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Cross-campus collaboration results in unique rotating sculpture at Evansdale Library

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
July 6th, 2017

An interactive sculpture on display at West Virginia University’s Evansdale Library is the result of the Community Engagement in Science through Art program, which has assembled a team of artists, chemists and engineers from WVU and three other universities.

“CESTA gives its participants the unique opportunity to collaborate with others from very different viewpoints to create an original project. I don’t know of anything else like it,” said Todd Hamrick, assistant professor of engineering, Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

The CESTA 2017 teams includes WVU students Trevor Brison, engineering; Cornelius Hugo, sculpture; and Umida Nurjanova, computer science; Owen Phillips, chemistry, Georgetown University; Eric Schreiber, chemistry, The College of New Jersey; and Bridget Stamp, sculpture, Kent State University.

Read the rest of this entry »

Long May She Wave: Celebrating Independence Day in WV

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
July 3rd, 2017

Blog post by Stewart Plein, Rare Book Librarian

One thing is common to all Independence Day celebrations: the American flag.  Cities and towns across the state of West Virginia have celebrated Independence Day with banners and flags of all sorts, sizes and styles.  Here’s a look back at some high flying flag celebrations for the Fourth of July across the state and over the years.

 

Woman with flag pinned to her dress

Young woman with a flag pinned to her dress, Helvetia, early twentieth century.

Five African American drum corps members with drums and flag

African American Drum Corp, 1915.  Read the rest of this entry »

The Library is Open….So you better READ! LGBTQ+ Literature in Appalachia

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
June 26th, 2017

Y'all Means All

By J. Tyler Chadwell, MAIS

To celebrate LGBTQ+ pride month I wanted to share some incredible reads in LGBTQ+ literature and nonfiction that you can access locally at the West Virginia & Regional History Center at the WVU Downtown Library. LGBTQ+ literature in Appalachia can be viewed as more of a trickle than a flood in quantity. In fact, there are even today a limited number of publications and authors who write about our region and who are openly LGBTQ+ to the public. Progress has been slow to come but acceptance has come much more quickly. This is because regionalism (being from Appalachia or a specific place there) trumps sexual identity in terms of acceptance from a community. For example, the sentiment, “[h]e may be queer, but he’s our queer” which can be found in West Virginia author Jeff’s Man’s newest novel, Country. This is a sentiment I have also found in my fieldwork as a folklorist working in Appalachia. To begin, I’d like to narrow the focus of this post to highlight those works that took place in West Virginia.

Cover of Jeff Mann's Country Read the rest of this entry »

New video blog series debuts

Posted by jetapia@wvu-ad.wvu.edu.
June 19th, 2017

In this debut video-blog of the WVU Libraries’ new series, Checking Out!, West Virginia and Regional History Center Assistant Director Lori Hostuttler shares about the significance of the monumental exhibit, Flowing Outward and Beyond: West Virginia University, 1867-2017, celebrating WVU’s 150th Birthday opening Tuesday, June 20th and one of her favorite objects featured in it…

You are Invited: Celebrate West Virginia Day and Birthday of WVU with the WVRHC on Tuesday

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
June 19th, 2017

Blog post by Lori Hostuttler, Assistant Director, WVRHC.

June 20th is a special day here at the West Virginia & Regional History Center.  Every year we honor the anniversary of the creation of our great state through a speaker’s forum, exhibit opening, poster giveaway, and of course – birthday cake!  This year is an especially significant celebration as we recognize 150 years of West Virginia University history.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, June 20, beginning at 9:00 a.m., you are invited to enjoy a continental breakfast in the Milano Room in the Downtown Campus Library before the keynote address. Our featured speaker, Dr. Ron Lewis, Professor Emeritus in the WVU Department of History begins his talk at 10:00 a.m. Dr. Lewis is the foremost expert on the history of the University and is the author of Aspiring to Greatness:  West Virginia University Since World War II, published by the WVU Press in 2013.

Dr. Ron Lewis Cover of book "Aspiring to Greatness" Read the rest of this entry »

West Virginia Day program explores WVU history

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
June 9th, 2017

Much has occurred since that first day of class in the fall of 1867 when West Virginia University consisted of just two buildings, six faculty members, six college-level students, and 118 young men preparing to attend college.

WVU Libraries and the West Virginia & Regional History Center will provide a crash course in history to celebrate the University’s sesquicentennial as part of this year’s West Virginia Day program on June 20.

“As we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the founding of West Virginia University, it is essential for us to reflect on the early years of the institution to truly understand our land-grant mission and to appreciate the many significant milestones that have brought us this far,” WVRHC Director John Cuthbert said.

(more)

Evansdale Library exhibits student works

Posted by jetapia@wvu-ad.wvu.edu.
June 1st, 2017

Five ceramic students and a recent graduate from West Virginia University’s College of Creative Arts School of Art and Design are exhibiting their work at Evansdale Library this summer.

