The Appalachian Collection is on the third floor of the Wise Library in the James V. and Ann Pozega Milano Reading Room. Here you will find much of the Library's outstanding collection on the 13-state Appalachian Region including Literature and material in the Social Sciences and Education. Much of the collection is indexed and annotated in the Appalachian Studies Bibliography, published in-house.
Appalachia, an area surrounding the Appalachian Mountains from New York to Mississippi, encompasses all of West Virginia and portions of 12 other states. Like New England, the South, the Northwest and Southwest, Appalachia is a unique cultural area of the United States with special traditions, folkways, dialects, values, and problems.
The Appalachian Collection numbers over 12,000 volumes. Books and journals are arranged by subject according to Library of Congress call numbers. Subjects include: coal miners; music; pollution; crafts; folk customs; religion; poverty; wildlife; social conditions; Cherokee Indians; and much more.
Literary holdings are strong and represent the many notable writers who have shed light on the Appalachian experience for more than two centuries. You can find current poetry, stories, nonfiction, and oral histories published in a number of journals displayed in the Appalachian Collection: Appalachian Journal; Appalachian Heritage; Now and Then; Foxfire; Goldenseal; and the Journal of Appalachian Studies, among others.
To assist you in researching an Appalachian regional topic, the librarians have compiled an important index, the Appalachian Bibliography (Z1251.A7A6). This volume, published in 1980, lists more than 8000 citations to books, journal articles, and documents, is subject-indexed and contains descriptive annotations. The Appalachian Bibliography is supplemented by the Appalachian Outlook (Z1251.A7 A7) covering the years 1980-2002. These two reference indexes can be found in the Reference Collection, in the Milano Reading Room, and at other campus libraries. These are continued by the online Appalachian Studies Bibliography which spans 1994 to the present.
The Bibliography and Outlook are valuable complements to routine reference tools such as the library catalog and databases. Recent examples of Appalachian search topics include: Appalachian stereotypes; women and Appalachia; fiction and poetry; old-time music; labor disputes including the West Virginia Mine Wars and the Battle of Blair Mountain; folklore; snake handling in Pentecostal Holiness churches; and the Hatfield-McCoy Feud.
Curator, Rare Books & Printed Resources
Managing Director, West Virginia Digital Newspaper Project