Nothing touches the soul quite like a rich melody. From all walks of life, all generations, all ethnicities; it moves us, inspires us, and connects us. This notion rang true in the heart of Senator Robert C. Byrd. From a young age, Byrd recognized music as one of the artistic amplifiers of the human condition, made quite evident from the array of photos and documentation the distinguished Senator left behind. A majority of the images featuring Byrd were stoic and reverent, offering the indurate disposition expected from a United States Senator. However, take even a brief glance at any picture of Byrd holding his fiddle, and there is a discernibly different environment to it. No politics, no divisive personal opinions, no formalities. There is simply a man and his music.
By Zach Garver - Byrd Center Archives Intern
By Kyle Staubs, Byrd Center Archives Intern
All of the interns and employees at the Byrd Center have our favorite photos in Senator Byrd’s Photograph Collection. The photographs in the archives had already been arranged in chronological order before I was given the task of digitizing these images. While some of them were dated by a stamp or handwritten note on the back, other photographs had to be dated by researching Senator Byrd's press clipping scrapbooks and documents. My project is to scan them and prepare access copies so that they can be accessible to everyone.
By Jody Brumage
As we continue to work through the digitization of Senator Byrd's extensive photograph collection, we are making all kinds of unique and interesting discoveries. Today, we want to share with you a set of photographs from Senator Byrd's tour of Washington D.C., a booklet produced by his office in the early 1960s to give out to constituents and visitors.
Senator Byrd's first trip to Washington D.C. occurred when he was around the age of 13. He traveled with his boy scout troop from Stotesbury on a flat-bed truck to see the nation's capital. Many years later as Senator Byrd was recounting this trip for his autobiography, Child of the Appalachian Coalfields, he explained that while in the city, he and a friend split the fare for an aerial tour of the city aboard a single-engine airplane. Fifteen years later in 1946, Byrd took a group of four adults and forty-four children from the Sunday School at Crab Orchard Baptist Church on a trip to Washington, D.C., visiting among many sites the U.S. Capitol and seeing the Senate in session.
By Ray Smock
We are excited to announce the opening of another series in the Robert C. Byrd Congressional Papers Collection: the Speeches Series. Spanning almost the entirety of Senator Byrd's career in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, the speeches include the senator's statements on issues of national significance, his study of history and the U.S. Constitution, his role in securing billions of dollars in federal aid for projects, and his love for his home state of West Virginia.
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.