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Ken Fones-Wolf

Professor of History
Stuart and Joyce Robbins Chair

KFW highres_2

202C Woodburn Hall
P.O. Box 6303
Morgantown, WV 26506-6303
Phone: 304.293.9308
Fax: 304.293.3616

Teaching Fields

  • Appalachia
  • US working class
  • Gilded Age and Progressive Era
  • 20th Century U.S.


  • PhD, Temple University, 1986
  • MA, University of Maryland, 1979
  • BA, University of Maryland, 1973

Research Interests

Much of my career has focused on labor and social history, particularly the intersection of religious belief and working-class activism. With my wife, Elizabeth, I recently coauthored Struggle for the Soul of the Postwar South, which examined the role of religion in one of the pivotal movements in U.S. labor history, the CIO’s Southern Organizing Campaign following World War II. That work emphasized white evangelical Protestants. For my next project, I hope to explore the relationship of black churches and the labor movement during the CIO years (1935-1955).

I have also worked on Appalachian and West Virginia history topics, and currently (for the past ten years) edit the journal, West Virginia History: A Journal of Regional Studies ( In 2007 I wrote Glass Towns, which explored the efforts to develop a solid manufacturing base in an economy that relied too heavily on resource extraction. I also wrote an introduction for the reprint of Fred Barkey’s book on the West Virginia Socialist Party. Finally, I serve as one of the senior editors for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia in American History.

Grad Students Advised


Courses Offered

HIST 250: West Virginia History

HIST 259: United States, 1865-1918

HIST 456: The Gilded Age

HIST 473: Appalachian History

HIST 477: Working Class America

HIST 773: Readings in Appalachian Regional History

HIST 774: Research Seminar in Appalachian Regional History


Struggle for the Soul of the South: White Protestants and Operation Dixie, with Elizabeth Fones-Wolf (University of Illinois Press, 2015). Winner of the David Montgomery Prize from the Organization of American Historians as the best book in Labor and Working-Class History

Culture, Class, and Politics in Modern Appalachia (WVU Press, 2009)

Glass Towns: Industry, Labor and Political Economy in Appalachia, 1890-1930s (University of Illinois Press, 2007).

Transnational West Virginia (WVU Press, 2002)

The German-American Radical Press (University of Illinois Press, 1992)

Trade Union Gospel (Temple University Press, 1989)

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