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WVU Libraries Celebrate West Virginia Day

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
June 17th, 2008

Stop by the Downtown Campus Library on June 20 to celebrate the state’s founding. The WVU Libraries will mark the day by paying tribute to artist, author, outdoor enthusiast, and West Virginian George Bird Evans.

“We are focusing on George Bird Evans in honor of the donation of the Evans’ papers and manuscripts to the WVU Libraries earlier this year,” said John Cuthbert, curator of the West Virginia and Regional History Collection. “Evans was a giant in the field of upland game bird hunting literature. His writing about the subject, which included well over one hundred books and articles, reflected a connoisseurship that harked back to the European tradition of the gentleman sportsman.”

Evans began his professional life during the late 1920s working as an illustrator for leading magazines and other clients in New York City. After serving during World War II, he turned his talents to writing a series of acclaimed mystery novels. It was not until the 1950s that he began writing about his passion for birds, dogs, and the West Virginia mountains. He passed away in 1998.

Festivities begin at 9:30 a.m. with a reception in the Milano Reading Room. A dedication ceremony for the George Bird Evans Collection follows at 10 a.m., with Evans’ biographer Catherine Harper delivering the keynote address.

An exhibit of Evans’ work opens at noon in the Davis Galleries on the sixth floor of the Wise Library. The 2008 West Virginia Day posters will be distributed at that time to those present.

The day concludes with a reception at “Old Hemlock,” the rustic Preston County home of Evans. The reception will include a barbeque, tours of the home and grounds, and demonstrations of Pointers, the dog breed Evans immortalized in drawing and word.

A native of nearby Uniontown, Pa., Evans settled permanently in Preston County in 1939. His home near Bruceton Mills became well known to sporting literature enthusiasts throughout the country during the late twentieth century. His writings were largely based upon his experiences at “Old Hemlock” and in the nearby hills and mountains.

Evans’ extensive collection, now housed in the WVRHC, includes personal papers, manuscripts, books and other materials by and about Evans and his wife, co-author and editor, Kay Harris Evans.

All events are open to the public.

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