Kentucky Live! presents “Wine-ing Your Way Across Kentucky” with Becky Kelley & Kathy Woodhouse

Wineing Your Way Across Kentucky (18)
WKU Libraries’ “Kentucky Live!” speaker series opened up its spring season with “Wineing Your Way Across Kentucky: Recipes, History, and Scenery” on the evening of February 16, 2017 in Barnes & Noble Booksellers at Bowling Green, KY. While Kentucky is known for its bourbon industry, wine has been a growing industry in recent years with new wineries applying for licenses every year. Childhood friends Becky Kelley and Kathy Woodhouse traveled across Kentucky visiting over seventy wineries. The book includes Kelley’s description of each winery, with its location, hours, and events information, along with Woodhouse’s amazing photography and favorite recipes using the wines.

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Her Ninth Heart

Valentine to William Carson

Valentine to William Carson

On this Valentine’s Day, here is our most spectacular, and probably oldest (ca. 1850) appeal to the affections — in this case (we think) of one Mr. William Carson — from a “love sick Maid.”  Measuring a full 12 inches in diameter, its verse begins on the outer edge with the lady’s decision to choose him “for my Vallentine,” then circles inward with dizzying entreaties to the gentleman not to “Refuse to be my love” — “for you are my chiefest hearts delight / you can my darkest hours make bright.”

portion of ValentineAs for all those handmade cutouts: There is Eight hearts Plain in your view / The ninth I lost when I saw you.

portion of ValentineThis valentine (and many more) can be found in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives collections of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections.  Click here for a finding aid.  For more, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

portion of Valentine

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Milling Around

Title Panel for the Milling Around Exhibit in Library Special Collections.

Western Kentucky University’s Department of Library Special Collections is pleased to present “Milling Around: Flour in Our Cupboard,” an exhibit that features forty of the nearly two hundred Kentucky flour bags from its collection.  The bags with bold and bright iconography document an industry that was once local but is now consolidated into huge conglomerates.

At one time almost every hamlet of any consequence boasted one or more water- or steam-powered mills that produced flour and/or corn meal.  Beside flour bags, the exhibit features stationery with mill logos, books about mills—including a 1795 copy of the Young Mill Wright, photographs, and other ephemera, as well as a millstone.  One case features cloth flour bags.  After consuming the flour, customers used the bleached cotton bags for towels, cleaning rags, backing for quilts and even clothing.  As a marketing ploy, many flour mills eventually sold their flour in printed cotton fabric bags of varied colors and designs.  These bags were specifically made to be converted into fabric for clothing, quilting and other household uses.

“Milling Around” will run from February 1 to May 12, 2017.

Big Ben flour bag from Rocky Hill, Edmonson County, Kentucky.

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212° Academy students win Young Authors contest

212° Academy students Allison Cleaver and Eva Cook have been selected as the winners of the SOKY Book Fest – 212° Academy Young Authors Contest. Cleaver, daughter of Kevin and Terri Cleaver, wrote the historical fiction book My World in Two, and Cook, daughter of Ryan and Amelia Cook, wrote the historical fiction book Dreams Go Down in History #1: Tea for Two. Cleaver is a 6th grader from Jody Richards Elementary School, and Cook is a 6th grader from Alvaton Elementary School.

 
WKU Libraries Literary Outreach Coordinator and SOKY Book Fest organizer Sara Volpi said there was a wonderful variety of books this year. “We were exceedingly impressed with the imagination and effort put into each book the 212° Academy students wrote,” said Volpi. “The students work diligently for months, drafting their stories, revising, and sourcing illustrations. Picking the winners is always tough,” said Volpi.

One highlight of the 212° Academy experience is participation in SILS (Special Interest Labs), including areas of study such as Inventor’s Workshop, Roller Coaster Physics, and Wild Worlds.  Led by teacher Andrea Heming, students in the Lulu Online Book Publishing SIL wrote, illustrated, and published original books which are entered into the Young Writers Contest.

“Students were able to research and write about something they were passionate about,” said Heming. “They were so excited to receive their books and see all their hard work come to fruition.”

The contest is a combined effort between the Southern Kentucky Book Fest partners (Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Warren County Public Library, and WKU Libraries) and the teachers at the 212° Academy. Cleaver and Cook were recognized at their schools and are invited to sign copies of their books at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest on April 21-22, along with R.L. Stine and 170 plus authors.

