Research Resources for West Virginia Studies – MH3WV

West Virginia Studies


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wv centennial

Research Resources – West Virginia Studies

“The Constitution of the State of West Virginia”

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West Virginia State Seal Reverse

Explore WV Legislature Office of Reference and Information’s “WV Constitution” Website

“Citizen’s Guide to the Legislature”

wv legislature

Includes:  State Capitol Information, The Legislative Process, The Committee Process, Floor Action, Common Legislative Terms

Explore WV Legislature Office of Reference and Information’s “Citizen’s Guide to the Legislature”Website – the Eductional drop down box at the top of the page includes more information

“How a Bill Becomes Law in WV”

wv legislature

“A bill is an idea for a new law, or an idea to change or do away with an existing law. Hundreds of bills enter the legislative process in West Virginia each time the Legislature meets. Two groups of elected citizens – 34 senators and 100 delegates – study, discuss and vote on bills, and in doing so act for the people of West Virginia. Bills enter the legislative process either through the House of Delegates or the Senate, but to become laws, bills must pass both chambers and avoid a governor’s veto.”

 Explore WV Legislature Office of Reference and Information’s “How a Bill Becomes Law in WV” Website

“West Virginia Code”

wv legislature

“The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.”

Explore WV Legislature Office of Reference and Information’s “West Virginia Code” Website

“The Blue Book”

wv legislature

“Published each year, the Blue Book is an extensive guide containing information on current officials in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of state government; federal officers, including the president, congressional representatives and judges; and, political leaders, including party committee chairs and members. The books published in odd-numbered years and the 2000 edition, include photographs and biographies of these officials. This publication also contains information on state and federal agencies; postal information; the Constitutions of the United States and West Virginia; and, considerable information on counties, municipalities and various organizations.”  

[Unfortunately, the Blue Book has not been published annually for the several years.]

Explore “West Virginia Blue Book” Website – includes archived volumes from 1916 to 2012 (pdfs)


Explore “Blue Book” 2015-2016 edition — by section:  (pdfs)

Frontice (p. I-XIV)
Section 1: Executive (p. 1-336)
Section 2: Legislative (p. 337-512)
Section 3: Judicial (p. 513-542)
Section 4: Constitutional (p. 543-628)
Section 5: Institutions (p. 629-676)
Section 6: Federal (p. 677-752)
Section 7: Press, Television & Radio, Postal (p. 753-766)
Section 8: Political (p. 767-876)
Section 9: Counties (p. 877-946)
Section 10: Municipalities (p. 947-1042)
Section 11: Departmental, Statistical & General Information (p. 1043-1116) — includes Official State Symbols
Section 12: Index (p. 1117-1134)

“WV Legislature’s Office of Reference and Information”

wv legislature

“Created by the Joint Committee on Government & Finance in 1976, the Office of Reference & Information disseminates information on all facets of the legislative process. The office serves the general public, lawmakers and the media by producing written and electronic educational materials, publications and news releases regarding the actions of the Legislature. In addition, the office designs and maintains the Legislature’s Web site, handles all legislative photography and houses the legislative research library. All work of the office is nonpartisan and covers the actions of both the Senate and the House of Delegates.”

Explore “WV Legislature’s Office of Reference and Information” Website — See the:  “EDUCATIONAL” and  “STATE LAW” drop down boxes

“West Virginia Legislature”

wv legislature

Explore “West Virginia Legislature” Website

Research Resources – West Virginia Studies

“Office of the Governor”

West Virginia Governor Seal

Explore “Office of the Governor” Website

     “West Virginia’s Governors”

West Virginia Arts Culture HistoryWv history research resources

Explore WV Department of Arts, Culture and History’s “Governors of West Virginia” Poster (@2015) (pdf)

Scans of a booklet of Governors’ portraits and short biographies, published in 2019.  Also includes historical information on West Virginia’s early and current State Capitol buildings.

