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West Virginia Day

West Virginia Day 2020

West Virginia Day is moving online this year! Please join us on June 20 at 10:00 AM.

Keynote speaker Anne W. Effland, retired from a 30-year career as an historian and economist with USDA, will deliver a presentation titled “Country Roads and Small Towns: Tracking West Virginia's Contribution to the 19th Amendment.” Her talk will explore the evolution and national significance in the Woman Suffrage movement in West Virginia.

Effland earned her master’s in history from WVU in 1983 and worked for the WVRHC from 1979 to 1983. She received her doctorate in history from Iowa State University in 1991. Effland has published on the West Virginia women’s suffrage movement and researches rural history.

Closed captioning will be available at the below link. We suggest opening the Zoom webinar in one browser window and closed captioning in another.

Link to closed captioning


You are invited to a Zoom webinar.

When: Jun 20, 2020 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: West Virginia Day, WVU Libraries
Please click the link below to join the webinar: 

Or iPhone one-tap :

US: +16465588656,,97241377843#  or +13017158592,,97241377843#

Or Telephone:

Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

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Webinar ID: 972 4137 7843

WVRHC & WVU Libraries Celebrate

The West Virginia and Regional History Center celebrates West Virginia Day by showcasing its collections. The theme is different every year. Depending on the theme, the celebration may include an exhibit in the Center, a commemorative poster giveaway, a reception, keynote speakers, panel discussions, book signings, readings, and viewings. Information, posters, and exhibits from selected West Virginia Day celebrations can be found on the Exhibits webpage.

About West Virginia Day

West Virginia Day is a state holiday celebrated every June 20 in the American state of West Virginia. The day celebrates the anniversary of the creation of the state as a result of the secession of several northwestern counties of Virginia during the American Civil War.

In 1861, as the United States itself became massively divided over regional issues, leading to the American Civil War (1861-1865), the western regions of Virginia split with the eastern portion politically. On June 20, 1863, the western region was admitted to the Union as a new separate state, initially planned to be called the State of Kanawha, but ultimately named West Virginia.

During the Civil War, the Virginia General Assembly in Richmond chose to join the Confederate States of America, much to the chagrin of most of the inhabitants in the trans-Allegheny region of the state who had long expressed their resentment toward the political elites in Richmond. Loyal unionists gradually pushed for the creation of a new state.

In Richmond on April 17, 1861, 30 delegates from the future state of West Virginia voted against the secession of Virginia from the Union. A meeting at Clarksburg recommend that each county in northwestern Virginia send delegates to a convention to meet in Wheeling on May 13, 1861.

During the Second Wheeling Convention on June 11, 1861, delegates adopted "A Declaration of the People of Virginia." The document, drafted by former state senator John S. Carlile, declared that since the Secession Convention had been called without the consent of the people, all its acts were illegal. It further declared the pro-secession government in Richmond void and called for a reorganization of the state government, taking the line that all who adhered to the Ordinance of Secession had effectively vacated their offices. An act for the reorganization of the government was passed on June 19, 1861. On the following day, Francis H. Pierpont was chosen as governor of the "Restored Government of Virginia." The legislature, composed of the members from the western counties who had been elected on May 23, 1861, met at Wheeling on July 1, 1861, filled the remainder of the state offices, completed the reorganization of the state government and elected two United States senators who were recognized by Washington. There were, therefore, two governments claiming to represent all of Virginia, one owing allegiance to the United States and one to the Confederacy.

Williams, J. (2003). West Virginia: A History. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Press.

For more information on West Virginia statehood and Civil War history, see this West Virginia Encyclopedia article.