For more information, visit www.sokybookfest.org or contact Sara Volpi at (270) 745-4502.

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“I Know Nothing”

American Party broadside (Kentucky Library Research Collections)

American Party broadside (Kentucky Library Research Collections)

Streaking across the political firmament in the 1850s, the American Party rose in response to a wave of immigrants, many of them Catholics, to the United States.  The party saw the newcomers as a threat to American values and economic security, and feared that their allegiance to the Pope would compromise their loyalty to the country.

Collections in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections tell us of the interest the American Party attracted throughout the country.  It was originally more of a secret society, with a formal admission ceremony described by Robert Hale, and a command to members to say “I know nothing” when pressed for their beliefs.  The “Know Nothing Party,” as it came to be called, stood for restricting immigration, limiting eligibility for political office to native-born Protestants, and imposing a lengthy residence requirement for U.S. citizenship.

American Party broadside

Although the Know Nothings were most prominent in the Northeast, they drew comment from every region.  Writing from California to his father in Dry Fork, Kentucky, George Young observed that “the Know Nothings are increasing very fast” and “I am inclined to believe that it will do this state much good.”  A more skeptical letter-writer in Texas told the Goodnight family of Warren County, Kentucky that party supporters “talk a great deal about true Americans but I don’t believe there is a true Republican amongst them.”

In a speech delivered in Virginia, Georgia native Michael Cluskey, later a newspaper editor in Louisville, offered a lengthy and increasingly passionate criticism of the Know Nothings.  He debunked the “bugbear of immigration,” which was “made to appear frightful by the unfounded statements of certain Know Nothing orators.”  Contrary to the claim that “there were 1000 000 million of emigrants into this country during the last year,” he pointed to actual native-born-to-immigrant ratios of 38 to 1 in Virginia and 8 to 1 in the U.S.  A recent decrease in immigration, in fact, was threatening to cause a labor shortage, especially for public works like roads and canals, to which “native born Americans generally don’t choose to expose themselves.”  As for the party’s anti-Catholic platform, Cluskey observed that “nothing is so easily stirred up in the breast of man as the serpent of Religious prejudice,” a “cry of wolf” through which politicians could achieve darker objectives.  “Small temporary shocks like these,” he argued, were more dangerous to the republic than “direct blows at its stability.”

The 1856 presidential election, in which their candidate finished last, spelled the end of the Know Nothings.  In a letter written from Madisonville, Kentucky, Charles Cook understood why.  “I still cherish the leading principles of the American party as the only efficient guarantee against the dangerous influences and corrupting tendencies of foreign emigration,” he admitted, “but these are questions of minor importance.”  The issue now roiling the country, and the one to which “the earnest efforts of every patriotic Union loving man should be turned,” was slavery.

Click on the links to access finding aids for these collections.  For more collections relating to immigrants and the Know Nothings, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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Far Away Places presents Noah Ashley, Asst. Prof., Biology, WKU and “Arctic Songbirds of Alaska”

Event Flyer

Event Flyer

WKU Libraries’ Far Away Places speaker series kicks off its spring season with Noah Ashley, Assistant Professor of Biology at WKU with “Arctic Songbirds of Alaska”. Originally from Ohio, Ashley went to high school in Vermont before moving to Maine to attend Colby College. He earned his Ph.D. in Zoology at the University of Washington in Seattle studying the relationship between hormones and behavior of arctic songbirds. He has previously been a wildlife biologist in the North Slope Borough in northern Alaska, and has conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Alaska and Ohio State University on the circadian rhythms of Lapland longspurs and Siberian hamsters. He has been at WKU since 2012 where he has since been named the Lancaster Professor, and studies the immunological effects of sleep deprivation on mice and birds.

Noah Ashley, Asst. Prof., Biology, WKU

Noah Ashley, Asst. Prof., Biology, WKU

In April, 2016 Ashley received a grant from the National Science Foundation to study the sleep patterns of arctic songbirds in Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost community in the United States. The grant enables Ashley to lead a team of researchers for five years to study the sleep patterns of two species of arctic songbirds, snow buntings and Lapland longspurs. While most mammals’ circadian rhythm is tuned to daylight-nighttime cycles, northern Alaskan summers can have perpetual daylight and these birds are active for over twenty hours a day for two months of the year. Ashley’s team will use transmitter harnesses to monitor bird activity, and will also give different groups of birds caffeine or melatonin to determine the impact on their sleep patterns and reproduction. The findings may have implications for human medical treatments and could yield new therapies or medicines. Ashley’s team includes WKU and Gatton Academy students who enrolled in a preparatory course in the spring and will travel to Barrow in June and July as part of a cross-cultural program with Native Alaskans conducting field research.

