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West Virginia University Press and the West Virginia University Libraries have launched West Virginia History: An Open Access Reader, a free, online collection of previously published essays drawn from the journal West Virginia History and other WVU Press publications.

The collection covers the history of the territory that became West Virginia from European settlement to mountaintop removal, and is especially suitable for use in courses on state history. It is available at

“I love everything about this project–serving the needs of students, sharing the history of West Virginia, harnessing the power of technology, and collaborating between West Virginia University and Marshall,” WVU President Gordon Gee said. “This is the kind of responsive and innovative work that we want to become the ‘new normal’ for higher education in meeting the needs of our state.”

Ken Fones-Wolf, professor of history and Stuart and Joyce Robbins Chair at WVU, selected essays for the project along with Kevin Barksdale, associate professor of history at Marshall University.

“We hope that this open access reader will encourage everyone in the state to become more knowledgeable about West Virginia's past so that together we might imagine a brighter future," Fones-Wolf said. "Moreover, this reader can constantly evolve to address new concerns and stimulate new responses."

Barksdale said, "Ken and I believe very strongly about providing open access to the most current and significant scholarship about West Virginia's history to students, faculty, teachers, West Virginia residents, and anyone else interested in the history of the Mountain State,” said Barksdale. “By partnering with WVU Press and Libraries, this open access reader will hopefully inspire current and future state historians to advance our understanding of West Virginia's past and to promote a deeper appreciation of our state's cultural and historical significance to the larger world."

WVU Press Director Derek Krissoff agreed. “WVU Press is committed to helping address the problem of high textbook costs. We’re excited to team up with the WVU Libraries to make important work on West Virginia’s history freely available.”

Marshall University President Jerome A. “Jerry” Gilbert added, "As a history buff, an educator and a new resident of West Virginia, I can immediately see the value and appeal of this new open-access reader. Not only will it make these relevant articles about our state's history available to everyone online at no cost, but it also will promote West Virginia scholars, including the outstanding faculty members we have at Marshall and WVU. I am excited to endorse this collaborative project."

To learn more about this project, visit West Virginia History: An Open Access Reader.