Explore WV Department of Arts, Culture and History’s “West Virginia’s Governors” Booklet (pdf)

Research Resources west virginia governors history

Scans of a booklet of First Ladies’ photos and short biographies, published in 2018.  Also includes information on the First Ladies doll collection and the doll makers.

Explore WV Department of Arts, Culture and History’s “West Virginia’s First Ladies” Booklet (pdf)

Research Resources – West Virginia Studies

“West Virginia Judiciary”

“Explore the court system and the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia”

Includes:  Public Resources, Supreme Court, Lower Courts, Legal Community, and Court Administration, as well as a slideshow of County Courthouses and a virtual tour of the Supreme Court of Appeals’ Courtroom.

Explore “West Virginia Judiciary” Website

     “The Foundation of Justice: West Virginia Court System” – West Virginia Judiciary

“This video, about the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia and the state court system, gives viewers an understanding of the judicial process. It contains historical footage, archival photos, interviews, and detailed shots of the stunning Courtroom in the East Wing of the West Virginia Capitol. It is narrated by Justice Thomas E. McHugh.”

<<This is a two-part video — this part deals with the WV Judicial Process. The other part, located on the “Capitol Complex” page, includes the Courtroom and History of the WV Supreme Court.>>

(16:03/2016/West Virginia Judiciary)

Research Resources – West Virginia Studies

“The Constitution of the United States of America”

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Explore WV Legislature’s Office of Reference and Information’s “US Constitution” Website


Explore US Department of State’s “Great Seal of the US” brochure, including meaning, history and uses. pdf

“The Library of Congress”


library of congress 2       library of congress 1

“The Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections.

“The Library’s mission is to support the Congress in fulfilling its constitutional duties and to further the progress of knowledge and creativity for the benefit of the American people.

“The Library of Congress occupies three buildings on Capitol Hill. The Thomas Jefferson Building (1897) is the original separate Library of Congress building. (The Library began in 1800 inside the U.S. Capitol.) The John Adams Building was built in 1938 and the James Madison Memorial Building was completed in 1981.

“An agency of the legislative branch of the U.S. government, the Library includes several internal divisions (or service units), including the Office of the Librarian, Congressional Research Service, U.S. Copyright Office, Law Library of Congress, Library Services, the Office of Strategic Initiatives and the Office of Support Operations.

“Today’s Library of Congress is an unparalleled world resource. The collection of more than 160 million items includes more than 37.8 million cataloged books and other print materials in 470 languages; more than 69.6 million manuscripts; the largest rare book collection in North America; and the world’s largest collection of legal materials, films, maps, sheet music and sound recordings.”

Explore “Library of Congress” Website

Research Resources – West Virginia Studies

“WV Library Commission”


“The West Virginia Library Commission encourages lifelong learning, individual empowerment, civic engagement and an enriched quality of life by enhancing library and information services for all West Virginians.”

Explore “WV Library” Commission Website



“West Virginia: A Digital Primer, Elementary Edition”

“Additional resources for teachers, school librarians, parents, and students to further explore the exciting and fascinating events in West Virginia history.  Click on the tabs to find interesting resources relating to information on the state, fun activities, books and videos about WV, and more.”

Explore WV Library Commission’s “West Virginia: A Digital Primer, Elementary Edition” Website



“Streaming Video”

A wide range of videos, including additional History Alive! presentations, are available from the Library Television Network.

Explore WV Library Commission’s “Streaming Videos” Website  –  (a full page list)

“WV University Libraries” – WVU


“The Rare Book Room in the West Virginia and Regional History Center owns many treasures from across the globe, including a two volume legal dictionary once owned by Thomas Jefferson.”

Explore “WV University Libraries” Website


     “WV History OnView” – WVU Libraries


“Photographs from West Virginia and regional history collection at the WVU Libraries.

“The West Virginia and Regional History Center contains the most comprehensive collection of historic photographs pertaining to West Virginia in existence. Estimated to include more than 225,000 images, these photographs are interspersed throughout the WVRHC’s broad holdings.

