Thousands of archival records from the Sen. John D. “Jay” Rockefeller IV papers are now open for research at West Virginia University Libraries’ West Virginia & Regional History Center. Thousands of additional documents will be released over the next few years as the center continues to process the collection.
“These materials provide valuable insights into Senator Rockefeller’s 30 years in the U.S. Senate and the myriad issues he championed, such as health care reform; West Virginia’s energy industries, economy, and environment; and veterans’ health,” said Danielle Emerling, WVRHC assistant curator and congressional and political papers archivist. “He was also heavily involved with decisions and legislation concerning the intelligence community, commerce and trade, and telecommunications.”
A full description of the Sen. John D. “Jay” Rockefeller IV papers is available in the collection guide.
The materials come primarily from the press files of the collection and include speeches and statements, press releases and newspaper clippings from 1983-2014. Numerous photographs document Senator Rockefeller at various events, committee hearings and meetings with West Virginians in his Washington, D.C., office. Photographs capture moments from Rockefeller’s early years, his service in Emmons, W.Va., and in West Virginia politics, and his tenure in the U.S. Senate.
Also included are extensive audio and video recordings of Rockefeller’s speeches; media interviews; and appearances at forums, town hall meetings and other events throughout West Virginia and the nation. Users also have access to Rockefeller’s archived congressional website and Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages.
Emerling said more materials will be released online this summer, and users can expect to see new resources every few months at the center’s Jay Rockefeller website.
Researchers seeking to access the records in person should make an appointment with the WVRHC. Materials can be used in the center’s Manuscripts Reading Room on the 6th floor of WVU’s Charles C. Wise Jr. Library.
Senator Rockefeller donated his papers to WVU in 2014. The collection is one of the largest in the center’s holdings at more than 2,011 boxes of records and two terabytes of digital materials, and it continues to be processed.
Rockefeller came to West Virginia in 1964 as a VISTA volunteer in the small Kanawha County community of Emmons, an experience that shaped his extensive career in public service. He served in the West Virginia House of Delegates (1966-1968); as secretary of state of West Virginia (1968-1972); president of West Virginia Wesleyan College (1973-1976); and governor of West Virginia (1977-1985). In 1984, he was elected to the U.S. Senate.
During his long career in the Senate (1985-2015), Rockefeller became known as a leader for health care reform; an advocate for improving the lives of children and working families; and a supporter of the nation’s soldiers, veterans, and senior citizens. He served as chair of the Committee on Veterans Affairs; the Select Committee on Intelligence; the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; and the Committee on Finance Subcommittee on Medicare and Long-term Care. He also served as vice-chair of the Select Committee on Intelligence (2003-2006).
Rockefeller held additional leadership positions as chairman on the Pepper Commission (1987-1990), the U.S. Senate Steel Caucus, the National Commission on Children (1989-1993), and the Democratic Technology and Communications Committee.
CONTACT: Monte Maxwell, communications coordinator for WVU Libraries
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