Ask A Librarian

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 »

Easter Greetings from the 1900s

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
April 16th, 2017

Blog post by Jessica Eichlin, Photographs Manager and Preservationist, WVRHC.

Easter is this weekend, and with it comes time spent with family and friends, good meals, and holiday symbols such as rabbits, baby chicks, and flowers.

Items related to Easter can be found in our Reading Room, in Archives and Manuscripts collections, and in our photograph collections.  We hope you enjoy this small selection of items celebrating the holiday.  Happy Easter!

 

Three children in field of chickens Read the rest of this entry »

19th Century Memorabilia: Autograph Books

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
April 13th, 2017

Blog post by Michael Ridderbusch, Associate Curator, WVRHC.

 

Recently at the History Center, when cataloging a collection, I encountered two 19th century autograph books kept by students from Clarksburg, West Virginia and Toboso, Ohio.  Having previously encountered this type of material in my work here, I was inspired to sample our holdings of these books in order to learn more about our collections, and to delve a bit into the history of this genre.  Read the rest of this entry »

WVU HSC Library hosts 'Imagining the West Side' Exhibit

Posted by jetapia@wvu-ad.wvu.edu.
April 5th, 2017

West Virginia continuously falls at or near the bottom of national statistics when it comes to the social determinants of health including employment, poverty, education, and healthy food access…but why is that? Dr. Lauri Andress, assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy, Management, and Leadership in the West Virginia University School of Public Health, is exploring this question through her research on low wealth communities, community and economic development, and nontraditional ‘ policy analysis tools’.

People may now get a glimpse into her work through an exhibition, Imagining the West Side: Constructing Health through the Built Environment, on display at the WVU Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center April 10-27, with a tour and panel discussion April 19.

Incorporating participatory photoanalytics, GIS mapping, and video with an aim of  integrating the voices of   vulnerable groups into  public policy decision-making, the exhibit sheds light on the built environment and population health status of Charleston, W.Va.’s west side, with photos and narratives supplied by community members and WVU School of Medicine students.

“This exhibit reveals important issues, but also provides solutions,” said Dean of WVU Libraries Jon Cawthorne, “We are honored and privileged to showcase Dr. Andress’ research in the WVU Libraries.”

The exhibit provides a visual display of her research on social determinants of health, inequities, and the built environment of low wealth regions undergoing economic development and possibly displacement.  As viewers reach the end of the exhibition they will find suggested policy solutions to help ensure equitable development.

Viewers are then encouraged to contribute their ideas on population health, economic development and the built environment with a survey.

Said Kathleen Bors, Assistant Dean for Student Services at WVU School of Medicine, Charleston Division: “The West Side Photovoice project was a powerful experience in partnership with West Side community leaders and mentors, along with their stories and tours of the neighborhood. The group discussions between medical students and neighborhood residents offered us all a helpful overview and perspective on the impact of community factors on population health, from toxic stress due to crime ridden, dangerous neighborhood features to hopeful interventions..  The medical students learned a great deal, and were very touched by the event.”

On April 19, Andress will present a narrated tour of the exhibition at 11 a.m., followed by the panel discussion at 12 p.m. The panel will be in Okey Patteson Auditorium while the narrated exhibition tour will start in the Pylons area of the Health Sciences Center.  An exhibition video is available at https://tinyurl.com/mhopfv9.

Lunch will be available to the first 40 people who RSVP at mrobin10@hsc.wvu.edu.

The exhibit is jointly facilitated by the West Virginia School of Public Health, West Virginia University Libraries, and the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute. The project described was supported in part by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, U54GM104942. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

Matthew P. Purtill, a WVU Ph.D. student in Geography, also contributed to the curating of the exhibit, which will travel to the Downtown Campus Library this fall.

The Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center is located at 1 Medical Drive, Morgantown, WV, 26505.  For more information, visit www.hsc.wvu.edu/.

Images attached for use: credit West Virginia University School of Medicine in Charleston photographer Adam Cunningham.

 

-WVU-

 

sd/4/6/17

CONTACT: Sally Deskins, Exhibits & Programs Coordinator, WVU Libraries
304.293.0369; sbdeskins@mail.wvu.edu

The Robert F. Munn Library Scholars Award For the Humanities and Social Sciences

Posted by jetapia@wvu-ad.wvu.edu.
April 4th, 2017

The Award

The Robert F. Munn Library Scholars Award is presented annually to a graduating Honors student for outstanding research contributions in the humanities or social sciences that have culminated in the production of an exceptional thesis.

The award will be presented during a ceremony held at the Downtown Campus Library. In addition, there is a monetary award of $1,000.