George Jae Hyun Cho, Kari Kindelberger, Andrew Kellner, Brandon Schnur, Luke Doyle and Ken Lu are members of the WVU Clay Club whose mission is “to create a community of people with interest in ceramics to educate each other, promote our department and participate in the community.”

“We’re delighted to exhibit the WVU Clay Club’s beautiful ceramic works and Ken Lu’s meticulous paintings. They expose our summer visitors to outstanding examples of the work coming out of WVU’s School of Art and Design,” Creative Arts Librarian Beth Royall said.

ceramic sculpture

“Caught in Between,” College of Creative Arts Ceramics graduate student Ken Lu, stoneware with acrylic, 2017

The exhibits are part of WVU Libraries’ Art in the Libraries initiative to fill library spaces with art exhibits and pieces created by nationally recognized artists with ties to West Virginia or WVU and noteworthy art created by WVU students.

This display at Evansdale shows the breadth of talent and style of the artists, from Cho’s figurative, embracing porcelain figures, to Lu’s geometric brightly colored abstract forms, to Kellner’s hushed-toned, textured stacked houses, Schnur’s sleeping dog, Doyle’s tiny but exquisitely crafted pastel lidded jar, to Kindelberger’s humble, intimate almost invisible 2-d porcelain figures.

Evansdale Library is also hosting a series of Lu’s paintings about optical illusions which he continues to develop for his master’s thesis exhibit next spring.

“Applying atmospheric perspective (color), I am able to play with visual effect to create an illusion of depth or relief. The position of the hexagons creates voids, questioning what image comes to mind first – the cubes or the void it created,” Lu said.

Two of his larger paintings will be on view in the Downtown Campus Library later this summer.

See the works on view during Evansdale Library’s summer hours: Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-9 p.m., Fridays 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturdays 1-5 p.m.

WVU groups seek submissions for Women of Appalachia spoken word event

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
June 1st, 2017

 

West Virginia University will be host to the first of an annual series of events this fall—the Women of Appalachia Project, which invites residents of all 420 Appalachian counties to submit writing to be featured in “Women Speak.”

WVU Libraries is partnering with the LGBTQ+ Center, the Women’s Resource Center, the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, and WVU Campus Read to bring the juried spoken word event to campus on September 30, in conjunction with the Libraries’ Looking at Appalachia exhibit.

(Read more)

"Passed From Death Unto Life" Finding Major Eugene Blackford and His Final Resting Place

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
May 30th, 2017

By Jarrad Fuoss, Masters Student at West Virginia University and Seasonal Ranger at Gettysburg National Military Park.

 

Full body portrait of Major Eugene Blackford in uniform

Major Eugene Blackford[i]

 

The shrill sound of rusty hinges creaked as we passed into the graveyard of St. Thomas’s Episcopal Church on the outskirts of Baltimore, Maryland. Unable to contain my excitement I immediately scoured the first row of graves looking for his name. For nearly eight years I had been on the tail of Eugene Blackford’s centuries old story. Through countless hours of research and thousands of words written, the incredible story of an individual who came of age during America’s most divisive crisis emerged. Filled with adventure, heartache, and turmoil Eugene’s life read something like a modern movie script, and I was the closest of anyone yet to finding his final resting place.  Read the rest of this entry »

Libraries & Writing Studio Partner for Technical Writing Workshops

Posted by jetapia@wvu-ad.wvu.edu.
May 30th, 2017

Are you interested in learning about technical and professional communication as it relates to your discipline? Come and learn the basics in our series of workshops with the Eberly Writing Studio designed to introduce technical writing for both undergraduate and graduate students. All workshops are free and do not require pre-registration. Refreshments will be provided.

Monday June 5, 3-4PM, Evansdale Library Room 130 Technical Writing: Clarity & Concision A general workshop that will cover the basics of technical writing, designed for students in all disciplines.

Monday June 19, 3-4PM, Evansdale Library Room 234 *room change* Ethics of Technical Writing A general workshop designed to introduce the ethical issues related to technical writing, for students in all disciplines.

Monday July 10, 3-4PM, Evansdale Library Room 234 *room change* Technical Writing for Engineers This workshop is specifically for Engineering students, though others are welcome to attend.

More information on technical writing can be found at: libguides.wvu.edu/technicalwriting.

America First Day, 1922

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
May 24th, 2017

Blog post by Lori Hostuttler, Assistant Director, WVRHC.

Recently, I was using the Harvey Harmer Collection to answer a research question and I came across a file labeled “America First Day – 1922.”  The research question was unrelated, but I was intrigued by the contents of the folder.  In 1940, the “America First Committee” was the leading group arguing against entrance into the second World War, but this was a much earlier use of the slogan.  So I wanted to investigate it further.

