WKU Libraries Blog

News and events from WKU Libraries

WKU Libraries Blog - News and events from WKU Libraries

Author Jason Mott participated in 2014 SOKY Reads!

9780778317074.inddSOKY Reads! proved extremely successful last week as numerous community members and students visited with Jason Mott, author of this year’s featured book The Returned. Mott attended David Bell’s creative writing class and talked about his book, getting published, and what it takes to be a successful writer. He also offered to sign books and addressed a large crowd at the Bob Kirby Library, and participated in two separate luncheons, answering questions from members of three different book clubs. DSC_0023

This year, SOKY Book Fest partners gave out 500 books of The Returned and offered book discussions at various community locations, including the public library branches, at Western Kentucky University, and at Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College.

 Photo Album


Mistaken for the Devil


WKU is celebrating the International Year of Ecuador during the 2014-2015 academic year.  All types of events including film presentations, lectures, exhibits, and foodways demonstrations have been planned across campus.  Interestingly in researching for an exhibit titled “Ecuador in Library Special Collections” at the Kentucky Building, curators found several letters written by the U.S. consul to Ecuador and his wife, Edward Rumsey Wing and Louise (Green) Wing.  They both write back to her Kentucky parents telling them about their exciting adventures, longing for home, intellectual pursuits, family affairs, and adjustment to a new culture.  Wing served in Quito from 1870 to 1874.

In a June 1870 letter Louise writes her parents back in Grayson County, Kentucky, about an experience traveling through the Ecuadorian mountains.

Imagine me in a mask, goggles, veil, man’s hat, green yarn gloves, the thickest of clothing, trotting on a mule past a snow clad mountain—grand, threatening, and awe inspiring. I thought I should never see the last of it, and I pray that I may never behold it again while I live.  By the by I was taken for the Devil in the costume by a little crosseyed Indian girl who insisted I was le diablo.  Our eyes & faces are still afflicted from the sands & wind.  Rumsey looked as if he had been on a royal spree for [the] last forty years and I am not quite a beauty myself.

Toward the end of the letter, Louise summarizes her feelings about the mountain trip:

Language fails me when I attempt to tell you what I have endured and seen in this delectable Republic of Ecuador.  I do not wish to recall it.  Indeed I should like to blot the whole journey thus far, until all of its extentuating and beautiful surroundings, entirely from my memory.  Much to my amazement I reached this spot alive, and today am almost myself— again, though stiff & burnt to a crisp.

To search for other letters and diaries written from distant lands search our finding aids in TopSCHOLAR.

Two Scottish Duchesses in the Age of Men

WKU Libraries will host its second Far Away Places event on October 23 at 7:00 p.m. at Barnes & Noble bookstore titled “Two Scottish Duchesses in the Age of Men” featuring Kathy Callahan.

Callahan at Tantallon Castle

Dr. Callahan at Tantallon Castle

Dr. Callahan is currently Head of the Department of History at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. A native of Terre Haute, Indiana, she received her B.A. and M.A. from Indiana State University. In 1993 she enrolled at Marquette University and went on to earn her M.A. and PhD. in European History for her research on women, crimes and work in London between 1783 and 1815.



View of Edinburgh, Scotland from Calton Hill

Her interest in Scotland began when she began teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in their Celtic Studies Program. Now at Murray State she leads study abroad courses in women’s history as part of their Experience Scotland program.



Dalkeith Palace, former residence of the Duchess of Buccleuch

Her talk will focus on the lives and work of two Scottish duchesses, Anne Hamilton, duchess of Hamilton, and Anna Scott, the duchess of Buccleuch. The two duchesses were contemporaries in 17th century Scotland and governed their estate during a time when men customarily handled such affairs.

Dalkeith Palace and Montagu Bridge

View of Dalkeith Palace and Montagu Bridge from the North Esk River

The event is free and open to the public, and ‘swipeable’ for WKU students. We hope you’ll join us!


Event Flier


Encased Treasures (Clement Reeves Edwards)

In the photographic holdings of the Kentucky Library Research Collections are several early photographic images by C. R. (Clement Reeves) Edwards. He was a photographer, portrait and landscape artist originally from Woodston, New Jersey. He came to Bowling Green in 1857 and opened a photography studio and also offered his services as a portrait painter. This ambrotype is
an example of his fine photography work. Although, the image is not identified, it may be Edwards’s farm and his third wife, Margaret Lewis, whom he married in 1858. He died on February 4, 1898.

Edwards Ambrotype

 The fragility of these one-of-a-kind photographs mandated that they be cased. In 1842, Samuel Peck patented a more durable case than the previous leather or wooden ones. These “Union” cases were composed of gutta-percha, an early plastic. They could be molded to hold any surface design and dyed. This Edwards ambrotypes has a “Union” case embossed with an elk and woods scene.  Additionally, the Kentucky Museum has 14 oil paintings by Edwards. Ten are portraits including two self-portraits and four are landscapes. For more information about early photographs and their identification and care email spcol@wku.edu  Other photographic and illustrative holdings of the Department of Special Collections may be viewed at KenCat at kencat.wku.edu


Reception for Josie Underwood’s Civil War Diary, Part Two

The Register cover-001

WKU Libraries hosted a reception and book signing for author and retired library professor Nancy Disher Baird on Sunday, October 12 in the afternoon in the Kentucky Building. Housed in WKU’s Manuscripts & Folklife Archives, the second of Josie Underwood’s diaries was recently published in the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society (vol. 112, no. 3). Baird spoke of Underwood’s experiences and travels in and around Scotland, taken from the diary. Baird, a former special collections faculty member and local historican, shared keen observations from the diary to the audience of more than forty regarding Civil War times from a young female civilian’s perspective.  

