|Editor||Stan Bumgardner (since 2015)|
|Former editors||Tom Screven (1975-79), Ken Sullivan (1979-97), John Lilly (1997-2015)|
|Publisher||State of West Virginia, Department of Arts, Culture and History|
|First issue||April 1975|
|Based in||Charleston, West Virginia|
Goldenseal documents the state's cultural background and recent history through 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 rarely covered, however. Roughly 70% of the readers are in-state – most of the remainder are former West Virginia residents or frequent visitors.
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."
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.
In July 1977, responsibility for publication was shifted to the new Department of Culture and History, now known as the Department of Arts, 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 40 to 72 pages by July 1979 to its current 80 pages today. In fall 1981, voluntary subscription payments were introduced, and by 1995, the magazine was entirely self-supporting. Today magazine sales are the sole revenue. As of 2019, there are around 7,200 paid subscribers, and about 1,800 copies per issue are sold at newsstands and through the Goldenseal office at 304-558-0220.