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Morris Harvey Archives  

This guide contains information relating to the Morris Harvey Archives at the University of Charleston in Charleston, West Virginia.
Last Updated: Jun 28, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Morris Harvey Archives at the University of Charleston

The University of Charleston was founded in 1888 as Barboursville Seminary at Barboursville, West Virginia. On May 28, 1901, the institution's name was changed to Morris Harvey College in honor of Mr. Morris Harvey, a generous benefactor. In 1935, the institution moved to Charleston, West Virginia, and on July 1, 1979 the name of the institution was again changed to reflect a new mission and to strengthen ties to the community.

Historical records of the institution in all its incarnations are held in the Morris Harvey Archives at the Schoenbaum Library. Items include catalogs, yearbooks, school newspapers, minutes books, scrapbooks, photographs, films, videos, sound recordings, papers and publications, and memorabilia. Materials in the Morris Harvey Archives can be viewed by appointment only. Contact the the Archivist at (304) 357-4778 or e-mail

A portion of the photograph collection has been digitized, and the digital collection can be viewed at the University of Charleston's Archives photostream at the website  Visit to view digitized archival photos.

Please note: the Schoenbaum Library and its Morris Harvey Archives does not purchase items for these collections, though welcomes donations of a suitable nature. In addition, library and archives staff members do not provide appraisals or otherwise place a value on items owned by other parties.



University Archives - FAQ

University Archives - FAQ


1.       What are the University Archives? The University of Charleston attempts to collect, store and preserve items that document the life and history of the institution. Those items that relate to the institution when it was called Morris Harvey College are referred to as the Morris Harvey Archives. These items are housed in the University Archives. 


2.       What kinds of material is in the University Archives?   The Archives contains over 200 boxes and 6 file cabinets of documents, with about 50 of those boxes containing snapshots or photographic slides. There are approximately 150 sound and visual recordings in varying formats, 131 scrapbooks, and approximately 400 books. Items in the collection include, but are not limited to:


·         Institutional records, such as minutes of the faculty, the Board of Trustees, and some committees

·         19th century records of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South

·         Miscellaneous papers of some former Presidents of the institution

·         Copies of important documents such as self-studies and other institutional reports

·         Morris Harvey College and University of Charleston catalogs from 1888 to the present

·         Yearbooks from 1914 to 1994, except for years when no yearbook was published

·         Bound copies of the student newspapers from the 1920s to the present (earlier papers are also on microfilm)

·         Unpublished memoirs by former students and faculty and other historical documents about Morris Harvey College

·         Scrapbooks of newspaper clippings about institutional events and sports teams from the 1930s through the late 1980s

·         Books, manuscripts and other publications, personal papers and correspondence and news clippings by or about current and former faculty members and students

·         Recordings - in formats that vary from a 26 inch 78 rpm record to reel-to-reel tapes to DVDs - of selected campus events, including VHS tapes made from original films of football games from the 1940s

·         Boxes of slides and photographs of the campus, its buildings, faculty, staff, students, sports teams and events. Only about 1/10 of these items have markings identifying individuals

·         Artifacts, including band uniforms, football shoes, pennants, tickets, stock certificates, deeds, beanies, a musket, a presentation sword, an astronaut's flight suit, and other unlikely items

·         Rare books and manuscripts, some dating back to the 12th century A.D.

·         Artworks, including original art political cartoons and original etchings of West Virginia scenes


3.       Do the University Archives have information on all former faculty, alumni, administrators, visitors, etc.? No, no, no, and no. Archives storage space is limited. Generally, information is kept on key administrators, faculty who have published or presented or played key roles in the institution, and on prominent alumni. Files on speakers or visitors to campus events have been kept haphazardly over the years.

4.       Is there a catalog of items in the archives? There is no single catalog identifying all items or their location in the archives. This is one of the circumstances that render the archives "user unfriendly."


