29 West Main Street
Buckhannon, WV 26201
(across from the courthouse)
Tuesday Evenings 6:00 to 8:00 PM
The Upshur County Historical Society’s Document Repository is open to the general public, year round, on Tuesday evenings from 6-8pm. Each week we welcome many individuals who are working on family research, have a local history question, need to purchase our various publications, or just stop in to donate some important historic document or artifact for the ever growing collection that we house there. If you’re coming from out of town and Tuesday evening isn’t convenient for you, let us know and we will set an afternoon appointment time for you at the Repository. This past year we have had a great many visitors including one from Australia, from the State of Washington, several from bordering states, and we have assisted many by email.
The Repository continues to acquire significant historic resources. We had several new collections in 2017 and many previously established collections were added to. Some of the interesting collections have included a collection of tools and collectibles from the Millie Lewis estate. The estate of Josephine Shaw gave us a large collection of books, and we acquired a collection of glass plate negatives and other items from the turn of the century Buckhannon photographer, P. D. Forman. The Buckhannon Chapter of the WV BPW [West Virginia Business and Professional Women] have entrusted us with the safe keeping of their organization’s complete archives and annual scrapbook collection [thanks ladies for also funding the archival storage units for these treasured items]. Heirs of the McWhorter family also placed a complete bridal outfit from one of Judge McWhorter’s daughter’s wedding.
Our collections team is working diligently to process and make available the excellent recent acquisitions. We are very pleased to welcome our third, full time AmeriCorps individual, Laiken Boyd this year. Laiken has been working hard on cataloguing the new acquisitions into the electronic system [adding more than a thousand items already] to our nearly 20,000 catalogued totals. She has also added many items to our Upshur County History Digital Encyclopedia [A major project that will be ongoing for quite some time] where we will be digitally copying a vast range of research materials that we have put together at the Repository. This format will allow various types of materials to be combined in a format that will be much more user friendly. It will also connect to our digital collections storage system known as PastPerfect], and make working on this journal, and the upcoming summer exhibit much easier. If you haven’t already met Laiken you will get to know her a bit better from materials later on in this (2018) journal.
The collections project is making strides forward and we have now added thousands of entries into the digital catalogue. This project has allowed us to move far beyond what we had been able to do with just paper cataloguing in the managing, indexing, and retrieving of our vast and growing collection of important Upshur County documents, artifacts, photographs, etc. We use this digital system every day to find specific items from our vast and growing collections. We have purchased the upgrade edition of PastPerfect software and will be getting our systems improved over the next few months.
We also have huge amounts of uncatalogued materials in our holdings waiting to be entered into the system and we look forward to the time when our entire collection has been catalogued electronically. We’re not sure just when this will happen as the collection keeps growing. You will see in this Journal, published examples of many photographs, historic documents, newspaper scans, and content gleaned from these vast collections. We are very appreciative of all the donors that have shared their treasures with us over the years. We are also very appreciative of Daniel Green for generously sharing from the Howard Hiner photo collection.
There is always a great need at the Repository. Of course volunteer assistance is certainly at the top of the list. It is also very expensive to maintain the collection with correct archival processing and storage. Archival storage supplies are very costly since they must have the special qualities that protect the artifact and, at the same time, remain stable for many years. Acid free, ultraviolet protecting, materials are quite expensive and if you would like to make a donation, perhaps choosing one of the previously listed special gift items to allow us to maintain a constant stock of these supplies, please contact us. We are also very happy to assist the public with any needs in archival storage and preservation.
It does take an enormous amount of work to make the Repository a professionally operated research center, artifact and document collection, and center of the Society’s office operations. A small, but very dedicated, core of workers including Veneda Mills Gower (who records all memberships, sales, prepares membership correspondence, and much more), Amy W. Tenney, Noel W. Tenney, Linda Wygal, Michael Phillips, Diane Orsburn Hanline, Blaine Jack, Jennifer Stout, Don Henderson, Jr., and others as dedicated volunteers this year, all make up that team. We are also extremely pleased to have the continuing assistance of Karon King and Lemoyne Wentz, who add their contributions to our publication and research efforts. Their results are evident with ongoing additions to our publications list each year.
We continue to work with West Virginia Wesleyan College and have been pleased to receive various Upshur County materials from Brett Miller, newly appointed Director of the Library for WVWC. Brett is working to get the microfilmed WVWC documents online along with the possibility of converting the Republican Delta newspaper microfilm to digital for future online search ability. We were pleased to host his Public History class last fall at the Repository.
We would welcome your volunteer contribution to help with the many tasks of collection processing, research, and general repository duties. When you visit the Repository now, we want you to notice that the entire place has a much more “spic and span” look to it thanks to the weekly volunteer time of Karon King. Thanks Karon, and we appreciate her efforts on researching genealogical info for inquiries as well as assisting with the family information piece for this issue. We are also adding new shelving in the storage area and hope that the entire Repository will have a much more organized look in the near future. We now have a new roof on the repository that gives us a much more secure system for our collections.
We are always happy that those of you who use our resources see the fruit of your efforts. Many individuals have shared a copy of their publication with the Repository and we always love being remembered in that way. Some of these works are also featured on our publication sales list.
We are now in a position at the Repository to receive a wide variety of materials that relate to the rich history of Upshur County. PLEASE! DON’T THROW ANYTHING AWAY THAT MIGHT SPEAK TO SOME ASPECT OF OUR COUNTY HISTORY UNTIL YOU LET US HAVE A LOOK.
Remember, what you may consider valueless, we may
We are hosting three mini exhibits this spring at the Document Repository. These exhibits will run during selected dates in March, April, May.
In March we will be exhibiting selections from our growing Upshur County artist’s collection with early works by Mary Higginbotham, Annie Latham Bartlett, Jessie Potts Marsh, Helen Haught, Charles Harper, Robert Smith, Lowell Talbott, Fred Messersmith, Bob Oldaker, Eunice Kyle, Elma Summers, Betty June Santee, Violet Gadd Coonts, Violet Reed Brandon, and others.
In April, our AmeriCorps member, Laiken Boyd will exhibit photographs, text, and memorabilia concerning her research and writing on the various early and 20th century musicians of Upshur County. She will be covering early community bands, choirs, professional musicians, and early radio stars. She will also include a brief history of the Upshur County Singer’s Association.
In May, we will honor the “Children of the Strawberry Festival,” exhibiting photos, costumes, and films from early festivals. This has become an annual activity on our part to help promote the history of the festival as the annual events occur.
Plan now to stop by each month. You will be receiving a postcard giving the exact dates and times that the mini exhibits will be open to the public. You won’t want to miss these special exhibit as well as the Summer 2018 Exhibit at the Museum.