Etchings Reflect History and Art

Wheeling lawyers Jeremy C. McCamic and Jolyon W. McCamic have donated a group of valuable etchings – representing a lifelong passion by their father, Jay T. McCamic, for history and art – to West Liberty University.

“We are grateful for this important gift which we look forward to sharing with the public and our students,” said Library Director Cheryl Harshman.

Jay T. McCamic served in the military during World War I, where he met and married an English woman, Joan Whitehead. An attorney as well as an artist, McCamic brought the collection of etchings to this country from London in 1928.

He was assisted in his effort by his sister-in-law, Dr. Eileen W. MacFarlane. MacFarlane eventually moved to Wheeling, where she died at age 104.

Jeremy and Jolyon McCamic inherited the etchings at the time of their father’s death in 1971. Numbering 1,447 historic pictures, the collection will now be known as the Jay T. McCamic and Dr. Eileen MacFarlane Etchings Collection and will be housed in the Paul N. Elbin Library rare book room at West Liberty University.

The etchings date to the 18th and 19th centuries and are images of historic events, religious themes, European views, nobility and beautiful ladies. All are etchings or engravings that use the technique of creating prints made from a metal plate, usually copper. The plate itself is incised with acid to create the design that is then inked and applied to paper to create a print.

The McCamic gift also funds an endowment for the archives at the university.

The donation continues the generosity of the McCamic family that began with the gift of the Jay T. McCamic Art Book Collection in 1971, and carries on with his grandsons, Jay McCamic, son of Jeremy McCamic, and Jeffrey McCamic, the son of Jolyon McCamic, who also are attorneys.

Harshman said future plans for the etchings include work to preserve the art and its paper, cataloguing the donation, creating archival storage and digitalizing the collection for Internet viewing.

For more information, call the Elbin Library help desk at 304-336-8261.