The Robert F. Munn Library Scholars was established during the fall of 2008 in honor of Dr. Robert F. Munn, Dean of Library Services from 1957 – 1986. Dean Munn nurtured the West Virginia and Regional History Collection, the Appalachian Collection, and a unique East Africa collection. He maintained strong collections in the humanities, especially American history and literature. The Libraries’ collections in these areas today are remarkably complete and are a legacy of Dean Munn’s consistent care.

Munn was born in Seattle and grew up in Pittsburgh, where his father was director of the Carnegie Library. He received his bachelor’s degree from Oberlin, his master’s degree from the University of Chicago, and his doctorate from the University of Michigan.

Eligibility

To be eligible to win, applicants must:
• Be an honors student enrolled at West Virginia University as a full-time undergraduate student in good academic standing who will graduate in December 2016 or will graduate in May 2017.
• Have conducted original research using resources from the West Virginia University Libraries and used this research to produce a written thesis that reflects individual work, not that of a group or class project.
• Have completed the research project for a credit course at West Virginia University fall semester 2016 or spring semester 2017.
• Have a cumulative GPA of no less than a 3.4 and have met the additional requirements for graduation as described by the Honors College of West Virginia University.
• Agree to permit West Virginia University Libraries and the Honors College to use their name, photographs, video images, etc., to promote The Robert F. Munn Undergraduate Library Scholars Award to future participants.
• Agree to attend the award ceremony.
• Agree to have his/her work published in the Mountaineer Undergraduate Research Review.

Completed Thesis:

The completed thesis must be submitted no later than 4:00 p.m. on Monday, April 17, 2017. Applicants should submit an electronic copy of their thesis to Associate Dean of Libraries, Myra Lowe, Myra.Lowe@mail.wvu.edu and Associate Dean of the Honors College, Ryan Claycomb, Ryan.Claycomb@mail.wvu.edu.

Subject

The research topic must be in the realms of the humanities or social sciences.

Criteria

Judges will read the theses for:
• Potential impact/contribution to the academic field.
• Significance of thesis.
• Quality of thesis/theoretical value.
• Development of the subject/topic.
• Technical merit.
• Novelty*/generation of new knowledge.
• Use of West Virginia University Libraries resources.

*Work that is attributed to a student’s own initiative, rather than to assist a faculty member’s current research interests, will be considered more favorably by judges.

A Visit to the Rare Book Room: A Tweet Story

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
April 3rd, 2017

Blog post by Stewart Plein, Rare Book Librarian

When Sharon Kelly, WVU Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English, reached out to me to ask if her class could come to the Rare Book Room as an extra credit activity I jumped at the chance to share WVU’s rare book collection with Sharon’s students.  The following is a series of tweets between the instructor and her class documenting the process of arranging for a class to visit the Rare Book Room and the students’ excitement once they began to experience the collections.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

New Collection, New Discovery: Mr. Jones and the Student Army Training Corps

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
March 27th, 2017

Blog post by Jane Metters LaBarbara, Assistant Curator, WVRHC

 

I recently processed a new collection for the archives here at the WVRHC – A&M 4179, the Larry Jones, Collector, Postcards and Photographs.  Among this lovely collection of West Virginia related postcards and holiday postcards are three mounted photographs of the Student Army Training Corps (SATC) of West Virginia Wesleyan College–two of them include Ralph Jones. One of them is below.

 

Group of WV Wesleyan SATC with hands raised as if for an oath

Ralph Jones is behind the right shoulder of the fellow in the “C” sweater—can you tell which one?

  Read the rest of this entry »

It's Green-up Time: the Arrival of Spring and Louise McNeill's The Milkweed Ladies

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
March 23rd, 2017

Blog post by Lori Hostuttler, Assistant Director, WVRHC.

As of Monday, spring is officially here!  Every year when the time changes and we have evening light, I look forward to blooming buds and the appearance of leaves on the trees, also known as “green-up time.”  I was not familiar with this colloquialism until I read poet Louise McNeill’s memoir, The Milkweed Ladies.  McNeill describes all the activity that took place on the farm just before and during springtime in the chapter, “Green-up Time.”  It is nostalgic and beautiful, revealing a routine unknown to most in our modern times.

 

“Soon after sassafras time, it was green-up time, with the first shoots coming up out of the ground.  We watched the sprouts hopefully, for this was the time of year for Granny to go to the fields and woods to pick her wild greens, the “sallets” of the old frontier. Granny Fanny taught us all the plants, and how to tell the good greens from the bad. We gathered new poke sprouts, always being careful not to snip them too close to their poison roots; and we gathered “spotted leaf,” leaves of “lamb’s tongue,” butter-and-eggs, curly dock, new blackberry sprouts, dandelions, and a few violet leaves.”  — The Milkweed Ladies, page 45.

 

Portrait of Louise McNeill in 1941
Louise McNeill in 1941  Read the rest of this entry »