Skip to main content

Oliver P. Chitwood, Namesake of Chitwood Hall

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
June 18th, 2019

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

Oliver Chitwood as an older man, seated, holding a book

While working to make our card catalog for the President’s Office Archive more accessible, I came across microfilmed faculty application materials from the history department. These included Oliver Perry Chitwood’s application for work at WVU, as well as some correspondence between him and Dr. Purinton, then University President, who was recruiting Chitwood.

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s a Good Hair Day!

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
June 11th, 2019

Blog post by Lori Hostuttler, Assistant Director, WVRHC.

Having a good hair day? Or is it time for a new do?  Humans have been cutting, coloring, curling, and styling their hair since ancient times. This week the Center blog includes a sample of images that show shampoos, haircuts, hair dressers, barber shops, and beauty salons in West Virginia.  Enjoy!

Read the rest of this entry »

West Virginia Day celebration to focus on early photography

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
June 7th, 2019
Two men standing in front of a saloon
Two unidentified men raise their mugs of beer outside a Tucker County saloon, ca. 1885.

If you’re on Facebook, twitter or Instagram, it’s impossible to miss the selfies people post to announce a night on the town, a trip to an exotic location or just a new pair of sunglasses.

Set aside the Internet and smartphones, and they’re simply following a social norm established more than 150 years ago. While Millennials are growing up on social media, the Civil War generation was the first to grow up with photography.

“Photography was an earth-shattering innovation in the mid-19th century, perhaps like the introduction of the computer or the cell phone,” said John Cuthbert, director of the West Virginia and Regional History Center. “It was introduced in the U.S. around 1840 and within a couple of decades people all over America were getting their pictures taken by itinerant photographers who would travel from town to town.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Remembering D-Day, June 6, 1944: 75 Years after the Allied Invasion of Normandy – D-Day plus 27,375

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
June 6th, 2019

Blog post by Catherine Rakowski, Administrative Associate, WVRHC.

Photo of soldiers holding guns, running up a beach amid smoke
US Army, 2nd Rangers charge the heavily fortified cliffs on the Normandy beach

In 1947, West Virginia University student John Poulos wrote the following description of the World War II military fighting man for a history class essay:

 “He is pretty young, between 17 and 25. As a fighter, he’s a cross between Geronimo . . ., Buck Rogers, Sergeant York and a clumsy heartsick boy.  He had an understanding of the war that it will take most Americans a long time to get.  For one thing he has lost several friends. He knows plenty about fear, about huddling up in a foxhole . . . when a big one is coming in with its ghastly, spiral noise”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Frederick Douglass Remembers Decoration Day, May 30, 1881

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
May 28th, 2019

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

Black and white portrait photo of Frederick Douglass as an older man

Decoration Day, May 30, 1881.  Frederick Douglass, considered among the greatest orators of the nineteenth century, stood on the grounds of Storer College, the first institution of higher learning for African Americans in West Virginia, a state not long separated from its parent, Virginia.   Douglass, a trustee of Storer College, was the Decoration Day keynote speaker.  The events of the day were part of a commencement celebration that also included the laying of the cornerstone for a new building.  This new addition to campus would be called Anthony Hall, “in honor of Mr. Anthony, of Providence R. I., a relative of Senator Anthony.”  But Douglass was not there to praise the success of Storer College, or to decorate the graves of soldiers who fought and died during the late Civil War, instead, Douglass took this occasion to talk about his friend and fellow abolitionist, John Brown, whose execution following his failed raid on Harper’s Ferry in 1859, twenty-two years before, was within living memory of many of the attendees that day.

Read the rest of this entry »

WVU Libraries invites university community to opening reception for Dr. Emory L. Kemp Collection exhibit

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 24th, 2019
Emory Kemp on bridge
Dr. Emory Kemp and an unidentified man posing above the Wheeling Suspension Bridge during the late 1990s restoration of the bridge. Photo is courtesy of Gary Zearott.

West Virginia University Libraries will host an opening reception for an exhibit recognizing the lifetime achievements of Dr. Emory L. Kemp, Professor Emeritus of History and Civil Engineering, at 3 p.m. Friday, May 31, in the John D. Rockefeller IV Gallery of the Downtown Campus Library.

