WKU Libraries Blog

News and events from WKU Libraries

WKU Libraries Blog - News and events from WKU Libraries

Land of Pure Vision: The Sacred Geography of Tibet and the Himalaya

Land of Pure Vision The Sacred Geography of Tibet and the Himalaya

David Zurick, Foundation Professor of Geography at Eastern Kentucky University, was this month’s featured speaker in our “Far Away Places” series.

David Zurick, Foundation Professor of Geography at Eastern Kentucky University, was this month’s featured speaker in our “Far Away Places” series on the evening of November 20, 2014 at Barnes & Noble Booksellers. He traveled to Tibet in the summer of 2013 in support of his new book and film. Along with cinematographer Chris Radcliffe, he completed the ritual pilgrimage around Mt. Kailash, crossing an 18,600 foot pass and spending nights in monasteries and pilgrim guesthouses.

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Veterans Display in Cravens Library

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This year, we have been fortunate to have an abundance of loaned items for the Veterans Display. A multitude of veterans and family members of veterans have been kind enough to loan these items to us. People that loaned items range from our very own WKU students and staff members to veterans living in Kentucky and Tennessee. We were also lucky enough to have members of a D.A.V. chapter in Tennessee loan items. Tonya Archey, Military Student Services Director, was very helpful in reaching out to veterans in our WKU community.

The items on display range from pictures to full uniforms. There are two uniforms on display, both from the Air Force. One is a set of Enlisted Service Dress and Blues, and the other is a Flight Duty Suit with helmet and gloves. The helmet even has a COMs unit and oxygen hook-up attached. From the Navy, there is a White Dixie Cup Sailor Cap, which is sitting in front of a picture of the U.S.S George Washington (CVN-73) aircraft carrier. The picture, and accompanying certificate of appreciation, was given to WKU for care packages that were gathered and sent out to the carrier. There is also a lower face flight shield and a flight sleeve from serving as Nato Flight Security at Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan.

The display contains items from different conflicts and periods. One item on display is a painting of a very old photo of a Civil War soldier; the owner still has the original negative on a tin plate. There are also photos of a WWII soldier, a Marine from the Vietnam War, and an Army soldier from the Vietnam War. The latter has several pictures from training camp and from home before being deployed. There is also a book from training at Fort Campbell for the US Army, Company A, 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade from the Vietnam War era. This amazing book is filled with pictures of soldiers training, as well as pictures of the soldiers similar to how a high school yearbook is setup.

Beyond pictures, there are also many medals and other items. One shadow box has several medals earned by a Marine in the Vietnam War. Near that is a Purple Heart with accompanying ribbon that was given to a Vietnam veteran, a Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary medal given to a Marine Corps veteran, a Task Force Longrifles award for excellence, and a 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry Regiment award for excellence. There is also a D.A.V., Disabled American Veterans, member cap, and two flags in cases. One flag was carried into battle during Operation Iraqi Freedom by the USAF, United States Air Force.

The display is located on the 5th floor of Cravens Library. Items in the display will be available for viewing until Dec. 12th.

Focus On Special Collections

Kentucky Ancestors is a publication of the Kentucky Historical Society which features article topics appealing to family historians of all levels. They have ‘How-To’, Case Studies, and individual family histories as well as Book Notes, stories and commentary.  They focus on content related to Kentucky families and locations, as well as those areas from which many Kentuckians migrated.  The resource is no longer issued in print but is freely available online. A new feature for the magazine is “Repository Roundup.” They note that “Kentucky has a great reputation for being ‘Records Rich’ – but we want to know WHERE the records are located throughout the state.”  We were pleased that the Special Collections Library was chosen as the first library to be featured for this new series. Family historians and other patrons from around the United States and the world visit to see and use the many “books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, audio, video, and other material documenting the history, politics, culture, literature, daily life and folkways” of the families of the Commonwealth and beyond. The article featuring the Special Collections library is available at http://kentuckyancestors.org/repository-roundup-western-kentucky-university/Kentucky

Western Players & Summer Players Scrapbooks

Leo Burmester “steals the show” with a belly dance in South Pacific, 1966/1967

Leo Burmester “steals the show” with a belly dance in South Pacific, 1966/1967

This photo from 1957-1958 shows women looking at a Western Players scrapbook, now in our collections, that was already 23 years old. It is now 80 years old.

This photo from 1957-1958 shows women looking at a Western Players scrapbook, now in our collections, that was already 23 years old. It is now 80 years old.

These fifty newly conserved and processed scrapbooks document theatre productions and other activities of Russell H. Miller and the Western Players from 1934 to 1969 and the Summer Players from 1956 to 1968. These scrapbooks include newspaper clippings, programs, tickets, greeting cards, correspondence, and many, many photographs.

