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The West Virginia Blue Book is a West Virginia classic, present in public and private offices statewide and eagerly collected by many individuals. Published by the clerk of the state Senate, the Blue Book is a comprehensive record of all levels of government in West Virginia. John T. Harris of Parkersburg, who served a record 33 years as Senate clerk, produced the first volume and a revised edition in 1916 and was editor of 12 ensuing annual books. Harris died before the 1928 edition was completed. His wife was recorded as its publisher.

Although already commonly referred to as the Blue Book from the color of its cover, the volume was officially titled the West Virginia Legislative Hand Book and Manual and Official Register until the more familiar title was officially designated by Clerk Charles Lively of Lewis County in 1933. Harris was succeeded as editor by Lively and later Senate clerks, including some well-known Mountain State political figures. J. C. Dillon of Summers County edited the Blue Book in the late 1970s, and Logan’s Todd C. Willis for most of the 1980s. Clerk Darrell E. Holmes of Kanawha County took over the task in 1989. Clerk Lee Cassis is the current editor.

The Blue Book lists officers and employees of all state, county, and municipal governments, the legislature and courts, West Virginia’s congressional delegation, federal agencies in the state, and all major institutions. Pictures and biographies of officials of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, as well as the U.S. president, congressional representatives, federal district judges, and state chairs and officers of political parties are also included.

The Blue Book also includes the federal and state constitutions, directories of newspapers and broadcasting stations, zip codes, place names not covered by the postal directory, statewide election results, historical data about counties and municipalities, officers of clubs and organizations, plus a section dedicated to departmental, statistical, and general information. Beginning in 2015, the Senate began publishing the Blue Book only in odd-numbered years. The state budget formerly required that printed Blue Books be distributed in the following quantities: 75 copies for each member of the Legislature, two copies for each high school and junior high/middle school, and one copy for each elementary school within the state. However, this language was removed when hard copies were reduced to a limited number and the book was placed online. The Blue Book is now available digitally, including all historical ones dating back to the original 1916 copy, on the state Senate website. As of 2023, the most recent available copy is for the 2017-18 legislative session, and work is currently underway on the 2019-20 Blue Book.

See the Senate website for online editions of the Blue Book.

This Article was written by Karl C. Lilly III

Last Revised on June 22, 2023


Sources

West Virginia Blue Book. Senate Clerk, State of West Virginia. Charleston, 1997.

West Virginia Blue Book. Senate Clerk, State of West Virginia. Charleston, 1928.

West Virginia Blue Book. Senate Clerk, State of West Virginia. Charleston, 1933.

Cite This Article

Lilly III, Karl C. "Blue Book." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 22 June 2023. Web. 20 February 2024.

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