“The West Virginia and Regional History Center has created a digital version of this tremendous pictorial resource which documents the history of countless subjects and places in West Virginia. As of Spring 2013, more than 41,000 images are available via “West Virginia History OnView,” and more are added on a regular basis. In addition to offering convenient on-site and remote access to these photographs, the image records offer extensive catalog and subject data which makes this resources highly searchable and user friendly.

“The creators of the photos are diverse and in many cases unknown. The date range is roughly 1850 to the present. The digital resource has been in production by the staff of the WVRHC since fall 2004.  The resource is fully searchable by catalog metadata, character string, and with Boolean capability.”

Explore WVU Libraries’ “WV History OnView” Website

“The West Virginia Encyclopedia (e-WV)” – WV Humanities Council


 “All There is to Know about West Virginia”

“The West Virginia Encyclopedia is the comprehensive reference resource for the Mountain State of West Virginia. Based on the best-selling West Virginia Encyclopedia, e-WV offers thousands of articles on West Virginia’s people and places, history, arts, science and culture.”

Explore “The West Virginia Encyclopedia (e-WV)” Website

     “This Week in WV History” – WV Public Broadcasting & e-WV

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“Explore economic, social, and political events and individuals in West Virginia history with the West Virginia Public Broadcasting series ‘This Week in WV History.’  A guided listening graphic organizer, scripts, and a timeline and extension activity for each month is included in support materials.”  Extensive–and growing–audio series.

Explore WV Public Broadcasting’s “This Week in WV History” Website

“The Clio” – Marshall University

“Named after the ancient muse of history…, Clio is an educational website and mobile application that guides the public to thousands of historical and cultural sites throughout the United States. Built by scholars for public benefit, each entry includes a concise summary and useful information about a historical site, museum, monument, landmark, or other site of cultural or historical significance. In addition, “time capsule” entries allow users to learn about historical events that occurred around them. Each entry offers turn-by-turn directions as well as links to relevant books, articles, videos, primary sources, and credible websites.

“Clio offers a compelling intellectual challenge as professional historians work with local history experts to create and vet entries in an open digital environment. Ambitious in scope, Clio allows scholars and their students to publish humanities scholarship using an innovative digital format that will instantly reach a broad audience in ways that cannot be replicated by traditional forms of publishing. We believe that there is something powerful that occurs when our sense of the past connects with our sense of place. We hope that you will use Clio to connect with the history and culture that surrounds you.”

Explore Marshall University’s “The Clio” Website

Research Resources – West Virginia Studies

“West Virginia’s Historical Highway Markers”


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Spring 2021

“The West Virginia Highway Historical Marker Program was initiated in 1937 as part of the New Deal as a way to encourage tourism during the Great Depression. The West Virginia Commission on Historic and Scenic Markers worked with the State Road Commission, Works Progress Administration, and Federal Emergency Relief Administration to place 440 markers during the first year alone. After World War II, markers were placed at the sites of most state-run facilities and schools. The West Virginia Historic Commission took over the program in 1963. Since the late 1960s, the program has been managed by West Virginia Archives and History, which is today part of the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture & History. . .”

Explore WV Archives and History’s “Historical Highway Marker Information” Website to continue reading.

Explore Information from WV Archives and History’s “Historical Highway Marker FAQ’s” Website – includes: When was the marker program established?  Does the West Virginia State Archives keep a list of markers?  Who pays for the markers?  What subjects or events will be consideredHow many markers are there?  How are markers maintained?

For more information about the markers program — Please contact Matt McGrew – Cultural Program Coordinator, West Virginia Archives and History.

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Explore WV Archives and History’s “Historical Highway Marker Database” website to search for a marker


Explore WV Archives and History’s Historical Highway Marker Guidelines (pdf) – includes: Who may apply for a marker; How to apply; Where to submit the application; Criteriawv history archives

“To receive consideration for an official West Virginia State Highway Historical Marker, please provide the information requested below on this form.”

