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Ruby Bishop West Collection

Identifier: Ms-1986-002

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the papers of Ruby Bishop West, an educator and local historian from Floyd, Virginia. The papers are divided into five series: Floyd County Churches, Floyd County Education, Floyd County History, Personal Materials and Oversize Materials.

The Floyd County Churches Series includes research notes, maps and printed materials on various churches located in Floyd County, particularly Lutheran, Methodist and Primitive Baptist congregations.

Within the Floyd County Education Series are historical data, printed materials (mostly programs for school events) and photographs of various Floyd County schools. Much of the material centers on Floyd High School, but other schools are represented as well. The series also contains tabulations on county school enrollment, test scores and withdrawals during the 1930s and 1940s.

The Floyd County History Series contains mostly research notes on various topics relating to Floyd County history, particularly the Civil War, genealogy, mining, and postal and telephone service. The series also includes historical sketches and data on the county's settlement and development and materials relating to the celebration of the county's centennial (1931) and sesquicentennial (1981).

Items relating to West's personal life are found in the Personal Materials Series. The series includes West's diplomas, grade reports and other items from Radford Teacher's College, a small early twentieth century photo album, other assorted photos and ephemera, and a sizeable collection of sheet music.

The Oversize Materials series consists of items which were too large to be inter-filed with their respective series. The series includes a large photo of Floyd Academy, a 1960 Floyd High School newspaper and oversized sheet music publications.


  • 1858 - 1981


Language of Materials

The materials in the collection are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials. Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: Please contact Special Collections and University Archives ( or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Biographical Note

Ruby Bishop, Floyd County educator and local historian, was born near Falling Branch (Floyd County), Virginia, the only daughter of Wesley and Lydia Caldwell Bishop. When Bishop was still a child, the family moved to Floyd, where she graduated from Floyd Academy in 1920. (She later attended Radford College, obtaining a two-year degree in 1930, and a bachelor's degree in 1938.)

In 1920, Bishop was hired to teach in a one-room school in Floyd County's Little River District. In 1925, she began teaching seventh grade at Floyd County High School, a post she would retain until 1940, when she was appointed elementary supervisor of the county's schools. She also served for a time as administrative assistant to the county's superintendent for instruction and as acting superintendent of Floyd County schools. Bishop married Judge George D. West (born April 19, 1897) in 1957; she retired in 1967.

Ruby Bishop West maintained an interest in local history throughout her life; she organized Floyd County's sesquicentennial celebration in 1981. She joined the Methodist Church in 1915, and was an active member, serving at various times as teacher and church historian. She died on May 8, 1984 (her husband having died in 1975) and is buried in Jacksonville Cemetery, Floyd.


2 Cubic Feet (4 boxes)


This is a collection of materials related to Floyd County, Virginia history, particularly--but not limited to--church and education history, as well as materials related to the county's general history and its sesquicentennial celebration in 1981. Also includes personal materials, consisting of school records and diplomas from Radford College, personal photographs and ephemera, and sheet music from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Description of Series

I. Floyd County Churches, 1892-1980, n.d. This series contains research notes, maps, and printed materials relating to the history of Lutheran, Methodist, Primitive Baptist and other congregations in Floyd County. Arranged alphabetically by denomination.

II. Floyd County Education, 1898-1979, n.d. In addition to research notes and printed materials, this series includes photographs and historical sketches of local schools, most seemingly collected by West while a student, and later as a teacher and administrator, when she also collected statistics on county enrollment and test scores. The series is further divided into the following subseries:

Floyd County High School, 1913-1979, n.d. Contains two brief sketches on school history and a large collection of programs for school-related events (mostly commencement exercises). Also contains a 1940 yearbook, various newsclippings and photos of the school and various class groups, including photos of the earlier Floyd Academy. Arranged by material function.

Other Schools, 1898-1957, n.d. Materials related to other schools in Floyd County are located here and include historical sketches, photographs, programs and other printed material. The subseries also contains an advertisement for the Floyd Normal School's 1898 term and a pamphlet entitled "God's Cosy Corner" by Mildred Welch concerning the need for Presbyteran mission schools in Floyd County. Arranged by material function.

Floyd County School System, 1937-1976, n.d. Containing materials relating to the county's school system, this subseries consists of various historical sketches, essays and newsclippings. The subseries also contains tabulations of county school enrollment, test scores, withdrawals and failures during the 1930s and 1940s. The subseries concludes with a small collection of correspondence, forms, reports and lists of county school teachers. arranged by material function.

III. Floyd County History, 1885-1981, n.d. This series contains materials relating to the history of the county as a whole and consists mostly of research notes made by West and others on specific topics. The series also contains various essays on Floyd County history and items regarding the county's centennial and sesquicentennial celebrations. The series is divided among the following subseries, arranged alphabetically by topic, with general materials at the end of the series:

Civil War, n.d. Contains a few typescript notes on general Civil War history, a list of soldiers buried in Floyd Cemetery and a newsclipping about a Civil War letter written by Floyd Countian William P. Walters.

Genealogy, n.d. Includes pages from a published genealogy of the Goodykoontz family, and brief notes on other local families.

