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West Virginia State Archives

The West Virginia State Archives(WVSA)seeks to collect, preserve and disseminate information about the history of the state and its people. West Virginia became a state during the Civil War, after Virginia joined the Confederacy and western counties chose to remain in the Union. Though much less prevalent in western counties than in other parts of Virginia, slavery did exist in West Virginia prior to the Civil War, with bondsmen accounting for more than 10 percent of the populations of six counties in 1860. Slavery was most prevalent in Jefferson County, where abolitionist John Brown led a raid on the Federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry in 1859 in a failed attempt to launch a slave rebellion. The West Virginia State Archives collects books, periodicals, maps, state government records, manuscripts, photographs, audiovisual materials, microfilm, and special collections materials. Holdings from the antebellum and Civil War periods include some specialized collections, as well as microfilm of county records, newspapers, and censuses. The Archives website (www.wvculture.org/history) contains much information of interest to researchers, including guides to collections holdings, lists of West Virginia repositories and historical societies and of county history resources, and several searchable databases.

Visitor Information: Currently open to public.

Location: 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Charleston, 25305-0300

Website: West Virginia State Archives

National Park Unit: No

Ownership: Joe Geiger

Location Type: Facility

UGRR Operatives: John Brown