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Celebrating Shakespeare’s 455th Birthday on April 23

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
April 24th, 2019

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

Portrait of William Shakespeare

Spring is here and what better way to celebrate William Shakespeare’s 455th birthday, than to look at the way he used flowers in his plays. 

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The 1918 Spanish Influenza in Morgantown

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
April 15th, 2019

Blog post by Jessica Eichlin, Reference Supervisor, WVRHC.

Lucy Shuttlesworth, a twenty year old West Virginia University student, recorded the 1918 flu epidemic in her diary, writing that “the Spanish influ[enza] is spreading like mad, 150 of the boys have it, (the Delt house has been taken over as a hospital) ten girls at the hall and five of our kids at the house” have it.  The particularly deadly strain of Spanish influenza initially appeared in August 1918, but the first mention of the fall epidemic did not appear in a local Morgantown newspaper until September 11, 1918.  By September twenty-fifth, an unidentified Associated Press author states that “Spanish influenza has spread over the country so rapidly that officials of the public health service, the war and navy departments and the Red Cross conferred today on measures to help local communities in combating the disease,” which had spread to twenty-six states.  By October first, the number of cases nationwide reached 88,000, and the Spanish flu finally arrived in Morgantown.

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Guest Post: Clover Lick Homecoming

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
April 3rd, 2019

This blog post, written by Libby Coyner, Archivist and Assistant Librarian at Elon University’s Carol Grotnes Belk Library, was originally posted on November 30, 2018 at https://www.librarylibby.com/single-post/2018/11/30/Clover-Lick-Homecoming. You can see additional photos relevant to the post at that site.

 *The text here is from a talk I gave as part of Elon University’s Numen Lumen weekly storytelling event. 

It’s November 2018, Thanksgiving, and I’m making my way to West Virginia, 14 miles past the Virginia border into to a place that no longer supports a store, post office, or gas station. No cellphone service. My pal from graduate school, now working as a librarian in Spartanburg, South Carolina, has agreed to come along for the ride. We prepare for three days with 24 degree weather and no running water.

We are making our way to the little turn in the road where my father was born, which has been all but abandoned for about thirty years now, save a few old houses that get dusted off and used during hunting season. Clover Lick, unincorporated, a sign reads, sits along the Greenbrier River, and declined around the same time that the train stopped coming. Today, Clover Lick is mostly in a state of neglect. My cousin maintains one of the houses, always dubbed “Cold Comfort Farm” in our family, and this is where we will stay.

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Spotlight on Sabraton's Namesake

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
March 26th, 2019

Blog post by Jane Metters LaBarbara, Assistant Curator, WVRHC

Earlier this week, I attended the Seventh Annual History Roundtable, organized by the Morgantown Historic Landmarks Commission. About half of the meeting was devoted to reports about the recent Sabraton Neighborhood Survey. (FYI, the Historic Landmark Commission’s archive is at the Aull Center, if you want to see their work in full.) Despite living in the Sabraton area, I realized how little I knew about Sabraton. I learned that Sabraton was named after the first wife of Hon. George C. Sturgiss (1842-1925), Sabra. In one resource, her name was reported as Sabra Chadwick, but I think her maiden name was actually Sabra Jane Vance. In this post I briefly explore the name of Sabraton as well as what remains of Sabra’s life story.

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WVU Libraries opens Congressman Arch Moore archives, releases digital photographs

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
March 19th, 2019
Arch Moore shakes hands with President Eisenhower
Congressman Arch Moore shakes hands with President Dwight D. Eisenhower, circa 1957-1960

West Virginia University Libraries’ West Virginia & Regional History Center has opened the congressional archives of former U.S. Congressman and West Virginia Governor Arch A. Moore Jr. and released digitized photographs that document Moore’s decade in the House of Representatives. 

A native of Moundsville, W.Va., Arch A. Moore Jr. served in the European theatre during World War II before enrolling at West Virginia University as a political science major in 1946. He later earned his law degree from WVU College of Law. In 1949, Moore married Shelley Riley, a fellow WVU student, and they had three children together, Arch A. (Kim) Moore III, Shelley Wellons, and Lucy St. Clair. Daughter Shelley served in the U.S. House of Representatives (2001-2014) and the U.S Senate (2015-present).

