro, a town born out of necessity.  Not long after the United States entered World War I it became clear that there was a critical shortage of gunpowder and production lagged far behind requirements.  According to William Wintz’s history, Nitro:  The World War I Boon Town, Congress called an emergency session, passing the “Deficiency Appropriates Act” on October 6, 1917, to address this shortfall.

Congress determined that three plants were needed to produce the necessary gunpowder.  Each plant would be capable of producing 500,000 pounds.  Locations for the plants were considered in ten states.  West Virginia became the top choice for a location, just 14 miles from Charleston with adequate water supplies, transportation, topography and access to raw materials.  Sites in Nashville, Tennessee and Louisville, Kentucky were also selected.  In the end, production was bumped up to 700,000 pounds for two plants, Nitro and Nashville.  With this level of production, the Louisville site was no longer needed.

Nitro, under construction

These photos, above and below, are from a photograph album depicting the earliest days of Nitro as it was under development.  Above, Nitro under construction.  Below, the town of Nitro as seen from a nearby hill.

Town of Nitro as seen from nearby hill

A true boom town, Nitro soon saw the influx of thousands of men and materials.  Shortly thereafter, twenty-seven 200 bed barracks were under construction.  110,000 people were employed to build the plant over an eleven month period.  This plant, known as Explosive Plant “C,” could produce 350 pounds of smokeless gunpowder a day.

A town of over 24,000 people sprung up during the same period.  The steady stream of workmen, servicemen, and their families all needed housing.  Since the area was nothing but grass and corn fields when the government purchased it, housing had to be provided.  The War Department contracted with a Huntington company, Minter Homes, founded by William E. Minter as a division of his Huntington Lumber & Supply Company in 1913.

Minter Homes, like the better known Sears & Roebuck and Aladdin homes, supplied ready-made houses that could be ordered from a catalog and delivered to the customer’s site for construction. The War Department purchased a whopping 1,724 Minter Homes for construction in Nitro from February to July 1918.   It has been said that the construction of Nitro was so rapid that a workman could leave his home in the morning and when he returned at the end of the day, another street with an entire row of houses would have been built in his absence.

Since the homes needed furnishing too, Minter Homes also provided the furniture.  Wicker was an inexpensive choice for supplying the homes.  The Nitro photograph album in the WVRHC collection shows one of these Minter Homes, including photographs of the rooms.  Interior photographs from this period are quite rare.  The following photographs below show a charming cottage in Nitro, with morning glories covering the porch, supplied by Minter Homes along with its interior views.  According to a Minter Homes brochure, this was considered an “executive’s home,” probably used in Nitro as the home of an officer.  Heating was supplied by natural gas/forced air, walls were plaster, laundry tubs were included, as were the electricity and the “ornamental” light fixtures.  Everything was new when these photos were taken. Notice that although the flowers are blooming, the front yard is nothing but bare dirt.

Minter home in Nitro, with flowers on porch and a dirt front yard

Interior of Minter home in Nitro, showing fireplace

Some of the wicker furniture supplied by Minter Homes can be seen in these photos, above and below.

Interior of Minter home in Nitro, showing wicker chair and loveseat

A beautiful dining room in the same home.

Interior of Minter home in Nitro, showing dining room

Stop by the West Virginia and Regional History Center to view this photograph album documenting the birth of Nitro as a munitions manufacturing site.  You can also read all about the history of Nitro in Nitro: The World War I Boom Town by William D. Wintz in the WVRHC collection.  Check out Nitro’s history on their website:  http://historyofnitro.com/index.html.  A silent film on Nitro, made in 1918, by the U.S. Signal Corps is available on YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHcLohqsoa0

Resources:
WVRHC A&M 4122: Nitro photograph album circa 1918 – 1919
E-WV:  https://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/2001
Banner image: West Virginia State Archives
Wintz, William D.  Nitro: The World War I Boom Town
Nitro: A Historic Past, An Exciting Future:  http://cityofnitro.org/west-virginia-history/
Nitro, West Virginia:  http://historyofnitro.com/index.html
Minter Homes: Homes for Workmen:  http://historyofnitro.com/ExplosivesPlantC/MinterHomes/HomesForWorkmen78-85.pdf
Nitro Housing Layout:  http://historyofnitro.com/ExplosivesPlantC/MinterHomes/housing_layouts.pdf

Server Maintenance

Posted by jetapia@wvu-ad.wvu.edu.
December 18th, 2017

The Libraries will be performing server maintenance next week on Wednesday, December 20.  Downtime should be minimal, but there may be brief outages.  The following systems will be affected:

mdid.lib.wvu.edu
rahall.lib.wvu.edu
news.lib.wvu.edu

We are very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

West Virginia and the Vietnam War

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
December 12th, 2017

Blog Post by Catherine Rakowski, Administrative Associate at the WVRHC

The United States’ involvement in Vietnam (also known as French Indochina) began as early as 1950 in an effort to contain the spread of communism.  Throughout the next 25 years, the American support for the anti-communist government of South Vietnam escalated from supplying funding, military advisors and equipment to a full-scale involvement of U.S. forces fighting the war.