Explore WV Archives and History’s Historical Highway Marker Application (pdf) to access the necessary form to apply

    “West Virginia’s Sesquicentennial Highway Historical Markers”

wv history archives“In 2011 and 2012, Archives and History received $256,000 in grants to create 160 new highway historical markers on the Civil War in West Virginia and the creation of the Mountain State. Funding was provided by the United States Department of Transportation, the West Virginia Division of Highways, and the West Virginia State Legislature. Each county will receive at least two markers.

“Staff members and interns have worked to determine topics, conduct research, and write the marker texts, calling upon historians and local historical societies for insight when needed. Local groups and regional DOH offices, particularly the district sign shops, have greatly aided Archives and History in placing the new markers in locations that are both appropriate and accessible.

“As of October 2018, all 160 markers have been ordered.”

Explore WV Archives and History’s “Sesquicentennial Historical Highway Markers” Website includes links to text and images of the new markers as they are installed; and a link to a Story Map of the Sesquicentennial markers

Explore WV Archives and History’s Sesquicentennial Historical Highway Markers “Story Map” Website


      “New markers provide insight into overlooked history”

West Virginia Gazette

March 11, 2020

“The West Virginia Historical Highway Marker Program is perhaps the most geographically expansive museum in the Mountain State and contributes to an enriched understanding of our past that is beneficial to citizens and out-of-state visitors.  The program was created as a New Deal project during the turbulent decade of the 1930s and has since expanded to include nearly 1,000 of the iconic aluminum signs throughout all 55 counties in West Virginia. . .”

Explore Charleston Gazette-Mail’s “New markers provide insight into overlooked history” article to continue reading (pdf)

    “Signs of the Times: West Virginia’s Highway Historical Marker Program”

WV History Research Resourceswv history“Since 1937, West Virginians and other travelers on the roads around the Mountain State have found glimpses of state history in the hundreds of highway historical markers located along the roadside. This volume, created by West Virginia Archives and History, which oversees the marker program, provides complete inscriptions, grouped by county and arranged alphabetically, that shed light on the rich history and geography of West Virginia and explore the contributions of diverse groups of West Virginians. Containing approximately 300 new markers erected since the previous marker book was published nearly two decades ago, Signs of the Times is the most comprehensive and up-to-date volume on the state’s historical markers available.

“The 334-page, softbound book is available for the retail price of $12.95 plus tax and may be purchased at the Archives and History Library in Charleston. The book also may be ordered by mail from Archives and History for $17.00 per copy, which includes postage and handling (for delivery in the United States only).”

Explore WV Archives and History’s “Signs of the Times . . .” Websiteincludes information for ordering by mail

“WV Department of Arts, Culture & History”

“The mission of the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History is to identify, preserve, protect, promote and present the ideas, arts and artifacts of West Virginia’s heritage, building pride in our past accomplishments and confidence in our future.

“The Department’s main offices are in the Culture Center at the State Capitol in Charleston. The building is home to the State Museum and Theater, the State Archives and Collections, and a library for genealogical research. The Department includes the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and the State Historic Preservation Office. The Division also administers other historical sites in other areas of the state.”

Explore “WV Department of Arts, Culture & History” Website

    “WV State Archives”

West Virginia State Archives

“The West Virginia Archives and History web site offers detailed information on the state’s history, outlines the documents available in the State Archives, and provides assistance in conducting genealogical research.”

