Research Resources for West Virginia Studies – MH3WV
West Virginia Studies
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“The Constitution of the State of West Virginia”
“Citizen’s Guide to the Legislature”
Includes: State Capitol Information, The Legislative Process, The Committee Process, Floor Action, Common Legislative Terms
“How a Bill Becomes Law in West Virginia”
“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.”
“West Virginia Code”
“The West Virginia Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated West Virginia Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.”
“The Blue Book”
“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 several years.]
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)
“West Virginia Legislature’s Office of Reference and Information”
“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.”
“West Virginia Legislature”
“Office of the Governor”
“West Virginia’s Governors”
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.
“West Virginia’s First Ladies”
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.
“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.
“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 West Virginia Judicial Process. The other part, located on the “Capitol Complex” page, includes the Courtroom and History of the West Virginia Supreme Court.>>
(16:03/2016 / West Virginia Judiciary)
“The Constitution of the United States of America”
“The Library of Congress”
“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.”
“West Virginia 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.”
“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 West Virginia, and more.”
A wide range of videos, including additional History Alive! presentations, are available from the Library Television Network.
“West Virginia University Libraries”
“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.”
“West Virginia History OnView”
“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.”
“e-WV – The West Virginia Encyclopedia”
“Bringing West Virginia to your fingertips!”
“e-WV: 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.”
“Written records of West Virginia’s history reach back only slightly more than 300 years, about half of which encompass the time when West Virginia was part of Virginia. Recorded history, however, is only a fragment of the West Virginia story and must be coupled with artifacts of preliterate people and other evidence which falls within the realms of geology, geography, and archeology. . “
“This Week in West Virginia History”
“The West Virginia Humanities Council, publishers of e-WV, and West Virginia Public Broadcasting have created two-minute radio segments for “This Week in West Virginia History” to introduce listeners to important people, places, and events in Mountain State history. Each daily segment is keyed to the actual date in history on which it occurred. The radio scripts, drawn from the content of e-WV, were written by historian Stan Bumgardner and produced by West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Operations Director, Bob Powell. Our composer, Matt Jackfert, composed the original theme music for the program. Author and storyteller Colleen Anderson serves as the on-air voice. “This Week” airs Monday through Friday, both morning and afternoon during the news.”
Monthly Collections currently available:
“West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and 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. At the Culture Center, the Department programs a full year of events and exhibits. The Department also administers four historical sites, with their own program schedules, in other areas of the state.”
“West Virginia State Archives”
“The West Virginia Archives and History website offers detailed information on the state’s history, outlines the documents available in the State Archives, and provides assistance in conducting genealogical research.”
“Archives and History Research Databases”
Dozens of resources.
“History Center” – West Virginia Archives & History
Features, Guides, Programs, and Publications:
- Exhibits, Online
- Highway Historical Marker Program
- History Heroes
- Notable Events in West Virginia History
- Notable Individuals in West Virginia History
- On This Day in West Virginia History
- “Time Trail, West Virginia”
- Veterans Memorial Database
- Wayne County News Articles
- West Virginia Historical Bibliography
- West Virginia Historical Society Journal
- West Virginia History Journal
- African Americans
- Antebellum (1800 to 1860)
- Arts and Entertainment
- Brown, John
- Business and Industry
- Civil War
- Crime and Punishment
- Settlement and Conflict (1600-1799)
- Government and Politics
- Great Depression
- Hatfield McCoy Feud
- Health and Medicine
- Military and Wartime
- Miscellaneous Documents and Articles
- Monuments and Memorials
- Native Americans
- Parks and Recreation
- Science and Technology
- State Symbols
<<There are links to West Virginia Archives and History’s Online Exhibits and other materials on several MH3WV pages>>
“West Virginia State Museum Education”
“Further your West Virginia Studies with our Museum Education Programs”
Includes: Grade specific materials for K-5, Middle, and Secondary; Teacher Resources; Public Programs; Charts, Graphs Maps and Photos; and Reference Videos.
“West Virginia’s Historical Highway Markers”
“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. . .”
(For more information about the markers program — Please contact Matt McGrew – Cultural Program Coordinator, West Virginia Archives and History.)
Explore Information from West Virginia 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 considered? How many markers are there? How are markers maintained?
Explore West Virginia Archives and History’s Historical Highway Marker Guidelines (pdf) – includes: Who may apply for a marker; How to apply; Where to submit the application; Criteria
Explore West Virginia Archives and History’s Historical Highway Marker Application (pdf) – “To receive consideration for an official West Virginia State Highway Historical Marker, please provide the information requested . . . on this form.”
“Signs of the Times: West Virginia’s Highway Historical Marker Program”
“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 West Virginia Archives and History’s “Signs of the Times . . .” Website – includes information for ordering by mail
“The West Virginia Historical Markers Project”
“A photographic survey of over 1,000 historical markers located throughout all 55 counties of West Virginia”
“Welcome to the West Virginia Historical Markers Project. This is a personal project beginning in the summer of 2021 and is not connected to the WV Archives and History Department.“
“My name is Michael Elyard and Beth is my lovely wife. I was born and raised in Clarksburg, WV. As I was growing up, our family traveled throughout West Virginia and I was exposed to many interesting and historical locations. Unfortunately, I was not interested in history as a young student, and did not research our state’s vast history past purely superficial levels. . .”
