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This Week in History: Scenes from Civil War Diaries

Posted by Jane Metters.
May 28th, 2013

In the midst of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, archives and special collections libraries across the country are gathering their Civil War papers and memorabilia to share with the public.   The West Virginia and Regional History Center is no exception.  The WVRHC holds a vast array of material from the Civil War period, including personal diaries and journals.  The excerpts below give readers a glimpse of what life was like for people in central Appalachia in late May during the war years.

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The Mystery of Unidentified Photos at the WVRHC

Posted by Jane Metters.
May 20th, 2013

In the decades before digital photography, how many people took the time to write identifying information on the backs of their photographs?  Those photos are then passed down through the generations, sold, or given away, and the pictures’ identification gets lost.  It is not uncommon for photographs donated to archival repositories to be unidentified and undated.  In some cases, insight into the subjects of unidentified photos can be gleaned from styles of dress, props and accessories, or local landmarks.

Many of the photos held by the West Virginia and Regional History Center are available in the digital photograph database called West Virginia History OnView, and some of them lack identifying information.  One such image is photo number 040438, “Group Portrait of West Virginia Statehood Leaders.”

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Bequest from Alumna Helps Preserve State History

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 16th, 2013

The West Virginia and Regional History Center at the West Virginia University Libraries is already benefiting from a $100,000 donation from WVU alumna Louise Amelia Robinson.

Its first fruit is a thick sketchbook from Joseph H. Diss Debar, the artist who designed West Virginia’s state seal. Inside the cover are page after page of drawings of figures and events that shaped state and world history.

“Louise Robinson’s gift to the West Virginia and Regional History Center has made an immediate impact,” center Director John Cuthbert said. “The Diss Debar sketchbook has far exceeded my expectations. There are numerous sketches relating directly to the creation of West Virginia as the nation’s 35th state.”

The WVU Libraries honored the family of Louise Amelia Robinson in a ceremony in the Wise Library’s Grand Foyer. Pictured from left to right are: Katie McKinney, Adrienne McKinney, Carolyn Robinson Kovach, Nancy Walker, Tom Seiler, Susan Robinson Greaser, Terri Seiler, and Michael Robinson.

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Kawalek Named Munn Library Scholar

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 14th, 2013

The West Virginia University Libraries have named Jessica Brielle Kawalek the 2013 Robert F. Munn Undergraduate Library Scholar.

“Brie did a tremendous job researching her topic and presenting her findings,” said Keith Garbutt, Dean of the Honors College. “She exemplifies the undergraduates at West Virginia University who are engaged in extraordinary research. We are pleased the Libraries are recognizing her for her scholarship and hard work.”

Jessica Brielle Kawalek (center) is the 2013 Robert F. Munn Undergraduate Library Scholar. Libraries Interim Dean Myra N. Lowe and Honors College Dean Keith Garbutt congratulate Kawalek on her accomplishment.

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Health Sciences Library Launches New Website

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 13th, 2013

The Health Sciences Library website has moved to a new address:http://www.libraries.wvu.edu/libraries/healthsciences. Please update your bookmarks and links to the new address. Our new website has many improved features including:

  • Improved navigation that is fully integrated with all of WVU Libraries sites and resources
  • A Summon search box on every page
  • Ask A Librarian chat links on all pages

Please contact us if you have any questions or to provide feedback on the new site.

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WVRHC Item Profile: Resolutions of the First Wheeling Convention

Posted by Jane Metters.
May 13th, 2013

On April 17, 1861, the Virginia Convention voted, 88 to 55, to secede from the Union.  Almost two-thirds of those who voted against secession came from northwestern Virginia, where the economic climate and political interests were very different from eastern Virginia.  The passage of the Virginia Secession Ordinance resulted in anti-secession conventions across northwestern Virginia. The largest of these, held in Clarksburg, resulted in a call for a convention to be held to address Virginia's uncertain political future.  The resulting meeting, held on May 13-15, 1861, would later be known as the First Wheeling Convention.

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Course Enhancement Initiative Hits Fifth Year

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 7th, 2013

The WVU Libraries have selected six faculty members to participate in the fifth year of its Information Literacy Course Enhancement Program, an initiative to enhance courses to help students improve their research skills and to become more discerning when searching for and using information.

A collaborative endeavor between the Libraries and the Provost’s Office, the program focuses on fulfilling the University’s 2020 Plan which calls for “engaging undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in a challenging academic environment.” Information literacy is the ability to find, evaluate, and effectively use information.

“We at the Libraries are proud of the integral role we play in every student’s academic pursuits,” said Myra N. Lowe, Interim Dean of Libraries. “We are pleased that the Course Enhancement Program continues to help students to become better researchers and to gain more from the classroom experience.”

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WVRHC Launches New Website

Posted by Jane Metters.
May 6th, 2013

Today, the West Virginia and Regional History Center launched its new website.  The new site offers clear navigation, improved searching, and a fresh design that helps to showcase the vast array of material that the WVRHC makes available to researchers investigating West Virginia and central Appalachia history and culture.  It includes all of the information found on our previous website, as well as some new things.  Highlights include:

  • a search bar for some of our major collections
  • a page that showcases the exhibit currently in the WVRHC’s galleries
  • improved displays of our physical and digital collections
  • information for new visitors and potential donors

Please take a few minutes to explore the new site.  If you can’t find what you need, or just want to give us feedback, contact us.

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Two WVU Librarians Traveling to China

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 2nd, 2013

Two WVU librarians will travel to China in May as part of an exchange with Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (SUFE). Jing Qiu and Martha Yancey will spend two weeks observing operations at the university’s library and discussing their work at WVU.

“Visiting and working in an academic library in China will be a tremendous learning experience for our librarians,” Interim Dean of Libraries Myra N. Lowe said. “We are excited about the insights and ideas Jing and Martha will bring home.”

This trip is the second phase of a partnership that began last fall when two librarians from SUFE, Yu Huang and Deyu Gong, spent the semester learning about operations at the WVU Libraries.

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