By the end of America’s most controversial war in 1975, more than 3 million Americans had served and 58,220 had died.  The state of West Virginia sent 36,578 troops of which 1,182 died. West Virginia suffered the highest casualty rate in the nation.

The West Virginia and Regional History Center is now displaying through December 2017, in the Rockefeller Gallery (2nd floor of the Wise Library) the exhibit, “West Virginia and the Vietnam War.” It includes political papers, maps, photographs, correspondence, artifacts, ephemera and the stories of individuals involved in the war on the front lines and at home. The photographs in this blog are from that exhibit.  Read the rest of this entry »

Women Speak at West Virginia University

Posted by jetapia@wvu-ad.wvu.edu.
December 8th, 2017

Event by Women of Appalachia Project

WVU Libraries was pleased to host Women of Appalachia: Spoken Word, September 30, 2017 in the Milano Reading Room of the Downtown Campus Library. The curated event that travels around the region featuring some 30 women artists, included several West Virginia artists. WVU Campus Read Director and Teaching Assistant Professor of Marketing, Susan Lantz, graciously provided a reflection of the event for the Libraries’ blog, below, accompanied by links to recordings of the event.

Today, as I begin the semester assessment in my 97-student “Intro” classes, I asked the students,

“What things did we do in class to make you better understand the diversity of West Virginia University?”

I expected typical answers like. . .

“We read a book about women who were African American.”

“We watched a TED talk about women in Rwanda who are entrepreneurs.”

“We talked about race and class in business when we watched the one video.”

And, indeed. I got those answers. But I got another one that pleasantly surprised me.

A young women raised her hand and said, “That event you told us to go to at the library…the one where the women read stories. ‘Women Speak,’ I think it was called.

I could have kissed her.

Because, even though a 48 year old Assistant Professor of Marketing like me absolutely knew that a spoken word event consisting of Appalachian Women telling their stories speaks to the diversity of our college, state, and region. . . I wasn’t sure the students would. Especially because the event was on a beautiful September Saturday afternoon. And especially because the event was on a list of events that students could choose from (they were required to attend five.)

But, to my surprise, not only did over 100 people show up to the Spoken Word Event, but over 30 of them were students. Some of them were native West Virginians. Some of them were from New York, New Jersey, and Washington D.C. One young woman was from Oman, and one was from Saudi Arabia.

And they were INTO IT. When I quizzed my classes later to find out which events from the list of 19 they had enjoyed the most, this event was often mentioned.

We linked the event to this year’s Campus Read, *Hidden Figures*, a book about the female African American Physicists and Mathematicians who were the underpinnings of the space program. We had chosen the book because two of these women had lived in our town. In fact, one of them had actually attended West Virginia University. We are very proud.
We thought that the subject matter of the book, daughters of Appalachia who used their talents to achieve great things, would link naturally to an event that celebrated Appalachian Women. And it did, and it was a huge success.

But I underestimated my students. Because I think they understood the importance of the event even more than I did. For many of the students who gathered together for the Women Speak event in Morgantown, it was a celebration not only of the diversity of our state and our region, but of the beautiful commonalities and truths that we all share.

Below are the last two video recordings of the live event; to see the first two visit:
https://news.lib.wvu.edu/2017/11/07/wvu-libraries-hosted-regional-women-of-appalachia-spoken-word-event-a-reflection-by-wvu-mds-professor-renee-k-nicholson/

Looking at Morgantown – Call for photography

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
December 7th, 2017

How would you capture the spirit of Morgantown in a photograph? Is it fans tailgating before a Mountaineer game, hikers exploring a trail at Coopers Rock, or a family gathering together for Sunday dinner?

West Virginia University Libraries’ Arts in the Libraries Program is seeking submissions for Looking at Morgantown, an upcoming exhibit to be displayed at the Downtown Campus Library from April through August 2018.

The exhibit is in conjunction with Looking at Appalachia: Selected Images from 2014-2016 currently on display at the DCL. Looking at Appalachia is an ongoing crowdsourced photography project created by West Virginia-based photographer Roger May as a response to media coverage and perceptions of Appalachia and the President Johnson’s War on Poverty.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirroring the LOC: Mirror Images in the Collection of the WVRHC

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
December 4th, 2017

Blog Post by Jessica Eichlin, Photographs Manager and Preservationist

One of my favorite parts of my job as an archivist is seeing what other museums and archives around the world are doing through social media.

The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division uses a blog to let people see their collections online. I love seeing their posts about the items they have, the projects they are working on with the public, and their new acquisitions. The newest post on their “Picture This” blog, “Double Take: Mirror Images,” was especially intriguing, as I knew the WVRHC had a number of photographs of mirrors in our own collections. Photographs of mirrors can be particularly fascinating due to the images captured, deliberately or unintentionally, in the mirror itself.