In 1952, Moore began his political career in the West Virginia House of Delegates, and in 1956 he was elected to the First District congressional seat. He went on to serve six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (1957-1969) winning as a Republican in a predominantly Democratic state. He is the only person to serve three terms as Governor of West Virginia (1969-1977, 1985-1989).

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Springtime Selections from the Green Photography Collection

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
March 12th, 2019

Blog post by Michael Ridderbusch, Associate Curator, WVRHC.

The James Edwin Green photography collection of over 500 glass plate negatives at the History Center contains a variety of images that document life in western Pennsylvania and Pleasants County, West Virginia.  This blog will sample images that are seasonal, relating to the theme of springtime and warmer weather.

The first image shows the photographer, James Edwin Green (1878-1952) with his family at Orchard View Farm:

Family seated outside eating watermelon in an orchard, with text "Who Said Watermelon!"

James Edwin Green (1878-1952) and family at Orchard View Farm,
Pleasants County, West Virginia, ca. 1905-1910.
(From collection A&M 3460, James Edwin Green, Photographer,
Glass Plate Negatives and Other Material.)

In this picture we see his wife Edith Sarah Taylor Green with their three children (left to right) Virginia, Jeanette, and James Edwin, Jr.  If you look closely, you can see James Edwin, Sr. holding a string.  This string was attached to a camera in order to trigger its shutter.

James Green, Sr. also used his photography for creating Easter greetings as shown in the following example:

Girl in Easter dress, holding a toy bunny, next to an Easter basket

Easter Greeting card featuring a Green child; 1909.
(From collection A&M 3460, James Edwin Green, Photographer,
Glass Plate Negatives and Other Material.)

Woman in orchard, with blooms on the trees, with text "Down in Blossom Row"

A view of Orchard View Farm, Pleasants County, West Virginia, ca. 1905-1910.
It may be the photographer’s wife, Edith Green, who is strolling through the orchard.
(From collection A&M 3460, James Edwin Green, Photographer,
Glass Plate Negatives and Other Material.)

Man in orchard with three children, with text "Spring Time"

A portrait of James Edwin Green and his three children, Orchard View Farms,
Pleasants County, West Virginia, ca. 1905-1910.
(From collection A&M 3460, James Edwin Green, Photographer,
Glass Plate Negatives and Other Material.)

Many photographs in the collection were shot in Foxburg, Pennsylvania, where many members of the Green family lived, like the following:

Four children seated on a horse or mule, surrounded by family members

Children of James Edwin Green playing with relatives at Foxburg, Pennsylvania, ca. 1905-1910.
(From collection A&M 3460, James Edwin Green, Photographer,
Glass Plate Negatives and Other Material.)

In this picture we see Mrs. Edith Green on the left, her son James Edwin Green, Jr. on the horse, and her daughter Virginia on the right with hands behind her back.  Aunt Roseanne Green of Foxburg is holding a child up on the horse.

Three children in orchard surrounded by chickens, with text "Easter Greetings -1909- From St. Mary's W. Va."

Another Easter Greeting with Virginia, Jeanette, and James Green; 1909.
(From collection A&M 3460, James Edwin Green, Photographer,Glass Plate Negatives and Other Material.)

For more information about the James Green photograph collection, see the blog:
The Photographs of James Green and the Democratization of Photography

Sources consulted:
A&M 3460, James Edwin Green, Photographer, Glass Plate Negatives and Other Material, box 15/folder 15a for genealogy information
A&M 3460, James Edwin Green, Photographer, Glass Plate Negatives and Other Material, box 15/folder 16a for identification of subjects in photographs

New Books on Frederick Douglass at the West Virginia and Regional History Center

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
March 8th, 2019

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

The life of Frederick Douglass is infinitely compelling.  Born enslaved, he barely knew his mother, who died when he was young, and never knew his father.  As a young man he escaped enslavement to become a prominent activist and one of the finest orators of the 19th century.