“The Structure of History: Celebrating Industrial Heritage and Preservation in the Dr. Emory L. Kemp Collection” will showcase items from Kemp’s donation to the West Virginia and Regional History Center, which included blueprints, maps, restoration project reports, structural analysis papers, drawings, correspondence and more that Kemp collected throughout his extensive career that spanned 50 years.

“Emory Kemp is a renowned figure in the field of Civil Engineering and it is a tremendous honor to preserve his papers in in the Regional History Center,” WVRHC Director John Cuthbert said. “Records pertaining to his work ranging from world landmarks like the Sydney Opera House to West Virginia’s iconic Philippi Bridge and Wheeling Suspension Bridge will be a boon to industrial architecture historians for generations to come.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Uncle Sam of Freedom Ridge

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
May 21st, 2019

Blog post by Jane Metters LaBarbara, Assistant Curator, WVRHC

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.

Margaret Prescott Montague in white dress, seated amid foliage in the sunshine
Margaret Prescott Montague

“Uncle Sam of Freedom Ridge” first appeared as an 11-page short story Atlantic Monthly in June 1920. Later that year, Uncle Sam of Freedom Ridge was published by Doubleday, Page & Company as a small, 60 page book (with generous margins). You can read it here: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433076044944;view=1up;seq=9

Read the rest of this entry »

Ancella Bickley Collection Highlights African American Teachers and School Integration

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
May 14th, 2019

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 wearing a graduation gown and mortarboard hat

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

WVU Libraries and the Teaching and Learning Commons award Open Educational Resources grants

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 13th, 2019

West Virginia University Libraries and the Teaching and Learning Commons (TLC) have selected three faculty members to receive inaugural Open Educational Resources (OER) grants: Corey Colyer, an associate professor of sociology, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences; Caleb Holloway, an assistant professor of mathematics, Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering & Sciences, WVU Institute of Technology; and Chris McClain, assistant professor of mathematics, Nelson College, WVU Tech.

“We’re so 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 the future.”

The aim 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.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Snapshot of the Prohibition Era in West Virginia

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
May 8th, 2019

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

WVU Libraries names two Munn scholars

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 6th, 2019

West Virginia University Libraries’ 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 scholarship.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Downtown Campus Library to host “With a Grain of Salt: Art in Rocks” exhibit & talk

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 6th, 2019

It’s an exhibit ~270 million years in the making.

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.

WVU geology professor Kathleen Benison’s photographs of these rocks serve as both scientific evidence and aesthetic objects.

Read the rest of this entry »

REMIX the WVRHC Archives: Call for digital/collage work

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 6th, 2019
Altered historic photograph

The West Virginia University Arts in the Libraries committee wants people to get creative with history.

“REMIX the WVRHC Archives,” an exhibition and online project by the Art in the Libraries program, encourages people to use the West Virginia & Regional History Center’s online resources to design unique artistic works, such as collages, memes, GIFs, creative writing, redaction poetry and other agglomerations.

“While 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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Diamond selected as IELOL Fellow

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 6th, 2019
Kelly Diamond

Kelly 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.

The 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.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Scott’s Run Memory Project

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. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrating Shakespeare’s 455th Birthday on April 23

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
April 24th, 2019

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

Portrait of William Shakespeare

Spring is here and what better way to celebrate William Shakespeare’s 455th birthday, than to look at the way he used flowers in his plays. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Wilkinson retires, university community invited to reception on Thursday

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
April 24th, 2019
Carroll Wilkinson

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!”

Read the rest of this entry »

The 1918 Spanish Influenza in Morgantown

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
April 15th, 2019

Blog post by Jessica Eichlin, Reference Supervisor, WVRHC.

Lucy 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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Learn about the Morgantown Seed Preservation Library

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
April 8th, 2019

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Library Faculty Assembly names Wright Outstanding Librarian for 2019

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
April 5th, 2019

The Awards Committee of the West Virginia University Library Faculty Assembly has selected Alyssa Wright, social sciences librarian, as the Outstanding Librarian for 2019.

The 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. 

“Alyssa 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.”

Read the rest of this entry »