Check out the original post here, then keep scrolling to see some of the WVRHC mirror photos!  Read the rest of this entry »

Our Apple Heritage

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
November 29th, 2017

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

Fun fact of the day: apple trees are a member of the rose family, and are not native to North America—they spread from Asia through Europe and colonists brought them to this continent in the 1600s.

Two African-American men with apple sacks, in front of an apple bin in an orchard

Apple Pickers, 1975

There were once 1000 to 1600 varieties of apples grown in the southern and central Appalachian region, which is pretty astounding considering that they aren’t native and that Wikipedia tells us there are over 7500 cultivars of apple.  As of 2011, one study suggested there were still over 600 distinct varieties grown in the region.  At least two of these cultivars are special West Virginia contributions. Read the rest of this entry »

Rahall Collection now open to the public

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
November 29th, 2017

Thousands of archival records and digital photographs from the Congressman Nick Joe Rahall II papers are now open for research at West Virginia University Libraries’ West Virginia & Regional History Center.

In 1976, Nick Rahall II, a 27-year-old native of Beckley, WV, won the race for the West Virginia Fourth Congressional District and went on to win re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives for another eighteen terms (1977-2015), making him the longest serving congressman in West Virginia history.

Congressman Rahall with senators Jennings and Byrd

Before he was elected to Congress, Nick Rahall worked in the office of then U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd and as assistant to the Majority Secretary of the Senate. He is pictured with senators Jennings Randolph, Mike Mansfield and Byrd in June 1976. Read the rest of this entry »

Tiera Joy Tanner, CCA painting grad student, exhibits at Evansdale Library

Posted by jetapia@wvu-ad.wvu.edu.
November 27th, 2017

Moments in time captured on film are taken into the hands of West Virginia University College of Creative Arts painting graduate student Tiera Joy Tanner and made into something new yet nostalgic.

Tanner works with photographs dated from the early 1990’s by embracing the out-of-focus details. In order to bring new concepts into focus she resizes and crops her images in order to emphasize the lack of detail and out-of-focus look of them. By doing this she brings attention to the lack of clarity and the way that these subtle distortions evoke differing feelings and perceptions of these flashes from the past. Within her painted work she uses these elements to show fragments of their childhood, giving us memories in paintings. More information can be found at tierajoytanner.com.

Her work is on display on the 1st floor and 2nd floor of Evansdale Library through January 2018.

Art in the Libraries develops exhibits and related programs in the Downtown Campus Library, Evansdale Library, and Health Sciences Library, highlighting the creative endeavors and scholarship of WVU faculty, staff, and students, reaching across the University, the region, and the broader academic community. This program demonstrates how art, libraries and scholars encourage the community to explore, reflect, and discuss what they encounter in the WVU Libraries which seeks to embody the mission of West Virginia University by excelling in discovery and innovation, modeling cultural diversity and inclusion, promoting vitality and building pathways for the exchange of knowledge and opportunity.

Exhibition proposals are open and ongoing at exhibits.lib.wvu.edu.

Talking Turkey: Celebrating Thanksgiving in West Virginia

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
November 20th, 2017

Group of turkeys on snowy ground

Blog post by Stewart Plein, Rare Book Librarian

Many people would argue that Thanksgiving is just not complete without a turkey as the centerpiece of a loaded dinner table surrounded by loved ones.  Every other dish, no matter how elaborately prepared or presented, seems to be relegated to side dish status once the turkey comes out of the oven.  But there’s more to talking turkey on Thanksgiving than the meal of the day, there’s the way we celebrate, from turkey calls, to hunting wild game, to watching parades, and cooking the bird.  It’s all part of that most American of holidays, Thanksgiving.  Read the rest of this entry »

Preserving the History of WVU’s First African-American Graduates

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
November 13th, 2017

Blog post by Lori Hostuttler, Assistant Director, WVRHC.

The West Virginia & Regional History Center collects materials that document the history and culture of our state and region – including records that document the history of WVU.  This post examines the history of some of WVU’s first African-American graduates and the collections that tell their stories.  Read the rest of this entry »

WVU Libraries to host open forum on serving veterans

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
November 8th, 2017

As part of its service to student veterans, West Virginia University Libraries will host an open forum titled “Serving those who Served” on Monday (Nov. 13) from 10 a.m.-noon in the Downtown Campus Library, Room 104.

The speaker is Sarah LeMire, the First-Year Experience librarian at Texas A&M University and the co-author of Serving Those Who Served: Librarian’s Guide to Working with Veteran and Military Families. Before becoming a librarian, LeMire served in the U.S. Army as an Arabic linguist including a deployment to Iraq in 2005-2006.

Read the rest of this entry »