Corky McCormick shows off his guns in Picnic, 1959-1960

Corky McCormick shows off his guns in Picnic, 1959-1960

The intended topics of the scrapbooks include the Players as a student organization, the players as students and actors, theatre productions, Bowling Green Community Theatre, oratorical and speech contests, debate team competitions (Miller was their coach for several years), regional theatre productions, and similar activities. However, the scrapbooks are also informative on changing fashions, costuming, perceptions of minorities (Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, French, the aged, and the disabled), set design, gender roles, and a variety of other topics. Continue reading

Ephemera item adds diversity to Kentucky Library Research Collections

John Finzer & BrothersThe Kentucky Library Research Collections recently added a piece of ephemera which reflects the historic diversity of tobacco customers. Louisville, Kentucky, in particular, was settled by significant numbers of immigrants from northern and western Europe in the decades prior to the Civil War. Five brothers from Canton Berne, Switzerland immigrated to Louisville as boys and learned the trade of manufacturing plug tobacco by working in local factories. In 1866, they began a small factory known as the Five Brothers Tobacco works. As the company grew to become the largest tobacco factory in Louisville and achieved the rank of fifth in importance in the United States, it was renamed J. Finzer and Brothers. By 1887, it employed up to twelve traveling salesmen, who were responsible for making its trade in the Eastern states greater than any other tobacco factory in the West.
Previously the Kentucky Library Research Collections included a February 1886 issue of Retail Tobacconist, J. Finzer and Brothers’ trade paper. Now we are pleased to add an advertising card printed in English, German and Italian marketing Wild Rose Cut Plug Tobacco. This acquisition demonstrates our commitment to building an International collection which reflects the diverse communities that have long made up Kentucky.

“Permit Safely and Freely to Pass”

George Crawford's 1807 passport

George Crawford’s 1807 passport

For most of us, our most-deplored photo (next to our driver’s license) is the one on our passport.  But it wasn’t until late 1914 that Americans were required to include a photographic likeness with their passport applications.

Earlier passports might simply state the holder’s name, as did the 1807 passport of George Crawford, signed by New York mayor DeWitt Clinton.  Or the document might give notice of the age and physical attributes of its bearer.  For example, the 1863 diplomatic passport of Bowling Green lawyer Warner L. Underwood described his high forehead, blue eyes, prominent nose, “ordinary” mouth and chin, round face, and “florid” complexion.  George Harris’s August 1914 passport was for a man with a medium forehead, large nose, dark complexion, and dimpled chin.  Although it included her photo, the 1919 passport of WKU teacher Elizabeth Woods also noted her medium nose and mouth, round chin, and oval face.  Like Underwood’s, her passport was not the pocket-sized book we use today, although at 8X12 inches it could be folded in quarters and kept in a cardboard cover, like that of Grayson County merchant Willis Green.

Willis Green's 1923 passport

Willis Green’s 1923 passport

What gives modern passport photos their charm, of course, is that mug-shot quality (a “neutral facial expression and both eyes open” is the rule).  But earlier specimens weren’t quite so uniformly dreadful.  From the flapper-era glory of Ruth Hines Temple’s 1926 photo, to the Cold War-era gaze on Congressman Frank Chelf’s 1959 passport (“not valid” for travel in Hungary, Cuba, etc.), these photos allowed a little of the bearer’s personality to shine through.

Click on the links to access finding aids for the collections containing the passports of these traveling Kentuckians, part of the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives holdings of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections.  For more, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

Ruth Hines Temple; Frank Chelf

Ruth Hines Temple; Frank Chelf

WKU Libraries participates in Kentucky Building 75th Anniversary Cellebration

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Faculty, staff, students and community members joined together Friday, November 14, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Kentucky Building. President Ransdell spoke of the significance of the Kentucky Building over the years and the direction the board plans to take the Museum in the future. Library Special Collections Department Head Jonathan Jeffrey gave a brief history of the building, including original intentions in design, funding sources, and time frame to completion as well as Dr. Cherry’s sentiments. Professor Jeffrey concluded with naming several recent acquisitions that were donated to the Special Collections, including (getting info from Jonathan). Cake, punch, and tours of the building were given at the end of the program.

Some recent acquisitions:

These speeches by Dr. Gary Ransdell are representative of the one and a half cubic feet of speeches that were transferred to WKU Archives in 2014.  WKU Archives holds approximately 350 cubic feet of WKU President’s Office papers dating from 1906-present. WKU Archives

This model bayonet was issued to US soldiers fighting in World War I and was based on a bayonet first produced by the British.  It is one of three weapons recently donated to the Kentucky Museum by Thomas Redford, a 1951 graduate of WKU.  Today, the weapons collection includes 200 plus firearms, edged weapons, and accessory items.  Donated by Thomas Redford. Kentucky Museum

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The Sears Family papers contain a large copy book (1850-1870) used by Chauncey Sears, a Shaker from Mt. Lebanon, New York.  Opened is a manuscript hymnal commenced by Polly Ann Smith in 1848; she and Chauncey later married and moved to Ohio.  This collection also includes several loose hymns that Polly intended to enter into the hymnal.  The papers also include genealogy related to the Sears family and some correspondence.  Donated by Drs. Karl & Beth Laves. Manuscripts & Folklife Archives

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Josephus, Flavius.  Phlabiou Iōsēpou Hierosolymitou hiereōs Ta euriskomena…  Coloniae:  Sumptibus Mauritii Georgii Weidmanni, 1691.  Anonmyous donation. Kentucky Library Research Collections

(A history of the Jewish nation after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD by Flavius Josephus;  parallel texts in Latin and Greek)

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WKU Libraries teams up with Confucius Institute to offer a Homecoming Reception.

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WKU Libraries partnered with the Confucius Institute and offered a Homecoming Reception Saturday morning in Helm Library, Room 100. Faculty, staff, students, and alumni visited the event in the morning from 10 to 11:30 am. There were opportunities to participate in a tea ceremony, try calligraphy, view Tai Chi demonstrations, and listen to the Chinese Music Club as well as enjoy the American and Chinese reception food.

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