“As I explored the state on my motorcycle, I became more and more interested in the historical markers along the roadsides. When I contacted Joe Geiger at the WV Archives and History with questions about the markers, we developed a friendship based on our mutual interest. I soon discovered his office wanted to go out and survey all of the markers throughout the entire state, but lacked the manpower, time, and resources. . . “
“West Virginia’s Sesquicentennial Highway Historical Markers”
“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 West Virginia Archives and History’s “West Virginia’s Sesquicentennial Highway Historical 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.
<<More Information about the West Virginia Sesquicentennial is on the “WV150” page>>
“New markers provide insight into overlooked history”
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. . .”
“Legends and Lore Roadside Markers”
“What is the Legends & Lore® Roadside Marker Grant Program?”
“The West Virginia Folklife Program works in partnership with the William G. Pomeroy Foundation to bring the Legends & Lore Roadside Marker Grant Program—a national initiative of the Pomeroy Foundation—to the state of West Virginia. The Legends & Lore marker program was created to help promote cultural tourism and commemorate legends and folklore as an important part of every community’s cultural heritage.”
“West Virginia Folklife”
“The West Virginia Folklife Program, a project of the West Virginia Humanities Council, works to document, sustain, present, and support West Virginia’s vibrant cultural heritage and living traditions. West Virginia Folklife is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Folk & Traditional Arts Program. . . Often defined as the “art of everyday life,” folklife refers to art and culture that is based in and reflective of traditional knowledge and connection to community.”
“West Virginia Association of Museums”
“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.”
<<“West Virginia Museums” have a separate page on MH3WV – see the “Home” page for the link>>
<<The West Virginia State Museum at the Culture Center is on the “Capitol Complex” page.>>
“West Virginia Historical Society Quarterly”
Magazine published four times a year covers a very wide range of topics.
“West Virginia Traditions”
Brief descriptions of these topics:
- West Virginia Music Heritage
- Railroad History
- Arts and Crafts
- Civil War History
- Historic Trails
- Glass Tours
- West Virginia Festivals
- Coal, Oil, Gas, and Timber in West Virginia
“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.”
“Wonderful West Virginia”
“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.” (If a popup box appears saying “Authentication Required” just cancel it.)
“West Virginia Wildlife Magazine”
Published 3 or 4 times a year from 2001 to 2009, then once or twice a year from 2010 to 2013.
“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.
“The History Alive! program features scholars from around the state who portray historical figures at venues including museums, schools, libraries, community centers, and fairs and festivals. From Eleanor Roosevelt and Benjamin Franklin to Minnie Pearl and Julia Child, these living history performances provide a passport through time for student and adult audiences throughout the Mountain State.”
Streaming videos of past presentations are available on the West Virginia Library Commission website. “Features presenters who portray historical characters, with an emphasis on West Virginia history.”
“West Virginia Quick Facts” – US Census Bureau
“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.”
“Census Bureau 101 for Students”
“The U.S. Census Bureau is the leading source of information on the nation’s people, places, and economy, providing data about our country’s population size and growth as well as detailed portraits of the changing characteristics of our communities. The Census Bureau, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, was created to address language in the Constitution on America’s need to count its population. America’s founders recognized that this information was needed to effectively serve its people. The data collected as part of the first count in 1790 . . .”
“West Virginia 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.”
“An overview and topical guide to West Virginia.”
“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.”
“Clio is free for everyone.”
“West Virginia Geological & Economic Survey”
“West Virginia’s center for geology, energy resources, industrial minerals, geologic hazards, groundwater, topographic and geologic maps, earth science, and much more.
“The Survey is here to serve you–to answer your West Virginia geology-related and earth science questions, whether you are a landowner or engineer, professional or student, private citizen or company representative.”
“MapWV” – WV GIS Technical Center
“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.”
“The [West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) Geospatial Transportation Information Section] is responsible for producing the following maps and is currently in the process of reproducing them in a GIS format. Please be aware that these maps are snapshots of spatial data at a certain time and therefore the information presented on the maps may not be current.”
Explore WV DOT’s “Maps” Website — includes: Official State Tourism Map; State General Highway Map; Functional Classification Map; State Highway Base Map; County General Highway Maps; and others.
“Great West Virginia Map”
The “Official State Highway Map 2010” (pdf) is one of the best for education. Railroads, roads, highways, airports, and other 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, and the Coalfields Expressway–projects which are shown as under construction but may be completed now. It is also more accurate than many recent Official Highway Maps from the DOT.
“US Topo Quadrangles – Maps for America” – US Geological Survey
“US Topo topographic maps are produced by the National Geospatial Program of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The project was launched in late 2009, and the term “US Topo” refers specifically to quadrangle topographic maps published in 2009 and later. These maps are modeled on the familiar 7.5-minute quadrangle maps of the period 1947-1992, but are mass-produced from national GIS databases on a repeating cycle. US Topo maps repackage geographic information system (GIS) data in traditional map form; this benefits non-specialist map users, as well as applications that need traditional maps.
“US Topo maps can be downloaded free of charge from several USGS interfaces. The maps are published in Portable Document Format (PDF) with geospatial extensions (GeoPDF®). They can be viewed and printed with Adobe Reader or comparable PDF viewing software. The geospatial extensions provide limited GIS functionality, such as displaying ground coordinates and measuring distances and areas. Layered PDF files allow users to turn data layers on and off. The maps include layers not present on most traditional topographic maps, such as aerial photo and shaded relief images.”
“Printable West Virginia 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.)
Research Resources West Virginia Studies
West Virginia Blue Book WV Constitution How a Bill Becomes Law West Virginia Governors West Virginia Code WV Supreme Court WV Historical Highway Markers Goldenseal WV State Museum