Instead of a catalog, boxes of papers and other items are loosely organized to correlate with the organization of the institution, e.g. items related to the Board of Trustees are together, items related to the faculty are together, etc. Some items are arranged alphabetically in filing cabinets. Items relating to a person or an event may be found in more than one place. Unfortunately, at this time knowing where to look for more information requires familiarity with the collections. It is hoped that, as time goes by, more of the collections will be inventoried and cataloged, making access easier for all users.


There are "finding aids" available for a small number of collections that give the librarian some ideas about where to look for certain information. Two collections, the Ashby Blackwell Papers and the Jennings Fast Papers, have inventories down to individual items. Under construction is a list of the several hundred files about individuals (everyone from Morris Harvey to Barack Obama) and institution-related topics (from Academic Calendars to Young Writers Day).


5.       Why will I be given white cotton gloves to wear when handling some archival items? Oils from your skin leave invisible marks on photos and papers that will eventually harm them. If you wish to use a fragile book, you may also be given a special tool with which to turn pages, to keep the pages from crumbling under your touch.


6.       Can I check things out from the archives? No. Normally, items are not loaned. In some cases, under special circumstances, memorabilia or objects are loaned to other University departments or museums for use in displays. Photographs are usually photocopied or scanned in the library, though University Relations may also be asked to scan photos. Minute books, correspondence, and personal papers are never loaned.


Some fragile documents and large items such as scrapbooks cannot be photocopied, and may not be able to be scanned, as glue used in their initial construction has caused clippings or photos to become darkened and damaged.


7.       Are there items in the University Archives that are not available for public inspection? Yes. Some individuals have donated private papers with restrictions on their use; e.g. "access restricted during my lifetime." You will not be allowed to view these materials. In addition, there are items that are so fragile or valuable that they can be handled only under the most important circumstances.


Users should also be aware that certain information on current or former students is protected by the Federal Educational Records Protection Act and will not be released, if it is held by the Archives.


8.       When can I visit the University Archives? Hours for Summer 2010 are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:30 - 1:00. Other hours can usually be arranged by appointment, depending on the availability of archives staff. Contact the Schoenbaum Library at (304) 357-4780 if you are in doubt about hours.


9.       Can "outsiders" use the University Archives? Librarians at the Schoenbaum Library will respond to external inquiries as time permits. Charges for photocopying may be made. Searches being conducted for internal constituents will take precedence over those from other parties.


10.   Can any library staff member help me in the archives? No. Library staff and the part-time librarians are not trained in the handling of archival materials, and have not had the opportunity to become familiar enough with the collections to assist users. (They have other jobs within the library.)


11.   Can I search for things in the archives myself, when a librarian is not available? This is no longer allowed.  Items in the archives are valuable and fragile. Most are unique. Experience has shown that allowing users to conduct their own searches results in damaged, misplaced, or missing items.


12.   What if it is an emergency? The argument that one is experiencing an "archives emergency" is difficult to take seriously. However, all library staff have home and cell phone numbers for staff trained to locate information in the archives, if needed. The best strategy is to plan ahead for using the archives.


13.    Will librarians appraise my old books, documents or artworks? No. Besides being outside the scope of the librarians' authority and responsibilities, there is no one on staff qualified to conduct such appraisals.


14.   Does the Archives buy items related to Morris Harvey, Morris Harvey College, or the University of Charleston? The Schoenbaum Library does not purchase archival material, but does accept donations of such material.


15.   I'm cleaning out my office. What should I send to the Archives? The University Archives is not in need of general faculty memos, or other "business" papers. Please contact the Schoenbaum Library about collections of committee or departmental minutes, as these are less likely to be available for collection. The Archives does not need additional copies of yearbooks or catalogs. If you wish to donate photographs or other images, please provide, on a separate piece of paper, identifications of individuals and approximate date of creation for each piece. If you have large quantities of unidentified images, please contact the Library before sending them over.




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