Congressional and Political Papers

The West Virginia and Regional History Center collects and preserves the most significant body of deposited personal papers of West Virginia governors, legislators, and members of the U.S. Congress within the state's borders. In excess of two dozen congressional and political papers collections document more than 150 years of state and national history and represent U.S. congressional service from 1861 to the present.  These collections are valuable resources documenting federal, state, and local government activities. They reflect relationships and interactions among members of legislative bodies, other branches of government, and the people, and provide an account of legal, economic, and social issues of state, regional, and national importance. 

Most congressional and political papers collections are searchable in the Guide to Archives & Manuscripts Collections. Links to congressional and political papers collections with finding aids are provided below. Some collections are closed or stored at an off-site facility. Researchers are encouraged to contact the West Virginia and Regional History Center prior to visiting. 

Arthur I. Boreman (1823-1896) Papers (2 collections)

Personal and business papers of a lawyer, U.S. senator, circuit court judge, and first governor of West Virginia, Arthur I. Boreman. The bulk of the collection consists of papers relating to his judgeship and to the law firm of Boreman and Bullocks, Parkersburg, WV.

Governor Gaston Caperton Correspondence

Routine correspondence from the thirty-first governor of West Virginia, Gaston Caperton, about suggestions for government reorganization and changes in finance.

John Jacob Cornwell (1867-1953), Governor, Papers and Records (2 collections)

Papers of the fifteenth governor of West Virginia who was a newspaper publisher in Romney, an orchardman, lawyer, and counsel for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. There are a few papers of W.B. Cornwell.

Henry Gassaway Davis (1823-1916) Papers (3 collections)

Correspondence and other papers of a Democrat who served in the West Virginia Legislature, 1866-1871, and the U.S. Senate, 1871-1883. Davis was the Democratic vice-presidential nominee in 1904 and a member of several Pan-American Commissions and agencies in the period 1889-1916. He had extensive interests in railroads, coal, lumber, and banking, and was largely responsible for development of the Elk Garden field in connection with the West Virginia Central and Pittsburgh railroad.

Stephen B. Elkins Papers (2 collections)

Correspondence from and to a Republican U.S. Senator (1895-1911) and businessman with interests in timber, coal and railroads. The collection consists of speeches, maps, deeds, contracts, reports, photographs, and newspaper clipping scrapbooks concerning political, business and family affairs.

Aretas Brooks Fleming (1839-1923) Papers (3 collections)

Papers of the eighth governor of West Virginia, 1890-1893, who was an attorney in Marion County, 1863-1867, a member of the House of Delegates, 1872-1875, a circuit judge, 1878-1888. Fleming was closely associated with James O. Watson in the development of the coal and railroad industry in the Monongahela Valley.

William E. Glasscock (1862-1925) Papers (2 collections)

Correspondence, speeches, newspaper clippings, and other papers of the thirteenth governor of West Virginia, 1909-1913. 

Nathan Goff, Jr. (1843-1920) Papers (3 collections)

Correspondence, letter books, newspapers, pamphlets, and papers on suits that were tried before Judge Nathan Goff (1843-1920) while he was serving as a U.S. District Attorney and a judge of the U.S. Circuit Court. Goff's career included terms as West Virginia Legislator (1867-1868), U.S. district attorney for West Virginia (1868), Secretary of the Navy (1881), U.S. Congressman (1883-1889), federal judge in the U.S. Fourth Circuit (1892-1911), and U.S. Senator (1913-1919). The majority of the correspondence relates to his professional activities.

Howard M. Gore (1877-1947) Papers (2 collections)

Papers of the seventeenth governor, 1925-1929, of West Virginia, the bulk of which date from World War I when Gore was assistant food administrator in West Virginia. Other papers concern his career in Washington, 1921-1925, as a specialist in livestock marketing in the Department of Agriculture, assistant secretary and secretary of agriculture, 1924-1925.

