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National History Day Research Guide: WV Topics with Primary Source samples

Primary source samples

These topics have brief information along with scans from the collections mentioned. The topics and samples were selected by Madison McCormick, Graduate Assistant for the Public History Department at WVU.

Enslavement on the Frontier

It is a common misconception that western Virginia did not participate in the slavery economy. While the regional economy was not as reliant on slavery as that of eastern Virginia, what became West Virginia still had numerous enslaved individuals.

Mother’s Day

The current American Mother’s Day was founded by Anna Jarvis, a West Virginia native. In 1908 Jarvis organized a memorial ceremony dedicated to all mothers in Grafton.

  • Mother's Day - Anna Jarvis, A&M 1358, West Virginia and Regional History Center
    • Public Resolution
    • Facsimile of the first and second Mothers Day Programs
  • Anatolini, Katherine Lane (2009). Memorializing Motherhood: Anna Jarvis and the Struggle for Control of Mother's Day (PhD Diss). West Virginia University.
  • Anna Jarvis (1864-1948) Papers, A&M 1439, West Virginia and Regional History Center

West Virginia University as an Educational Frontier

West Virginia University, founded in 1867 as the Agricultural College of West Virginia, was the first land grant school in West Virgina. The university would become the flagship school of the state and be an important institution for everyone in West Virginia.

Western Virginia in the American Revolution

While the physical area that is now West Virginia was not heavily in battles during the American Revolution, there were important events that took place on the land and people from there involved in the war. Important locations during the war included Fort Henry and Fort Randolph.