Ask A Librarian

Best Friends

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
January 6th, 2015

Blog post by Stewart Plein, Rare Book Librarian.

Boy, dog, and fishbowl

Boy with goldfish

For well over a hundred years photographs have documented the moments that make up our lives, from the celebrations to the everyday.  These photos often include our faithful companions as important members of the family.  While man’s best friend may be a dog, other creatures of fur and fin were also considered good companions.  Here’s a look at West Virginians posing with their best friends.

Girl with cat and Breece Pancake with Cat

If the popularity of crazy cat videos available on YouTube today is any indication, cats have always been popular pets.  An unidentified Morgantown girl hugs her cat in this undated photo, right.  West Virginia author Breece D’J Pancake holds his cat at left.


Couple Sitting with a Child, Martinsburg, W. Va.

This Martinsburg family’s photo wouldn’t be complete without the family dog.


Girl with dog and man with St. Bernard dog

A parent’s hand reaches into the frame from the right to steady the cart in this 1910 portrait of a little girl and her faithful companion, right.  This Saint Bernard was a 1967 WVU fraternity mascot, left.


Morgantown Boy With Pet Goat, Morgantown, W. Va.

Cats and dogs may make good companions, but this boy has a goat for a pet.


Girls with Dog, Cart and Pony Ride, Grafton, W. Va.

A pony draws the cart for these Grafton girls with their dog.

Interested in seeing more pet portraits?  All of these and more, including photos of a young girl driving a cart pulled by pet possums, are available for viewing at the West Virginia and Regional History Center and on the web at West Virginia History OnView.

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