Building a Broom by Feel: An Interview with James Shaffer

At 87, James Shaffer of Charleston Broom & Mop Co. in Loudendale is the last handmade commercial broom maker in West Virginia. We worked with West Virginia Public Broadcasting to produce a radio & video mini-documentary about Shaffer and the changes he’s seen in his 70 years in the broom industry.

Field Notes: Carol Dougherty

Carol Dougherty is an elder in Wheeling’s Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Church. She was born in Wheeling, WV in 1938 and was raised by her grandparents, who were immigrants from Lebanon. She is a traditional Lebanese home cook, a member of Our Lady of Lebanon Women’s Society, and will be teaching a folk dance and dubke class for children at Our Lady of Lebanon’s 84th annual Mahrajan Festival in August 2017.

Field Notes: Sam Rizzetta

Sam Rizzetta is a dulcimer designer, builder, and musician who moved to West Virginia in the early 1970s. He was a member of the string band Trapezoid and founded the hammer dulcimer playing classes at the Augusta Heritage Center at Davis & Elkins College. He has built dulcimers for musicians including John McCutcheon, Guy Carawan, and Sam Herrmann (read our Field Notes with her). Rizzetta now collaborates with the Dusty Strings Company who build hammer dulcimers based on his designs. He lives with his wife Carrie Rizzetta in Berkeley County, WV.

Ken Sullivan Remembers Alan Jabbour

A tribute to pioneering folklorist, scholar, and fiddler Alan Jabbour (1942-2017), from West Virginia Humanities Council Executive Director Ken Sullivan

Field Notes: Cora Hairston

Cora Hairston is a musician and writer from Logan County, West Virginia. Hairston is the author of two novels, Faces Behind the Dust and Hello World Here Comes Claraby Rose, both fictionalized accounts based on her childhood growing up in a black coal camp. Here are some excerpts from our interview.

Field Notes: Accordionist Tom Zielinsky

Tom Zielinsky is an accordionist and member of Weirton, West Virginia’s Sacred Heart of Mary Polish Parish. Zielinksy was born in Steubenville, Ohio and raised in New Cumberland, West Virginia, where he attended a one-room Polish Catholic church. He plays regularly at the Sacred Heart of Mary Polish Festival, their bi-annual polka mass, and other…

That’s A Grand Story to Tell: Documenting Jim Costa’s Collection

“I should have been a historical archaeologist,” said Jim Costa. “I guess I am in my own way.” Jim and I sat on the porch of his Summers County, West Virginia home, a restored 19th century log cabin built by a local Civil War veteran and saved from decay by Jim himself. It was the end of a humid and flooded summer, and we were doing one last interview before I prepared to go home.

West Virginia Folklife Presents Phyllis Marks

Please join us at the historic MacFarland-Hubbard House, West Virginia Humanities Council headquarters in Charleston on September 8th from 5:30-7:30 for a concert by esteemed Gilmer County ballad singer Phyllis Marks.