Goldenseal (magazine)

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Editor John Lilly (since 1997)
Former editors Tom Screven, Ken Sullivan
Staff writers Kim Johnson
Frequency Quarterly
Circulation 17 000
Publisher State of West Virginia, Division of Culture and History
Year founded 1975
First issue April, 1975
Country United States
Based in Charleston, West Virginia
Language English

Goldenseal is a quarterly magazine devoted to West Virginia traditional life, published by the State of West Virginia, Division of Culture and History.


Goldenseal documents the state's cultural background and recent history by means of oral accounts, research articles, and old and new photographs. Subjects covered include labor history, folklore, music, farming, religion, traditional crafts, food, and politics. Pre-20th century history is not covered, however. Roughly 70% of the readers are in-state – most of the remainder are former residents or frequent visitors.[1]

The purpose of the magazine is to "serve not only as a device to preserve many aspects of the state's traditional life, but also as a means of communication for students and enthusiasts of West Virginia's folklife."[2]

Goldenseal takes its name from the medicinal herb, also called yellow root, among other names, which grows in the state.[2]


The first issue of Goldenseal was published in April 1975 by the West Virginia Department of Commerce and the Arts and Humanities Council, with Tom Screven as editor. It built on a predecessor, Hearth & Fair, also published by the West Virginia Department of Commerce, which had been founded in 1973 to promote activities and spread information concerning the Mountain State Art & Craft Fair, held annually at Cedar Lakes conference center, located near Ripley, Jackson County. Seven issues of the earlier publication had been produced, starting with an eight-page edition and ending with a sophisticated 44-page journal.[2]

In July 1977, responsibility for publication was shifted to the new Department of Culture and History, now known as the Division of Culture and History. Initially the magazine was distributed for free, with the state providing funding. The first edition amounted to a few hundred, but it expanded to more than 30,000 readers at its peak. The number of pages also increased from the 40 to its current size of 72 pages by July 1979. In fall 1981 voluntary subscription payments were introduced, and by 1995, the magazine was entirely self-supporting by 1995. Today magazine sales are the sole revenue. As of 2012, there are around 16,000 paid subscribers, and about 1,100 copies per issue are sold at newsstands.[2]


  1. ^ Contributor Guidelines West Virginia Division of Culture and History, May 2011. Accessed October 2, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d History of Goldenseal West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Accessed October 2, 2012.