With the publication of David Blight’s new biography, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, it seemed an appropriate time to share the West Virginia and Regional History Center’s extensive book collection on Frederick Douglass. 

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom.
David W. Blight

Cover of book Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, showing a color portrait of Douglass

An award winning author, David W. Blight has written what is called the definitive biography of Frederick Douglass. 

Frederick Douglass: A Life in Documents
Frederick Douglass

Cover of book Frederick Douglass: A Life in Documents, showing a portrait of a young Douglass

The University of Virginia Press describes Douglass as “the most prominent African American activist of the nineteenth century.”  His life is well documented and he left behind a vast amount of documentary evidence on his life in slavery and achievements in freedom. This volume gathers and interprets valuable selections from a variety of Douglass’s writings, including speeches, editorials, correspondence, and autobiographies.  This book is part of the series: A Nation Divided: Studies in the Civil War Era. 

Picturing Frederick Douglass:
An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century’s
Most Photographed American
John Stauffer, Zoe Trodd, and Celeste-Marie Bernier

Cover of book Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century's Most Photographed American, showing a color portrait of a middle aged Douglass

Paging through this volume the reader is overwhelmed by the quantity, and the variety of photographs.  This rich collection shows Douglass from his youth to old age.  Highly recommended.

Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass & Abraham Lincoln
John Stauffer

Cover of book Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass & Abraham Lincoln, showing portraits of Douglass and Lincoln

This dual biography looks at the life of two men, both self-made, who rose to prominence from the unlikely sources; Lincoln from poverty and Douglass from slavery. 

John Brown:
An Address by Frederick Douglass, at the Fourteenth Anniversary of Storer
College, Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, May 30, 1881.
Frederick Douglass

Cover of book titled John Brown: An Address by Frederick Douglass, at the Fourteenth Anniversary of Storer College, Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, May 30, 1881

Frederick Douglass was the keynote speaker for Decoration Day, May 30, 1881, at Storer College.  It was also the 14th anniversary of the college, the first institution of higher learning for African Americans in West Virginia, as well as the Storer College commencement.  This speech, printed here in its entirety, is one of the most important speeches on John Brown. 

Two Autobiographies:
My Bondage and My Freedom
Life and Times of Frederick Douglass

My Bondage and My Freedom Book Cover, showing a portrait of a younger Frederick Douglass
Life and Times of Frederick Douglass Book Cover, showing a portrait of Douglass when he was older

Frederick Douglass wrote three autobiographies during his lifetime; two of them, My Bondage and My Freedom and Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, examine different times in the author’s life.  The first, My Bondage and My Freedom, published in 1855, expands on his first autobiography, The Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass, and recalls his life as a slave.   The second book, Life and Times, looks at the latter part of his life. 

To see these books, and others on the life of Frederick Douglass, please visit the West Virginia and Regional History Center.  Several of these books are currently on display on our New Arrivals shelf.  

February is for the Birds

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
February 27th, 2019

Blog post by Jane Metters LaBarbara, Assistant Curator, WVRHC

Happy National Bird-Feeding Month, everyone!

February was initially proposed for this month-long observance because winter can be a hard time for birds to find food (more on the official resolution here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Bird-Feeding_Month). The month is now celebrated by the National Bird-Feeding Society and bird enthusiasts across the country. The WVRHC has a few collections about birds and birding that will be of interest to other hobbyists and scholars.

Boy scout holding bird feeder

West Virginia has two extant chapters of the National Audubon Society—the Mountaineer chapter based in Morgantown, and the Potomac Valley chapter based in Shepherdstown. The Mountaineer Chapter, chartered in 1971, gave some of its records to the WVRHC.

The Mountaineer Chapter created a packet titled “Identifying and Feeding Your Winter Birds.”

page showing descriptive text and/or images for the following birds: Downy Woodpecker, Mourning Dove, Blue jay, Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse

They let people know what birds to expect in the winter, and some useful facts about them.

