CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Hold public office for 38 years and you will accumulate a fair amount of papers worth keeping.
Papers stacked to a length of about seven football fields.
That’s the size of Nick Rahall’s congressional archive: 2,000 boxes of speeches, testimony, documents, records, letters and reports, that the former congressman has donated to West Virginia University’s new Beckley campus.
“The longevity of his career is one of the reasons that this collection is so important,” said John Cuthbert, director of WVU’s West Virginia and Regional History Center. “It has particular value in being able to plot issues and changes nationally, within parties, within people’s personal evolution.”
The future home of both WVU-Beckley and WVU Tech will host a celebration of the new campus and the papers on Saturday at 3 p.m.
“Other than my close to 40 years — actually over 40 years in public service, when you count my staff time with Senator Byrd — this is probably the most exciting moment of my life,” said Rahall, who worked for Sen. Robert C. Byrd before running for office.
He said he decided to give the collection to WVU, after consulting with a number of other universities and institutions, because of the new campus in Beckley, his hometown.
Cuthbert said the collection, which arrived in Morgantown a few months ago, could take up to 15 years to sort, organize and catalog…