Cathy Pleska, a graduate of West Virginia University and Marshall University, will play Frances “Fannie” Johnston, one of the earliest American female photographers and photojournalists, at 6 p.m. in the Mountaineer Room, Thursday, April 22. The event, which is free and open to the public, is part of the Benefits of Being Appalachian Series.

Born in Grafton in 1864, Johnston was a pioneer in the field of photography capturing events, people and architecture of significant historical importance. Her work in photojournalism at the end of the 19th century up through the 1950s served to remove barriers to women in that field. The Library of Congress holds more than 25,000 of her photographs and thousands of her writings.

Pleska is a storyteller, comedian and regular contributor for Wonderful West Virginia magazine and West Virginia Public Radio.

The event is sponsored by the Appalachian Cultures Committee, the Office of Student Life-Multicultural Programs and the West Virginia Humanities Council.

Refreshments will be provided. For more information, please call (304) 293-0890 or go to



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