Explore “WV State Archives and History” Website

        “History Center” – WV Archives & History


Features, Guides, Programs, and Publications:

  • Audio/Video
  • Databases
  • Online Exhibits
  • Highway Historical Marker Program
  • History Heroes
  • Notable Events in WV History

  • Notable Individuals in WV History
  • On This Day in WV History
  • “Time Trail, West Virginia”
  • Trivia
  • Veterans Memorial Database

  • Wayne County News Articles
  • WV Historical Bibliography
  • West Virginia Historical Society Journal
  • West Virginia History Journal


  • African Americans
  • Antebellum (1800 to 1860)
  • Arts and Entertainment
  • John Brown
  • Business and Industry
  • Civil War
  • Communities
  • Counties
  • Crime and Punishment
  • Disasters
  • Education
  • Exploration

  • Settlement and Conflict (1600-1799)
  • Government and Politics
  • Great Depression
  • Hatfield McCoy Feud
  • Health and Medicine
  • Labor
  • Military and Wartime Miscellaneous Documents and Articles
  • Monuments and Memorials

  • Native Americans
  • Organizations
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Reconstruction
  • Religion
  • Science and Technology
  • Sports
  • Statehood
  • Transportation
  • Women

Explore WV Archives & History’s “History Center” Website for more on each of the above topics

        “Archives and History Research Databases”

wv-archives-historyDozens of resources.

Explore WV Archives and History’s “Archives and History Research Databases” Website

 <<There are links to WV Archives and History’s Online Exhibits on several MH3WV pages>>

    “West Virginia State Museum Education”

west virginia state museum culture center capitol“Search through our programs for grade-specific content and other helpful resources to enhance your West Virginia studies.”

Includes:  Grade specific materials for K-5, Middle, and Secondary; Teacher Resources; Public Programs; Charts, Graphs Maps and Photos; and Reference Videos.

Explore “West Virginia State Museum Education” Website

“WV Association of Museums”

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‘Preserving the Story and Soul of the Mountain State”

“The mission of the West Virginia Association of Museums is to serve, educate, advocate for, and enhance communications within the museum community. WVAM carries out this mission by listening to its members and serving their interests and by keeping the members abreast of current standards and activities on a national scale.”

“The Mountain State has many treasures that we invite you to explore. We encourage you to use this resource to visit the places and experience the activities that represent the history, arts, technology, industry, and cultural diversity that West Virginia offers through its more than 300 museums.” 

<<Museums in WV have a separate MH3WV page–see menu at top of this page>>

Explore “WV Association of Museums” Website — includes individual museums under the “Museums” tab — or use the “Find a Museum” link

Research Resources – West Virginia Studies

“WV Geological & Economic Survey”


“West Virginia’s center for geology, energy resources, industrial minerals, geologic hazards, ground water, topographic and geologic maps, earth science, and much more.

“The Survey is here to serve you–to answer your WV geology-related and earth science questions, whether you are a landowner or engineer, professional or student, private citizen or company representative.”

Explore “WV Geological & Economic Survey” Website


    “Maps and Map Files Related to WV Geology” – WVGES


Explore WVGES’ “Maps” Website

    “MapWV” – WV GIS Technical Center

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“MapWV is a public gateway to online mapping resources in the Mountain State. It allows user access to a wealth of high-quality maps and geographic data via the Internet. All of our maps are free for use by the public. Feel free to use them as you need.”

Explore “MapWV” Website

    “Printable Maps”

“Here is a great collection of free printable West Virginia maps. These are .pdf files that download and work nicely with almost any printer. You can print them for use at home, work or school.”  (These three maps are from a commercial website and have the company information in lower left corner.)

Printable State Outline Map pdf

Printable Blank County Map pdf

Printable County Map with County Names pdf

    “Maps” – WV Dept of Transportation


The Official State Highway Map 2010” pdf  is one of the best. Railroads, roads, highways and important locations are clearly shown while waterways are bright blue and easily seen.  Though dated 2010, it is missing only some of the most recent highway construction–such as Corridor H, Rt 9, Rt 10, King Coal Highway, and the Coalfields Expressway–projects shown as under construction but at least partially completed now. <<MH3WV will work to keep this map available for WV Studies>>

Additional maps from the DOT:  Official State Highway Map, State General Highway Map, State Functional Classification Map, State Highway Base Map, General Highway County Maps Alphabetical Listing of County Maps, more

Explore WV DOT’s “Maps” Website

    “Topographic Maps” – My Topo

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“Browse and view FREE US Geological Survey, US Forest Service, and NRCan topo maps for the US and Canada.”

