The West Virginia and Regional History Center has opened an exhibit chronicling the legacy of Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV in Wise Library’s Rockefeller Gallery at West Virginia University and on its website,

“The exhibition, ‘Jay Rockefeller: A Legacy of Leadership,’ documents Senator Rockefeller’s early years in West Virginia, his election to the United States Senate, and some of his many accomplishments during his long and distinguished career as a U.S. senator,” said Danielle Emerling, WVRHC assistant curator and congressional and political papers archivist.

In curating the exhibit, Emerling uses the Rockefeller Legacy Memos, a collection of 12 memos that can be read online, to show the senator’s work in the areas of health care reform; West Virginia’s jobs, economy and industry; children, families and education; and veterans’ affairs.

The Legacy Memos provide a comprehensive overview of Rockefeller’s service and accomplishments in several important issue areas in which he worked during his 30-year career in the U.S. Senate, 1985-2015, as well as during his time as governor of West Virginia, 1977-1985. They detail major initiatives and legislation, such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); treatment of service-related illnesses, such as Gulf War illness; the Coal Act of 1992; the Public Safety Spectrum Act; and many others.

Drawing on interviews, press statements, speeches, articles and personal accounts, Rockefeller office staff members compiled the memos in 2013 and 2014 following the senator’s announcement that he would retire from Congress, Emerling said.

Items on display come from the Sen. John (Jay) D. Rockefeller IV papers, a treasure among the congressional collections held by the WVRHC. Rockefeller donated his papers documenting his 30-year tenure in the United States Senate to the WVU Libraries in 2014.

Emerling oversees processing, preserving, and providing access to the Rockefeller congressional collection, which includes thousands of records related to his legislative activities and service to the citizens of West Virginia.



CONTACT: Monte Maxwell, communications coordinator, WVU Libraries

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