Henry Drury Hatfield (1875-1962) Papers and Correspondence (2 collections)

Correspondence, farm records, legal and financial records, speeches, medical files, photographs, newspaper clippings, and a biographical sketch of Henry D. Hatfield, West Virginia Governor, 1913-1917, U.S. Senator, 1929-1935, and chief surgeon and founder of Huntington Memorial Hospital.

Homer Adams Holt (1898-1975) Papers

Correspondence, messages, and state papers of West Virginia's twentieth governor, 1937-1941, and manuscript drafts of West Virginia: A Guide to the Mountain State, 1941.

Rush Dew Holt (1905-1955) Papers (2 collections)

Correspondence and papers of Rush Dew Holt, Lewis County, as a sports writer, teacher, West Virginia state legislator at various dates from 1931 to 1949, and U.S. senator from West Virginia, 1935-1941. Additional material may be found in the Rush Dew Holt Family Papers.

Helen Holt Papers (2 collections)

Correspondence and papers of a delegate to the West Virginia Legislature, 1955-1956; West Virginia secretary of state, 1957-1959; and assistant commissioner of public institutions, 1959-1960. Papers of Helen (Froelich) Holt, wife of West Virginia Senator Rush D. Holt, Sr. who later became involved with state and national politics. Also includes papers regarding Federal Housing Administration. Additional material may be found in the Rush Dew Holt Family Papers.

Harley Martin Kilgore (1893-1956), Senator, Papers (7 collections)

Papers of Harley M. Kilgore, U.S. Senator from West Virginia. Includes typescripts, correspondence, printed materials, clippings, broadsides, and photographs.

Herman Guy Kump (1877-1962) Papers

Correspondence, legal papers, speeches, clippings, photographs, and printed material of a Randolph County prosecuting attorney, mayor of Elkins, judge of the Twenty-second Judicial Circuit, Democratic politician, and state governor, 1933-1937.

Arch A. Moore Jr. Papers, 1969-1989

Arch Alfred Moore Jr. (b. 1923) served two consecutive terms as Governor of West Virginia from 1969-1977 and a third term from 1985-1989. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection for governor in 1988. Previously, he was elected as a Republican to five terms in the United States House of Representatives, serving from January 3, 1957-January 3, 1969. He was not a candidate for reelection to the Ninety-first Congress in 1968. He died on January 7, 2015, in Charleston, WV. The Arch A. Moore Jr. papers document his time as governor of West Virginia and his service in the U.S. Congress.

Ephraim F. Morgan (1869-1950) Papers (3 collections)

Official correspondence, reports, maps, proclamations, speeches, and papers of the sixteenth governor of West Virginia. Also included are newspaper clippings concerning the governor's administration, the launching of the USS West Virginia, and the building of the present executive mansion.

Matthew Mansfield Neely (1874-1958), Politician, Papers (4 collections)

Papers of Matthew Neely, a politician who had a long career as senator, congressman, governor, and Democratic political boss. Collection includes speeches, correspondence, pamphlets, legal papers, photographs, and copies of the Congressional Record.

Patteson-Carone Collection

Papers used by Patrick Carone for his thesis "Governor as a Legislator in West Virginia" (1969). Includes 11 scrapbooks maintained by West Virginia Governor Okey L. Patteson's press officer documenting Patteson's election campaign (1948), subsequent public relations activities as Governor (1949-52), and life after his Governorship (1953-58).

Francis Harrison Pierpont (1814-1899) Papers (11 collections)

Papers of Francis Harrison Pierpont (1814-1899) of Monongalia and Marion Counties, West Virginia, who served as governor of the Restored Government of Virginia during the Civil War. Includes manuscripts, typescripts, printed materials, and photocopies consisting of genealogies, correspondence, college essays, speeches, official messages, articles prepared for newspapers, legal documents, pamphlets, scrapbooks, and ephemera.

