August 31, 1957: Historian Charles Ambler Dies at 81

Charles Ambler

Historian Charles Ambler died on August 31, 1957, at age 81. He was one of the most influential historians in West Virginia history.

The Ohio native grew up in St. Marys, West Virginia, and then taught in Pleasants County schools and served as the county sheriff. After earning degrees from West Virginia University and the University of Wisconsin, Ambler taught at Randolph-Macon College before returning to WVU in 1917, where he taught history for the next 30 years and served as chairman of the History Department. Among his enduring legacies was the creation of the West Virginia and Regional History Collection in the university library.

His research and writings explored many topics that had received minimal attention, such as the sectionalism that gradually divided West Virginia from Virginia and biographies of statehood leaders. He also wrote or cowrote histories of the state that would be staples of West Virginia Studies classes for decades.

Ambler was honored with the presidency of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association and numerous other recognitions. Capping off his distinguished career, he represented Monongalia County in the state legislature from 1951 to ’55.