“I think a diary like this helps us humanize people from the past,” said David Turpie, editor of the Register. “Facts and figures are important…but it is also important to understand the thoughts and feelings of one individual, in this case someone who had an unusual journey during the Civil War years. While the war occurred, Josie continued to live her life.”

When we think of the Civil War, we read about military strategy and movement; however, this diary goes beyond the troops. “Most studies of war concentrate on the military and its heroes. But what about the trauma experienced by civilians left at home—especially in an area occupied by the military,” said Nancy Baird, editor of both diaries. “Josie Underwood’s diary concentrates on the Kentucky home front during the Civil War; most southern states experienced similar problems.” For additional information on the latest diary, email the Register staff at  KHSpublications@ky.gov.

Photo Album

The Kentucky Building is celebrating its 75th anniversary

KY Building constructionThe Kentucky Building is celebrating its 75th anniversary with a reception Friday, November 14 from 2:00-3:00 pm in the Kentucky Room of the Kentucky Building on Western Kentucky University’s campus. The public and WKU community are invited to the celebration. There will be a brief program about the history of the building, free admission to all museum exhibits and behind-the-scene tours.

Schedule is as follows:

            2:00     Reception begins/cake and punch serviced

            2:20     Remarks by President Gary Ransdell

            2:30     History of the Kentucky Building by Jonathan Jeffrey

            2:45     Announcements of new acquisitions and the Connie Mills Internship

            2:50     Guests are welcome to tour all areas of the Kentucky Building

 Brief history of the Kentucky Building, photo gallery, and more information can be found at wku.edu/kentuckymuseum/education/75_anniversity.php.         

Contact Christy Spurlock, Education Curator/Kentucky Museum at Christy.spurlock@wku.edu, 270-745-6082 or contact Jonathan Jeffrey, Department Head for Library Special Collections at jonathan.jeffrey@wku.edu, 270-745-5265 for more information about the program or day.    

What Is an Archives?

Part of our continuing recognition of Kentucky Archives Month.

Whether you are researching your family tree, searching for inspiration for your latest historical fiction novel,1 verifying the royal succession,2 or looking for information about the One Ring,3 the place to look is an archives.

An archives is a collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people.  These records include photographs, maps, letters, diaries, government records, and many more things. Many of the types of records in archives are rare and most are one-of-a-kind.  The collections in an archives are often donated by organizations or individuals over time, and often these records are valued family artifacts.  So, archivists have a responsibility to the historical record- and to past donors- to protect and preserve the records in their care.  For more information about what an archives is and about our archival collections, follow the links below:

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Author Sherry Logsdon at an Encore Kentucky Live! in Glasgow


Asylum, by Sherry Logsdon

WKU graduate and retired teacher/counselor Sherry Logsdon will discuss her new novel Asylum at our Glasgow Regional Center Library on Thursday, October 30 at 5 p.m. The novel focuses attention on the incarceration of women in insane asylums in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in many cases for their outspoken views on women’s rights.

Logsdon Sherry 2014 photo

Sherry Logsdon, Author

Originally from Grayson County, Mrs. Logsdon now resides in Eastview, Kentucky with her husband. She graduated WKU with a Bachelors in Special Education and a Masters in Counseling. Logsdon’s current passions include researching insane asylums, women’s rights and the suffragettes, and the power of poetry.

sherrylogsdonpostcardfront copy

Event Postcard

A book signing and reception will follow. We hope you’ll join us.

The Glasgow Regional Center is located at:

500 Hilltopper Way
Glasgow, KY 42141

Lyndsey Pender, Kentucky Library Research Collections Student Assistant Receives Honor

On Tuesday October 7th, Lyndsey Pender, a student assistant in the Department of Special Collections, was inducted into the National Society for Collegiate Scholars Honor Society. The National Society for Collegiate ScholDSC06229ars is an honor society dedicated to providing its members with opportunities to develop their leadership skills, and opportunities to positively change their campuses and communities by participating in service activities. These opportunities serve to enhance the member’s undergraduate experience while preparing them with skills necessary to succeed post-graduation. The WKU Chapter of National Society for Collegiate Scholars was chartered in 2005 and it inducts new members every fall.​

Lyndsey is invaluable to the work we do in the KLRC. With her excellent skills in so many areas, she enables the library to accomplish not only daily tasks but long term goals. Like all student assistants, we are very dependent and thankful for each of them and their hard work. Congratulations to Lyndsey!

Electronic Records Day

emediaSmack in the middle of Archives Month is Electronic Records Day.  Coincidence?  I think not.

We generally think of electronic records as new, now, of the moment and not particularly permanent.

  • email
  • reports
  • blog posts
  • photos on your cellphone

The permanency of records is determined not by format (paper or electronic) but by content.  So while most email is not considered permanent there are emails that should be saved and printed out in total and sent to the archives.

WKU Records Management program provides guidelines for the care and preservation of all university records regardless of format. Contact us at 5-4793 if you have questions regarding the maintenance of electronic records or any other questions.