Folk Art and Senator Byrd
Note: This post was previously listed under our "News from the Grey Box" blog series
By Marc Levitt
Several of Senator Byrd’s constituents sent him works of art during his long tenure as a senator. These gifts were quite diverse in their materials, including a fiddler carved from coal and a miner’s head fashioned from an apple (and properly preserved).
We wanted to highlight a collection of objects sent to Senator Byrd that showcased the care and dedication some of his constituents displayed to show their appreciation for the senator’s work on their behalf.
Mr. S., a native of Iran and resident of West Virginia, sent 15 canes to Senator Byrd circa 2007 when the senator first started using canes. Mr. S. made the canes from material found on his land including copper pipe, wood, and even PVC. He also used several coins as decorative accents ($3.90 worth of quarters, nickels, and pennies). The senator assisted Mr. S with various things including his trailer, social security matters, transportation to the doctor, and some emergency needs. Mr. S. was a great fan of Byrd and would always call to check on him when he heard that he was ill.
This is but one example of a warm relationship the senator had with his constituents, all of whom Byrd held in high esteem: “[the people of West Virginia] treat everyone as family. We show people respect, treating them as we ourselves would want to be treated.” The art that was sent to Senator Byrd can certainly be said to display such a mindset.
Byrd’s Eye View, Honoring the Spirit of West Virginia, June 14, 2007.
Comments are closed.
Welcome to the Byrd Center Blog! We share content here including research from our archival collections, articles from our director, and information on upcoming events.
The Byrd Center advances representative democracy by promoting a better understanding of the United States Congress and the Constitution through programs and research that engage citizens.
© 2021 Robert C. Byrd Center for
Congressional History and Education