Clipping with heading "What kind of feeders should I get?" showing seven types of bird feeders

The packet also gives a quick primer on the types of feeders you can use. (No word yet on which feeder will keep the raccoons away from my suet.)

Other accomplishments reflected in the chapter records are bird counts and activism, including an interim report for the ca. 1984-1985 Morgantown Screech Owl Habitat Improvement Research Project.

Newspaper "feature publication" cover with image of owl and headline "Whooo gives a hoot?"

The WVRHC also has the collections of Earl A. Brooks (WVU class of 1897) and Maurice Brooks (WVU professor from 1932-1969), both of whom had a keen interest in birds.  Earl kept notebooks recording his and co-workers notes on sites where specific species were observed, nesting sites, habits, etc.  His notes really helped Maurice Brooks with his work—in his A Check-List of West Virginia Birds, he writes, “Special use has been made of unpublished notes of Rev. Earle [sic] A. Brooks and of Professor E. R. Grose.” Below are two of the maps from Earl’s papers, and text for those same birds out of Maurice’s work a few decades later.

Map of West Virginia showing sighting spots for the White Pelican

Pelicanus erythrorhynchos, or White Pelican: “Of accidental occurrence in the state. Two records for this species were made during the last week in April 1910. E. A. Brooks examined one of two specimens taken in Braxton County on April 23, 191, and mounted by E.J. Hughes. Dr. Roy Bird Cook noted a flock along the Ohio River in Wood County during the same week. In the autumn of 1943 a single individual spent some weeks along the Great Kanawha River, near Charleston, Kanawha County, where it was seen by hundreds of persons. The West Virginia University Museum* has a specimen taken by a Mr. Dawson along the Cacapon River, Morgan County.”

*Blogger’s note: WVU doesn’t have just one museum, and I don’t yet know which of them might have a white pelican specimen.

Map of West Virginia showing sighting and breeding spots for the Purple Martin

Progne subis subis, or Purple Martin: “Local summer resident, seemingly much more restricted in range than formerly. Its colonies are scattered throughout the state, save in areas of heavy forest.” (The National Audubon Society website confirms this species is still somewhat in decline today.)

Anyone who wants to begin backyard bird feeding may not need more than some seeds and a feeder to get started, but knowledge of what birds you are likely to attract can make it easier to find the right types of feeders and food. Additionally, birdwatchers who keep tabs on the population can help identify problematic declines and help keep an eye on bird habitats. If you want to learn more about early 1900s bird populations in West Virginia or more modern bird-related activism, drop by and check out our collections.

Dark colored bird sitting on top of a bird cage that is affixed to a wall.

References:

Brooks, Maurice. A Check-List of West Virginia Birds. Agricultural Experiment Station, College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Home Economics, West Virginia University, 1944. (Bulletin 316)

Alpheus Poage Willson, 1794 to 1835, Morgantown Attorney

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
February 5th, 2019

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

While I was browsing volumes in the Rare Book Room recently I came across an early book of Virginia law, the Collection of All Such Public Acts of the General Assembly and Ordinances of the Conventions of Virginia, published in Richmond by Thomas Nicholson and William Prentiss, 1785. 

Opening the cover I could see that this particular book has an interesting provenance history.  The bookplate showed that this book had once belonged to a Morgantown attorney, Alpheus P. Willson.   The inscription at the top of the pastedown reads: “Presented to the West Virginia Historical Society, Nov 8, 1870, L.S. Hough.”  Another Morgantown attorney, Hough was known locally as a collector of rare books as well as law books.  The West Virginia Historical Society may well be the Monongalia Historical Society that operates in Morgantown today. The second bookplate, marked West Virginia University Libraries, shows that this book was donated in 1933 by A.P. Willson’s son, also named A.P. Wilson, though he chose to spell the family name without the extra “l” his father used.   

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REMIX the WVRHC Archives: Call for digital collage work

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
February 4th, 2019
Altered historic photograph

The West Virginia University Arts in the Libraries committee wants people to get creative with history.