Noah Ashley with a zebra finch

Noah Ashley with a zebra finch. Photo by Clinton Lewis.

Come hear Noah Ashley talk about “Arctic Songbirds of Alaska” on Thursday, February 23 at 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble. The event is free and open to the public, as well as ‘swipeable’ for WKU students. We hope you’ll join us!

You can also read more about Noah Ashley’s research here the WKU Herald!

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Used Book Sale March 3-5 to benefit SOKY Book Fest

The Southern Kentucky Book Fest Used Book Sale will be held Friday, March 3 through Sunday, March 5 at the Bob Kirby Branch of the Warren County Public Library, 175 Iron Skillet Court, in Bowling Green. The sale will be held from 9 am to 5 pm on Friday, March 3; 9 am to 5 pm on Saturday, March 4; and from 1 pm to 5 pm on Sunday, March 5.

According to Sara Volpi, WKU Libraries Literary Outreach and SOKY Book Fest Coordinator, thousands of books, CDs, records, and DVDs will be available for $1 or less at the event. “Proceeds from the Used Book Sale benefit the Southern Kentucky Book Fest partnership and area literacy projects,” said Volpi. “We’ll have a huge selection of high-quality materials like cookbooks, popular fiction in hardback and paperback, children’s books, and more.”

Donations of books, videos, CDs, records, DVDs, and audio books are welcome at all Warren County Public Library locations, Barnes and Noble Booksellers, and at WKU Libraries Cravens 4th floor (at circulation desk). Magazines and textbooks are not accepted. Donated materials are tax deductible.

SOKY Book Fest is a partnership project of Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Warren County Public Library, and WKU Libraries. The partnership’s mission is to encourage reading and the love of books and to be a positive force in promoting literacy in the region and state.

For more information, visit www.sokybookfest.org or contact Sara Volpi at (270) 745-4502.

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Mary Richards Goes to Washington

Mary Tyler Moore and William H. Nat

Mary Tyler Moore and William H. Natcher

The death of Mary Tyler Moore on January 25 reminded many of us how much we miss Mary, Rhoda, Lou, Ted and the gang, but tributes have also recognized her real-life, longtime advocacy on behalf of people with Type 1 diabetes (also known as juvenile diabetes).

Diagnosed with the condition in 1969, Moore became International Chairman for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the first celebrity to lend her name to the cause.  She frequently appeared before congressional committees to encourage awareness, research and funding.  In the course of her visits to Washington, Moore became good friends with Congressman William H. Natcher of Kentucky, chairman of the appropriations subcommittee for health funding.

Mary Tyler Moore with group of congressmenAmong the many hundreds of photographs in the William H. Natcher Collection, part of the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections, are these of Moore’s visits to Washington.  When Natcher died, she was one of many notable mourners who attended his funeral in Bowling Green on April 6, 1994.

For more information on the Natcher Collection, contact us at mssfa@wku.edu.

Mary Tyler Moore

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“Louisville is in an awful condition”

Eighty years ago this month, four times the normal amount of rainfall fell in the Ohio River Valley.  Louisville, Kentucky endured 19 inches of rain, 15 of them in just 12 days.  On January 27, the swollen Ohio River crested at 57.1 feet above flood stage, marking the peak of what has been called the worst natural disaster in the city’s history:  the Great Flood of 1937.  Before the water receded, 70% of Louisville was submerged, 230,000 citizens were displaced, and as many as 200 were dead.

Flooded Louisville, January 1937

Flooded Louisville, January 1937

The Manuscripts & Folklife Archives of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections holds numerous letters, diaries and recollections telling of the Great Flood and its impact on the region.  To name just a few of the eyewitnesses:  Alice Stout at the Cortlandt Hotel, who wrote her mother of the growing emergency as city services–water, gas and electricity–began to shut down; Edna Grauman, who wrote in anguish to WKU librarian Margie Helm of the herculean efforts to salvage the collections at the Louisville Public Library; Margie Helm’s sister-in-law Kitty Helm, who wrote of the flow of refugees to schools and churches, and of helping doctors administer typhoid shots amid fears of a public health crisis; volunteers like Mary Leiper Moore, who came from Bowling Green to help with relief efforts and evacuate refugees; and Arthur Lissauer, who earned a commendation for his work ferrying victims to safety.

