– submitted by Sharon Monigold, Reference, Instruction and Archives Librarian, Bethany College
The T.W. Phillips Memorial Library at Bethany College houses numerous archival and special collections including: the Bethany College archives, the Alexander Campbell collection, the James Hazlett Civil War collection, and the local history holdings that comprise the Upper Ohio Valley Collection.
The Upper Ohio Valley Collection contains books, ephemera, catalogues, directories, letters, postcards, newspapers, maps, realia, and photographs from a group of nine counties in Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. The collection was donated to Bethany College by Joseph M. Sakach Jr., a Bethany alumnus and rare book dealer from Parkersburg, West Virginia.
In his work with rare books, he met Paul E. Rieger, a local collector of all things related to the nine counties he identified as the Upper Ohio Valley: Belmont, Harrison, Jefferson, and Monroe in Ohio; Brooke, Hancock, Marshall, and Ohio in West Virginia; and Washington in Pennsylvania. These counties are connected by the Ohio River, the National Road, and two main railroads, the Baltimore & Ohio and the Pennsylvania. Mr. Sakach felt that this collection should be preserved for research into the history and people of the Upper Ohio Valley, so he purchased the core collection and donated it to Bethany College in 1991. Mr. Rieger added items to the collection until his death in 2012.
This vast collection provides a wealth of material for researchers. Recent projects undertaken by visitors include checking local companies before and after the Great Depression in the directories collection, book research on Wheeling Steel’s radio program, and genealogical research. Many of the items in this collection are quite rare and will not be found in other collections. Newly published materials are purchased for the collection as they become available and other small collections, such as the Well’s Family Genealogy, have been added to Mr. Rieger’s core collections
Please contact Sharon Monigold, Reference, Instruction and Archives Librarian, if you have an interest in or want to research anything related to the Upper Ohio Valley.
smonigold <at> bethanywv <dot> edu