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Grant number: PG-252832-17

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Radford University (Radford, VA 24142-0001)
Aaron Spelbring (Project Director: May 2016 to present)

Radford University McConnell Library Archives Bragg New River Coalfields Photographic Collections Preservation Assessment

The hiring of a preservation consultant to conduct a general preservation assessment of 1,280 glass plate negatives, approximately 300 large and medium-format Cirkut Camera negatives, and approximately 1,000 photographic prints of various sizes.  The collection documents the work of three photographers active in the New River Valley region of southeastern West Virginia: Rufus E. Ribble, William O. Trevey, and Willis W. Vail.  It provides a unique record of the New River coalfields over a 50-year span from their early years, the Great Depression, and through the industry’s postwar modernization.  Also documented are portraits of individuals of Italian and Eastern European descent, as well as African American subjects.  The photographs have been used in several local exhibits, books about the social and labor history of mining, and the PBS American Experience documentary, The Mine Wars.

The McConnell Library’s Archives and Special Collections seeks to hire the services of a conservation consultant to perform a preservation assessment on it George and Melody Bragg New River Coal Fields Photographic Collections. These collections document social and environmental conditions in the southern West Virginia coalfields from their early inception through the post-World War II years, highlighting labor forces, social groups, architecture, and environmental scenes. Consisting primarily of glass-plate negatives and rolled Cirkut Camera negatives, these collections are particularly at risk if proper preservation measures are not ensured.

Project fields:
Labor History

Preservation Assistance Grants

Preservation and Access

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$5,999 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2017 – 6/30/2018