Political Campaigns and Elections Material, 1948-2002

Buttons, pins, and stickers for West Virginia political campaigns, including Gubernatorial and Senatorial races. Politicians represented include William Barron, Robert Byrd, Darrell McGraw, Mollohan, Arch Moore, Okey Patteson, Charlotte Pritt, Jennings Randolph, Jay Rockefeller, Jim Spouse, and Cecil Underwood.

Congressman Nick Joe Rahall II Papers, 1977-2015

Nick Joe Rahall II (b. 1949) represented West Virginia's Third District in the United States House of Representatives for nineteen terms. He was elected as a Democrat to the Ninety-fifth Congress and served from January 3, 1977-January 3, 2015. From 2007-2011, he was chair of the Committee on Natural Resources. From 1971-1974, he was a staff member in the United States Senate Office of the Majority Whip, and he was a delegate to both the 1972 and 1976 Democratic National Conventions. The bulk of the Congressman Nick Joe Rahall II papers document his 38-year career in the United States House of Representatives.

Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV Papers, 1951-2015

John Davison (Jay) Rockefeller IV (b. 1937) represented West Virginia in the United States Senate for five terms. He was elected as a Democrat to the Ninety-ninth Congress and served from January 15, 1985, to January 3, 2015. He was not a candidate for reelection in 2014. Rockefeller previously served in the West Virginia House of Delegates (1966-1968); as Secretary of State of West Virginia (1968-1972); president of West Virginia Wesleyan College (1973-1976); and Governor of West Virginia (1977-1985). From 1964-1966, he was a volunteer in the Volunteers In Service To America (VISTA) program in Emmons, West Virginia. The bulk of the Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV papers document his 30-year career in the United States Senate with additional materials related to his earlier political career.

Hulett C. Smith, Governor, Papers

Official papers of Gov. Hulett C. Smith's administration covering budgetary, state agency and institutional matters, recommendations and proposed legislation.

Congressman Harley O. Staggers Sr. papers, 1949-1980

Papers of West Virginia Congressman Harley O. Staggers. Includes legislative files, correspondence, reports, bills, speeches, resolutions, news releases, and invitations. There are records of the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, which Staggers chaired. There are also copies of bills regarding banking, broadcasting, clean air, education, finance, international relations, the judiciary, public works, and trade.

Peter Godwin Van Winkle (1808-1872) Papers (3 collections)

Personal papers and scrapbooks of Peter G. Van Winkle (1808-1872), a Parkersburg attorney, delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1850-1851, member of the Second Wheeling Convention of 1861, delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1861-1862, legislator from Wood County in 1863, U.S. Senator from 1863-1869, and participant in West Virginia railroad and business enterprises.

West Virginia Governors' Papers

General correspondence and papers, 1931-1964, of Governors William G. Conley, Herman G. Kump, Homer A. Holt, Matthew M. Neely, Clarence W. Meadows, Okey L. Patteson, William C. Marland, Cecil H. Underwood, and William W. Barron. There is material on the "flower fund" for 1944. The correspondence of the Barron administration concerns mainly state employment applications.

West Virginia, Governors Office, Press Releases for Barron and Smith Administrations, 1962-1969

Press releases from the Governor's Office of the State of West Virginia for the administrations of William Wallace Barron (1961-1965) and Hulett C. Smith (1965-1969).

Albert Blakeslee White (1856-1941) Papers

Business, political, and official correspondence of the eleventh governor, 1901-1905, of West Virginia. Owner and editor of the STATE JOURNAL, Parkersburg, 1881-1899, White was associated with many banking and manufacturing enterprises, and was tax commissioner of West Virginia in 1907 and 1908, collector of internal revenues in 1889, 1897, and 1921, and a Republican member of the legislature in 1926.

Waitman T. Willey Papers (2 collections)

Papers of Waitman T. Willey (1811-1900), lawyer, senator, and founding father of West Virginia. A resident of Monongalia County, Willey was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1850, the Secession Convention of 1861, the First Wheeling Convention of 1861, and the Constitutional Convention of 1871. He was U.S. Senator from the Restored Government of Virginia (1861-1863) and Senator from West Virginia (1863-1871).