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Within this Collection:

John Grant

John Ayers

Barbara Angle

Charles McIntyre

Mary Meyers

Howard Rees

George Brady

Additional photographs

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Allegany County
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Garrett County
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Washington County
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Civil War in Maryland
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Genealogy Resources
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Photographs and Prints

Coal Talk

The Coal Talk Oral History project includes stories and memories from Western Maryland coal communities. In Maryland’s two westernmost counties, Garrett and Allegany, coal mining families evolved a culture linking life above and below ground in towns that are now sometimes hard to find and in life underground that stretched from Maryland into West Virginia. The oral history project was directed by Dr. Gail N. Herman, assisted by Reverend John Grant. The project was sponsored in 1989-1993 by Garrett Recreation, Parks, and Tourism with partial funding from Garrett County Development Corporation. The Maryland Humanities Council assisted with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Coal Talk project is dedicated to preserving the memories and subtle nuances of life in the coal towns and mines of Western Maryland.

The collection includes material on the perspectives of the women and men in the coal mining families, whose stresses and strengths have seldom been disclosed, as well as the insights, experiences, and contributions of those who went into the mines. The Library at Garrett College houses both the recordings made of the oral histories and transcripts of them, and also mining tools like lamps, helmets, picks and lunch pails, and maps, photographs and books dealing with coal mining in Western Maryland and nearby West Virginia and Pennsylvania mines.

What this online collection includes is the complete transcript of some of the interviews made in the early 1990s, and selected sections of the interview saved as audio files, so they can be listened to. For the entire audio of the interviews and for more information contact the librarian at Garrett College, Jenny Meslener, Garrett College, 687 Mosser Road, McHenry, Maryland 21541.

Western Maryland Regional Library is grateful to Gail Herman and Dana Shimrock of Garrett College for making this collection available to us to put online and the individuals and their families who were willing to share their stories. Thanks to Andrzej Durlik and Nadia Nasr of the Maryland Digital Cultural Heritage who converted the original tape recordings into a digital format, to Jim Matthews of Garrett College for the photographs, Mary Dale for her help, and to Dan Whetzel for use of his photographs.

Additional information on Western Maryland coal mining can be found at Coal Mining Resources, Lewis J. Ort Library, Frostburg State University.

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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