April 4th, 2022
By: Katie Saucer, Graduate Service Assistant
I recently had the pleasure of processing a special collection at the WVRHC. The new “Hatfield Family Papers” collection (A&M 4490 if you want to schedule a visit) is a compilation of papers, photographs, and artifacts all pertaining to the infamous southern West Virginia family. From trinkets and treaties to biographies and a bible (Louvisa Hatfield’s, that is), everyone can find something that interests them within this collection.
The collection was compiled by descendents of Louvisa and Anse Hatfield, and a ton of the material came directly from Louvisa’s belongings. Much of the material, though, is related to subjects bigger than the Hatfield family. There’s content about the Pocahontas Coal Company, information about local politics, and so much more. Any researcher or lover of West Virginia history will have a wonderful time perusing this collection.
My personal favorite part of the collection are the greeting cards and postcards. Not only do many of them have unique early 20th century illustrations, the content is also fascinating. In popular media, the Hatfields are remembered strictly alongside the McCoys. Violence and feuding seem to run the narrative. These cards, though, show the normalcy of the family. From sympathy cards to updates about grandchildren, it is interesting to see what Louvisa Hatfield’s children wrote to her about.
If you’re interested, I urge you to come in and look through the collection yourself. It really is a time capsule into the early 20th century, with helpful printouts regarding genealogy and timelines. Plus, you can sit down with the original 19th century Hatfield and McCoy treaty- which is as neat as it sounds!