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CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Humanities Council’s History Alive! program has announced its roster of historical figures available for presentations now through Oct. 31, 2021.

The characters now available are:

  • Walt Disney, animation pioneer and famed creator of Mickey Mouse, portrayed by James Froemel, of Maidsville.
  • Abigail Adams, wife of America’s Founding Father and second president John Adams, portrayed by JoAnn Peterson, of Kingwood.
  • Francis Pierpont, considered the “founding father” of West Virginia, portrayed by Travis Henline, of Wheeling.
  • Pearl S. Buck, West Virginia-born author of “The Good Earth” and over 100 other books, portrayed by Missy McCollam, of Beverly.
  • Bessie Smith, the “Empress of the Blues,” portrayed by Doris Fields, of Beckley.
  • Col. Ruby Bradley, trailblazing U.S. Army nurse and veteran of World War II and Korea, portrayed by Becky Park, of Charleston.
  • Gabriel Arthur, 17th century frontiersman, portrayed by Doug Wood, of Hurricane.
  • Nellie Bly, 19th century reporter, portrayed by JoAnn Peterson, of Kingwood.
  • Stonewall Jackson, Civil War general, portrayed by Doug Riley, of Tunnelton.
  • Ostenaco, Cherokee leader, portrayed by Doug Wood, of Hurricane.
  • Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president, portrayed by Gene Worthington, of Fayetteville.
  • Sacagawea, Lewis & Clark Expedition Native American guide and translator, portrayed by Mary Dailey, of Meadow Bridge.
  • Harriet Tubman, Underground Railroad leader, portrayed by Ilene Evans, of Thomas.
  • Mark Twain, American literary icon, portrayed by Doug Riley, of Tunnelton.
  • Charles Schulz, cartoonist and creator of the beloved “Peanuts” comic strip, portrayed by James Froemel, of Maidsville.

The characters of Walt Disney, Francis Pierpont, Abigail Adams and Bessie Smith are new to the program. The character of Col. Ruby Bradley rejoins the program after several years’ hiatus. Pearl S. Buck, who was last portrayed by Karen Vuranch in 2010, returns as performed by Missy McCollam in time for the 2021 bicentennial of Pocahontas County, where the famous author was born. The character of Pearl Buck will be available for bookings starting Sept. 1.

The History Alive! program brings historical figures to life through first-person portrayals by presenters who have conducted scholarly research on their character. The programs provide entertaining and educational experiences by allowing audiences to explore history through interaction with important people from the past. Presentations are available for $150 to a variety of both nonprofit and for-profit organizations throughout West Virginia including schools, libraries, museums, historical societies, civic groups, festivals, associations, parks, businesses and others.

Information on all the History Alive! characters and how to schedule a presentation can be found at or by contacting Humanities Council Program Officer Kyle Warmack at 304-346-8500 or

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