Alice Stout's view from the Cortlandt Hotel, Louisville

Alice Stout’s view from the Cortlandt Hotel, Louisville

At the time of the flood, Christian county native Robert Tinnon Joiner was at Louisville’s Hazelwood Sanatorium being treated for tuberculosis.  In a letter to his wife Pearl written over several days in January, he gave a dramatic account of the deluge as experienced from his hospital bed:

Sunday morning, January 24:  “Louisville is in an awful condition.”  Joiner was glued to the radio as WHAS began broadcasting continuous flood reports and directing rescuers to people trapped and in danger of drowning.  As the flood overwhelmed the city’s infrastructure, the supply of electricity, gas and drinkable water was in jeopardy.

Sunday evening:  Still raining, with more to come.  The river was rising one foot per hour.  The sanatorium, located on high ground, was safe for the time being, Joiner reported, but the lights had gone out and there was talk of rationing food.

Monday afternoon, January 25:  The river was at 55 feet and rising.  Joiner had no heat or light and, though surrounded by this historic flood, little water to drink or bathe in.

Tuesday morning, January 26:  Joiner heard cars running all night, some delivering refugees to the sanatorium, and planes flying overhead delivering supplies.  The lights were still out.

Wednesday morning, January 27:  At 57 feet, the river was now 10.5 feet higher than it had ever been.  Joiner could see flooded homes in the valley below. Rumors abounded of deaths, shortages of coffins, and no dry place to bury the dead.

Friday morning, January 29:  The water was beginning to recede, but the sanatorium still had no lights, little water, and only enough food for two meals a day.  Joiner, who hadn’t bathed in nine days, lamented the fact that two dozen patients were using the same toilet but flushes were limited to three or four a day.

“The only cheerful thing about the whole dreadful thing,” wrote Kitty Helm of the Great Flood, “is the discovery of an amazing amount of kindness and generosity” in the rescue efforts and the aid extended by Kentuckians as far away as Bowling Green.  Even the U.S. Mail rose to the occasion:  Kitty’s letter, mailed on January 26, had been delivered on January 29 despite lack of sufficient postage.

Click on the links to access finding aids for these collections.  For more collections giving first-hand accounts of the Great Flood of 1937, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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UK College of Medicine group tours WKU Libraries

Dean Connie Foster gave the Student Affairs Working Group from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine a tour of the main branch of WKU Libraries on Thursday, January 19. WKU recently partnered with UK and the Medical Center at Bowling Green to help expand medical education in the south central and western regions of the state.

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“The Elephant Was the Great Show”

The circus comes to Bowling Green, 1921 (Kentucky Library)

The circus comes to Bowling Green, 1921 (Kentucky Library)

The recent news that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will shut down “The Greatest Show on Earth” in May 2017 brings to mind Bowling Green’s long history of circuses, some of which is documented in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives collections of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections.

Research into the city license records by a former librarian reveals that by 1875, some 36 circuses had come through Bowling Green, often several times a year.  The P. T. Barnum circus paid for its first license in 1853, with an additional fee for “one side show.”  The very first circus, however, appears to have been in 1839, when the “Raymond & Waxing” troupe came to town.  A witness to the extravaganza was Henry Fox, who marveled at the many kinds of animals, including camels and lions.  But “the elephant was the great show,” he remembered, the biggest creature he had ever seen: “He had tusks that come out and crossed and he could throw his snout up and drop it down.”

In an age when entertainment on such a scale was rare, the arrival of the circus in Bowling Green caused tremendous excitement.  One April day in 1879, 15-year-old Josephine Calvert went to school as usual, where her older sister Lida happened to be the teacher.  Lida, however, had to give up and dismiss the class when only three students showed up.  The reason?  “There is a circus in town,” Josie wrote in her diary, “and all are perfectly crazy.”

True to their reputations, circus folk and their animals could generate some strange legends.  Born in 1852, Elizabeth Gaines recalled her mother’s description of a cholera epidemic in Bowling Green “said to have been caused from the death of a very large snake,” that had expired while the circus was in town.  “They buried the snake,” Elizabeth was told, but some of the people connected with the circus also fell victim to the disease.

Click on the links to access finding aids for these collections.  For more, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

"Step right on in" (Fannie Morton Bryan Collection)

“Step right on in” (Fannie Morton Bryan Collection)

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