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West Virginia Historical Education Foundation


For much of the 20th century, the West Virginia Historical Education Foundation published West Virginia history textbooks and other books pertaining to the history of West Virginia. The nonprofit organization was incorporated May 22, 1950, as the Education Foundation of West Virginia, by Phil Conley, Boyd B. Stutler, and associates.

The Foundation had its origins in August 1923, as Conley-Teter Publishing Company, which published the West Virginia Review. The company was reorganized as West Virginia Publishing Company with Phil Conley as president, editor, and general manager. The name was changed to Education Foundation, Inc., in 1956. Conley remained president until Marshall Buckalew was elected in 1979. The name was changed to West Virginia Historical Education Foundation in 1986. James Rowley was elected president at the 1992 fall board meeting. Board members who served many years include Elizabeth Hallanan, Governor Cecil Underwood, Joseph C. Jefferds Jr., Edward C. Armbrecht Jr., and Otis Rice.

The Foundation promoted research and scholarship in literature, philosophy, and the history of West Virginia. For many years the Foundation published textbooks about West Virginia for use in the schools at both the fourth and eighth grade levels. West Virginia Yesterday and Today by Phil Conley, copyrighted in 1931, was officially adopted as a state textbook in 1958, but had been used by many schools before that time. Other books published by the Foundation included West Virginia Reader: Stories of Early Days by Phil Conley; West Virginia in the Civil War by Boyd B. Stutler; Captain Matthew Arbuckle by Joseph Jefferds Jr.; and the 1929 West Virginia Encyclopedia.

For many years, the Foundation participated in the Golden Horseshoe contest for schoolchildren. In 2003 it helped to create the honorary position of Historian Laureate of West Virginia. Although dissolved in 2004, the Foundation through its individual officers and board members continues to encourage the study of West Virginia history. The West Virginia Historical Education Foundation is a contributor to The West Virginia Encyclopedia.

Written by Eileen Cain Stanley