This website displays topographic maps which can be zoomed, dragged, and printed.  No charge, no ads (although they will be glad to sell a map to you.)

Explore My Topo’s “Interactive Topographic Maps” Website  – (This link should bring up a map of Spruce Knob.  You can go anywhere from there!)

Research Resources – West Virginia Studies

“WV Traditions” – WV Tourism

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Brief descriptions of these topics:

  • WV Music Heritage
  • Railroad History
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Civil War History
  • Historic Trails
  • Glass Tours
  • WV Festivals
  • Coal, Oil, Gas, and Timber in WV

Explore Information from WV Tourism’s “WV Traditions” Website (pdf)

“WV Historical Society Quarterly”

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Magazine published four times a year covers a very wide range of topics.

Explore “WV Historical Society Quarterly” Website for listings since 1996

“Goldenseal” – WV Culture and History


“Goldenseal, the magazine of West Virginia traditional life, is produced by the Division of Culture and History and takes its stories from the recollections of West Virginians living throughout the state. Oral history fieldwork and documentary photography result in four issues per year with articles on subjects such as labor history, folklore, music, farming, religion, traditional crafts, food, and politics.”

Explore WV Culture and History’s “Goldenseal” Website

“Wonderful West Virginia” – WV Division of Natural Resources


wv state parks forests“Welcome to Wonderful West Virginia, the state’s premier showpiece magazine published monthly by the Division of Natural Resources.  Wonderful West Virginia showcases “the best of West Virginia” with breath-taking photographs and intriguing articles about nature, state history, recreation, art, and interesting people.  Readers that enjoy our publication include: nature lovers, outdoor recreationists, hunters and anglers, West Virginia history and natural history buffs, travel enthusiasts and art & craft lovers as well as many more.”

Explore WVDNR’s “Wonderful West Virginia” Website – includes Photo Gallery and Magazine Archives

Explore “Story Archives”

Explore “Magazine Archives”

Explore Wonderful West Virginia Magazine “Home” website

“West Virginia Wildlife Magazine”- WV Division of Natural Resources

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Published 3 or 4 times a year from 2001 to 2009, then once or twice a year from 2010 to 2013.

Explore WV DNR’s “West Virginia Wildlife’s Magazine Archives” Website – click on the cover, then the article title

“History Alive!” – WV Humanities Council

history-alive“History Alive! provides a unique passport to the past. The program brings historical characters to life through portrayals by presenters who have conducted scholarly research on their character.

“History Alive! allows audiences to explore history through interaction with historical figures. These presentations are not one-person plays. They are intended to engage audiences in a dialogue with the character.

“History Alive! presenters have conducted thorough research into the characters they portray. They have gained insight into their character after studying primary sources such as autobiographies, journals, letters, speeches and other personal papers. Their presentation is based on scholarship and analysis rather than a script.”

Explore WV Humanities’ “History Alive!” Website

“WV Quick Facts” – US Census Bureau

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“Our Mission
– To serve as the leading source of quality data about the nation’s people and economy.

“Our Goal
– To provide the best mix of timeliness, relevancy, quality, and cost for the data we collect and services we provide.”

Explore US Census’ “WV Quick Facts” Website


“WV State Facts for Students”

“The U.S. Census Bureau takes a census of the population every 10 years, and censuses of economic activity and governments every five years. And every year, the Census Bureau conducts more than 100 other surveys. Data on this page come from the 2010 Census, the American Community Survey, Population Estimates, County Business Patterns.”

Explore US Census’ “WV State Facts for Students” Website   —   see tabs at top of page for Activities, Resources, Standards and About



“An overview and topical guide to WV.”

Explore Wikipedia’s “Overview and Topical Guide to WV” Website

Research Resources – West Virginia Studies

Resourceful Links