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Hatfield Family Postcards

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
March 16th, 2020

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

In light of the current turbulence of COVID-19, I thought we could all use something nice and light to enjoy on the blog.  Below I am sharing a small sampling of postcards from our new (currently in-process) Hatfield family collection.

Boy seated next to dog, outside a house
This postcard was just labeled “Master Joe Hatfield and his Jack Dog”
Two men seated at pillars on opposite sides of a residential front door
J.D. Hatfield and Bob Hunter in front of an unknown house, demonstrating safe social distancing
Two children outside, standing next to a dog seated on a chair.
This postcard was labeled ” Uncle Joe, Mother, ‘Toby'” — I increased the contrast because the original is a bit faded.
Two men on either side of a saloon bar, with dog lounging on the bar
“John R. Caldwell in Elias Hatfield Saloon” (no mention of the dog’s name, but I’m wondering if it’s Toby at his day job). This photo was also faded quite a bit, so I altered the colors.
Man and woman standing outside a home
Labeled “Anderson Hatfield and Wife”–Devil Anse as an older man, with his wife Louvisa.

In case you, too, crave certainty and resolution, I wanted to end the post with the ceremonial peace treaty style document signed by members of both families in 2003, declaring that they had put the feud far behind them and embraced unity. Also included is the governor’s declaration of June 14, 2003 as Hatfield-McCoy Reconciliation Day.

A unity statement between the Hatfield and McCoy families, signed by Reo B. Hatfield, Bo McCoy, and Ron McCoy, dated June 14, 2003.
A unity statement between the Hatfield and McCoy families, signed by Reo B. Hatfield, Bo McCoy, and Ron McCoy, dated June 14, 2003.
Second page document of the unity statement between the Hatfields and McCoys, with signatures of dozens of family members.
An extension of the unity statement between the Hatfields and McCoys, with signatures of dozens of family members.
Official declaration document (with state seal) of June 14, 2003 as Hatfield-McCoy Reconciliation Day, by Governor Bob Wise
Official declaration of June 14, 2003 as Hatfield-McCoy Reconciliation Day, by Governor Bob Wise

WVU Libraries postpones Sherlock symposium

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
March 12th, 2020

West Virginia University Libraries has postponed “A Mountaineer Named Sherlock,” a Sherlock Holmes symposium scheduled for March 20-21, due to the suspension of in-person classes and other events on the WVU campus. 

Woman Suffrage Amendment Approved by the West Virginia Senate 100 Years Ago Today

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
March 10th, 2020

Blog post by Lori Hostuttler, Assistant Director, WVRHC

On March 10, 1920, West Virginia Senators voted to approved the 19th Amendment to the Constitution which extended the right to vote to women.  Taking this action made West Virginia number thirty-four of the thirty-six states needed for ratification. 

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Sampling a New Collection: Historical Postcards of Railroad Depots

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
March 6th, 2020

Blog post by Michael Ridderbusch, Associate Curator, WVRHC.

Recently, I was a passenger on Amtrak’s Empire Builder line, an experience which afforded me opportunities to get off the train and explore a few passenger depots in out-of-the-way places.  Many of the depot buildings I visited had historical interest.  This isn’t surprising.  Since train travel is an experience older than that of traveling by cars and planes we expect to see an antique infrastructure that will evoke a sense of times past, even while engaging with the immediate journey at hand.

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The Jemima Code: Three Centuries of African American Cookbooks

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
February 25th, 2020

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

Book cover of The Jemima Code, featuring an African American woman chef

A new book on our shelves, The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks, by Toni Tipton-Martin, documents more than 150 black cookbooks published in America.  The cookbooks range from a rare 1827 house servant’s manual, the first book published by an African American in the trade, to modern classics by authors like Edna Lewis.  Each book is listed chronologically and illustrated with their covers.  Recipes are also included. According to the listing on Amazon, this book “offers important firsthand evidence that African Americans cooked creative masterpieces from meager provisions, educated young chefs, operated food businesses, and nourished the African American community through the long struggle for human rights.”

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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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Submissions deadline approaching for Libraries’ voter suppression exhibit

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
December 20th, 2019
collection of political buttons

The submissions deadline is Jan. 17, 2020 for West Virginia University Libraries’ art exhibition to mark the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the U. S. Constitution, which granted women the right to vote, and the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which enforced voting rights for racial minorities.

“Undefeated: Canvas(s)ing the Politics of Voter Suppression since Women’s Suffrage” will open at the Downtown Campus Library in fall 2020 and address the political process with special attention to efforts to suppress the votes of women and minorities since 1920.