 

Harvey Harmer seated with four pumpkins in 1914

Harvey Harmer and his pumpkins in 1914.  Harmer (1865-1961) was a layer, local historian, and state senator from Clarksburg in Harrison County.

Read the rest of this entry »

"One of the best known cooking experts in the United States" and The New Calendar of Salads

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
May 15th, 2017

Blog post by Jessica Eichlin, Photographs Manager and Preservationist, with editing, insight, and additional salad-making by Stewart Plein, Assistant Curator for WV Books & Printed Resources & Rare Book Librarian

 

We are always looking for new ways to share items in our collections, so when we found out that May is National Salad Month, we knew we had to find something to share.  Although the West Virginia and Regional History Center has an entire section of cookbooks which feature recipes for salads, we thought it would be more fitting to share an entire book devoted exclusively to salads.  The New Calendar of Salads features a full 365 recipes for a variety of salads–one for every day of the year–as well as a variety of dressings and sauces.  Written by Elizabeth O. Hiller, the New Calendar of Salads debuted in the 1910s.

For someone who has authored at least 14 different cookbooks, Mrs. Elizabeth O. Hiller is surprisingly difficult to pin down.  During the course of our research, we were unable to find any concrete information about her.  Nevertheless, Hiller likely lived in Chicago during her active period.  Advertisements in Good Housekeeping indicate that she founded the Chicago Domestic Science Training School.  The school offered “plain and advanced cookery, carving, dining room service, training of butlers and waitresses, and sickroom cookery.”  A note in the “News and Notes” section of The Boston Cooking-School Magazine of Culinary Science and Domestic Economics, Volume 5 from 1900 indicates that invitations for the opening day are being acknowledged and that “Mrs. E. O. Hiller, class of ‘98, is principal of this school.”

Hiller also spent time traveling around the country, performing cooking demonstrations to audiences of “two to four thousand per day.”  A search on Chronicling America, a digital archive for American newspapers, yielded a number of advertisements featuring Mrs. Hiller’s approval.  Products such as Cottolene (a beef tallow and cottonseed oil alternative to lard), Fruited Wheat and Fruited Oats, Pike’s Peak Self-Rising Flour, and Tone Spices were all endorsed by Hiller in newspapers.

 

Mrs. Elizabeth Hiller endorsement ads for Fruited Oats and Pike's Peak Self-Rising Flour

The Fruited Wheat and Fruited Oats advertisement on the left was found in The Washington Herald, February 3, 1919. The Pike’s Peak Self-Rising Flour advertisement was found in the Las Vegas Optic, May 15, 1914. Both advertisements located using the Library of Congress Chronicling America newspaper database.

Read the rest of this entry »

Libraries and Honor College name two Munn Scholars

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 12th, 2017

West Virginia University Libraries and the Honors College selected Hayley Harman and Janelle Vickers as 2017 Robert F. Munn Undergraduate Library Scholars.

“All of us at WVU Libraries and the Honors College congratulate our Munn Scholars, Hayley Harman and Janelle Vickers, for producing impressive works of scholarship,” Dean of Libraries Jon E. Cawthorne said. “They clearly dedicated considerable time and effort to gathering and evaluating pertinent resources, and we celebrate their use of scholarship in their research.”

WVU Libraries and the Honors College established the Robert F. Munn Undergraduate Library Scholars Award in 2009 to honor Munn, who served as dean of Library Services from 1957-1986. The $1,000 prize goes to one or more graduating Honors students for an outstanding humanities or social sciences thesis based on research conducted in the WVU Libraries.

(Read more)

Strike a Pose! Re-enacting Shakespeare

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
May 8th, 2017

Blog post by Stewart Plein, Rare Book Librarian

"Shakespeare" in fancy text

When Dr. Anna Elfenbein asked if she could schedule a visit to the Rare Book Room for her That’s Amoré group, who had recently returned from a week-long trip to Italy, I was happy to comply.  We scheduled a visit to preview materials on Italian cities and culture, Italian studies, and the country of Italy.  Dr. Elfenbein asked if the class could have an opportunity to examine Shakespeare’s First Folio, the first printing of Shakespeare’s collected plays, as many of them, like Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, and Two Gentlemen of Verona, have Italian settings.  I made a list of materials the class would be using and a request for the history of the bust of Dante in one of the Downtown Library’s historic settings, the Robinson Reading Room.

