Long time archivist at the Greenbrier Historical Society, Jim Talbert, has announced his retirement at the end of December. Talbert began his volunteer service at the Greenbrier Historical Society in 1992; was elected to the position of Publicity Director in 1994; became a Member at Large on the Board of Directors in 1995; and was appointed by the Board of Directors as the Historical Society’s Archivist in 1997.
Margaret Hambrick, president of the board of directors, said, “Jim’s dedicated service over the years has helped the Greenbrier Historical Society develop into an incredible resource for the history of our area. He will be impossible to replace.”
Talbert noted, “When I accepted the appointment as Archivist, the archives was located in two small rooms on the second floor of the North House The bath tub had been removed from one of the second story bathrooms and filing cabinets containing the vertical files substituted. Today, the archives is located in two large climate controlled rooms on the main floor of the North House. A third room, located on the second story of the North House, contains items from the Greenbrier County Courthouse Collection that have been sorted and indexed for public use, although we are only about half-way through that process.”
When Talbert began his work, the archives was open only a couple of afternoons during the week. He wanted the archives to be more accessible to everyone, so he championed additional availability, including a Saturday session which he has hosted for 18 years. He credits an outstanding volunteer staff for being able to keep the archives open Monday through Saturday and assist those who come in looking for information. Talbert said, “The notes of appreciation we receive from people we have helped make it all worthwhile.”
During his tenure, Talbert edited the Journal of the Greenbrier Historical Society on seven occasions; provided articles for many other issues of the Journal; and researched and compiled three books detailing the ownership chain of homes and buildings in the City of Lewisburg. He also spent many hours in the field, along with other volunteers, locating remote Greenbrier County cemeteries, inventorying the graves, and compiling a book containing the gathered information for each of the ten Greenbrier County districts.
Talbert has received several awards for his work including being named a West Virginia “History Hero” by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.
Hambrick said, “We hope to find someone with Jim’s level of dedication (He would say ‘stupidity’) to carry on this work.”