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Documented History of the WVRHC

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
February 19th, 2020

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

Today, I finally found the content that established the predecessor to the WVRHC, called the Division of Documents.  Much of the story of the evolution of the Center, from the days when the Library was collecting historical material piecemeal through to the days of the well-established West Virginia and Regional History Collection, appears in Dr. John Cuthbert’s article, “West Virginia Collection Holds Keys to the State’s History,” West Virginia University Alumni Magazine, vol. 23, no. 3, Fall 2000, pp. 36-39. The name was updated to West Virginia and Regional History Center in 2013. 

Since we are updating some of our documentation, I have been searching for the often-mentioned WVU Board of Governors’ establishment of the Division of Documents in 1933, as well as the mention of the Division of Documents as an official repository of state documents in the Acts of Legislature the following year.

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Collection Highlight: A Souvenir of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
February 5th, 2020

Blog post by Michael Ridderbusch, Associate Curator, WVRHC.

Recently, when reviewing the content of a new collection at the History Center, I discovered a souvenir of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, a photograph of the world’s first Ferris Wheel that is more than 125 years old.  Mounted on a card of four by seven inches, it was likely sold to tourists of the Exposition, of which there were 27 million, or more that 1/3 of the population of the United States at that time.

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Garden Dreams: Vick’s Flower and Vegetable Garden Catalog

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
January 29th, 2020

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

Garden catalogs usually begin to arrive in my mailbox during January’s cold and dreary days. I love sitting down with a catalog and turning the pages filled with colorful photographs of flowering seeds, plants and vegetables.  Flipping through these pages and admiring the photos always makes me want to order more seeds and plants than I could ever use or could possibly plant in my yard. 

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Global and Local Bird Populations Recorded

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
January 24th, 2020

Blog post by Linda Blake, University Librarian Emerita

George H. Breiding, 1917-2007, spread the news regarding the importance and impact of nature and its conservation.  While a naturalist at Oglebay Park in Wheeling, 1950-1963, where he was born, he wrote a nature column for the Wheeling Intelligencer, did radio interviews, and taught youth about the natural world.  He was an agent for WVU’s Extension Services, 1963-1979, and also wrote widely for various popular magazines including Wild Wonderful West Virginia and Bird Watcher’s Digest.  As I said, he spread the word at every opportunity.

Older man holding up a poster, talking to younger man beside him
George H. Breiding teaching a youth
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Faculty Exhibit Award recipient details her experience in creating “Big Green Data”

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
January 17th, 2020

By Lara Farina

English professor and recipient of the WVU Libraries’ 2019 Faculty Exhibit Award

Farina’s recent research focuses on the botanic world in pre-modern medicine, philosophy, art, and literature, specifically that of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Her exhibit, “Big Green Data: Herbals, Science, and Art,” is currently on display at the Evansdale Library through May.

Archival research is always full of surprises, and sometimes these surprises are more worthy of study than the research we plan in advance. This was certainly true of my visits to British and American libraries for the purpose of looking at medieval herbals first-hand. Herbals are pharmacopeia, lists of medicinal plants. Before the sixteenth century, they circulated as manuscript codices — hand-written and often copiously illustrated books. I intended to read these works for information about how physicians and pharmacists used sensory practices to identify and discuss botanic life. But description of plants’ smell, feel, taste, and even visual appearance was disappointingly minimal in these voluminous works of botanic science.

A print titled Bugloss
“Bugloss” from Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 130, f. , late 11th century. llustration and synonyms.
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Welcome Back to WVU: 1920 Edition

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
January 16th, 2020

Blog post by Lori Hostuttler, Assistant Director, WVRHC

About this time one hundred years ago, WVU students returned to Morgantown to begin a new semester of classes.  The collections at the West Virginia & Regional History Center allow us a glimpse of student and University life back then.  The Athenaeum student newspaper describes student experiences, happenings on campus, and the important topics of the day. 

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WVU Libraries opens exhibition on Voting Rights Act of 1965

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
January 14th, 2020
Telegram from Martin Luther King Jr
In this July 1965 telegram, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. urges Congressman Arch Moore to vote against the McCulloch amendment to the Voting Rights Act, which removed automatic triggers from the bill. The House rejected the measure 166 to 215. From the Governor Arch A. Moore Jr. papers, West Virginia & Regional History Center.

West Virginia University Libraries’ new exhibit marks the 55th anniversary of the passage of a landmark piece of civil rights legislation. “For the Dignity of Man and the Destiny of Democracy: The Voting Rights Act of 1965” is on display now through the end of 2020 in the Downtown Campus Library’s Rockefeller Gallery.

Enacted 150 years ago in 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment established that the right to vote could not be denied on the basis of race. Yet African Americans, particularly those residing in southern states, continued to face significant obstacles to voting. These included bureaucratic restrictions, such as poll taxes and literacy tests, as well as intimidation and physical violence.

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