CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Archives and History is pleased to announce the addition of the Okey DeRaimo Collection to its photographic holdings. The collection, containing nearly 2,000 negatives, includes images from DeRaimo’s 35-year career with Armco Steel. DeRaimo captured rarely seen images of underground work in addition to community events and everyday life in coal communities in Boone, Kanawha and Raleigh counties.
An exhibit featuring 51 selected photographs from this collection is currently on display at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. Included in this exhibit are images of underground mining equipment and operations, local events in the community of Montcoal and activities of the Coal River Mining Institute.
DeRaimo, one of seven brothers to serve in the United States armed forces during World War II, was an Army Air Force bombardier on a B-17 Flying Fortress in Europe with the 401st Bomber Group. The B-17, nicknamed Stubborn Jean, was shot down on Dec. 30, 1943. Initially reported as missing in action, DeRaimo and eight other surviving crewmembers were taken prisoners of war. He was imprisoned in the South Compound of Stalag Luft I in northern Germany until May 1, 1945, when he was liberated by Russian troops. He rejoined his family two months later.
The online finding aid for the collection can be found at http://www.wvculture.org/history/collections/photos/ph2018-028.html.
For additional information, contact Aaron Parsons, photo archivist, at (304) 558-0230.