Portrait of William Shakespeare

I believe most people think that a visit to the Rare Book Room is a serious and somber occasion.  We might wear white gloves, speak in hushed tones, and examine centuries of priceless historic volumes.  Sometimes it can be like that.  And then, there are other visits that turn out to be a lot of fun, like Saturday’s visit with Dr. Elfenbein’s That’s Amoré group!  Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Astronomical! The Biggest Book in the Rare Book Room

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
May 8th, 2017

Blog post by Stewart Plein, Rare Book Librarian

Colored book plate of November Meteors

The Rare Book Room is home to books both big and small, but the largest book by far is Trouvelot’s Astronomical Drawings, published in New York by Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1881.  Measuring a whopping 42 ½” in height by 14 ½” wide, Trouvelot’s Astronomical Drawings is actually a portfolio collection of prints documenting observations of the night sky.  Read the rest of this entry »

MayDay: Small Steps to Save our Stuff

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
May 1st, 2017

Blog post by Jane Metters LaBarbara, Assistant Curator, WVRHC

 

MayDay 2017 logo

  

What is MayDay?

MayDay is a time when archivists and other cultural heritage professionals take personal and professional responsibility for doing something simple—something that can be accomplished in a day but that can have a significant impact on an individual’s or a repository’s ability to respond.” (Thanks to the Society of American Archivists’ website for the quote.)

Here at the Center, we are participating in MayDay.   Over the years, a lot of people have given us precious papers, photos, artifacts, and more to preserve and make accessible.  To be good caretakers of these gifts, we have to lessen risks and plan how to respond to emergency situations.  Read the rest of this entry »

West Virginia Libraries and Watts Museum Collaborate to Celebrate May Day

Posted by jetapia@wvu-ad.wvu.edu.
April 26th, 2017

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—The history of labor organizing in West Virginia has much to teach us about this moment in our country. What better way to dive into this history than a celebration of one of its heroes?

Monday, May 1, is traditionally a day of international worker solidarity. It is also believed to be the birthday of Mary Harris “Mother” Jones. Jones, a labor organizer in several industries, became most well known for her work with coal miners during an era of unsafe mining practices and few labor laws. She touched the lives of many miners and their families around the country and became a symbol of workers’ struggles.

For more information visit: http://www.statler.wvu.edu/news/2017/04/12/west-virginia-libraries-and-watts-museum-collaborate-to-celebrate-may-day.

"Do they want recognition?": Activism in the WVRHC's Collections

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
April 24th, 2017

Blog post by Ashleigh Coren, Visiting Librarian.

 

What happens when you search for “activist” in the West Virginia & Regional History Center? You’ll see the usual suspects like Mother Jones or John Brown, but, there are a few other gems worth exploring. Last fall I had the pleasure of interviewing bookseller and Appalachian scholar George Brosi, owner of Appalachian Mountain Books in Berea, Kentucky. George, who spent some time in Morgantown in the 1970s, spoke a great deal about the various examples of activism that took place during that time and also in the 1960s.  After our conversation I thought about what I might find in our collection, and as it turns out there’s some pretty fantastic items.  Read the rest of this entry »

WVU alumnus donates historic newspapers to WVRHC

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
April 17th, 2017

Steve Wolfe (right) and his wife, Darla, along with WVU President Gordon Gee, display a copy of the Chicago Daily Tribune that erroneously reports Dewey Defeats Truman. This newspaper is one of large collection of historical newspapers Steve Wolfe donated to the WVRHC.

Newspapers have chronicled key events from throughout our nation’s history – from crowning achievements like the ratification of the U.S. Constitution and Neil Armstrong’s moon walk to our darkest moments such as President Kennedy’s assassination and the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.

West Virginia University alumnus Steve Wolfe, BA ’81, Political Science, is quite familiar with those historic moments and their media coverage. He spent more than two decades acquiring more than 150 newspapers that reported on these and other pivotal happenings.

Wolfe is now donating the impressive collection to the WVU Libraries’ West Virginia & Regional History Center.

To read more, visit WVUToday.

A Two-Faced Villain: John J. Davis and the Political Ideology of the West Virginia Statehood Movement, 1861-1863

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
April 17th, 2017

By Casey DeHaven, Graduate Assistant, WVRHC.

Ananymous letter to John J. Davis from March 9, 1863, letting him know his political opinions about the possible new state of WV were putting him in danger

In March 1863, an anonymous author penned a foreboding letter to Harrison County delegate John J. Davis, warning the politician that his opposing stance on the West Virginia statehood movement was not well received among his constituency. “Sir, you’re in danger…your course is entirely ‘repulsive’ to all true patriots & sensible men…I advise you to desist from being too ambitious in your new state feelings – or rather anti-new state sympathies.”[1] Conceptualizations of loyalty during the West Virginia statehood movement became incredibly skewed as politicians and their constituents struggled to balance law and reason with moral principles. The movement created a fire storm that forced western Virginia citizens to redefine democracy, which consequently became so convoluted in nature that politicians at the helm of the movement began to lose former constituents and even turn on one another.
Read the rest of this entry »