A national library organization has designated West Virginia Universitys Charles C. Wise, Jr. Library a literary landmark.
Friends of Libraries U.S.A. added the Wise Library to its Literary Landmark Registry because of the librarys connection to the late Dr. Louise McNeill Pease, Poet Laureate of West Virginia from 1977-1993.
The presentation was held Oct. 2 during the West Virginia Library Associations Annual Conference in Huntington.
People everywhere delight in the beautiful writings of Louise McNeill Pease. I applaud the West Virginia University Libraries for their commitment to preserving a piece of our nations rich literary history,said Sally Reed, executive director of Friends of Libraries U.S.A.
Wise Library joins about 100 institutions, buildings and communities from across the nation on the Literary Landmark Registry. It is the first academic library in West Virginia to receive the distinction.
Its an honor for the Wise Library to be designated as a literary landmark because of its connection to Louise McNeill Pease,Provost Gerald E. Lang said.Im proud that Dr. Pease once served on the WVU faculty and that I took part in her induction into the Academy of Distinguished Alumni.
Peases writings and papers are housed in the West Virginia and Regional History Collection, which is located in the Wise Library. They were donated to WVU by her son, Douglas Pease of Connecticut.
Pease, who typically wrote under her maiden name, remains beloved for her depiction of West Virginia during a simpler time. Her works includeGauley Mountain,Elderberry Flood,Milkweed LadiesandParadox Hill,which won the West Virginia Library Association Annual Book Award.
Pease also earned the prestigious Bread Loaf Publication Award forTime is Our House.
Her works appeared in periodicals from Harpers and Atlantic Monthly to Good Housekeeping and Saturday Review.
Pease was a product of the rural Mountain State that she lovingly described in her poetry and prose. In 1930, the 19-year-old the Pocahontas County native began teaching in one-room schools. She went on to teach English at WVU from 1948 to 1953, and earned a doctorate degree in history from WVU in 1959.
The University recognized her life and accomplishments by inducting her into the Academy of Distinguished Alumni in February 1989 and by awarding her an Honorary Doctorate in the Humanities in May 1989.
Pease was a prolific poet whose works were published from 1931 to 1994.
In 1985, the she was named West Virginian of the Year. In 1977, then Gov. John D. Rockefeller appointed Peasepoet laureate,a post that she held until her death in 1993. The state of West Virginia has named only six individuals as poet laureate.
Louise McNeill Peases poetry is meaningful to so many West Virginians. We are honored to receive the literary landmark designation and to share her literary heritage,Libraries Dean Frances OBrien said.
OBrien worked with Penny Pugh, head of reference for the Downtown Campus Library, and Harold Forbes, rare books curator, to compile information from the West Virginia and Regional History Collection about Pease and her works for the designation application process.
The WVU Libraries preserve the documentation of West Virginia history and culture and we promote its use,OBrien said.Our collections contain books, manuscripts, music and photographs that are important for students and scholars. We are proud to make Louise McNeill Pease’s poetry available as a glimpse into the life and lore of our state.