Papers transferred for preservation
Secretary of State Betty Ireland has transfered many historic documents, dating to the first day of statehood (June 20, 1863) to the Division of Culture & History for proper storage and preservation. The documents were found in the Secretary of State's fire safe vault.
"We discovered many of West Virginia's birth papers," Ireland said. "We knew there were several records of state government in the vault, but little did we realize just how meaningful they would be to State's Archivist Fred Armstrong."
The oldest document found was the Executive Journal, wherein the first entry recorded Governor Arthur I. Boreman's oath of office dated June 20, 1863. Boreman was the state's first governor.
Other documents include the minutes of the 1872 State Constitutional Convention, which produced the state constitution from which we now operate; the first actions of the Board of Public Works; and the original candidacy for president papers for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, signed April 9, 1936.
"It sent chills through me when we found these priceless documents," Ireland said. "Looking at the documents gives one a sense of pride and belonging. We've come a long way from West Virginia's birth during the Civil War to our state's position in today's global economy."
Most of the documents found are hand-written with beautiful penmanship. "To think that somebody hand-wrote the actions of state government is awe-inspiring," Ireland said. "It is a pure example of this state's beauty and wonder. To me the documents display who we are, what we're about, where we've been and where we're going as West Virginians."
Ireland said she was grateful the documents were found and in such good condition. "Transferring these historic prizes to those who can properly store and preserve them will ensure that many generations to come can one day get a glimpse of their past," she said.