CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Two Archives and History lectures will be held in the Archives and History Library at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston, in early November. The programs begin at 6 p.m. and are free and open to the public.
On Thursday, Nov. 5, Karan Bali will present “An American in Madras.” Bali will begin the program with introductory comments and show his documentary film, An American in Madras, about former Wheeling resident Ellis Dungan. The film highlights aspects of Dungan’s early career in the film industry.
Dungan was born in Barton, Ohio, in 1909. In 1935, he ventured to India and spent 15 years there making a name for himself in the Tamil film industry in South India in its early years of development. In 1958, Dungan moved to Wheeling where he produced and directed industrial, business and public relations films through his company, Ellis Dungan Productions. His regional productions include Wild Wonderful West Virginia, Time’s Runnin’ Out and High Speed Steel. He also worked on For Liberty and Union, a film about West Virginia statehood and Wheels to Progress, a film about Wheeling in 1959. Dungan lived in Wheeling until his death in 2001.
Bali is a 1993 graduate of the Film and Television Institute of India. Upon reading Dungan’s A Guide to Adventure: An Autobiography that he coauthored with Wheeling author Barbara Smik, Bali learned that Dungan had given his collection of films, photographs and papers to Archives and History, which provided much of the material he needed to make An American in Madras. He is now working on a documentary on Byculla, a Bombay neighborhood that at one time was a melting pot of Europeans, Anglo-Indians, Jews, Hindus, and other groups.
On Tuesday, Nov. 10, Pat McClure will present “Honoring West Virginia Veterans: Students Write History.” The program will feature advanced placement history students from George Washington High School.
History teacher Kathy Bush assigned the students to a semester-long project last year in which they researched and wrote a biography about a West Virginia World War II veteran. The students not only researched their veteran, who is listed on the West Virginia Veterans Memorial, but also the environment in which the soldier lived before entering the service.
The project was coordinated by Pat McClure, a volunteer at the West Virginia Archives and History and former college professor. McClure has worked as a writer and editor since her retirement. She, too, has been researching, writing and editing the biographies of veterans whose names are on the state’s Veterans Memorial. McClure views this as a lifetime commitment.
Because of ongoing construction in the visitors’ parking area, participants may park in the Governor’s Mansion lot on Thursday, Nov. 5, and enter the front doors of the Culture Center, which is next to the mansion. The parking lot is accessible from Greenbrier Street.
For additional information about the Archives and History lecture series, contact the Archives and History Library at (304) 558-0230.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.