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Edward J. Cabbell, Historian, Papers

Collection Number: A&M 0217


The papers of Edward J. Cabbell, an author, poet, editor, and historian documents subjects regarding African-American history in Appalachia, encompassing the colonial period through 1988. The materials include research papers, articles, photographs, clippings, books, and publications such as "Then & Now" and "Black Diamonds". There is also information pertaining to the John Henry legend and includes articles, music references and literature. There are photographs of paintings and sculptures of John Henry, candid images of the John Henry Folk Festivals, Edward J. Cabbell as the director of the John Henry Memorial Foundation and Louis W. Chappell, a West Virginia University professor who compiled a massive collection of Appalachia folklore and music, including John Henry material.


  • Creation: 1969-1988


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

No special access restriction applies.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. For more information, please see the Permissions and Copyright page on the West Virginia and Regional History Center website.

Biographical / Historical

Edward Cabbell's career as an author began with the publication of a short story in Phylon: The Atlanta University Review of Race and Culture. In 1970 he published his first book of poetry which received critical praise from the poet and independent African-American publisher of Broadside Press, Dudley Randall. Randall compared Cabbell favorably to his contemporaries, poets such as Sonia Sanchez and Don Lee (Haki Madhubuti). While he continued to publish more short stories and poetry, he became a guest editor and contributor to Appalachian publications such as: Now and Then, Hill & Valley, Goldenseal and Mountain Life & Work. Cabbell also founded and directed the John Henry Memorial Foundation in Princeton, West Virginia. The development of his poetry and literature is as a voice of the African-American Appalachian experience immortalizing it in a way comparable to Langston Hughes of the Harlem Renaissance.


1.5 Linear Feet (Summary: 1 ft. 6 in. (3 document cases, 5 in. each); (1 small flat storage box, 3 in.))

Physical Location

West Virginia and Regional History Center / West Virginia University / 1549 University Avenue / P.O. Box 6069 / Morgantown, WV 26506-6069 / Phone: 304-293-3536 / Fax: 304-293-3981 / URL:

Edward J. Cabbell, Historian, Papers, 1969-1988
Staff of the West Virginia & Regional History Center
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Repository Details

Part of the West Virginia and Regional History Center Repository

1549 University Ave.
P.O. Box 6069
Morgantown WV 26506-6069 US