“REMIX the WVRHC Archives,” an exhibition and online project by the Art in the Libraries program, encourages people to use the West Virginia & Regional History Center’s online resources to design unique artistic works, such as collages, memes, GIFs, creative writing, redaction poetry and other agglomerations.

“While archives are used for research, they can also inspire contemporary thought, perspective and fun, which is the aim of this curated project,” said Sally Deskins, exhibits coordinator for WVU Libraries.

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg Visits WVU, September 1978

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
January 29th, 2019

Blog post by Lori Hostuttler, Assistant Director, WVRHC.

Fifteen years before she became a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Ruth Bader Ginsburg visited West Virginia University to serve as a keynote speaker for the 1978 September Festival of Women.  Evidence of her visit was recently found in sources at the West Virginia & Regional History Center.  A student in a class session at the Center found images and news clippings about the festival in a photocopied scrapbook from A&M 5131, the WVU Women’s Studies Center collection.  Newspaper articles found in the scrapbook were also located in the archives of the Daily Athenaeum newspaper found on microfilm at the WVRHC.  

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The Road to Publication

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
January 16th, 2019

Blog post by Lemley Mullett, Program Assistant

Marc Harshman, the poet laureate of West Virginia since 2012 and an author from Marshall County, donated his life’s work collection to the WVRHC’s Distinguished West Virginians project. His collection reflects his dedication to both his craft and to Appalachia: not only do we have many of his rustic poem collections such as Believe What You Can, and Green-Silver and Silent, but many letters to and from publishers about his children’s books also are part of the collection–plus many manuscript drafts enclosed therein.

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All of This is Now Yours: Works from 1923 are Now Copyright Free

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
January 7th, 2019

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

“Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.”

The first few lines of Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, by poet Robert Frost, pictured below.  One of the great masterworks now entered into the public domain.

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Gems in the Orum, Eskey, and McCaffery Family Papers

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
December 17th, 2018

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

Family papers are a relatively common sight in archives like the WVRHC. We collect them because they tell the stories of the people of our state and region, and because they can be great genealogical resources. The WVRHC has hundreds of collections of family papers, ranging from collections with just a few items to collections like the Siler Family Papers, which contain over 150 boxes of material.  I’m currently processing the Orum, Eskey, and McCaffery Family Papers, detailing intersecting family lines from Sherrard, WV, and I wanted to share a few items from the collection that I found particularly special.

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The History of McLoughlin Brothers Children’s Books

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
December 10th, 2018

Blog post by Anna Schein, Associate Curator for Printed Ephemera, WVRHC.

McLoughlin Brothers, Inc. was a New York publishing firm which pioneered the use of color printing technologies in children’s books.  Actively publishing between 1858 and 1920, the company was particularly well known for its early use of hand-stenciled colored illustrations and its later printing techniques using chromolithographs and photo engravings.

Book cover of The Night Before Christmas, Showing Santa Claus' face

The company flourished under the leadership of John McLoughlin, Jr., who learned wood engraving and printing while working for Elton & Co., a publishing company owned by his father, John McLoughlin, Sr., and engraver/printer, Robert H. Elton.  After McLoughlin, Sr. and Elton retired, John, Jr. had control of the business.  He started to publish picture books under his own name and made his younger brother, Edmund McLoughlin, a partner in 1855.

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The Importance of a Good Cookbook

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
December 5th, 2018

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

Recently the West Virginia and Regional History Center received the gift of hundreds of cookbooks that are part of the Lucinda Ebersole Collection.  Ms. Ebersole was bookstore co-owner, cookbook enthusiast, editor, and book collector. Her collection of cookbooks spans the late nineteenth century up to 2016.  The much beloved cookbook pictured here arrived as part of the larger Ebersole collection.

Beneath the hand sewn plaid cover is the Rumford Complete Cook Book printed in 1918.  Nearly every page is covered with handwritten recipes, cooking spills and splashes marking favorite recipes, clippings pasted on pages that completely cover the text and recipes attached by paperclips.

