Ronald L. Lewis
Upon receiving the PhD in 1974, I began my teaching career at the University of Delaware. With a joint appointment in the Black American Studies Program and the Department of History, I was promoted through the ranks to Professor while at the U of D. During my eleven years there, I taught African American history. My research focused on the uneasy intersection of race and labor in America. I also became interested in regional studies while at the U of D, and offered a graduate seminar on Appalachian history and culture. When I was hired at WVU in 1985 to teach West Virginia and Appalachian history, the pieces of my second career as a regional historian fell into place. WVU has been good to me and my family, and in retirement we continue to call Morgantown home. My professional activities have slowed considerably, but I still occupy myself with several research projects.
- Professor and Robbins Chair Emeritus, May 2008
- Stuart and Joyce Robbins Chair in History, West Virginia University, 2001-2008
- Interim Director, Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University, 2000-2001
- Eberly Family Professor of History, West Virginia University, 1993-2001
- Chairperson, Department of History, West Virginia University, 1989-1995
- Professor of History, West Virginia University, 1985-2008
- Assistant Professor to Professor, University of Delaware, 1974-1985
- Teacher, Public Schools, Louisville, Ohio, 1968-1969
- U.S. Navy, 1961-1965
- Ph.D. 1974 and M.A. 1971, University of Akron (American History)
- B.A. (1966), Ohio University (Political Science and Economics)
Teaching and Research Fields
Race and Ethnicity
Social History of Industrialization
- Iron Artisans: Welsh Immigrants and the American Age of Steel. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2023.
Walter F. White: The NAACP's Ambassador for Racial Equality. With Robert L. Zangrando. Morgantown: West Virginia University Press, 2018. https://wvupressonline.com/node/755
- The Industrialist and the Mountaineer: The Eastham-Thompson Feud and the Struggle for West Virginia's Timber Frontier. Morgantown: West Virginia University Press, 2017. http://wvupressonline.com/node/671
Aspiring to Greatness: West Virginia University Since World War II. Morgantown: West Virginia University Press, 2013.
Welsh Americans: A History of Assimilation in the Coalfields, 1840-1920. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008.
- Transforming the Appalachian Countryside: Railroads, Deforestation, and Social Change in West Virginia, 1880-1920. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998.
- Black Coal Miners in America: Race, Class, and Community Conflict, 1780-1980. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1987. http://www.kentuckypress.com/live/title_detail.php?titleid=2476#.V-VNYKTD82w
- Coal, Iron, and Slaves: Industrial Slavery in Maryland and Virginia, 1715-1865. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Publishing Company, 1979.
- The Other Slaves: Mechanics, Artisans and Craftsmen. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1978. Coedited with James E. Newton. 245 pages.
- The Black Worker: A Documentary History From Colonial Times to the Present. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1978-84. Coedited with Philip S. Foner. 8 vols., 4,102 pages.
- Black Workers: A Documentary History from Colonial Times to the Present. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989. One volume abridged hardcover and papercover editions. Coedited with Philip S. Foner. 733 pages.
- The Transformation of Life and Labor in Appalachia. Guest Editor, Journal of the Appalachian Studies Association, 2 (1989). 198 pages.
- West Virginia History: Critical Essays on the Literature. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall-Hunt Pub. Co., for WV Humanities Council, 1991. Coedited with John C. Hennen, Jr. 247 pages.
- West Virginia: Documents in the History of a Rural-Industrial State, 2nd. rev. ed. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall-Hunt Publishing Co., l996. Coedited with John C. Hennen, Jr. 371 pages.
- Transnational West Virginia: Ethnic Communities and Economic Change, 1840-1940. Morgantown: West Virginia University Press, 2002. Coedited with Ken Fones-Wolf. 350 pages.
Most Recent Articles:
- “Reconstructing Welsh Identity in the American Coalfields,” North American Journal of Welsh Studies 6 (Winter 2011): 32-52.
- “Gender and Transnationality Among Welsh Tinplate Workers in Pittsburgh: The Hattie Williams Affair, 1895,” Labor History, 48 (May 2007): 175-194, coauthored with Bill Jones.
- “Letter from John A. Williams of Algoma Mine to Mr. and Mrs. William Thomas of Brynawel, Aberdare, Wales, 1895,” West Virginia History, New Series, 1 (Fall 2007): 69-89.
Selected Awards and Professional Service:
- Choice, Magazine of the American Library Association, “Outstanding Academic Book,” for The Black Worker, 1979.
- National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for Independent Study, 1980-81.
- Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Akron, 1987.
- Outstanding Research Award, Arts and Sciences, WVU, 1988.
- Claude Benedum Distinguished Scholar Award, WVU, 1991.
- William Miernyk Award for Career Scholarly Achievement (once every 5 years), Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University, 1995.
- Choice, Magazine of the American Library Association, “Outstanding Academic Book,” for Transforming the Appalachian Countryside, 1998.
- Fulbright-Hayes Commission Award for Research and Lecturing, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom, Fall semester 1999.
- Governor’s Award for West Virginia History and Literature. Presented by Gov. Cecil Underwood, April 2000.
- Cratis Williams/James Brown Service Award, Appalachian Studies Association, 2007.
- Historian Laureate of West Virginia. Appointed by Gov. Joe Manchin III, Jan. 29, 2010.
- Vice-President (1993-94), President (1994-95), the Appalachian Studies Association.
- Founding Editor, Journal of Appalachian Studies (Appalachian Studies Association), 1995-97.
- Mountain Honorary, WVU student and alumni service organization, 1996-present.
- Vice President (1997-99), and President (2000-2002), North American Association for the Study of Welsh Culture and History.
- Series Co-Editor. West Virginia and Appalachia. West Virginia University Press (2000-present).
- Editor/Assoc. Editor, West Virginia History: a Journal of Regional Studies (2006-2012).
- "Order of Vandalia" (2016-present). Outstanding service to WVU.
Delaware History (1980-85); West Virginia History (1987-present); Encyclopedia of Appalachia (1996-2006); Journal of Appalachian Studies (1998-present); West Virginia University Press (1999-2007); North American Journal of Welsh Studies (2000-present); Journal of Southern History (2000-2004); West Virginia Humanities Council Board of Directors (2000-04); Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion (2008-present); Llafur: Journal of the Welsh People’s History Society (2012-present).