Mining, 1972, n.d. Floyd County iron and copper mining ventures are discussed in this small collection of newsclippings and research notes.

Postal Service, 1968-1970, n.d. Contained in this subseries are materials relating to post offices, postmasters and rural routes within Floyd County. It includes such materials as lists, maps, correspondence and newsclippings.

Telephone Service, n.d. Includes a county map and a brief sketch of the Pilot Telephone System, written in 1980.

General County History, 1885-1981. Includes a 1951 historical sketch by Curtis Sumpter, as well as other compiled sketches and data on Floyd County history. The subseries also includes a speech delivered on the county's centennial in 1931 and meeting minutes, notes and printed material compiled by Ruby Bishop West during her coordination of the sesquicentennial celebration in 1981.

IV. Personal Materials, 1879-1960. Materials from West's personal life are found in this series and include such items as West's diplomas, grade reports and other items from Radford Teacher's College; a small family photo album from the early twentieth century, other assorted photographs and ephemera, and a sizeable collection of sheet music. Arranged by material function.

V. Oversize Materials, 1858-1960. This series contains items which were too large to be filed with other materials. Items in this series are arranged according to the order in which they would have been filed had they remained in their respective series.

Source of Acquisition

The Ruby Bishop West collection was given to the Floyd County Historical Society following West's death in 1984. The collection was donated to Special Collections at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University by the society in 1986. The collection was accessioned under the title "Floyd County Historical Society Records" but was renamed during processing in 2003 to more accurately reflect its contents.

Separated Material

The following books were transferred from the collection to the Special Collections' Rare Book Collection:

Missing Title

  1. Arnold, Sarah Louise and Charles B. Gilbert. Stepping stones to literature. New York: Silver, Burdett and Co., 1902.
  2. Coleradge, S. T. Biographia literaria, vol. I. New York: Kirk and Mercein, 1817.
  3. Daily, John R. Primitive Baptist hymn and tune book. Indianapolis, Ind.: Earl and William T. Daily, n.d.
  4. Daniel, J. R. V. A hornbook of Virginia history. Richmond, Va.: Virginia Department of Conservation and Development, 1949.
  5. Debnam, W. E. Weep no more, my lady: a southerner answers Mrs. Roosevelt's report on the "poor and unhappy" South. Raleigh, N. C.: W. E. Debnam, 1950.
  6. Durand, Silas H. and P. G. Lester. Hymn and tune book for use in old school or primitive Baptist churches. Greenfield, Ind.: D. H. Goble, 1886.
  7. A Listing of men from Floyd County who served as Confederate soldiers in the Civil War or War Between the States, 1861-1865, compiled from the records of Camp III. [S.l.: s.n., 198-?]
  8. Monteith, James. First lessons in geography. New York: A. S. Barnes, 1876.
  9. The Old school hymnal. Macon, Ga.: J. A. Monsees, 1937.

The following newspapers were transferred from the collection to the Special Collections' Newspaper Collection:

Missing Title

  1. Bluff City News(Bluff City, TN), Nov 16 1889
  2. Bristol Courier(Bristol, TN), Oct 2 1879; Sep 17, Nov 19 1885; Nov 15 1888; Sep 5 1889; Feb 27 1890; Jan 21, Jun 16 1892
  3. Central Star(Blountville, TN), Nov 20, 1884
  4. Christian Advocate(Nashville, TN): Feb 21 1874
  5. Christian Advocate(St. Louis, MO): Jun 8 1887
  6. Floyd Press(Floyd, VA), Jun 6 1940; Aug 21 1941; Jun 8 1949; Jul 27 1950; Jan 18, Feb 15, 22, Aug 9, 16, Oct 18 1951; May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, Jun 19, Aug 7, 14, 21 1952; Apr 8, May 6, 13, 27, Jun 3, 10, 11, 24, Jul 15, 22, 29, Aug 5 1954; Feb 3 10, 17, 24, Jun 16, 23, 30, Jul 7, 14, 21, 28, Aug 4, 18, 25, Sep 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, Oct 6, 13, 20, 27, Nov 3, 5, 10, 17, 24, Dec 8, 15, 22 1955; Jan 1, 12, 19, 26, Feb 16, Mar 8, 22, 29, Jul 26 1956; Oct 2 1958; Feb 12, Mar 12, 26, Apr 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, May 7, 14, 21 1959; Sep 1, Dec 1 1960; Jan 5, Dec 28 1961; Jul 1 1976; Jul 23, 30, Aug 6, 13, 20, 27, Sep 3, 10 1981.
  7. Holston Methodist(Knoxville, TN): Mar 20 1875; May 8 1885; Nov 16 1892
  8. Sullivan Landmark(Blountville, TN), Sep 17 1879
  9. Western North Carolina Methodist(Asheville, NC), Dec 3 1891

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Ruby Bishop West Collection by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement and description of the West Collection commenced in March 2003 and was completed in April 2003.

A Guide to the Ruby Bishop West Collection 1877-1981
John M. Jackson
2003 (CC0 1.0)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English

Revision Statements

  • 2020-08-14: Finding aid notes updated to new department standards. juliags

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US