West Virginia University Librariesis paying tribute to a renowned West Virginian to celebrateWest Virginia Day, Friday, June 20.

TheWest Virginia and Regional History Collectionat the WVU Libraries is organizing a free, public exhibit and presentation in tribute to George Bird Evans, a noted artist, author, outdoorsman and dog breeder.

We are focusing on George Bird Evans in honor of the donation of the Evanspapers and manuscripts to the WVU Libraries earlier this year,said John Cuthbert, curator of the West Virginia and Regional History Collection.Evans was a giant in the field of upland game bird hunting literature. His writing about the subject, which included well over 100 books and articles, reflected a connoisseurship that harked back to the European tradition of the gentleman sportsman.

Festivities begin at 9:30 a.m. with a reception in the Milano Reading Room at the Downtown Campus Library. A dedication ceremony for the George Bird Evans Collection will follow at 10 a.m., with Evansbiographer, Catherine Harper, delivering the keynote address. Members of the public who want to attend are being asked to RSVP by Monday, June 9, to 304-293-5040 or emily.vunjak@mail.wvu.edu .

Additionally, an exhibit focusing on the Evans Collection, along with other sporting collections and memorabilia in the West Virginia and Regional History Collection, opens at noon in the J. Hornor Davis Family Galleries on the sixth floor of the Downtown Campus Library. West Virginia Day posters will be distributed at that time to all present.

Evans began his professional life during the late 1920s working as an illustrator for Cosmopolitan magazine and other clients in New York City. After serving during World War II, he turned his talents to writing a series of acclaimed mystery novels. It was not until the 1950s that he began writing about his passion for birds, dogs and West Virginias mountains. He passed away in 1998.

His eloquence and philosophical bent earned him an avid following among hunting literature enthusiasts across the nation and beyond,Cuthbert said.

A native of nearby Uniontown, Pa., Evans settled permanently in Preston County in 1939. His home near Bruceton Mills, which he calledOld Hemlock,became well known to sporting literature enthusiasts throughout the country during the late 20th century. His writings were largely based upon his experiences atOld Hemlockand in the nearby hills and mountains.

Much of Evansextensive work is now housed in the West Virginia and Regional History Collection at WVU . The collection includes personal papers, manuscripts, books and other materials by and about Evans and his wife, co-author and editor, Kay Harris Evans.

West Virginia Day is celebrated every June 20 on the anniversary of the creation of the state as a result of the secession of several northwestern counties of Virginia during the height of the Civil War.