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A New Way of Looking at Thomas Jefferson’s Legal Dictionary

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
December 16th, 2019

By McKayla Herron, Graduate Assistant at the WVRHC

Working as a graduate assistant at the WV&RHC, I have been surrounded by amazing archival materials. This semester I had the opportunity to undertake an in-depth study of Thomas Jefferson’s Common Law Dictionary, one of the many treasures found in our Rare Book Collection, as part of my coursework for ARHS 412: Collections Care and Preservation of Material Objects. (This book was featured in a previous post by Rare Book Librarian Stewart Plein.) Utilizing a microscope to examine the book, I was able to learn more about the materials that comprise it and the techniques used to make it.

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Something Good from Helvetia: Pfeffernusse

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
December 6th, 2019

Blog post by Lori Hostuttler, Assistant Director, WVRHC

A couple of years ago, I purchased a small cookbook from the Helvetia table during WVU’s Mountaineer Week.  I collect local cookbooks and this one was of special interest because I had just learned that my Hochstadler ancestors had likely immigrated from Switzerland to America in the mid-eighteenth century.

Cover of book showing title "Oppis Guet’s Vo Helvetia" and a green china hutch.
The cover of my cookbook. Art by Delores R. Baggerly. Oppis Guet’s Vo Helvetia translates to “Something Good from Helvetia.” The WVRHC has 1969 original prints of the cookbook in the collection. My copy is a modern reprint.
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Apple Stack Cake

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
November 25th, 2019

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

After my blog post about Shoofly Pie, controversially credited as the WV state dessert on some websites, I’ve been on the lookout for a dessert that would better suit the title of “West Virginia state dessert.”  It has proven to be a real challenge.  My most recent search turned up new ideas (summed up nicely in this WV Gazette Mail article) from hot dogs/mad dogs (tasty pastries that are actually filled with cream) to peanut butter oat cookies (which I love, knowing them from my non-WV childhood as chocolate oatmeal no bake cookies and other less pleasing names).  I kept digging through the internet, seeing apples and molasses pop up a couple of times as quintessential ingredients.  Then, I stumbled on Appalachian Apple Stack Cake.

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Remembering the Farmington Mine Disaster November 20, 1968

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
November 19th, 2019

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

Huge plume of smoke billowing from an obscured structure over a parking lot

Early on the morning of November 20, 1968, while the day was still in darkness, an explosion rocked the Consolidation Coal No. 9 mine in Marion County, WV.  The Farmington Mine Disaster, as it is remembered today, took the lives of 78 miners.  Of the 99 miners at work in the mine that day, only 21 survived.  Of the 78 miners who died, 19 of the dead have never been recovered.  Their grave is the mine where they worked. 

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My West Virginia Family Ghost Story

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
November 15th, 2019

Blog post by Lori Hostuttler, Assistant Director, WVRHC

By the time this is published, Halloween will be a diminishing memory for most but I think ghost stories are enjoyed year round!  So I wanted to share my family’s ghost story. When I was in elementary school, one of my teachers read to the class from the West Virginia classic, The Telltale Lilac Bush and Other West Virginia Ghost Stories by Dr. Ruth Ann Musick.  The book was published in 1965. Dr. Musick was folklorist and faculty member at Fairmont State College (now University.)

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Halloween Poem

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
October 31st, 2019

Courtesy of Stewart Plein, Assistant Curator for WV Books & Printed Resources & Rare Book Librarian

Enjoy this short Halloween poem from an item in our rare book collection:

Carved jack-o-lanterns sketch

We are merry Jack O’Lanterns, See!
Come and join us in our glee,
While we dance beneath the tree,
While we dance upon the green,
While we dance on Hallowe’en,
Come and join our merry ranks,
While we play our jolly pranks
Come and hear us as we tell,
What the witches know so well,
Come, Oh come! And do not wait,
While we dance here on the green,
While we dance on Hallowe’en.

Sketch of children carrying jack-o-lanterns

Poem and images (which can be printed as coloring pages, if you like) all from:

Lewis, G.W. The Story Primer.  Illustrated by Bess Bruce Cleaveland.  Third edition.  Chicago: G.W. Lewis Publishing Co. 1915.  Pages 70-72.

Happy Halloween from the WVRHC!

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
October 28th, 2019

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

Still looking for costume ideas?  In addition to the many historical outfits you can find examples of in our West Virginia History OnView database of photos, we also have examples of costumes people have worn in the past.

With basic papier-mâché skills and some rather large clothes, you could make your very own Very Tall Person costume:

Children hiding behind five people in very tall person costumes.
Parade Participants in Tall Costumes, Morgantown, W. Va., early 1900s
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