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West Virginia History


West Virginia History, renamed West Virginia History: A Journal of Regional Studies in 2006, is the state journal of history, biography, bibliography, and genealogy. Previously published by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History through its Archives and History section, the journal was later moved to West Virginia University.

Legislation passed in 1925 called upon the state historian and archivist to publish a quarterly history magazine, and during the tenure of Innis C. Davis, state historian and archivist (1935–41), the publication became a reality. Davis believed such a magazine could be a vehicle both for preserving the state’s history and for publicizing the state, and her agency issued the first West Virginia History in October 1939. Formation of the West Virginia Historical Society in 1940 initiated a long association between Archives and the society. For many years, the society provided partial funding for West Virginia History, and members received the journal as part of their dues. The journal published some papers presented at society meetings as well as meeting minutes. The arrangement ended in 1979. That year brought the selection of only the third editor in the journal’s 40-year history and a revamping of the editorial advisory board, first created in 1971.

The majority of articles in early issues of West Virginia History covered aspects of the Civil War, antebellum, and frontier eras. The Civil War remains popular among article subjects, but, reflecting trends in historical study, since the late 1960s the journal has published more articles on late-19th and 20th-century industry and labor, politics, and women. Issued quarterly for many years, West Virginia History was an annual publication from 1984 to 2006.

West Virginia History returned to quarterly publication with the move to West Virginia University. The first editor under the new arrangement was Ronald L. Lewis, followed by Kenneth Fones-Wolf, both professors in the history department. Volume 1, Number 1 of West Virginia History: A Journal of Regional Studies (New Series) appeared in Spring 2007, with West Virginia University Press responsible for publication and circulation. It eventually was cut back to a biannual publication and beginning in 2023 (volume 17, issue 1) became electronic only.

Written by Mary Johnson


  1. Atkinson, Robert. West Virginia's Historical Magazine. West Virginia Review, (Oct. 1940).