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Celebrate Women’s History Month at the West Virginia and Regional History Center

Feminist activist poster

Join us as we celebrate Women’s History Month at the West Virginia and Regional History Center at WVU Libraries. The public is invited to view the exhibition, “Women Making History: Showcasing the West Virginia Feminist Activist Collection,” currently on display in the Center’s Davis Galleries on the sixth floor of the Downtown Library.

“Women Making History” is a visually engaging and collaborative exhibit featuring content written and curated by students in the WVU History Department as well as faculty and staff from WVU Libraries. The exhibit showcases multiple aspects of women’s achievements, contributions, and struggles as they pursued their lives and work.

The exhibit documents women seeking employment in traditionally male dominated fields like coal mining and construction trades who were interested in finding economic security for their families. “Women Making History” also tells the stories of West Virginia women who explicitly sought rights through the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, advocacy, and lobbying through the National Organization for Women and other groups. The exhibit also highlights other women who used creative pursuits like music, art, and comedy to defend, explore, and exercise women’s rights and create safe spaces for women.

“Since 2017, the WVRHC has collected papers, ephemera, photographs, and other materials that capture the lives and stories of West Virginia women,” WVRHC Director Lori Hostuttler said. “Recent efforts have focused on activism, but we are committed to collecting materials on women’s wide range of experiences. Women have been overlooked and left out of history books. We want to change that.”

Feminist activist team

West Virginia Feminist Activist Collection Advisory Team members Paula Martinelli, Dr. Judith Stitzel, Carroll Wilkinson, Deb Miller, Lori Hostuttler, Dr. Jessie Wilkerson, and Dr. Jennifer Thornton pose with the J. Franklin Jameson Archival Advocacy Award. Team members not pictured are Susan Kelley and Christine Daugherty.

The success of WVU’s focus on women’s history has received national recognition. In 2023, the Advisory Team for the West Virginia Feminist Activist Collection was awarded the J. Franklin Jameson Archival Advocacy Award given by the Society of American Archivists. This award honors an individual, institution, or organization that promotes greater public awareness, appreciation, or support of archival activities or programs.

Advisory Team members Christine Weiss Daugherty, Susan Kelley, Dr. Judith Stitzel, and Carroll Wilkinson were recognized for working to create a more inclusive archival record and educating the public, especially women and activists, to value and preserve their own history.

“Women Making History” will remain on display through May 31 and is available for viewing during the WVRHC’s operating hours.  For more information about the exhibit or donating collection materials contact Hostuttler at 304-293-1116 or