March 28th, 2016
Blog post by Stewart Plein, Rare Book Librarian.
Many of us have fond Easter memories from our childhoods. Here’s a look back at the ways we celebrated Easter in West Virginia in the early years of the twentieth century.
Easter baskets, bunnies and chicks are usually a part of our Easter celebrations. This little girl poses next to a basket overflowing with Easter eggs, an Easter bunny held tightly in one hand about 1909.
Surrounded by Easter lilies, this young girl on the front page of a special Easter number of The New Dominion newspaper, was published in 1913 in Morgantown. The “new” dominion refers to the “new” state of West Virginia versus the “old” dominion of Virginia.
This charming photograph shows toddler Gladys Green playing with chicks on Easter Sunday in 1909. The message reads “Easter Greetings from Belmont W. Va.” Sadly, Gladys would only live nine more years. She succumbed to the flu during the pandemic of 1918.
This cover from Puck magazine’s Easter issue shows a similar image of a young girl playing something like a lute or a mandolin, which was a popular instrument at the time. Dancing bunnies in their Easter outfits, surround her, just like Gladys and her Easter chicks, above.
The Wayne County Yorkville High School Girls’ Glee Club is shown here preparing for the Easter Performance for an ‘It’s Wheeling Steel’ radio broadcast. The photograph caption reads “The Yorkville High School Girls’ Glee Club, 40 in all, added to the enjoyment of the Easter broadcast. All 40 girls have at least one immediate family relationship with corporation employees. Many can claim as many as four immediate family relatives who are Wheeling Steelmakers.” The entire broadcast was operated and performed by employees or family members of Wheeling Steel throughout the program’s entire duration.
‘It’s Wheeling Steel’ was a half hour musical variety radio program created by John L. Grimes, Wheeling Steel’s advertising director. The program was designed to promote public relations as well as the company’s products. The program ran from 1936 – 1944 and proved to be one of the most popular programs on radio.
You can see these photos, the Easter edition of the New Dominion newspaper and Puck magazine and listen to all 326 recordings of ‘It’s Wheeling Steel’ radio broadcasts at the West Virginia and Regional History Center.
All images: West Virginia and Regional History Center
It’s Wheeling Steel: E-WV http://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/927