Yellow, blue, and red cookbook cover

Yellow, blue, and red cookbook cover Read the rest of this entry »

Esther Benford, Engineer

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
November 19th, 2018

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

Sometimes, when processing a new collection of archival materials, you get an interesting snapshot of someone’s life.  Occasionally, if you want to know how that person’s story continues, you will have to do some research outside the collection.  While processing a new collection, I came across clippings and a few photos of Esther Benford. According to one of the clippings, from a city newspaper, she was a WVU student on track to receive in 1937 the “first degree in civil engineering ever granted to a woman” (probably “at WVU” and not the first in the world, but the article didn’t specify).

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Discovering World War I at the History Center, Part 4: The Elsie Janis Memorabilia Collection

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
November 9th, 2018

Blog post by Michael Ridderbusch, Associate Curator, WVRHC.

On the 11th of this month of November, at 11:00 AM Paris time, will occur the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.  America suffered casualties of over 115,000 in this conflict, making it the third costliest war in American history, following World War II (over 400,000) and the Civil War (750,000).  This sacrifice inspired President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 to ask Americans to recognize “those who had died in the country’s service.”  In time, his moral injunction led to Congressional actions that ultimately established in 1957 Veterans Day as we know it today.

 

In times of relative peace, we of course recognize the service of those in the armed forces.  In times of war we aspire to more.  These aspirations often take the form of serving in hospitals, working in the arms industry, etc.  In addition to these activities of material support, however, are ones of moral support to the troops.  In the Second World War the United Service Organizations (USO), a nonprofit organization established by request of President Roosevelt in 1941, provided such support.  Although many entertainers answered the call, the comedian Bob Hope has become most identified with the USO, so much so that the organization is currently known as the “Bob Hope USO.”  He not only entertained during World War II, but also during the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam.  Lesser known and even forgotten, however, is Elsie Janis, a vaudeville star who also entertained troops, albeit during World War I.  Her rapport and connection to audiences of soldiers was so great that she was immortalized as “the sweetheart of the AEF” (American Expeditionary Force).  The History Center has recently acquired memorabilia regarding Elsie Janis, including photographs, clippings, and other material documenting both her vaudeville years and World War I service.  Read the rest of this entry »

An Afternoon with Isaac Asimov: Talk and Exhibit

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
November 7th, 2018

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

Wednesday, October 31, the Rare Book Room, part of the West Virginia and Regional History Center at the WVU Libraries, hosted an event to highlight one of our extraordinary collections: the works of Isaac Asimov.  This event was designed to recognize our extensive Asimov collection and to celebrate our donors.

The event included an exhibit, shown below, that was on display in the Downtown Campus Library Atrium, and a talk by Nebula award winning author Andy Duncan, Professor of Writing at Frostburg State University.

Student viewing Isaac Asimov materials in glass cases in the library atrium

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Soup Beans and Archives Month

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
October 23rd, 2018

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

Beans mean a lot of things to a lot of people. Growing up outside Appalachia, I remember seven-bean soups being prepared, glass jars full of artfully layered dry ingredients, and sold by church ladies for charity purposes, frequently around the holidays. When my family bought a jar, it always felt like a treat. The other bean-treat of my youth was our neighbor’s chili. I’m fairly certain that it contained multiple kinds of beans, plus a few green veggie bits, and such a good flavor. (I invite you to imagine my dismay when we moved to Texas and I was told that “real” chili contained no beans at all.)

For people across the country and across the globe, beans are a staple food. You can have baked beans, beans on toast, falafel, hummus, refried beans, red bean paste, red beans and rice, succotash, lentil soup, shiro, etc. As I grew up, I learned about and tried a variety of bean-related dishes. Then I moved to West Virginia and I heard about soup beans. Not bean soup—soup beans. Like many modern-day armchair researchers, I started my research into soup beans on the internet, but I was not satisfied. My next step was to take a look at what library resources we had on soup beans.

Two women in a kitchen demonstrating bean canning

Two Women Demonstrate How to Can Beans at State 4-H Camp in Jackson’s Mill, Lewis County, W. Va.

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